Ready to heal your relationship with food and rebuild your body image? This roundup of non-diet and Intuitive Eating books will support you in learning how to find food freedom and body acceptance.
So you’ve heard of terms like Intuitive Eating, Non-Diet or Anti-Diet, Diet Culture, and Health at Every Size, and your interest is sparked. Maybe, you’ve really struggled with body image or disordered eating, and are ready to heal.
Now, where do you start when it comes to learning more?
If you’re brand spankin’ new to this work, I’d recommend reading my blog posts What is Intuitive Eating? The 10 Principles as a primer, as well as 7 Reasons Why Diets Don’t Work (And What to Do Instead).
If you’re ready to go deeper with your learning, here are the top books I recommend!
Disclaimer: This post includes affiliate links, and I will earn a commission if you purchase through these links. Please note that I’ve linked to these products purely because I recommend them and I believe they will add value to your life. There is no additional cost to you.
The 7 Best Non-Diet & Intuitive Eating Books
1) Intuitive Eating
The original groundbreaking book, Intuitive Eating: A Revolutionary Non-Diet Approach was first published in 1995 by Elysh Resch and Evelyn Tribole (both MS, RDN, CEDRD-S), who came up with this framework based on their own empirical evidence with their clients.
Since then, there have been over 120 scientific studies to date on Intuitive Eating! The 4th edition is the newest release (June 2020), and I highly recommend you read this version as it includes the latest studies and more modern examples and topics than previous versions.
You’ll learn the 10 principles in depth, the science behind Intuitive Eating, how to raise intuitive eaters (kids and teens), and suggestions on healing from eating disorders.
I love this book because you’ll truly get a feel for all the nuances of Intuitive Eating, but it is quite the read so take your time if you need to approach it in pieces.
2) Intuitive Eating for Every Day
I was lucky enough to get an advanced copy of this brand new book by Evelyn Tribole (again, one of the original founders of Intuitive Eating) and it was everything I hoped for and more. (The book will be released March 16, 2021, but you can pre-order it now!)
Intuitive Eating for Every Day: 365 Daily Practices & Inspirations to Rediscover the Pleasures of Eating is something I would recommend to anyone wanting practical, applicable steps on how to start practicing Intuitive Eating and stepping out of Diet Culture.
If you’re not much of a reader and the original Intuitive Eating book is too intimidating, you can skip straight to this book. You’ll still get an overview of all 10 principles, along with the practices and guidance for how to start living them, including extras like mantras and affirmations.
You could literally just read one practice per day for a year, apply it, and have a life-changing experience.
3) The Intuitive Eating Workbook
Another great option for those of you who love practical resources like worksheets, journaling questions, charts and the like, the official Intuitive Eating Workbook was also created by Elysh Resch and Evelyn Tribole to supplement the book.
It really takes the 10 principles of intuitive eating and makes them personal to you. The auggested exercises help you dig deep to figure out why you eat what/when/how you do, and it provides you with direction for next steps to take.
If you’ve only read the book or learned the principles but have struggled to apply the concepts in real life, this workbook will really help you out!
I’m not exaggerating when I say that Anti-Diet: Reclaim Your Time, Money, Well-Being, and Happiness Through Intuitive Eating by Registered Dietitian Christy Harrison truly changed my life. I’d been previously following her podcast, Food Psych, but this book put all the pieces together for me and I had lightbulb moment after lightbulb moment reading the pages.
Christy breaks down ‘Diet Culture’ and the multi-billion-dollar industries that profit from it, exposing all the ways it robs people of their time, money, health, and happiness. This book will turn what you think you know about health and wellness upside down, so get ready for it!
Christy’s journalism background shines through, along with her gift of reading research and translating it so the layperson can understand it. This highly researched book really delivers on paradigm-busting concepts and will help you remember that there is so much more to life than dieting and weight loss.
5) Health at Every Size
Health at Every Size by Dr. Linda Bacon is the pinnacle reference for the Health at Every Size (HAES) movement. For the uninitiated, HAES turns the current weight-centric model of health on its head and, instead, takes a weight-neutral approach to health, suggesting that we should focus on health BEHAVIORS as a means to obtain health instead of focusing on weight.
Get ready for a new perspective on learning why fat isn’t the problem, but dieting – and a society that rejects anyone whose body shape or size doesn’t match an impossible ideal – is the problem. Filled with scientific research (but not too dense to understand), HAES has been scientifically proven to boost health and self-esteem.
6) Body Respect
Another book by Dr. Linda Bacon, Body Respect: What Conventional Health Books Get Wrong, Leave Out, and Just Plain Fail to Understand About Weight expands on the Health at Every Size approach.
This book is full of science; hard facts, peer-reviewed studies, and plentiful evidence. Dr. Linda breaks down the problems with ‘obesity’ research, myths about fatness/weight, and shares what actually matters most when it comes to our well-being, like social determinants of health.
In some ways, this book is similar to Health at Every Size, but this book is more recent and is a better resource for giving alternative paths to improved health for people of all shapes.
7) The F*ck It Diet
An ex-yo-yo dieter herself, comedian and author Caroline Dooner approaches the anti-diet space from a research-informed yet hilarious perspective in The F*ck It Diet. To give you an idea, she literally starts the book off by saying, “I dedicate this book to cheese. I will never forsake you again.” LOL!
Caroline explains tough concepts in an approachable and clever way. While I personally think some components of Intuitive Eating are left out and that a reader may just interpret her message to exclusively mean “just eat whatever you want,” Caroline never said this was a handbook on Intuitive Eating and, overall, her book serves as a wake-up call to other dieters to finally f*ck it and give up the fight.
More Non-Diet, Body Image & Intuitive Eating Books
The following is a list of non-diet, body image, intuitive eating books that I have not personally read, but are recommended by my colleagues and are on my list to read!
- Befriending Your Body by Ann Saffi Biasetti – Okay, I lied. I actually have read this book, but didn’t include it in the list above because it’s specific for people healing from Eating Disorders. A beautifully composed, compassionate book that will guide your healing journey if you’re looking for additional support.
- The Body is Not an Apology by Sonya Renee Taylor – This book takes a social justice lens to how we view our bodies and will make you think differently about the systems that perpetuate body shame and oppression against all bodies. I’ve also read this one and it brings up uncomfortable, but very necessary, conversations about how we view and treat bodies.
- Gentle Nutrition: A Non-Diet Approach to Healthy Eating by Rachael Hartley – the only Intuitive Eating-based cookbook that I know of!
- More Than a Body: Your Body is an Instrument, Not an Ornament by twin sisters Dr. Lexie Kite and Dr. Lindsay Kite – I can’t wait to read this book from these sisters and founders of the nonprofit Beauty Redefined, who both literally have a PhD in body image and media studies. They share powerful and practical advice that goes beyond “body positivity” to help you develop body image resilience and stop objectifying your body.
- Body Kindness: Transform Your Health from the Inside Out and Never Say Diet Again by Rebecca Scritchfield – This book will help you let go of things you can’t control and embrace the things you can by finding the workable, daily steps that fit you best.
- The Beauty Myth: How Images of Beauty Are Used Against Women by Naomi Wolf – This classic feminist book was published over 30 years ago, but the message remains hugely important about how women’s obsession with beauty keeps us from our own liberation.
- Fearing the Black Body: the Racial Origins of Fat Phobia by Sabrina Springs – This academic, well-researched book explains how the origins of fatphobia reside in racism towards black women during colonization. A must for anyone who is committed to anti-racism work.
- Body Positive Power: Because Life is Already Happening and You Don’t Need Flat Abs to Live It by Megan Jayne Crabbe – Megan is an Instagram star and international body positive guru who shares her path to body positivity in this book, complete with wit and bold attitude.
- Radical Belonging: How to Survive and Thrive in an Unjust World (While Transforming it for the Better) by Dr. Lindo Bacon – another gem from Dr. Bacon (Health At Every Size and Body Respect), their newest book considers marginalized communities in the context of eating disorders and diet culture.
- Beyond Beautiful: A Practical Guide to Being Happy, Confident, and You in a Looks-Obsessed World by Anuschka Rees – a no B.S. guide with practical strategies to building confidence in your body, beauty, clothes, and life in an era of toxic social media-driven beauty standards.
- Things No One Will Tell Fat Girls: A Handbook for Unapologetic Living by Jes M. Baker – a manifesto and call to arms for women of all sizes and ages to be proud of their bodies, fight against fat shaming, and embrace a body-positive worldview to help women maintain mental health.
- The Body Image Workbook by Thomas Cash – a comprehensive workbook to help you learn to celebrate your body instead of feeling ashamed of it.
- The Invisible Corset: Break Free from Beauty Culture and Embrace Your Radiant Self by Lauren Geertsen – this book explores the psychological gaslighting that leads women to internalize the belief that our appearance makes us not only unworthy of love, but incapable of fulfilling our actual destiny, and helps us reclaim our bodies for ourselves, discovering newfound confidence, power, joy, and pleasure as we do.
- What We Don’t Talk About When We Talk About Fat by Aubrey Gordon – a exploration of fatphobia and anti-fatness in our world to help advance fat justice and change prejudicial structures and attitudes.
- Mothers, Daughters, and Body Image: Learning to Love Ourselves as We Are by Hillary McBride – a mix of storytelling and fascinating research, this book brings to light the harmful ways women view their bodies but also provides hope and healing through healthy perspectives on womanhood and how to break generational cycles and create a new story about what it means to be a powerful woman.
- My Body, My Home: A Radical Guide to Resilience and Belonging by Victoria Emanuela and Caitlin Metz – an inclusive, interactive guided meditation and workbook for reclaiming and appreciating your body’s resilience.
Now, over to you! What are your favorite books in the non-diet, Intuitive Eating, and body image space? Leave a comment below and let us know!