Best Books on Body Image: My Favorite Food Freedom and Body Liberation Books
Are you on your path to understanding your relationship with food and body and are looking for more information and different perspectives? Or are you looking to dive deeper into these subjects? I’ve compiled a list of these best books on body image, food freedom, and body liberation to help support you on your journey through a range of different topics so that you can find what resonates with you the most.
Please note: the links below are affiliate links. I only use affiliate links for products I use and trust, a category in which all these books fall into.
I also invite you to check out my book, Unapologetic Eating: Make Peace with Food and Transform Your Life, where I walk you through how to reconnect with your body and yourself using your relationship to food as the entry point. (You can also download the first two chapters for free).
- Christy Harrison, a dietitian and host of the popular Food Psych podcast, challenges the hidden diet messages within the health and wellness industry. She exposes the variety of ways diet culture penetrates our everyday lives.
Big Girl: How I Gave Up Dieting and Got a Life by Kelsey Miller
- Kelsey Miller is a writer and speaker. In her memoir, she discusses her journey into self-loathing and disordered eating-and how she got out of it utilizing intuitive eating and a non-diet approach.
Body Kindness: Transform Your Health from the Inside Out—And Never Say Diet Again by Rebecca Scritchfield
- Written by a dietitian, this book breaks down how to love, connect, and care for yourself, transforming your mind as well as your relationship to your body.
- Jenna is a dietitian and mindfulness teacher. In Eat to Love, she challenges the deeply held beliefs behind our relationship with food and dieting so that you can heal and regain balance with food.
The Eating Instinct: Food Culture, Body Image, and Guilt in America by Virginia Sole-Smith
- Virginia Sole-Smith explores how we eat in today’s diet culture. Featuring her own story along with stories of other people and families, Virginia breaks down why it’s so difficult to just eat.
Gentle Nutrition: A Non-Diet Approach to Healthy Eating by Rachael Hartley
- One of the only nutrition books I feel totally confident recommending, Gentle Nutrition is part-book part-cookbook. Full of approachable info about health and nutrition science, Rachael encourages us to redefine what “healthy” means to us personally. Plus it includes over 50 delicious, nutritious recipes, without a side of diet culture.
Lessons from the Fat-o-sphere: Quit Dieting and Declare a Truce with Your Body by Kate Harding and Marianne Kirby
- Kate and Marianne are two leading bloggers in the fat-acceptance movement. This book is a guide to having peace with body image and will help you reframe dieting and weight.
Intuitive Eating: A Revolutionary Program that Works, 4th Ed. by Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch
- The original Intuitive Eating book by Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch was published in 1995 and has since been updated four times to reflect the latest research. This book can be helpful when starting your intuitive eating journey.
The Intuitive Eating Workbook: Ten Principles for Nourishing a Healthy Relationship with Food by Evelyn Tribole & Elyse Resch
- The Intuitive Eating Workbook is a companion to the book, and helpful for putting the principles of intuitive eating into practice.
Body Liberation and Body Image Books
- Beyond Beautiful is a guide to building confidence in your body, your beauty and your life in today’s world of toxic beauty standards. It is full of practical tools and reflection prompts.
The Body Is Not an Apology: The Power of Radical Self-Love by Sonya Renee Taylor
- World-renowned activist and poet Sonya Renee Taylor explores how radical self-love dismantles shame and has the power to dismantle whole systems of injustice. Beautifully written, this is a book I go back to again and again. There is also now a companion workbook: Your Body is Not An Apology Workbook.
Body Respect: What Conventional Health Books Get Wrong, Leave Out, and Just Plain Fail to Understand About Weight by Linda Bacon and Lucy Aphramor
- Dr. Linda Bacon and Dr. Lucy Aphramor’s book debunks common myths about weight and fatness, and discuss how racism, homophobia, and classism affect life opportunity, and self-worth are related to health.
Fat Activism: A Radical Social Movement by Charlotte Cooper
- Charlotte Cooper’s book studies fat activist methods, analyzes literature in the field, challenges long-held assumptions that uphold systemic fatphobia, and highlights the importance of feminism and queer theory.
Fat Politics: The Real Story Behind America’s Obesity Epidemic by J. Eric Oliver
- J. Eric Oliver shows how doctors, government bureaucrats, and health researchers, with financial backing from the drug and weight-loss industries campaigned to mislead the public about weight and vastly overstate the “obesity epidemic”.
The Fat Studies Reader by Esther Rothblum and Sandra Solovay
- The Fat Studies Reader gathers 53 diverse voices to explore a scope of topics related to fatness and body weight.
FAT!SO?: Because You Don’t Have to Apologize for Your Size by Marilyn Wann
- Marilyn Wann, a fat-positive spokesperson, details that you can be happy, healthy, successful …and fat.
Fattily Ever After: A Black Fat Girl’s Guide to Living Life Unapologetically by Stephanie Yeboah
- Stephanie speaks about experience navigating life as a black, plus-sized woman, and how she has found self-acceptance in a world filled with judgement and discrimination.
Fearing the Black Body: The Racial Origins of Fat Phobia by Sabrina Strings
- Strings’ historical narrative documents works of art, articles, scientific literature and medical journals from the Renaissance to the present moment to show the racial origins of fatphobia as it relates to black women. A must-read to understand how racism and colonialism impact our thoughts and beliefs about bodies to this day.
You Have the Right to Remain Fat by Virgie Tovar
- Tovar delves into unlearning fatphobia, sexist notions of fashion, and how to reject diet culture’s lies about fatness.
- Blogger Jes Baker’s book calls for women to be proud of their bodies, fight against fat-shaming, and embrace a body-positive worldview to change public perceptions and help maintain mental health.
Unashamed: Musings of a Fat, Black Muslim by Leah Vernon
- Unashamed is a memoir of Leah Vernon’s self-acceptance journey, delving into her faith, race and Western beauty standards. Vernon reflects on redefining what it means to be a “good” Muslim.
- Landwhale is Jes’s memoir of life growing up as a fat girl, as a fat woman today and a reflection of the unforgiving ways our culture treats fatness.
Books about Self and Identity
A Burst of Light and Other Essays by Audre Lorde
- Poet Audre Lorde’s words still resonate deeply 30+ years after her essays were originally published. This book includes reflections on her struggle with cancer, along with themes related to sexuality, race, and identity.
Don’t Let it Get You Down: Essays on Race, Gender and the Body by Savala Nolan
- This collection of essays is about Savala Nolan’s life in between black and white, rich and poor, thin and fat, and how our life experiences are most authentically lived in the in-between. Beautifully written, I couldn’t put it down.
- Brené Brown shares reflections and insights on how perfectionism and social expectations cause us to hide our true selves, and shares how by embracing our imperfections improves our relationships with others, and with ourselves.
Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body by Roxane Gay
- Roxane Gay discusses her childhood, teens, and twenties and brings readers into the present and the realities, pains, and joys of her daily life.
Self-Compassion: The Proven Power of Being Kind to Yourself by Kristin Neff
- Kristin Neff, the leading researcher on self-compassion, offers advice and tools on how to be more kind to yourself and lower the volume on your self-critical voice. Content warning: there is some language in the book around weight and body size that is not weight-inclusive.
Sister Outsider: Essays and Speeches by Audre Lorde
- Another one of my favorite collections of Lorde’s essays, in Sister Outsider she takes on sexism, racism, ageism, homophobia, and class, and propounds social difference as a vehicle for action and change.
Thick and Other Essays by Tressie McMillan Cottom
- In these personal essays, Tressie McMillan Cottom analyzes whiteness, black misogyny, and status signaling as a way of survival for black women. Another book that I couldn’t put down.
Radical Belonging by Lindo Bacon
- Lindo Bacon shares how feeling marginalized in one’s body is a societal problem that is often internalized, harming the individual. This book offers a space for healing from injustice and moving towards belonging.
What books am I missing? Share your favorites below!
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Alissa Rumsey, RD.
Alissa Rumsey, MS, RD, CDN, CSCS (pronouns she/her/hers) is a registered
dietitian, nutrition therapist, certified intuitive eating counselor, and the author of
Unapologetic Eating: Make Peace With Food and Transform Your Life. Alissa is
passionate about helping people reclaim the space to eat and live,
A twice-a-month round-up of inspirational stories, lessons, practical tips and encouragement for living your most authentic, unapologetic life.