The best books to reality-check your relationship with food and body (and life in general)

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m obsessed with the connections between Buddhist philosophy, meditation, Intuitive Eating, eating disorder and addiction recovery, body liberation, and intersectional social justice work. These connections are everywhere! It may not seem like it, but how we relate to food and our bodies reflects how we feel about all bodies. How we speak to ourselves reflects how we feel about difference, difficulty, and interdependence. Challenging our entrenched beliefs about health, eating, food, and body helps us to ultimately recognize the inherent worthiness of all bodies. This is how we both come to know ourselves authentically and how we change the world for the better. 


I wrote...

Intuitive Eating for Life: How Mindfulness Can Deepen and Sustain Your Intuitive Eating Practice

By Jenna Hollenstein,

Book cover of Intuitive Eating for Life: How Mindfulness Can Deepen and Sustain Your Intuitive Eating Practice

What is my book about?

Intuitive eating is a great way to get off the diet roller coaster, stay healthy, build confidence in your body, and take the guesswork out of mealtime. But if you're like many people, you may have trouble staying on track. Enter mindfulness! Based on the popular anti-diet book program, Intuitive Eating, renowned nutrition therapist and meditation teacher Jenna Hollenstein provides powerful mindfulness tools to help you find stability, discover self-awareness, and self-regulate--so you can respect your body and honor your health.

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The books I picked & why

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

Jenna Hollenstein Why did I love this book?

I love how Sonya Renee Taylor positions radical self love as the only reasonable (and compassionate) response to having a body, no matter how difficult that body feels to be in at times.

Her unique take on body image breaks through the entrenched, systemic nature of body hatred and self-improvement to reveal how the diet culture distracts us from reality and our purpose in life: to love and be loved. 

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 It's Always Been Ours: Rewriting the Story of Black Women's Bodies

Jenna Hollenstein Why did I love this book?

Jessica Wilson, an eating disorder dietitian and storyteller, makes the undeniable case for how the diet culture has preyed on and harmed Black women in particular.

I appreciate her excavation of diet culture, revealing how it is rooted in white supremacy and therefore needs to be systematically dismantled through intentional expressions of body love, joyful expression of Black culture, and embracing your food lineage. 

By Jessica Wilson,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked It's Always Been Ours as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

WE WILL REWRITE THE NARARTIVE OF BLACKNESS THAT CENTERS AND CELEBRATES OUR JOY.

In It’s Always Been Ours eating disorder specialist and storyteller Jessica Wilson challenges us to rethink what having a "good" body means in contemporary society. By centering the bodies of Black women in her cultural discussions of body image, food, health, and wellness, Wilson argues that we can interrogate white supremacy’s hold on us and reimagine the ways we think about, discuss, and tend to our bodies.

A narrative that spans the year of racial reckoning (that wasn't), It’s Always Been Ours is an incisive blend of…


Book cover of Reclaiming Body Trust: A Path to Healing & Liberation

Jenna Hollenstein Why did I love this book?

Written by a powerful eating disorder-dietitian and -therapist duo.

This book encourages us to get our hands deep into the soil of our messy imperfectness by intentionally and compassionately working with our grief, our pleasure, and the emotional and practical aspects of our relationship with food and body.

I love their radical and holistic approach to working with our whole selves. 

By Hilary Kinavey, Dana Sturtevant,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A holistic and powerful framework for accepting and liberating our bodies, and ourselves.

Have you ever felt uncomfortable or not “at home” in your body? In this book, the founders of Body Trust, licensed therapist Hilary Kinavey and registered dietician Dana Sturtevant, invite readers to break free from the status quo and reject a diet culture that has taken advantage and profited from trauma, stigma, and disembodiment, and fully reclaim and embrace their bodies.
 
Informed by the personal body stories of the hundreds of people they have worked with, Reclaiming Body Trust delineates an intersectional, social justice−orientated path to healing…


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

Jenna Hollenstein Why did I love this book?

Dr. Sabrina Strings painstakingly tracks the historical evolution of the relatively recent prizing of the white, thin body, rightfully identifying the origins of the diet culture as a form of literal and figurative distancing from Black bodies.

This book was a wakeup call that made my anti-diet work even more urgent because it’s more than simply a health intervention, it’s a form of social justice and body liberation work.

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 Sick Enough: A Guide to the Medical Complications of Eating Disorders

Jenna Hollenstein Why did I love this book?

Few people – perhaps even those of us in the eating disorders field – really appreciate just how common eating disorders and disordered eating are.

In this book, an eating disorder physician calls into question the cognitive distortion that someone isn’t “sick enough” to warrant intervention and eating disorder recovery.

I love how Dr. Gaudiani not only covers the reddest flags of eating disorders, but acknowledges what many of us have come to regard as “normal” but in reality is disordered, dangerous, and harmful.

By Jennifer L. Gaudiani,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Sick Enough as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Patients with eating disorders frequently feel that they aren't "sick enough" to merit treatment, despite medical problems that are both measurable and unmeasurable. They may struggle to accept rest, nutrition, and a team to help them move towards recovery. Sick Enough offers patients, their families, and clinicians a comprehensive, accessible review of the medical issues that arise from eating disorders by bringing relatable case presentations and a scientifically sound, engaging style to the topic. Using metaphor and patient-centered language, Dr. Gaudiani aims to improve medical diagnosis and treatment, motivate recovery, and validate the lived experiences of individuals of all body…


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Medical Hostages

By Shawn Jennings,

Book cover of Medical Hostages

Shawn Jennings Author Of Locked In Locked Out: Surviving a Brainstem Stroke

New book alert!

Why am I passionate about this?

The five recommended nonfiction books on my list profoundly affected my life in my time of need. I struggled when a minor accident led to a brainstem stroke and being locked in at 45. How would I find happiness now? How can I go on? These five books gave me the strength to work hard, accept what couldn’t be improved, and be grateful for each day of good health. I hope the recommended books will help you prepare for the day your life will change...and it will.

Shawn's book list on accepting and moving on from a tragedy

What is my book about?

Duke, the leader of a bike gang, is in custody for murder. He plans an escape by feigning illness and hospitalization. But an unexpected turn of events results in two gang members and Duke holding a medical floor of patients hostage. Patients will die if the police don't meet their demands within hours.
The drama follows Duke and Drs. Mindy Fletch, director of the Intensive Care Unit, and Craig Russell, a family medicine resident, in this tense hostage stand-off.

Will the bikers find freedom? Will hostages die? Can Mindy and Craig survive and prevent deaths? In times of stress, people often discover new directions and strengths.

Medical Hostages

By Shawn Jennings,

What is this book about?

Duke, the leader of a bike gang, is in custody for murder. He plans an escape by feigning illness and hospitalization. But an unexpected turn of events results in two gang members and Duke holding a medical floor of patients hostage.


Patients will die if the police don't meet their demands within hours.


The drama follows Duke and Drs. Mindy Fletch, director of the Intensive Care Unit; and Craig Russell, a family medicine resident; in this tense hostage stand-off.


Will the bikers find freedom? Will hostages die? Can Mindy and Craig survive and prevent deaths?


In times of stress, people…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in body image, eating disorders, and health?

10,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about body image, eating disorders, and health.

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