Best Books on Body Image: My Favorite Food Freedom and Body Liberation Books

Best Books on Body Image

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.

If you’d like a copy of this blog as a PDF download, you can download a copy here.

Body Image Books - woman reading a book

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).

Happy reading!

Anti-Diet Books

Anti-Diet: Reclaim Your Time, Money, Well-Being and Happiness Through Intuitive Eating by Christy Harrison

  • 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.

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.

Eat to Love: A Mindful Guide to Transforming Your Relationship with Food, Body, and Life by Jenna Hollenstein

  • 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. 

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.

How to Raise an Intuitive Eater: Raising the Next Generation with Food and Body Confidence by Sumner Brooks and Amee Severson

  • I’ve been waiting years for a book like this! How to Raise an Intuitive Eater by Sumner Brooks and Amee Severson is the first anti-diet aligned book specifically for parents to support them in learning how to maintain children’s natural ability to intuitively eat and cultivate a positive relationship with food and their bodies.

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.

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.

Body Liberation and Body Image Books

The Art of Body Acceptance: Strengthen Your Relationship with Yourself Through Therapeutic Creative Exercises by Ashlee Bennett

  • As a self-described “not artistic person” for most of my life, I’ve come to realize that we all have creativity within us. And not only that but creating art – no matter your skill level – is a fantastic way to get out of your head and into your body. Registered art therapist Ashlee Bennett includes a variety of prompts and exercises that you can use to work towards body acceptance through creativity.

Belly of the Beast: The Politics of Anti-Fatness as Anti-Blackness by Da’Shaun Harrison

  • Written by Da’Shaun Harrison, a fat, Black, disabled, and nonbinary trans writer, Belly of the Beast is an important addition to the fat liberation space that helped me deepen my understanding of the connection between anti-fatness and anti-Blackness. 

Beyond Beautiful: A Practical Guide to Being Happy, Confident, and You in a Looks-Obsessed World by Anuschka Rees

  • 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.

Decolonizing Wellness: A QTBIPOC-Centered Guide to Escape the Diet Trap, Heal Your Self-Image, and Achieve Body Liberation by Dalia Kinsey

  • Decolonizing Wellness is a fantastic anti-diet book specifically written for BIPOC and queer folks. The book is full of practical tools, journal prompts, affirmations and more. As a white cisgender woman, it was a helpful read for me to better understand how to create more inclusivity in the anti-diet community. 

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.

Landwhale: On Turning Insults into Nicknames, Why Body Image Is Hard, and How Diets Can Kiss My Ass by Jes Baker

  • 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. 

Things No One Will Tell Fat Girls: A Handbook for Unapologetic Living by Jes Baker

  • 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.

What We Don’t Talk About When We Talk about Fat by Aubrey Gordon

  • Aubrey Gordon is an amazing fat activist whose work I’ve been following for years. In her first book, she explores and unpacks the cultural attitudes and systems that have led to people being denied basic needs because they are fat. This is a must-read book as we all interrogate our own anti-fat beliefs and shift the way we talk about, see, and treat fat people.

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. 

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.

Fat Girls in Black Bodies: Creating Communities of Our Own by Joy Arlene Renee Cox

  • Fat Girls in Black Bodies breaks down the myths, stereotypes, tropes, and outright lies told about race, body size, belonging, and health. Dr. Joy Cox unpacks the racist roots of diet culture, healthism, and the ways our society (incorrectly) conflate body size with personal responsibility. A must-read for Black women, this book also helped to inform my work as a weight-inclusive practitioner.

Heavy: An American Memoir by Kiese Laymon

  • In the memoir Heavy, Kiese Laymon explores – among other things – the impact of dealing with both racism and weight bias, and his complex relationship with food, anorexia, weight, and more. Difficult to read and heartbreaking at times, it’s an important Black male perspective on identity and liberation. 

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.

I Thought It Was Just Me (but It Isn’t): Making the Journey from “What Will People Think?” to “I Am Enough” by Brené Brown

  • 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.

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.

Books for Children and Teens

Bodies Are Cool by Tyler Feder

  • A picture book celebrating all the different human bodies that exist in the world, highlighting various skin tones, body shapes, and hair types

Celebrate Your Body (and Its Changes, Too!): The Ultimate Puberty Book for Girls by Sonya Renee Taylor and Bianca Laureano

  • Co-authored by one of my favorite writers, Sonya Renee Taylor, Celebrate Your Body is a wonderful book for teens and tweens that encourages girls to approach puberty with excitement and empowerment. 

Her Body Can by Katie Crenshaw and Ady Meschke

  • A book of poetic self-love and body positivity declarations for young girls. Meant to encourage young girls to create a reality for themselves in which they love themselves and their bodies for exactly who and what they are.

His Body Can by Katie Crenshaw and Ady Meschke

  • His Body Can is a book of poetic declarations that break gender barriers and encourage all young boys to simply be themselves.

The Intuitive Eating Workbook for Teens: A Non-Diet, Body Positive Approach to Building a Healthy Relationship with Food by Elyse Resch

  • Drawing on the same evidence-based practices introduced in Intuitive Eating, this is a workbook specifically created for teens to help them navigate the principles of intuitive eating and integrate them into their lives. 

Love Your Body: Your body can do amazing things… by Jessica Sanders and Carol Rossetti

  • Love Your Body encourages young girls to admire and celebrate their bodies for all the amazing things they can do and to help them see that they are so much more than their bodies.

What books am I missing? Share your favorites below!

Looking for more support?

Check out my Unapologetic Eating 101 Course, an online, self-paced program to liberate yourself from dieting and make peace with food and your body.

My team and I also offer virtual one-on-one support – you can check out our virtual intuitive eating nutrition coaching packages.

My book, Unapologetic Eating: Make Peace with Food and Transform Your Life, is also a great resource that includes information, research, and reflection prompts to help you move away from dieting and come back home to your body, so you can live your most unapologetic, liberated life.

2 Comments

  1. Natalia on May 27, 2022 at 3:28 pm

    Thank you for this list. I see you. I appreciate all your good works.

    • Alissa Rumsey on June 17, 2022 at 12:49 pm

      You’re very welcome Natalia 🙂

Leave a Comment





share the love

Alissa

about

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,
unapologetically.

Ipad No Line

A twice-a-month round-up of inspirational stories, lessons, practical tips and encouragement for living your most authentic, unapologetic life.

The Unapologetic Life

RECENT POSTS

Alissa Rumsey certified intuitive eating counselor new york

The Unapologetic Life

A twice-a-month round-up of inspirational stories, lessons, practical tips and encouragement for living your most authentic, unapologetic life.

Get yours, here.