This debut self-help book asks readers to think twice about what they eat—and how they fall in love.
The market for self-help books about love and sex is seemingly insatiable. So, too, is the market for health and diet books. Life and relationship coach Barnes cleverly combines the two genres into one book that outlines the steps to maintain healthy bodies and healthy relationships. Barnes argues that just as chips, pizza and candy make us sick, so do relationships that fulfill temporary emotional cravings. They may feel good in the moment, she writes, but they soon lead to an emotional “crash” akin to a blood-sugar dip. Using templates created by the food industry to distinguish types of foods and portion sizes, Barnes reimagines love lives as a series of ingredients that make up a “Well-Balanced Meal,” or a lovely, decadent “Dessert” (Barnes’ term for casual dating). Self-respect, forgiveness, communication and proper boundaries make up a deliciously satisfying romantic partnership, she writes, while self-doubt and criticism are junk foods to be tossed out immediately. The author extends this conceit all the way through the book, expounding upon emotional “Food Poisoning,” “Between-Meal Snacks” (rebound relationships) and “Forbidden Fruit.” Although her numerous quizzes may strike readers as a bit trite, her food metaphors are so original that they give renewed taste to stale concepts. Barnes isn’t a nutritionist, but her health and diet tips are common-sensical and avoid the didactic tone of many diet books. She even destigmatizes such issues as sex addiction and emotional wounds by filtering them through the lens of nutrition, allowing readers to examine their own inner physical and emotional workings more objectively.
A welcome addition to the self-help genre that aims to heal body and mind.