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Giving Up Junk-Food Relationships: Recipes for Healthy Choices Paperback – January 28, 2013
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"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."
From the Author
How do you typically feel shortly after indulging your craving? Do you feel a little bloated? A little nauseated? Maybe you have some heartburn. Do you feel guilty and wish you had eaten something healthy instead? And have you noticed what happens to that scrumptious fast food when it cools off and isn't hot anymore? It's pretty nasty, isn't it?
Well, bad relationships are pretty much the same as junk food. They usually start out with a hunger or craving for companionship, but if this healthy craving escalates into loneliness and neediness, such people tend to make bad choices. They might just grab whoever's available or seek out a particular type that at first glance always appears appetizing. When it's hot, it's fabulous! It's exciting and fun--very enjoyable. But as the euphoria of the new relationship starts to wear off and the "can't get enough of you" passion cools down, what's left isn't exactly satisfying. Sometimes it's even harmful, and the long-term effects can be devastating. (Ever see Fast Food Nation?)
The difference between consuming actual junk food and indulging in emotional junk-food is that with food, at least you usually know what you're consuming isn't really good for you. With relationships it's not always as easy to tell it's not good for you until you've already digested a lot of it. As a relationship coach, I see a lot of people who don't really know if their relationship is right for them. I even see people who are in downright toxic relationships but don't know it, or refuse to acknowledge it. Many people think they know, or at least have an idea of, what they want in a relationship. But most people don't know what they don't want in a relationship until they've experienced it and didn't like it. I think knowing what you don't want in a partner is more important. This book is intended to empower you with knowledge--to help you create virtual nutrition labels for potential partners and make healthier relationship choices.
My greatest hope is to prevent you from suffering through a long list of dysfunctional "been there done that" liaisons to acquire knowledge, as I did. I always thought I was a great catch, and I hope you think you are a great catch as well. But if you're reading this book, your relationships probably aren't working out the way you want them to. They weren't working for me either, until I realized I needed to change some behavior. I was junk-food, and I learned that the hard way.
At age eighteen, my modeling agency got me an apartment in New York City. I was thrilled to be in the heart of America's biggest singles scene. I felt like a kid in a candy store! Parties, late night clubs, even in the dressing rooms of my modeling and acting bookings, I saw and heard a lot of dating tales and disasters. Personally, I was a serial monogamist (always had a boyfriend); I didn't want to be alone. But I never managed to make the right choices. My friends and family were frequently concerned. When you're in love (or think you are), you don't want to listen to anything negative. You certainly can't hear it. I made it through my twenties thinking I was doing okay. Then I turned thirty and had my heart broken for the first time. I was blindsided, actually, and I was having a hard time catching my breath. I was left questioning, "Why doesn't he want me anymore?" For the first time, I started to think, What's wrong with me?
A lot was wrong with me. Not just to suit any guy; negative behavior was affecting my life. It just took a guy to make me see that. I then had an epiphany: If I was ever going to have a healthy relationship, I needed to learn exactly what one was. A girlfriend turned me on to self-help books, and I discovered knowledge was the only thing that made me feel better. I became a knowledge junkie. I enlisted the help of a great therapist and serendipitously began a new career.
After years of dating without becoming someone's exclusive girlfriend, pining over a man I couldn't have (at least not full-time), starring in a reality show, cohosting a talk show, and writing a magazine column, New York City started to call me "the real-life Carrie Bradshaw." I have to admit that the title fit. I finally learned how to enjoy being alone; and then I met a wonderful well-balanced meal. In 2006, I enrolled at New York University to officially become a life coach. Clients frequently tell me I give them a unique perspective--a combination of practical hindsight, intelligence, and academic knowledge. It's incredibly validating when they call to simply say, "You were right!" I can't help but think, "It's about time I got it right." Almost three decades later, I feel I have earned the title of dating and relationship expert. My favorite part is helping people make better choices than I did.
As a teenage model whose only income came from what she looked like, I was obsessed with working out and trying to eat right. I'm from Philadelphia, and cheesesteaks and hoagies (which come on a twelve-inch Italian roll) were my favorite comfort food. It was a constant battle between enjoying what I ate or enjoying how I looked. At the same time, I was struggling with my relationships. I had no idea what boundaries were, and looking back, I definitely had a few "What was I thinking?" relationships. If I had thought then to put a food value on men, I would have known exactly whom to indulge in and whom to throw away. That's how the idea for this book was born. Like attracts like; therefore, you are who you meet, just as you are what you eat. I'm going to give you a detailed nutrition label for all the most common--and some obscure--behaviors and personality types so you can become a smart shopper. I intend to help you figure out what kind of situation you are currently in, what your personal deal-breakers should be, and how to make your relationships better.
More About the Author
Giving Up Junk-Food Relationships: Recipes for Healthy Choices is the first book in her Relationship Recipes series. For more information, please visit www.DonnaBarnes.com.
Top Customer Reviews
It's packed with the kind of wisdom about good and poor relationships that has the power to change someone's destiny for the better. I totally understood the comparisons of how we become what we eat. If we eat healthy food on a regular basis, we will have a healthy body. The author shares that the same applies to our relationships. If we interact with emotionally healthy people, who treat us with genuine love and respect, then those relationships have the potential to stand the test of time. The problem seems to be in discerning what is a healthy relationship and what's considered Junk-food.
The author does an excellent job of educating her reader of what the many signs of a relationship that's headed for disaster look like. She also gives remedies that have the potential to bring healing into an unhealthy relationship.
Being able to tell the difference between a potential loser and a keeper can be clouded by our own denial. I certainly can see more clearly now what the warning signs are of an healthy Junk-Food relationship. I also feel I've been equipped with the proper "verbal" diet plan that can help mend a relationship that's been heavily weighted down due to poor communication skills.
The author created a test that offers multiple choice answers. When the test is completed you are able to score your results. If you score low, you are in a "Junk-Food" relationship and should consider finding someone with healthier attributes to spend your time with.
I found the book to be intuitive, creative, informative and an asset worth holding on to for future relationship references.
My girlfriend gave this book to me and I have to say...THANK YOU! I haven't found my total Mr. Right yet but my dates have been so much more fulfilling.
The step by step Q&A's helped me figure out what exactly my issues were that were fighting me all these years. Now that I'm in control of my dates, I know like my friend, I will have a ring on my finger.
I'm passing it on to my niece to read. Very empowering book!
My friend is now reading Donna's book and we have some great discussions. I've been married, happily, for 25 years. This little gem of a book isn't just for those who are "looking for love". So, getting back to my first sentence - Barnes' book is loaded with wise advice and simple changes - simple changes that aren't so difficult to make. Changes that are FUN!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
As a man who has prided himself on being very evolved and self aware, this amazing book still managed to open my eyes and made me want to become the best possible version of me... Read morePublished 3 months ago by Dany M Bouchedid
Donna Barnes "gets" dating, and this funny, true, insightful book shows why. Empty, unhealthy relationships are like empty, unhealthy junk food, and Barnes shows how and... Read morePublished 21 months ago by Phoebe Fox
This is one of the best books i have read in years! Everything is spelled out for you and all you have to do is follow step by step!
Amazing book !!!
An amazing yet entertaining way to recognize your part & the roles other play in your relationships but more importantly this book gives great insight on how to make the changes... Read morePublished on July 28, 2013 by Keno
The author is able to eloquently describe the differences between a healthy/good relationship and an unhealthy/poor relationship. Read morePublished on July 17, 2013 by Happy
Well written and very informative book. Full of insights to improve relationships. I would recommend this book to anyone, single or marriedPublished on April 3, 2013 by Christopher L Lane
I'm not going to lie. I don't buy many books, but when I do I get them on Amazon. That being said, a friend loaned me a copy of this book and it's one of the best I've ever read. Read morePublished on March 30, 2013 by bookborrower
This may be the most uniquely helpful books I have ever been privileged to read.. By using the analogy of food to help you define your relationships Donna has given me the easiest... Read morePublished on March 1, 2013 by Daniel