The best books about weight and body image

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been reporting on and writing about food, eating, health, and body image for the last 25 years. So much of what we’re taught about those issues, it turns out, is wrong, inaccurate, and often damaging. I’ve made a point of uncovering the truth in those areas and to write about it in ways that help other people through this difficult terrain. My writing philosophy can be summed up in six words: I write so I’m not alone. And, I would add, so you’re not alone, either.


I wrote...

Body of Truth: How Science, History, and Culture Drive Our Obsession with Weight—and What We Can Do About It

By Harriet Brown,

Book cover of Body of Truth: How Science, History, and Culture Drive Our Obsession with Weight—and What We Can Do About It

What is my book about?

Over the past twenty-five years, our quest for thinness has morphed into a relentless obsession with weight and body image. In our culture, "fat" has become a four-letter word. Or, as Lance Armstrong said to the wife of a former teammate, "I called you crazy. I called you a bitch. But I never called you fat." How did we get to this place where the worst insult you can hurl at someone is "fat"? Where women and girls (and increasingly men and boys) will diet, purge, overeat, undereat, and berate themselves and others, all in the name of being thin?

Body of Truth systematically unpacks what’s been offered about ‘truth’ about weight and health.

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The books I picked & why

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

Harriet Brown Why did I love this book?

We’re so used to thinking about weight and bodies in certain ways that it can be disconcerting to realize we don’t truly understand why we think the way we do. Sabrina Strings’ book opened my eyes to the true origins of weight stigma in the U.S., and those origins shocked me. Our current concept of the ideal woman’s body—thin, white, able—developed and became entrenched as a way to differentiate white people from “others,” whether they were Black, Jewish, Irish, Italian, or in some other visible way not-white. That’s pretty much all there is to it. And once you understand that, your feelings about body image will almost certainly change.

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 Health at Every Size: The Surprising Truth about Your Weight

Harriet Brown Why did I love this book?

Though Linda Bacon didn’t originate the idea of Health at Every Size (HAES), this book popularized it for a mainstream audience. Here Bacon explains what HAES is and isn’t in clear, readable prose, supported by research, evidence, and logic. This book is a perfect starting point for anyone who wants to explore the ways we think about weight and health and how they are (and aren’t) connected.

By Linda Bacon,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Health at Every Size as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Fat isn't the problem. Dieting is the problem. A society that rejects anyone whose body shape or size doesn't match an impossible ideal is the problem. A medical establishment that equates "thin" with "healthy" is the problem. The solution? Health at Every Size. Tune in to your body's expert guidance. Find the joy in movement. Eat what you want, when you want, choosing pleasurable foods that help you to feel good. You too can feel great in your body right now--and Health at Every Size will show you how. Health at Every Size has been scientifically proven to boost health…


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

Harriet Brown Why did I love this book?

This is one of the most empowering books I’ve ever read. In a society that’s deeply in thrall to the thin white ideal, it feels radical to push back against that idea and claim space for bodies that may not fit that paradigm. In this book, Sonya Renee Taylor inspires us to think about body image in terms of systemic change and community, and in the process maps out a path toward a different way of being.

By Sonya Renee Taylor,

Why should I read it?

8 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 The Beauty Myth: How Images of Beauty Are Used Against Women

Harriet Brown Why did I love this book?

I first read this when it came out in 1992, at a time when few people were publicly connecting body image and feminism. This book literally changed the way I saw the world! It liberated me to stop spending so much time and energy trying to make my body fit an impossible mold and to start using my talents for more important things.

By Naomi Wolf,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Beauty Myth as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The bestselling classic that redefined our view of the relationship between beauty and female identity .

Every day, women around the world are confronted with a dilemma - how to look. In a society embroiled in a cult of female beauty and youthfulness, pressure on women to conform physically is constant and all-pervading. In this iconic, gripping and frank expose, Naomi Wolf exposes the tyranny of the beauty myth through the ages and its oppressive function today, in the home and at work, in literature and the media, in relationships between men and women, between women and women. With pertinent…


Book cover of The Body Image Book for Girls: Love Yourself and Grow Up Fearless

Harriet Brown Why did I love this book?

There’s been a lot of research on how girls fall prey to diet culture, lose their self-confidence, disappear into disordered eating/eating disorders/low self-esteem at puberty. A lot of that is triggered by living in a culture that’s so messed up around food, eating, and body image. So I’m always looking for tools to give girls to help them navigate that treacherous time, and this is one of the books I like to recommend.

By Charlotte Markey,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Body Image Book for Girls as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

It is worrying to think that most girls feel dissatisfied with their bodies, and that this can lead to serious problems including depression and eating disorders. Can some of those body image worries be eased? Body image expert and psychology professor Dr Charlotte Markey helps girls aged 9-15 to understand, accept, and appreciate their bodies. She provides all the facts on puberty, mental health, self-care, why diets are bad news, dealing with social media, and everything in-between. Girls will find answers to questions they always wanted to ask, the truth behind many body image myths, and real-life stories from girls…


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By Joylynn M Ross, Falessia Booker (editor),

Book cover of Act Like an Author, Think Like a Business: Ways to Achieve Financial Literary Success

Joylynn M Ross

New book alert!

What is my book about?

Act Like an Author, Think Like a Business is for anyone who wants to learn how to make money with their book and make a living as an author. Many authors dive into the literary industry without taking time to learn the business side of being an author, which can hinder book sales and the money that can be made as an author.

This resource serves as a guide to mastering the art of financial literary success and to help avoid the mistakes that many authors make while learning the ropes on their own. This book helps authors “think outside…

Act Like an Author, Think Like a Business: Ways to Achieve Financial Literary Success

By Joylynn M Ross, Falessia Booker (editor),

What is this book about?

Do you want to make money with your book? Do you want to make a living as an author? There’s more to doing so than simply writing and publishing your book. Many authors dive into the literary industry without taking time to learn the business side of being an author. This could dramatically hinder your book sales and the money you can make as an author. Without a guide such as this, mastering the art of financial literary success can take you years, and you’ll be sure to make mistakes during the learning phase. Some mistakes could cost you money;…


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Interested in self-perception, body image, and health?

11,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about self-perception, body image, and health.

Self-Perception Explore 30 books about self-perception
Body Image Explore 23 books about body image
Health Explore 116 books about health