The best books about recovery from eating disorders

Who am I?

I’ve been interested in psychological health since I was in high school and continue to search for interventions and preventions to alleviate mental illness and build mental health. I’m a licensed psychologist and coach focusing on evidenced based treatments, with a special interest in how people connect and the impact of loneliness. Despite a growing population, more people are feeling lonely, including adolescents, and loneliness can often be a root cause of mental suffering. Loneliness is common among individuals with anorexia and other eating disorders as well as chronic depression. Addressing how to connect and how they may be blocking connections can be a complicated but needed process. My work is focused in this area.


I co-wrote...

The Radically Open DBT Workbook for Eating Disorders: From Overcontrol and Loneliness to Recovery and Connection

By Karyn D. Hall, Ellen Astrachan-Fletcher, Mima Simic

Book cover of The Radically Open DBT Workbook for Eating Disorders: From Overcontrol and Loneliness to Recovery and Connection

What is my book about?

If you’ve been in therapy for an eating disorder, such as anorexia nervosa or bulimia, your past treatment may have focused on helping you control your emotions and contain your behaviors. However, research now shows that many people with eating disorders actually suffer from emotional overcontrol. Based on more than twenty years of research, this breakthrough workbook offers skills based in radically open dialectical behavior therapy (RO DBT), a proven-effective, transdiagnostic approach for treating disorders of overcontrol (OC).

With this compassionate workbook, you’ll learn how to move beyond the unhealthy coping strategies that keep you feeling isolated and lonely, find tips for building a solid support network and enriching social connections, and develop your own personalized plan for staying on the path to recovery. 

This book is currently available for pre-order.

The books I picked & why

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

By Jennifer L. Gaudiani,

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

Why this book?

Eating disorders can be obviously dangerous to your health, but also deceptively dangerous. Understanding the physical warning signs is important when you work with eating disorders or if you have an eating disorder. Many clients who have eating disorders do not realize the damage that can be done even when they don’t notice symptoms.


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

By Carolyn Costin, Gwen Schubert Grabb,

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

Why this book?

This book gives the perspective of a therapist and a former client who is now a therapist herself. 

This book can create realistic hope and includes self-disclosures of the author’s own experiences. The authors recognize that eating disorders serve a purpose and it’s not about food. They also emphasize the importance of reaching out to people which is a key factor for recovery.


The Dialectical Behavior Therapy Skills Workbook for Bulimia: Using DBT to Break the Cycle and Regain Control of Your Life

By Ellen Astrachan-Fletcher, Michael Maslar,

Book cover of The Dialectical Behavior Therapy Skills Workbook for Bulimia: Using DBT to Break the Cycle and Regain Control of Your Life

Why this book?

Eating disorder behaviors often reflect a coping skills deficit and this workbook focuses on skills to manage emotions and address the issue of a need to be in control. This workbook offers new ways to overcome distress and negative body image beliefs that keep you stuck in a destructive cycle. This workbook uses multiple exercises to help you learn and practice skills rather than just understanding skills, which makes a difference. 


Mindful Eating: A Guide to Rediscovering a Healthy and Joyful Relationship with Food

By Jan Chozen Bays,

Book cover of Mindful Eating: A Guide to Rediscovering a Healthy and Joyful Relationship with Food

Why this book?

Our survival and health depends on the food we eat, yet so many have a conflicted relationship with food. In Mindful Eating, the author helps the reader regain joy in eating through eating mindfully. She discusses the nine types of hunger as well as six guidelines for mindful eating. A Zen teacher, her writing is clear and easy to understand. 


Decoding Anorexia: How Breakthroughs in Science Offer Hope for Eating Disorders

By Carrie Arnold,

Book cover of Decoding Anorexia: How Breakthroughs in Science Offer Hope for Eating Disorders

Why this book?

In Decoding Anorexia, a past sufferer of anorexia and a scientist, discusses the neuroscience and biology that underlies the disorder. She notes the reasons for the call to starvation and the characteristics of the people who are at risk for this disorder. She demystifies the disorder by offering a clear science-based explanation that includes the biological and environmental factors that can lead to the disorder. Understanding biology can be helpful in understanding the ups and downs of recovery and why it’s a difficult journey.


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in eating disorders, meditation, and mindfulness?

5,215 authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about eating disorders, meditation, and mindfulness.

Eating Disorders Explore 16 books about eating disorders
Meditation Explore 85 books about meditation
Mindfulness Explore 67 books about mindfulness

And, 3 books we think you will enjoy!

We think you will like Wasted: A Memoir of Anorexia and Bulimia, História, História, and Heavy: An American Memoir if you like this list.