Try using using more adjectives or descriptive phrases to tell people how you feel about them or the things that you like.
As for the verbs, picking through the thesaurus on m-w.com, I've come up with only a few other common verbs:
Admire works when you admire someone for some exceptional feat or for famous people, but use admiration or admirer for the romantic kind.
Romatic: love (when it's serious), like (when it's early on), to fall for (intense passion), to have a crush on (obsession), to be interested in (curious, but not actively involved), to want (carnally and directly, as in "I want you")
Dated, archaic or regionally/socially specific: fancy, relish, revel in, savor, cherish--These are all a bit too...fancy... for my taste.
Food and philosophies
You could say "that philosophy does not sit well with me" for a concept that you don't like (the philosophy in this case) or maybe "jalapeños don't agree with me" if you don't like hot peppers because they upset your stomach.
Try to find a few adjectives that work well for you with food: tasty, delicious, really good, fantastic, excellent.
With sports, try using adjectives to describe how you felt when it comes to specific experiences:
I had a lot of fun today
That was the best game ever!
It was a pretty exciting tournament.
Friends, family and lovers
I usually avoid saying "I love you" to friends unless it is a pretty emotional moment, but that's often gender-specific or even gender role specific. "I love you guys" can help to keep the statement sounding masculine for me, but "you guys" doesn't get used everywhere as an informal plural of you and the ladies might get offended depending on where you are, so you could substitute some adjectives as interjections or employ them with other cordial expressions to complement people and to convey how pleased you are with the ones that you care about:
Nice. That's awesome. You guys are great/the best! This is really amazing. Oh, you shouldn't have (as a thank you when someone goes out of the way to do something for you). You're a stand-up guy.
Like and love can be tricky when used with people because they often mean the same thing. Saying that you like someone could just be a coy way of expressing a romantic interest, but saying that you don't like someone wouldn't carry the same implications--For that "don't love" should do the trick so that you don't run the risk of implying that really you mean hate (or more commonly, "not in love with"). With things in the equation instead of people, saying something like "I don't love chocolate" could be more humorous than meaningful.
With family, I'd avoid using love with the in-laws and might scale back a little on some of the more informal ways of expressing that I hold them in high regard, depending on the situation. Otherwise, tell your family that you love them.