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7 Calorie Free Splurges That You Deserve

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Calorie Free Splurges"The rat race." "The daily grind." "The rollercoaster." However you put it, day-to-day life in the new millennium isn't easy. Sometimes it feels like you're on an obstacle course and when you come through unscathed and more or less on time, it's only natural to want to reward yourself. After all, you deserve it.

Back in the old days, you probably treated yourself to a few chocolates, an ice-cream sundae, a nice French dinner on the weekend, or perhaps a night full of cocktails. Now all those things are no-nos. (Sigh.) But look on the bright side! Since you're not spending your "fun money" on food and drinks, you can splurge in other areas. Here are a few of our favorite ways to treat yourself without busting your calorie count for the day:

Bubble Bath1. A bubble bath. Nothing soothes body and soul like a long, hot soak in the tub. Light a few candles, burn incense, play your favorite mellow music in the background . . . and in no time at all, you'll relax and forget all the day's worries. A great way to unwind after a workoutand at a cost of just around $10 if you splurge on bubble bath and scented candlesthis is the least expensive way to (pun intended) splash out.

2. Pedicure. Your tootsies put up with a lot. Whether you're running errands or running on the treadmill, trying to keep up with your kids or trying to keep up with Tony Horton, they bear much of the strain. So why not pamper 'em a little bit? A pedicure starts at around $20 and leaves your feet flower-fresh, callous-free, and sandal-ready.

3. Massage. Therapeutic massage isn't just for athletes and health spa clients anymore. These days, it's as common to have a CMT (certified massage therapist) as it was to have a shrink in the '80s. Cheaper, too. You can get a massage starting at about $40 an hour, and many of these trained professionals have their own table and will travel to you.

4. CDs or books. Don't sit at home wishing you had a box of bonbons or a tub of Ben & Jerry's. Head out to the mall and pick up some mind candy or bubblegum pop. At the big stores, you can easily spend a couple of hours hogging a cushy chair or a listening station, browsing and sampling and deciding exactly what titles are worth your $20. Singing along to Kelly Clarkson's latest at top volume or burying your nose in a celebrity tell-all bio will give you the same silly endorphin rush as chowing down on chocolateand you won't have to feel guilty about it later.

5. "Us time." Quality time with your friends or your spouse is precious these days. But who says you've got to wait for a special occasion? Turn an ordinary evening into an unforgettable night on the town. Get dressed up and head out for a night of dancing, great conversation, or heck. . . even bingo! Spend $30 on a sitter, have a healthy snack before you go, and keep your food-and-drink budget low, low, low. If you don't bring extra money, you won't be as tempted to cheat on your diet.

Buy Yourself Flowers6. Buy yourself flowers. Okay, maybe it's a little corny, but it's a fact. A big, colorful, glorious bunch of blooms can put a smile on almost any face and brighten up any room. They're in every grocery store display case, and even if you're stuck at a desk all day, they're only a few clicks or a phone call away. So why wait till Valentine's Day?

7. Workout wear. When you started your fitness program, your workout clothes probably consisted of an old pair of sweats and a T-shirt. That's fine, as long as you're doing your entire program in your bedroom with the shades pulled. But once you become more confidentand especially once your results start to showyou'll want to toss those saggy, graying duds and pick out something fitted and flattering. What better way to introduce the new, slim-and-trim you to the world?

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