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Questions to Help Decide If You Really Want a Certain Food – and Why

For more information about the Am I Hungry? Mindful Eating program, visit or my website.

We hear all the time about food cravings. You may have experienced them yourself.

A lot of times, this comes up after you see the food, maybe in an ad… in the kitchen… or on someone’s plate. Like maybe this chocolate cake.

You start thinking about how good it would taste. Your mouth waters.

But do you reallywant the food? Or is this just a reaction to the trigger of seeing the food?

In the Am I Hungry? Mindful Eating program, we talk about the 4 really test. Do you really, really, really, REALLY want the food?

It’s a good question, but I thought of another approach after watching the latest season of the X-Files.

In one episode, Mulder and Scully are eating muffins, and Scully said they were so good she’d eat them even if they “came out of an alien’s butt.”

I laughed out loud, but it got me thinking. This is another – and more amusing – way to consider how much you want a food.

Would you eat it even if it came out of an alien’s butt?

For me, in order to qualify, it would definitely have to pass the 4 really test.

If it doesn’t quite meet that criteria, but you still want the food, here are some things you can think about to try to identify where that craving is coming from:

What about the food seems so appealing? The smell, sight, expected taste?

Does the food bring up a happy memory? Do you remember really enjoying it before?

Do you feel like you need to have it right now? What would happen if you wait a bit and then see if you still want it?

Do you want the food because eating will help you avoid doing something unpleasant?

Depending on the answers to those questions, you may decide not to have that food.

But if you do have it, try to focus on the food when you eat.

Do you enjoy it as much as Scully enjoyed her muffin? If so, I hope you can take some time to savor it, and remember you can have it again when you want it that much.

Or if you find you don’t enjoy it, you don’t have to finish it – you can just chalk it up to experience as one of those foods that sounds better than it tastes.

So next time when you run into it and try to decide if you want it or not, you can remember that it’s not all it’s cracked up to be.

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