Take the Tofu Test

Take the tofu test. “As you grab a snack, ask yourself: Would I be hungry if it were a block of raw tofu? If the answer is no, you’re probably just eating out of boredom. Go for a walk instead!

-Oprah Magazine

Sometimes, I think I’m hungry when I’m not. It would be tragic to scarf a pint of Phish Food when I’m only feeling stressed, or tired, or bitter because that attractive guy I met already has a girlfriend. I want to know when I’m actually hungry. And I mean really know. Maybe I’m just mistaking hunger for wanting to take a walk. So when my hands are reaching for those Flamin’ Hot Cheetos at the grocery store, I stop and ask myself: Am I really hungry? That’s the reason I’ve implemented a highly effective test for myself; one that I recommend others try out.

Firstly, walk to the produce section. Bypass all tasty-looking displays and reaffirm that you will not be fooled by their alluring hues. Remember the painful contractions in your stomach are more likely due to IBS than hunger. Find the iceberg lettuce. Cradle that translucent green head in your hands and ask, Am I hungry enough to eat four leaves? Sixteen? How about the whole head? Steamed? No? Then you’re not really hungry.

If no produce section is available (for example if one were in a gas station), the rules change. Proceed directly to the personal hygiene aisle and find the cinnamon Crest toothpaste, preferably the kind with sparkly red flecks. Does this strike you as appealing? You may need to unscrew the cap and take a generous sniff. Of course it’s not real food, but that’s beside the point. If you aren’t seriously considering making a tube of Crest your next feast, you aren’t really hungry.

Clearly there are instances when neither of these tests is applicable. But you’re learning how simple it is to perform a hunger analysis. Camping? No problem. Before you devour your s’mores, rip off a hunk of bark from the nearest tree and contemplate that. Better yet, search the nearby woods for some dried dung. Even easier when you’re on a boating trip: just swoop your hand into the water and grab hold of the first slimy little body you feel. Take a big chomp out of its tail. You mentioned wanting some sushi? Think again. That old saying “I’m so hungry, I could eat my own arm” – well, you’d better be.

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