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Food: A Love Story

There is no love sincerer than the love of food.—George Bernard Shaw

Since February is a month we associate with hearts, flowers, chocolates and love, I’ll admit it: I’m having an affair. This is more than a fling. I’m in love—with food!

If you are like me, you have been having a lifelong love affair with food. And it’s okay, because food plays an important role in happiness as well as health. Can you imagine how dull life would be without it?

But there have been times for me when the relationship was rocky, as evidenced by the extra load I carried on my body along with a lack of energy and a generally low opinion of myself. Unfortunately, breaking up or getting a divorce from food was not an option, so we had to find a way to work it out. You see, just as a marriage or a long-term friendship with another person requires a sense of balance, so the relationship with food must be in harmony with everything else going on in our lives. This is where a diary can help.

Beyond making calorie calculations, the greater purpose of the food diary is to inspire you to examine this intimate relationship between your body and the food you choose to fuel it. Make some notes about how you’re feeling before and after your meal or snack. For example, before eating, are you hungry or bored? Starved or stressed? Famished or lonely? Afterward, are you rarin’ to go or ready for a nap? While you’re at it, write down at least one thing that you are grateful for each day.

Think of journaling as a research project and an investment in your health and happiness. Keeping a diary is a great way to turn your love affair with food into a healthy relationship that no longer hinders, but enhances your life.

Make the most of your food diary

  1. Be consistent. Record your food and feelings for 30 days, writing it down as close to the time you eat it as possible. If that’s inconvenient, take a moment to scribble it on a notepad and write in your journal once a day.
  2. Be curious. Examine what you eat, when you eat and why you eat it from a place of curiosity rather than judgment. In other words, put away your beat stick! Jot down your successes and joys along with any frustrations.
  3. Be honest. Think of your journal as a trusted friend—someone who loves you just the way you are and always has your best interests in mind. Go ahead. Pour your heart out.
  4. Be creative. Use colored markers, stickers, or magazine clippings to enhance your diary entries and tell your love story.

At the end of 30 days, you will look back and see how much you’ve learned about your relationship with food, and you will know what negotiations are in order. You’re on your way to a new and improved love affair—one that includes a healthy balance and respect for the joy and power of food along with a heaping helping of self-understanding.

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