Good Reads

Photo: Abbey Moore Photography

Photo: Abbey Moore Photography

Since I started my private practice, I've found myself recommending a handful of books to my clients over and over again. If you're looking to improve your relationship to food, develop a healthy body image, and/or overcome disordered eating, these books are a great place to start (and even better when you work through them with a therapist or nutritionist!):

Intuitive Eating by Evelyn Tribole, MS, RD and Elyse Resch, MS, RDN, CEDRD. This revolutionary book, written by two registered dietitians, is filled with sound science and practical tools to help you learn to listen to your body and make peace with food.

Health At Every Size by Linda Bacon, PhD. If you're sick of diets and beginning to think there must be a better way, read this book. Bacon does a great job of explaining why diets don't work, how losing weight nearly always makes you end up gaining even more, and how to be your healthiest at whatever size you may be.

Eight Keys to Recovery from an Eating Disorder by Carolyn Costin and Gwen Schubert Grabb. Whether you have a diagnosed eating disorder or just know your relationship to food is causing you pain, this book is an excellent guide to breaking free from obsessive food-related thoughts and behaviors. Co-written by the founder of the Monte Nido eating disorder treatment centers, it provides the much-needed message that a full and lasting recovery is possible.     

The Body Image Workbook by Thomas Cash, PhD. Depending on where you are in your recovery process, this one is best used in conjunction with a therapist (preferably one who specializes in eating disorders and/or body image). Full of practical excercises to help you learn to love your body, it's one of the best resources out there for body image work. Just be sure to go through it slowly, and stop if anything feels triggering or overwhelming.

The Mindful Path to Self-Compassion by Christopher Germer, PhD. A lack of compassion for the self is often at the root of eating and body image distortions. Taking care of yourself may feel foreign or wrong, even if you're able to show enormous concern and empathy for others. This book offers simple guided meditations and exercises to help you learn how to give yourself the care (food, exercise, rest) you deserve.

Radical Acceptance by Tara Brach, PhD. If you're open to exploring mindfulness and Buddhist ideas further, you'll love this book. It illuminates the reasons why we believe there is something deeply "wrong" with us, and shows how we can transform that belief simply by accepting ourselves exactly as we are, imperfections and all. This book was a huge help to me in my own recovery from disordered eating and body shame!

In addition to these, there lots of others I love: Anything by Brené Brown on vulnerability, imperfection, and healing from shame; anything by Pema Chodron, Jon Kabat-Zinn, Sharon Salzberg, or Mark Epstein if you're up for some more Buddhist-y stuff. Recovery from food and body issues requires (among many other things) recognizing your habitual thoughts and letting them go, tuning into your intuition, and treating yourself with kindness, warmth, humor, and acceptance. These writers all offer ideas and insights that just might help you get there.