BodyMatters recommends: The best books for recovery

By Madalyn Oliver

Below is a list of books recommended by the staff at BodyMatters to assist those living with an eating disorder. This list is by no means exhaustive, but it includes a variety of books that we believe are great resources to support you on your recovery journey. It is recommended that reading occur in addition to professional treatment with an experienced therapist, and not as a replacement for treatment.

8 Keys to Recovery from an Eating Disorder: Effective Strategies for Therapeutic Practice and Personal Experience 

1Authors: Carolyn Costin and Gwen Schubert Grabb

This book is quite unique in that the authors Carolyn Costin and Gwen Schubert Grabb share not only their clinical expertise but also their own personal recovery journey. This book is useful for sufferers, their family and friends and other helping professionals. The authors walk the readers through the recovery process, describing what therapy entails, identifying the common associated emotions (e.g. fear, guilt and shame) and providing motivation to seek help.

Overcoming Binge Eating

2Author: Dr Christopher G. Fairburn

Overcoming Binge Eating provides all the information required to understand binge eating and bring it under control. More specifically, the book provides clear guidelines on how to overcome the urge to binge, gain control over what and when you eat, break free of strict dieting and other habits that contribute to binges, establish stable eating patterns, improve body image and reduce the risk of relapse.

Intuitive Eating

3Authors: Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch

For those further along in their recovery, Intuitive Eating focuses on how to rebuild a healthy body image and make peace with food. Using the principles of intuitive eating, this book will support you to reject the diet mentality, feel your feelings without using food and listen to your body’s internal cues of hunger and satiety.

The Anorexia Workbook: How to Accept Yourself, Heal Your Suffering, and Reclaim Your Life

4Authors: Michelle Heffner and Georg H. Eifert

Structured in a clear, logical and progressive manner, the workbook first provides a new understanding of anorexia and explores the ways in which you may have already tried to control the problem. Next, the book provides techniques on how to use mindfulness to better manage difficult thoughts and feelings, to identify and make choices that will lead to better health and quality of life and to redirect the energy formerly spent on weight loss into actions that will heal the body and mind.

The Overcoming Bulimia Workbook: Your Comprehensive Step by Step Guide to Recovery

5Authors: Randi E. McCabe, Traci L. McFarlane and Marion P. Olmsted

This workbook uses real life examples, practical advice and tools to help you break the cycle of bingeing and reacting, take control of your life and make positive behaviour changes in order to live a happier and more fulfilled life.

Life Without ED

6Author: Jenni Schaeffer

Life Without Ed offers hope to all those who suffer from eating disorders. The author, Jennifer Schaefer, suffered from both anorexia and bulimia. She attributes her successful recovery to the technique that she learnt from her psychologist, Thom Rutledge. This book illustrates Rutledge’s technique sharing the points of view of both the patient and therapist in this approach to treatment.

Restoring Our Bodies, Reclaiming Our Lives: Guidance and Reflections on Recovery from Eating Disorders

7Author: Aimee Liu

This book is essentially a compilation of letters written by both men and women suffering from anorexia, bulimia, binge eating, and other eating disorders. The author clearly organises the letters into the stages of recovery (turning points, setting the stage for recovery, treatment, restoration, discovery, wise minds), so that current suffers may learn from their peers.

Life Beyond Your Eating Disorder

8Author: Johanna S. Kandel

Johanna S. Kandel is the founder and executive director of The Alliance for Eating Disorders Awareness. She struggled with her eating disorder for ten years before getting help and is now fully recovered. Life Beyond Your Eating Disorder addresses the everyday challenges of having an eating disorder, providing the hope, insight and tools you need to make your journey back to health and rediscover how wonderful life is.

Health at Every Size

9Author: Linda Bacon

Health at Every Size ascertains that fat isn’t the problem, dieting is the problem. Linda Bacon encourages readers to give up the war against fat by tuning into their body’s expert guidance, finding joy in the moment, eating what you want, when you want and choosing pleasurable foods that help you to feel good.

The Invisible Man: A Self Help Guide for Men with Eating Disorders, Compulsive Exercise and Bigorexia

10Author: John F. Morgan

The Invisible Man is a practical, problem-focused self-help manual for men with eating disorders and body image problems. The book covers the wider cultural context of male body image problems, features of eating disorders unique to men, science fact and fiction and a seven stage approach to treatment.

Brain over Binge: Why I Was Bulimic, Why Conventional Therapy Didn’t Work, and How I Recovered for Good

11Author: Kathryn Hansen

Kathryn Hansen stopped her eating disorder independently and abruptly after six years of bingeing and purging, using the power of her own brain. In Brain over Binge, Hansen reveals the course of her condition and describes in detail her unconventional approach to recovery.

My Recovery: Inspiring Stories, Recovery Tips and Messages of Hope from Eating Disorder Survivors

12Author: Julie Parker

Julie Parker shares the stories of eighteen men and women who have suffered anorexia, bulimia, binge eating disorder, or an eating disorder not otherwise specified. Each survivor recounts their own eating disorder journey, as well as the strategies and tools that helped them to recover. The proceeds of this book are being donated to The Butterfly Foundation to support those whose lives have been touched by eating disorders.

Why I Can’t Look the Way I Want

13Author: Melinda Hutchings

Drawing on her own experience, as well as the experience of others, Melinda Hutchings provides strategies, expert advice, practical tips and helpful checklists to triumph over your eating disorder and realise the amazing life that’s waiting for you.

Calm Eating

14Author: Dr Rick Kausman

This book is recommended for those who are struggling to have a healthy relationship with food. Calm Eating provides tips, advice, and quotes to encourage relaxed and careful eating, stimulating a gradual attitude change to enable food to be enjoyed without guilt, anger or pressure.

If Not Dieting, Then What?

15Author: Dr Rick Kausman

If not dieting, then what? helps readers to enjoy food without feeling guilty, increase eating awareness, improve how you feel about yourself, fit some sort of activity into your day and achieve and maintain a healthy, comfortable weight for you without being deprived of food or quality of life.

Find your Happetite: Eat What You Want and Be Happy With Your (Perfect) Weight

16Author: Sue Zbornik

Find Your Happetite addresses the fundamental issues behind obsessive dieting and disordered eating. Readers will discover which of their eating habits are harmful and transform them in order to move towards a more joyous state of living.

We are interested in hearing your feedback about any books which you have found helpful.  You may also like to visit our website where you can find additional resources to support you through your recovery journey.

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