Written by Linda Bacon and Lucy Aphramor, Body Respect is a must for those of your interested in more information on just how the hell we can get to the point of body acceptance. From self-care to deconstructing how we think and feel about weight, it’s a great read from cover to cover.
Health at Any Size by Linda Bacon brings together all the important-to-know research on the facts and fallacies of fat and health. Dr. Bacon brings together everything we need to know on body acceptance, authentic health, and how to attain a sense of peace about your body. A great book to bring to a book club (and maybe invite us to facilitate it)!
Fat Shame; Stigma and the Fat Body in American Culture opened my eyes to body and culture, social class, and the marketing that came out of the 20th century. This book examines the history of the suffrage movement, the relationship between fat stigma and feminism, and the rise of the fat acceptance movement.
Beyond a Shadow of a Diet offers an easy to read and understand outline and guide to attuned eating, understanding where our negative body talk comes from, and how to work through binge eating, compulsive eating, and emotional overeating. This book served as a guide for me when I was creating my first body image support group. It’s one of my “go-tos” and one I recommend to my clients.
When Women Stop Hating Their Bodies is all about the what, when, where, how, and why of freeing ourselves from obsessing over our weight and food. The authors bring in many ideas that originated from Susie Orbach’s book, Fat is a Feminist Issue, and is an eye opener for anyone considering eating intuitively. Again, my copy has been ear marked and beaten up due to reading it over and over again. I highly recommend this read if you are looking for a step by step guide to intuitive eating.
The Intuitive Eating Workbook has been one of my latest reads and a great resource for my clients as they work through emotional and binge eating behaviours and move into the intuitive eating approach. It outlines steps and considerations and provides many writing exercises that may challenge you and create more awareness of eating behaviour.
Food Junkies is a fascinating look at what has been defined as a unhealthy obsession with healthy eating. Tarman and Werdell examine orthorexia and how it may be the next eating disorder. We all know someone who is obsessed with “clean eating” or “detox diets” and while they tout the health benefits, this book dives into why it may be damaging to our health. Very enlightening (and makes me feel good about myself every time I eat a cookie)!
Almost Anorexic focuses on both the person and their loved ones as it examines current diet trends, weight loss fads, and everything in between. If you or someone you know restricts food, is constantly shunning another ingredient or food item (all in the name of health), this book is for you. It outlines how we can help each other weed through the nutritional snake oil and move towards health affirming eating behaviours.
End Emotional Eating integrates dialectical behaviour therapy to help the reader develop skills to help cope with emotions and move towards a healthier relationship with eating and food. There are many inventories and writing exercises offered to help explore our motivations to eat when we do. In addition, it focuses on managing and coping with emotions through mindfulness and other tools that help to reduce stress and negative thinking.
The Obesity Myth was my very first book on the subject of fat and health. It is the most brilliant review of the research and our culture’s fear of fat. If you are still unsure about the fact that being fat doesn’t make us sick, you HAVE to read this book. Paul Campos creates an easy read and an enjoyable experience. This book is a great gift for anyone still believing that it is unhealthy to be fat.
Rethinking Thin caught my eye a few years ago as a health promotion educator. Gina Kolata also wrote Ultimate Fitness; The Truth about Health and Exercise which completely broke my heart and challenged everything I thought I knew about stretching, cardio, and the like. As a set, they provide an account of the research and common beliefs that we still adhere to around exercise and thinness. If you are thinking about joining a gym or resolving to lose a few pounds, please consider reading these books first. It may save you time, money, and the self-loathing that comes with falling off the wagon
Landwhaleis Jes Baker’s latest and greatest book on the lived experiences of living large. Her humour and personal accounts of challenging fat stigma are inspirational and very funny. She is a role model for resiliency (even though I’m thinking she may not appreciate me saying that) and she offers suggestions on how to turn insults into nicknames. If you remember, she was the one who created those fabulous black and white pics with her wearing some big brand name challenging what it is to be sexy. She’s brilliant.
The Unapologetic Fat Girl’s Guide to Exercise (and other incendiary acts) is not only amazing but fun to read. Hanne Blank humorously walks you through a guide for “fat girls” wanting to exercise and join a gym. From a chapter on bras to creating a “fat friendly” space to move, this book is a real life account of navigating the industry of exercise where designing gym equipment for larger bodies never crossed their minds.
Stranger Here; how weight-loss surgery transformed my body and messed with my head for those people (and I know many) who are thinking of or have had bariatric surgery, this is an amazing and honest account of how one person navigated her weight loss surgery experience. The good, the bad, the ugly, and the brutally honest is all in one interesting read. Jen Larsen also discusses the emotional fallout of such a surgery (something that doesn’t routinely get considered pre-op).
The Wellness Syndrome is a fabulous examination of the “happiness doctrine”, “work-out ethic”, and the well lived life. Reading this book was one of many reasons why I stopped using the term “wellness” and shifted to health. If you are a fan of wellness fairs, wellness programs, wellness books, and wellness gurus…do yourself a favour and read this book. I believe this is one of those books that moves us towards clarity, critical thinking, and authentic health.
Fat. The Anthropology of an Obsession is the perfect book to start off your own research and evolution as editors Kulick and Meneley bring together various writers to examine the culture of fat and how it shows up in familiar institutions like our medical and criminal systems. Our fear and hatred of fat is clearly constructed by culture and based upon faulty beliefs fed by judgements masked in pseudo-science. If you are into taking apart stuff and putting it back together in the name of enlightenment, like I am, this book is for you.
XXL: Obesity and the Limits of Shame by Seeman and Luciani guides you through the hidden costs of fat, the causes of obesity, and other important facts to challenge what we think we know about fat, living fat, and health and fat.
The Metamorphoses of FAT; A History of Obesity walks us through the history of fat starting at a time when fat meant something completely different. From moving through the ages, Vigarello presents the evolution of fat from the Middle Ages to now looking at fashion, fitness, public health campaigns, and the role science took and takes today. I think it is important to go back into history to understand what is happening now and this is a great book to start with
Brave Girl Eating was a book that provided much support for me as a step parent living with a step daughter challenged with anorexia. For families, this is a good reference and support tool and provides a real life account of the good, bad, and ugly sides of living with an eating disorder.
If you have a friend or family member that you believe may be struggling with a disordered relationship with food, I recommend Surviving an Eating Disorder. This book examines the psychological and physical symptoms and offers strategies for parents and loved-ones to bring up the subject of eating and food in a supportive manner. In addition, it offers suggestions for parents and caregivers on how to avoid the “food wars” at home.