The best non-diet books

Who am I?

I went on my first diet in high school, a reaction to panic brought on by weight gain (which was a completely normal part of puberty). That first diet led to a decade of yo-yo dieting and food and body obession. It also led me to pursue a career in nutrition and fitness. Six years ago, I came across the book Intuitive Eating, which completely changed my life. Now, as a registered dietitian, nutrition therapist, and certified intuitive eating counselor, I'm passionate about helping people reclaim the space to eat and live, unapologetically. I'm the founder of Alissa Rumsey Nutrition and Wellness, a weight-inclusive nutrition practice that offers virtual counseling, group programs, and online trainings. 


I wrote...

Unapologetic Eating: Make Peace with Food and Transform Your Life

By Alissa Rumsey,

Book cover of Unapologetic Eating: Make Peace with Food and Transform Your Life

What is my book about?

Everything you think you “know” about food, appearance, body size, and more, is something you were taught at some point. Unapologetic Eating walks you through unpacking and questioning everything society has taught you so that you can let go of dieting, make peace with food, and find your way back to your body, your intuition, and yourself. Using food as the entry point, the book helps you explore more about yourself, your beliefs, your values, and what you truly want out of life. You will learn how to reconnect with your body and yourself using your relationship to food as the entry point—going from trying to “fix” or change yourself to unapologetic eating and finally to unapologetic living.

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of The Body Is Not an Apology: The Power of Radical Self-Love

Alissa Rumsey Why did I love this book?

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. She offers specific tools, actions, reflection prompts, and resources to help you heal from body shame and rebuild your relationship with your body. 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.

By Sonya Renee Taylor,

Why should I read it?

7 authors picked The Body Is Not an Apology as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"To build a world that works for everyone, we must first make the radical decision to love every facet of ourselves...'The body is not an apology' is the mantra we should all embrace." 
--Kimberlé Crenshaw, legal scholar and founder and Executive Director, African American Policy Forum 

"Taylor invites us to break up with shame, to deepen our literacy, and to liberate our practice of celebrating every body and never apologizing for this body that is mine and takes care of me so well."
--Alicia Garza, cocreator of the Black Lives Matter Global Network and Strategy + Partnerships Director, National Domestic…


Book cover of Fearing the Black Body: The Racial Origins of Fat Phobia

Alissa Rumsey Why did I love this book?

This book completely changed the way I thought about diet culture and anti-fat bias. It helped me to better understand the racial origins of fatphobia and how our modern diet culture began hundreds of years ago. It is a must-read to understand how racism and colonialism impact all of our thoughts and beliefs about bodies to this day.

By Sabrina Strings,

Why should I read it?

6 authors picked Fearing the Black Body as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Winner, 2020 Body and Embodiment Best Publication Award, given by the American Sociological Association
Honorable Mention, 2020 Sociology of Sex and Gender Distinguished Book Award, given by the American Sociological Association
How the female body has been racialized for over two hundred years
There is an obesity epidemic in this country and poor black women are particularly stigmatized as "diseased" and a burden on the public health care system. This is only the most recent incarnation of the fear of fat black women, which Sabrina Strings shows took root more than two hundred years ago.
Strings weaves together an eye-opening…


Book cover of Body Respect: What Conventional Health Books Get Wrong, Leave Out, and Just Plain Fail to Understand about Weight

Alissa Rumsey Why did I love this book?

Body Respect was one of the first books that introduced me to the Health at Every Size® approach which changed how I thought about health. The book highlights the science behind health and weight in an approachable and easy-to-understand way. They break down the reasons why weight loss is not the key to health, the misconceptions of the BMI, and why fatness is not as linked to health as we’ve been led to believe.

By Linda Bacon, Lucy Aphramor,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Body Respect as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Mainstream health science has let you down. Weight loss is not the key to health, diet and exercise are not effective weight-loss strategies and fatness is not a death sentence. You've heard it before: there's a global health crisis, and, unless we make some changes, we're in trouble. That much is true--but the epidemic is NOT obesity. The real crisis lies in the toxic stigma placed on certain bodies and the impact of living with inequality--not the numbers on a scale. In a mad dash to shrink our bodies, many of us get so caught up in searching for the…


Book cover of Anti-Diet: Reclaim Your Time, Money, Well-Being, and Happiness Through Intuitive Eating

Alissa Rumsey Why did I love this book?

Christy Harrison, host of one of my favorite podcasts Food Psych, explores the history of diet culture and the multi-billion dollar diet and beauty industries that profit from it. She clearly lays out all the ways in which diet culture robs us of our time, money, health, and happiness. You’ll learn how to recognize all the sneaky forms of diet culture – including all the ways in which it now infiltrates the health and wellness world. Backed by strong scientific research and filled with stories from people who’ve reclaimed their bodies, minds, and lives. 

By Christy Harrison,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Anti-Diet as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Reclaim your time, money, health, and happiness from our toxic diet culture with groundbreaking strategies from a registered dietitian, journalist, and host of the Food Psych podcast.

68 percent of Americans have dieted at some point in their lives. But upwards of 90% of people who intentionally lose weight gain it back within five years. And as many as 66% of people who embark on weight-loss efforts end up gaining more weight than they lost. If dieting is so clearly ineffective, why are we so obsessed with it?

The culprit is diet culture, a system of beliefs that equates thinness…


Book cover of Intuitive Eating,  A Revolutionary Anti-Diet Approach

Alissa Rumsey Why did I love this book?

This is the OG non-diet book, originally published in 1995 by registered dietitians Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch, it has since been updated and revised four times to reflect the latest research. The book outlines the 10 principles of the intuitive eating framework, including tips and suggestions on how to integrate intuitive eating into your day-to-day lives. Learn how to let go of dieting, reconnect to your body cues, and build back body trust so that you can follow your inner wisdom to tell you when, what, and how much to eat. 

By Evelyn Tribole, Elyse Resch,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Intuitive Eating, A Revolutionary Anti-Diet Approach as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Since it was first published in 1995, Intuitive Eating has become the go-to book on rebuilding a healthy body image and making peace with food. It shows us that the problem is not us; it's that dieting, with its emphasis on rules and regulations, has stopped us from listening to our bodies. Written by Evelyn Tribole, M.S., R.D., and Elyse Resch - two prominent nutritionists who are the originators of this movement - Intuitive Eating: 4th Edition will teach you:

* How to reject diet mentality forever

* How to find satisfaction in your eating

* How to feel your…


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