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The Groundhog Day Diet

Monday, February 03, 2020

Happy Groundhog Day! For those outside of the US, you might wonder what the blankity blank I'm talking about. In short, it's a goofy little day when a town in Pennsylvania "consults" with a groundhog about how much winter is left. It's silly, it's folklore, it's not really anything serious.

Nearly 30 (!!!) years ago, Bill Murray and Andie MacDowell starred in the eponymous movie set in that little town in Pennsylvania. The story: Billy Murray, a reporter, was assigned to cover this silly tradition. In the mean time, he ended up waking up every day to Groundhog Day.

When I first saw this, as a wee babe (well, probably more like a teen to be honest), I really didn't care for the film. My nightmares involve repetition and being unable to get out of a loop so this was totally my nightmare. However, looking back on it as an adult, watching various YouTube Video Essays about the film has cultivated a respect for it I didn't have as a young person. Yes, it's a silly film about a silly American tradition, but the journey Bill Murray's character makes and the lessons he learns are invaluable.

Today, as I got into my office and noted that yesterday was Groundhog Day, I hit upon this realtization that totally tied into my Health Journey: Up until two years ago, my health was in a Groundhog Day loop. You wake up, bright and chipper. "I'm gonna change my life around!" you say as you leap enthusiastically from your bed. You eat your nutritious breakfast (which doesn't taste amazing, because let's face it, you haven't cultivated the taste for greek yogurt or the oatmeal or whatever Ultra Healthy food you are now eating for breakfast), you take your lunch sack that you carefully prepared and you head out into the world.

And then the day collapses. Julia brought in donuts. Michael wants to go to lunch to a pizza place. Maxine wants to do Happy Hour.

You crawl back home, dejected. Your lunch - uneaten. Your dinner - too tired to make, plus you ate too much at Happy Hour. You look into the mirror and sigh with failure, then crawl back to bed.

I've noted before that my life is full of Day 1's - bright shiny days where I start out on this journey, forging a path into new unexplored territory. But my Day 2's and Day 3's are sparse - I've only ever really explored the territory just around my little area right in front of me. I kept cycling through Day 1's, ready to start a journey but struggling to keep it going.

Today is 641 days since I knew I needed to make a change, that momentous May 3rd day and 294 days since I logged my lowest adult weight, back on April 15th. Like Bill Murray's character eventually figured out how to get out of the Groundhog Day loop, I figured out how to get out of the Groundhog Day Diet loop. It hasn't been easy; I've had ups and downs. I make mistakes; I've dipped lower, but I've always managed to stick right about 185 pounds. It's not easy in the slightest - each day I think very much about what I'm eating and why. This is the furthest I've ever gotten on this journey - but I am committed to keep going and not get back into that neverending loop ever again.
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