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Beware Of The “Home Alone Effect”

Is there anyone out there that has not seen the iconic 1990 movie “Home Alone”?  The flick was about a large family (mother and father played by Catherine O’Hara and John Heard) scurrying around trying to leave their house for the airport and in their haste, their youngest child, Kevin (played by Macauley Culkin) is left at the house by mistake.  The family does not realize this until they are already in the air.  During this time when Kevin is “home alone” he has to thwart two thieves’ efforts to break into the house and steal some items.

I am now having my own experience of being “Home Alone”: Since I departed the Northern Virginia practice, I am no longer going to an office daily.  I am conducting my practice via telemedicine until we are able to move to the Williamsburg area.  This is a very new experience for me as for my 40-plus years of working, I have always gone to a hospital, clinic or office.

I am now seeing why working from home, especially for those forced to do this during Covid, is incredibly challenging for weight control.  I find myself multiple times a day, in between telemedicine visits, wandering over to the pantry or refrigerator.  I am not feeling particularly hungry, but rather, the activity of heading to the food storage areas is “something to do” to eliminate the boredom/monotony of sitting around with non-professional clothes on and not working every minute.

There are several reasons why the “Home Alone Effect” can harm weight loss efforts:

  • Breaking boredom can be achieved by reaching for “pleasure” snacks/foods
  • The availability of these snacks is quite easy…a few steps and you are there
  • Unlike a workplace where others can see you devouring damaging foods/snacks, being “home alone” allows for complete anonymity

So, this post is a precautionary shout out to those people that are teleworking from home and are struggling with weight control.  Obligate yourself to NOT engaging in the repetitive visits to the pantry and/or refrigerator.  Plan out your weight control-compatible meals and snacks and stick to this regimen.  

And for those John Williams’ fans out there, here is the theme song, “Somewhere In My Memory” to the movie “Home Alone”.  I must admit, hearing this song after so many years whisks me back to bringing my children (now 37 and 39) when they were young.  Close your eyes and see if this song does the same trip down memory lane for you.

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