Groundhog Day – the Movie

By Erika Hoffman

“Cense,” the lady said.

“Sense?” I repeated. “As in it makes sense?”

“No. It’s spelled with a ‘C.’ C-E-N-S-E. It’s wine from New Zealand.”

“Don’t they know how to spell in New Zealand?” I asked.

“Careful. I used to live there.”

I laughed. Susan went on to tell the meeting that this wine used up very few Weight Watcher points, so she was glad she located it nearby at Kroger’s.

Then, Diane, the leader for this meeting, my first meeting since rejoining Weight Watchers – after a twenty- year sabbatical – asked the group for other tips. One lady told how she had a delicious recipe for bean soup and how you could eat as much as you wanted. She’d eaten three bowls that day.

I didn’t listen too closely as I knew I wasn’t about to slurp up any sort of bean soup. Most remained mute to this suggestion, but one exuberant woman in the back blurted out what all of us – stricken deaf and dumb with the image of three bowls of lentil soup – didn’t say, “Doesn’t that give you gas?”

The bean eater replied, “Yeah boy, it does.” Again, everyone laughed.

Diane engaged the mostly female audience who eagerly shared their findings and recipes. My friend Anne, who brought me, remained quiet.  Diane told newcomers, and I believe I was “it” in that category, how to find the app on one’s smart phone and learn this “freestyle” method of points where you can eat all you want of “zero points” foods such as fruit, eggs, shellfish, beans.

“You can eat as much of any of these as you want?” I inquired. This was different from when I was a member back in the dark ages when you researched your little point book and weighed microscopic spoons of mayo.

“Always use a real tablespoon for measuring,” advised the woman who had lived in New Zealand. “Not one you pulled from the drawer that looks like it might happen to be a tablespoon.”After the talk, Diane asked me to stay a minute to go over directions on the booklets. And there were so many booklets: pocket guide freestyle; eat what you love; Weight Watchers weekly-reality check; the holidays introducing Freestyle; enjoy grocery and dining out guide. In addition, I had in my lap the long form registration card, the online plus temporary monthly pass, and the Weight Watchers tracker. I felt the way Attention Deficit Disorder kids must feel the first day of school when they are handed six tomes to read and 20 assignments all due on different dates. Diane asked me if I had a smart phone. I told her I had a cell phone but didn’t usually carry it with me. A slight, almost imperceptible wince of concern registered across her face. She pressed an app and showed me an array of choices and points, and I thought all the while, I’ll never figure this out. I guess I must go to my back-up plan: Starve. That is always my strategy when I’m a part of any diet group. Starve. I know I can’t add poundage if I don’t consume. Of course, I kept my secret plan secret.

As we left, Ann asked, “Should we go together again next Thursday?’

“Sure,” I bubbled up. Between now and then were several parties full of hors-d’oeuvres, a funeral with a church banquet, visiting my son with his stock of chips and dip and beer, Christmas Eve’s buffet, Christmas dinner, and somewhere in the mix I had to fit in my plan for starvation.

“You think you can figure out the app?”

“My son can. Maybe that will be his Christmas present to me?”

On that ride home, a movie flashed through my head, and it wasn’t Christmas Vacation with Chevy Chase, but this film featured another long-ago star from SNL. I thought to myself: I hope this attempt at losing weight is not like Groundhog Day where Bill Murray wakes up to his ringing alarm each morning only to repeat exactly the course of the day before and doesn’t seem to make any progress on changing his life, but keeps repeating identical mistakes day after day. Then, I remembered that although he does do the same thing day after day, each mundane routine alters slightly until one day he drops his bad old habits and breaks through – a new man with a new attitude on life.

A popular saying about weather goes “Different latitude, different attitude.” I have a twist on that. With a different attitude, I might acquire a different latitude.

About this writer

  • Erika Hoffman

    Erika Hoffman

    Erika Hoffman pens many essays about what might seem like mundane occurrences but upon reflection, she always finds a story in them worth telling – at least in her eyes.

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12 Responses to “Groundhog Day – the Movie”

  1. margaret says:

    Great article! Hope the different attitude, different latitude approach works. Sounds like it could be applied to many aspects of life. Thanks!

  2. Dallas Swan says:

    So much fun to read, and so reminded me of the cottage cheese on toast which was a weight watchers favorite but made people wince!!!

  3. Carol Emmons Hartsoe says:

    I enjoyed reading this story Erika. I’ve heard great things about Weight Watchers. I always love your sense of humor!

  4. Cora says:

    As a fellow Weight Watcher, I feel Erika’s pain (and confusion!). Keep with it, though – the light will go on!

  5. I’m wishing you success with the new diet plan, Erika, and hoping you don’t eat too many eggs. I remember reading somewhere that the entire cast of “Cool Hand Luke” suffered from flatulence after they consumed the dozens of hard-boiled eggs from that movie’s famous scene. Great humor and terrific piece!

  6. Eileen T Williams says:

    Well, that made me chuckle out loud! Great read and really for me it just seems like life in general sometimes. Someone will say, “Oh it’s easy” and I think, easy for whom! Really did find this article very entertaining!

  7. Elaine Crigler says:

    Starve is about the size of it! I would starve the day before weigh-in and then stop at McDonald’s on the way home.

  8. My daughter-in-law’s birthday is on Groundhog’s Day, an obscure holiday that I will now associate with weight loss in addition to my Janine. Thanks Erika!

  9. Barbara Margolis says:

    Very entertaining piece! Dieting has certainly become complicated. Apps? Just give me a food diary form and a pen!

  10. Theadis Damewood says:

    Erkia,
    That was so wonderful! I can relate. I, too, am on Weight Watchers with the App, Weeklies, all sorts of little things to keep up with! It is so true I think it is great plan, but I am not being very successful! I like wine too much!

  11. Linda O'Connell says:

    This was a fun read, Erika.

  12. Rose Anniversary is says:

    So relatable, realistic and hopeful at the same time!! It’s been 30 years for me and that trip to Friendly’s after the meeting. If we are ever fortunate enough to meet, may it be at a healthy brunch disguised by cake and chocolate…and skinless chicken, too! Wishing you luck on your new attitude—keep writing about it. It may be contagious 😊

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