Let’s just start here: I love food.

I started religiously watching the Food Network channel on TV when I was in middle school. I have no idea how or why, because no one else in my family was into it. Rachel Ray was my after-school go-to girl. I learned how to make one of my first recipes around then too when my neighbor taught me how to make guacamole.

I was never a picky eater, not even when I was younger. At dinnertime my sister would shove her vegetables onto my plate when Mom wasn’t looking. Peas? Greenbeans? All Mine.

Do you have that one food you can’t ever get enough of? Mine has always been pasta. Plain pasta, Alfredo pasta, Mac ‘n Cheese, I don’t discriminate. As a child on spaghetti night I would sneak into the kitchen and shove handfuls of leftover pasta into my mouth over the stove. When I went through a bout of depression in college, plain pasta with butter is pretty much all I would eat. Now I could probably still crush a half a box by myself in one sitting, although I admit I haven’t tried.

When people making me dinner ask, “what do you like?” My answer is always, “I eat pretty much everything,” and it’s true.  Except raw celery…gross.

Food SHOULD be something you love. It’s an integral part of living, and making it is fun, creative and a loving gesture for those you cook for.  There’s nothing like a dish coming out exactly how you wanted it to. I’m pretty sure heaven is something pretty close to a perfect bowl of Shrimp Scampi and a glass of wine.

But here’s the kicker… It can’t be the only thing you love. If you’re living your life just to make it to lunch or dinner or a glass of wine at night, and not enjoying what is in-between, you may have a problem. I get it, because I’ve been there. Lunch break at Chick-fil-a is the only time you take a break and get to talk to your co-workers. Evening meal on the couch is the only time you get to unwind and not have to be “doing” anything productive.

When you only enjoy life during meals, your brain gets the idea that food = happiness, love, socialization, relaxing, etc. And when you need a little more of that good stuff in your life, your brain says. “I’m smart, I know what to do, let’s eat more!”

I don’t subscribe to the notion that food is just fuel for your body. I love cooking and eating and it is part of the reason I started this blog. But you do need to listen to what you REALLY need. Is it a new job? More frequent breaks to go outside? More time with your friends? Whether or not taco night is involved, make sure that you have lots of other things in your life that are filling you up – emotionally and spiritually. You may find that that second brownie isn’t going to do it for you.