Monday, June 21, 2010

Confuse a Cat

There's an old Monty Python skit where an elderly couple, concerned that their cat has slipped into a melancholic slump, are told to "confuse the cat." In the next scene a van pulls up to a tidy, British, suburban home and out pops the whole Python crew to perform absurdest skits to a rather bored, looking tabby. In the end, it works and both the tabby and owners were thrilled.

I've been having a feeling of ennui on my morning walks lately. I have several routes I take of various lengths. It's not so much that I don't like the walks, it's just that I've been bored with the routes. However, there's really no new way I can go and still loop back home eventually.

But the other day it occurred to me to just reverse the direction. Instead of making a right at my mailbox, I made a left.

It's amazing how one small difference in a routine can change one's whole perspective. Instead of two killer hills, I had a series of long, gradual inclines which was just as intense, and walking down the steep hills, as opposed to up, worked my butt intensely.

And, changing direction changed vistas. There is this absolutely beautiful 19th Century Classic Federal Farmhouse that I've salivated over for years on my route. In addition to the house, which is set back from the road (unusual in this area for 19th century homes), there are two impeccably preserved barns, a beautiful, decorative well-head, and a picture-perfect plank swing suspended by ropes from a perfectly pruned oak. Approaching it from the other side made the scene even more beautiful.

Even walking on the other side of the road made a difference. I've walked by this one small lake for three years now, but I was always across the road. This time, because I was on the same side, I noticed ducks that I don't think I would have seen.

Changing direction renewed my enthusiasm for my walks. I've, in a sense, doubled the routes I have to choice from.

I bring this up because in the long run it does get hard to stick with a routine. Ennui sets in, we get bored, and are just looking for something new.

But, what's important is to someone stick with what you're doing, and sometimes even small changes can make a difference, whether its food or exercise.

What's important is to not let the boredom lead you back to the old habits that led to weight gain to begin with.

Small positive changes to our new routines can help protect us from falling back into the old negative ones.


  1. Well, changing direction confuses the dog! I generally follow the same route every morning when I walk the dog. If I take a completely different route, she's okay ,but if I try to do the regular route backwards, she resists and tries to pull me to go the "right" way.

  2. LOL!! Your dog sounds like my son who freaks out whenever we go out of the normal routine.