Friday, July 24, 2009

Topsy Turvy Perspectives

I am NOT a gardener. In fact, I have been known to help more plants die than thrive. Which is why my family and friends found it amusing that I chose to be enticed by the infomercials and gave in to the allure of the Topsy Turvy Tomato Planter. If you haven’t seen or heard of it, the planter is simply a vinyl bag which hangs on a hook or beam, into which I put a tomato plant, upside down. On top of the plant I then dumped in some soil and voila! An abundance of tomatoes!

To have some fun with my new “Topsy” perspective on gardening, I planted “Turvy” at the same time—another tomato plant in a pot, facing upwards, wearing the traditional posture of a tomato plant. The competitive streak in me smiled at the presumed race for the first great tomato—will Topsy or Turvy win? My circle of expert gardeners said it wouldn’t work.

It’s halfway through the summer, and I must share that Topsy has lived up to her name by going over the top in spite of the experts, and in spite of my lack of a green thumb. There are a number of tomatoes appearing on her with the accompanying abundance of yellow buds of promise. Turvy is quite sad; pathetic, actually. She’s typical of a plant I would normally produce—not quite dead but almost there. I may get one tomato out of her this year, just for kicks. Forget about an abundant harvest there.

The Topsy Turvy race reminds me of my own life’s perspectives, particularly in areas where I operate in a sometimes mindless routine. My meals, my workouts, my regular recipes. There are times I need to hang my ideas upside down so I can enjoy the abundant results I desire. There are times I need to listen to my own sense of adventure, instead of what the experts say. Maybe I’ll eat a salad for breakfast instead of for lunch; maybe I’ll work out in the evening instead of in the morning. How about if I try new recipes again, or taste another kind of vegetable I never heard of before. What if I see what it’s like to ride a bike outside again, like I did when I was a kid?

I’ve played a lot this summer—the Topsy way. I can appreciate, once again, the chance to look at things very differently. Even when I go back to some of those familiar routines, the familiar itself will now look fresh, new and fruitful to me. Like Topsy and her tomatoes.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Starting Over...and Over...and Over

The sunrise. My early morning alarm. Birds chirping. Enticing coffee aroma. (gotta love those timer-started-coffee makers!) Time to start a new day. Again.

My prayer: “Dear God: Help! I’ve lost and gained the same three pounds for the last four months. What is that about? Is it mental or physical? I need to start over and lose these three pounds again, and then a few more to reach my final goal weight.”

It’s the beginning of another morning regimen and I’m blessed to be able to start a new day. The new day is my gift so that I can indulge in a new commitment towards healthy eating. I love the sense of a clean slate; the food tally marked with a zero; the restart that comes with the morning. This clean slate is a chance at hope. When I flounder on my eating program, it’s the restart that reminds me I am not perfect. The restarts are the only way to live within a life filled with imperfection.

It is my belief that these restarts are the most critical key for life-time success in weight loss. These restarts represent my prayer time. Going to the table again, coffee in hand, to have my morning chat with God, is what constitutes healthy living, regardless of my food choices. The healthy weight goals are going to be my daily battle for the rest of my life, and the only way I can survive the longevity of this battle is to break it down into these 24-hour chunks of time. Then and only then can I accept that there’s no need to throw in the towel—ever. I’m basking in the new sunrise—and I anticipate my restart—again.

Thankfully, God is available each morning along with that sunrise. I can count on that. “Amen.”