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Wednesday, January 30, 2008

My favorite mistake

What was/is your favorite mistake?
This could be a behavior that you know gets in your way but you do it anyway, or a relationship that didn't quite turn out right but you have no regrets about it anyway, or something that shouldn't have even happened but worked out great...those are just a few examples of what I mean by this question.

And yes, it was inspired by a Sheryl Crow song. Please don't judge me.
I have a member account at Vox primarily so that I can leave comments on Pam's posts, now that she's mostly blogging there instead of here, but they do have a fun "question of the day" feature that you can use as blog-post prompt, and I've submitted the question above. I don't know if they'll use it, but I thought I'd answer it anyway.

The Sheryl Crow song called "My Favorite Mistake" is clearly about being in the wrong relationship, and
knowing that you're staying in it for the wrong reasons, because you don't really want to leave even if most people would think you should. I wouldn't say I have one of those mistakes in my relationship history. True, I'm in my second marriage, but my first one lasted so long I just don't feel that I can, or want to, write off nearly twenty years of my life as a "mistake." There's also the great kid that came out of that - not ideally timed, granted, but not a mistake in any way.

In early February, I'll note the fourth anniversary of my becoming a "Lifetime Member" of the Weight Watchers program - that means that I reached a goal weight and didn't go back over it by more than two pounds during a six-week "maintenance" period. Since then, I've lost weight beyond that goal, and then regained some, but I still haven't strayed very far from it. I'm "on a break" from the meetings now, but after all this time, I hope I've learned what I should and shouldn't do in order to keep my weight in a healthy and comfortable place.

My reason for heading off on that tangent is that there's a poster in the meeting room at my Weight Watchers center that states "There's a positive intention behind every behavior." That means even the negative, self-defeating behaviors are motivated by something desirable - pleasure, happiness, a wish for love and approval, even generosity. It may sound farfetched at first, but if you ponder it, I think there's a lot of truth there.

I thought of that the other morning as I was tucking a bag of Cheerios Snack Mix into my bag to bring to work. It was one of those things I never should have bought in the first place - I probably
wouldn't have bought it if I hadn't had a coupon, so I shouldn't have given myself the opening by even clipping the coupon. But I bought it anyway, I tasted it, and I liked it, so I thought I'd take it to work to nibble on during the day. The whole bag was gone by lunchtime. I do like salty snacks, particularly chips or crackers to accompany a sandwich or soup, but it's sweets that really ensnare me - not candy, but baked goods, especially cakes and brownies. It's really not all that common for me to go to town on a bag of Snack Mix, and I try to limit my chips to the contents of one (OK, sometimes two, but that's it) of those 100-Calorie Packs. But a couple of weekends ago I made a batch of brownies. My stepkids really like my brownies, but they're not around all the time, and my husband prefers cookies and ice cream, so that meant there was a good possibility I'd eat most of them...and that's exactly what happened. It did take a week and a half or so to get through them, and I didn't eat them every evening, but I ate (nearly) the whole thing by myself. It was a really good batch of brownies!

And
those are my favorite mistakes - the ones that taste good. I never smoke, I rarely drink, but I do appreciate good food, and not-so-good-for-you food - making it and eating it. If I didn't care for my own cooking...well, honestly, it might be even worse, because I'd be eating more prepared and restaurant foods, and I can't control what goes into them the way I can with my own recipes. And quite honestly, the baked goods that aren't specifically from reduced-calorie recipes just turn out better when they're not altered to make them reduced-calorie (I'm the voice of experience on this one). The positive intention behind this behavior is the sensual pleasures of a great meal or a delicious treat. I tell myself that because I have learned that I can't eat like this all the time - and after a few days of it, I find I don't want to anymore, which I guess is a positive outcome - it's OK to fall off the wagon sometimes. I know it's rationalizing. I know that my "sometimes" happen more often than they really should. Yet I give in anyway...and when I do, I don't berate myself or give in to guilt - not right away, anyhow. And I know that I'll most likely do it again - there's no promise of "going forth to sin no more" associated with this confession - because I like it. A lot of self-indulgence can most certainly hurt you, but a little is something you can enjoy at the time, recover from, look back at fondly, and maybe even do again sometime.

Care to share your own favorite mistake? If you decide to do so in a blog post of your own, please come back and tell me so I can go and read all about it.

4 comments:

  1. Congratulations on four years as a lifetime member of WW, Florinda. That is wonderful! I did so well on WW for so long, reached lifetime member and within a few months let go of all that will power and confidence that had carried me that far. It was my biggest personal success--even above getting my masters degree. And now my biggest disappointment (I get so emotional just writing about it here--ack!). I'm really struggling to get back on the wagon, but I'm my own worst enemy. You said it very well when you wrote that "even the negative, self-defeating behaviors are motivated by something desirable - pleasure, happiness, a wish for love and approval, even generosity." Not exactly a favorite mistake, I know. LOL

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  2. LF - Wendy, I know what you mean about the struggle to stay on the wagon most of the time. And I've found that it's a funny thing - success at achieving something seems like it should give you more confidence about your abilities, but it doesn't always, at least not in my case. I tend to credit luck or good circumstances as much as, or more than, my own efforts, and that's NOT exactly confidence-building, you know?

    But you did it once, so you know what it takes, and you can do it again!

    I feel like I want to respond to your comment more...there's an e-mail link in my profile if you'd like to contact me that way. :-)

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  3. Hmmm, favorite mistake. Maybe it's buying a silly item of clothing I don't really need but that gives me pleasure every time I wear it.

    Most recent: a leopard-print silk blouse. Completely frivolous. But fun.

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  4. Working Girl - That's the idea, Karen. But would you recommend that blouse for the office? :-)

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