100 books like Decoding Anorexia

By Carrie Arnold,

Here are 100 books that Decoding Anorexia fans have personally recommended if you like Decoding Anorexia. Shepherd is a community of 11,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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

Jenna Hollenstein Author Of Intuitive Eating for Life: How Mindfulness Can Deepen and Sustain Your Intuitive Eating Practice

From my list on reality-check your relationship with food and body.

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. 

Jenna's book list on reality-check your relationship with food and body

Jenna Hollenstein Why did Jenna 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…


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

Karyn D. Hall Author Of The Radically Open DBT Workbook for Eating Disorders: From Overcontrol and Loneliness to Recovery and Connection

From my list on recovery from eating disorders.

Why am I passionate about this?

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.

Karyn's book list on recovery from eating disorders

Karyn D. Hall Why did Karyn love 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.

By Carolyn Costin, Gwen Schubert Grabb,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked 8 Keys to Recovery from an Eating Disorder as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This is no ordinary book on how to overcome an eating disorder. The authors bravely share their unique stories of suffering from and eventually overcoming their own severe eating disorders. Interweaving personal narrative with the perspective of their own therapist-client relationship, their insights bring an unparalleled depth of awareness into just what it takes to successfully beat this challenging and seemingly intractable clinical issue.

For anyone who has suffered, their family and friends, and other helping professionals, this book should be by your side. With great compassion and clinical expertise, Costin and Grabb walk readers through the ins and outs…


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

Karyn D. Hall Author Of The Radically Open DBT Workbook for Eating Disorders: From Overcontrol and Loneliness to Recovery and Connection

From my list on recovery from eating disorders.

Why am I passionate about this?

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.

Karyn's book list on recovery from eating disorders

Karyn D. Hall Why did Karyn love 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. 

By Ellen Astrachan-Fletcher, Michael Maslar,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Dialectical Behavior Therapy Skills Workbook for Bulimia as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

At the root of bulimia is a need to feel in control. While purging is a strategy for controlling weight, bingeing is an attempt to calm depression, stress, shame, and even boredom. The Dialectical Behavior Therapy Skills Workbook for Bulimia offers new and healthy ways to overcome the distressing feelings and negative body-image beliefs that keep you trapped in this cycle.

In this powerful program used by therapists, you'll learn four key skill sets-mindfulness, distress tolerance, emotion regulation, and interpersonal effectiveness-and begin using them right away to manage bulimic urges. The book includes worksheets and exercises designed to help you…


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

Karyn D. Hall Author Of The Radically Open DBT Workbook for Eating Disorders: From Overcontrol and Loneliness to Recovery and Connection

From my list on recovery from eating disorders.

Why am I passionate about this?

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.

Karyn's book list on recovery from eating disorders

Karyn D. Hall Why did Karyn love 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. 

By Jan Chozen Bays,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Turn food from foe to friend with this bestselling guide to developing healthy eating habits through mindfulness practices—from a beloved Zen teacher

Food. It should be one of life’s great pleasures, yet many of us have such a conflicted relationship with it that we miss out on that most basic of satisfactions.  But it is possible—and not really all that difficult—to reclaim the joy of eating, according to Dr. Jan Bays. Mindfulness is the key. Her approach involves bringing one's full attention to the process of eating—to all the tastes, smells, thoughts, and feelings that arise during a meal. She…


Book cover of Wasted: A Memoir of Anorexia and Bulimia

Andy Marr Author Of A Matter of Life and Death

From my list on family dysfunction and drama.

Why am I passionate about this?

Mary Karr once wrote, "A dysfunctional family is any family with more than one person in it." I totally agree with that. In forty years, I’ve yet to encounter a magical family where everybody gets along, nobody screams things they don’t mean, and there’s never a need to drown your feelings in food or drugs or booze. I grew up in a more-than-averagely dysfunctional household, where poor health and crippling anxiety frequently raised their ugly heads. Since losing my younger sister to mental illness six years ago, I’ve worked hard to make sense of our past, both through my own writing and through the work of authors who write so well about family dynamics.

Andy's book list on family dysfunction and drama

Andy Marr Why did Andy love this book?

I was first introduced to Hornbacher’s classic memoir in 2007 by my little sister, who was desperate to help me understand the eating disorder that had plagued her for more than 15 years. The book wasisa no-holds-barred account of life with an eating disorder, a terrifying narrative of a young woman's gradual and deliberate path towards self-destruction, and it left me in pieces for weeks afterward. And yet, despite the pain it caused, it really did help me understand my sister’s illness better, and in doing so helped reduce the divide that had begun to open between us. Seonaid died in the summer of 2016 after battling anorexia for over 20 years, but even through my grief, I remain grateful to this work for teaching me how to remain strong and patient in the face of this heartbreaking disease.

By Marya Hornbacher,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A 'retired career anorexic' examines herself and her, and our, culture in a masterpiece of confessional literature.

At the age of four Marya Hornbacher looked in a mirror and decided she was fat. At nine, she was bulimic. At twelve, she was anorexic. By the time she was eighteen, she'd been hospitalized five times, once in the loony bin. Her doctors and her parents had given up on her; they were watching her die. But Marya decided to live. Four years on, now 22, here is her harrowing tale, powerfully told in a virtuoso mix of memoir, cultural criticism and…


Book cover of Wintergirls

Emily Kazmierski Author Of Don't Look Behind You

From my list on YA that will haunt your dreams tonight.

Why am I passionate about this?

Since I was a child, stories steeped in secrets have fascinated me. I spent many hours devouring books about detectives and spies, shadows and deceit. As an adult, it is a rare treat to discover one that is so engaging I must know how it unfolds as soon as possible, and is told in a way that leaves me surprised by how it ends. Each of these books is deliciously tricky, inspiring me to read quickly, before the ghosts between the pages could escape to haunt me. 

Emily's book list on YA that will haunt your dreams tonight

Emily Kazmierski Why did Emily love this book?

Wintergirls is heart-wrenching and repulsive. Laurie Halse Anderson uses evocative, jarring language to tell a story about deadly friendship and an almost insurmountable eating disorder. This book pried open my eyes to the harsh struggles of people who live with eating disorders, teaching me about a reality I have mercifully never had to face. My heart ached for the main character as she descended farther into her illness, but left me with that cruel but vital ingredient: hope.

By Laurie Halse Anderson,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Wintergirls as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 12, 13, 14, and 15.

What is this book about?

"Dead girl walking," the boys say in the halls.
"Tell us your secret," the girls whisper, one toilet to another.
I am that girl.
I am the space between my thighs, daylight shining through.
I am the bones they want, wired on a porcelain frame.

Lia and Cassie are best friends, wintergirls frozen in matchstick bodies, competitors in a deadly contest to see who can be the skinniest. But what comes after size zero and size double-zero? When Cassie succumbs to the demons within, Lia feels she is being haunted by her friend's restless spirit.

In her most emotionally wrenching,…


Book cover of The Resilience Project: Finding Happiness through Gratitude, Empathy and Mindfulness

Tammi Miller Author Of Paperback Therapy: Therapist-approved tools and advice for mastering your mental health

From my list on books to know yourself better.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m passionate about connecting with people through therapy and helping them to better understand themselves. There’s no better way to do that than through reading. I’ve always been interested in the human condition, reading psychology magazines and books about love, mental health, and self-identity from a young age. They helped me to navigate tougher times when I was experiencing my own adversity. I believe in the power of health literacy, and with lived experience in mental health as both a psychotherapist and a client, I manage my own mental health using the same techniques I share with readers in my book and those found through reading books such as these.

Tammi's book list on books to know yourself better

Tammi Miller Why did Tammi love this book?

Want a fun, inspirational push building resilience? I recommend this book.

Hugh and his team have created an incredible and easy-to-understand program to help all Australians be happier, stronger, and more mindful. I most like to recommend this to my male clients who experience a bit more stigma about mental health ("it’s not good to be ‘weak’") because of the friendly way it’s written.

With loads of examples and scenarios, it’s easy to see the benefit of everyone, from school-aged kids to corporate adults reading this book. I’ll continually be gifting it to my male friends, clients and colleagues.  

By Hugh van Cuylenburg,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Hugh van Cuylenburg was a primary school teacher volunteering in northern India when he had a life-changing realisation: despite the underprivileged community the children were from, they were remarkably positive. By contrast, back in Australia Hugh knew that all too many children struggled with depression, social anxieties and mental illness. His own little sister had been ravaged by anorexia nervosa. How was it that young people he knew at home, who had food, shelter, friends and a loving family, struggled with their mental health, while these kids seemed so contented and resilient? He set about finding the answer and in…


Book cover of The Hanged Man

Ava Barry Author Of Double Exposure

From my list on cool, culty Los Angeles.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have always been drawn to stories of miserable rich people, especially tales of how old money contorts lineage into something rotten. I grew up in Northern California, and while my family was comfortable, we weren’t part of the tennis club and yachting elite. During my childhood, we spent a lot of time exploring abandoned properties. It was a passion that I kept when I moved to Los Angeles as an adult and started to explore forgotten parts of Hollywood’s past. Los Angeles has always fascinated me because it embodies extreme wealth and extreme poverty: like the American dream itself, it straddles both extremes and promises everything while guaranteeing nothing.

Ava's book list on cool, culty Los Angeles

Ava Barry Why did Ava love this book?

This was another book that I read in high school, and I revisit it every few years. Block’s language is sheer poetry, and every line is perfection. I have to content myself with knowing that I will never write this well, and that’s okay.

The book centers around narrator, Laurel, who lives with her mother and father in a perfect dream house in Los Angeles. When Laurel’s father falls sick and goes to the hospital, and her life begins to unravel, she begins to have visions of a skeletal lover who visits her when no one else is around. Is he real, or just a projection of her nightmares? Read this book if you want to fall in love with the Los Angeles canyons and a different view of the city. Perfection.

By Francesca Lia Block,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Hanged Man as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 14, 15, 16, and 17.

What is this book about?

After the death of her father, Laurel is haunted by a legacy of family secrets, hidden shame, and shattered glass. Immersing herself in the heady rhythms of a city that is like something wild, caged, and pacing, Laurel tries to lose herself. But when she runs away from the past, she discovers a passion so powerful, it brings her roundabout and face-to-face with the demons she wants to avoid.

In a stunning departure from her enormously popular Weetzie Bat books, Francesca Lia Block weaves a darkly exhilarating tale of shattered passions and family secrets.


Book cover of Framing Disease: Studies in Cultural History

Carol R. Byerly Author Of Fever of War: The Influenza Epidemic in the U.S. Army During World War I

From my list on how diseases shape society.

Why am I passionate about this?

Carol R. Byerly is a historian specializing in the history of military medicine. She has taught American history and the history of medicine history at the University of Colorado, Boulder, was a contract historian for the U.S. Army Office of the Surgeon General, Office of History, and has also worked for the U.S. Congress and the American Red Cross. Byerly’s publications include Fever of War: The Influenza Epidemic in the U.S. Army during World War I and Good Tuberculosis Men: The Army Medical Department’s Struggle with Tuberculosis. She is currently working on a biography of Army medical officer William C. Gorgas, (1854-1920), whose public health measures, including clearing yellow fever from Panama, enabled the United States to construct the canal across the Isthmus.

Carol's book list on how diseases shape society

Carol R. Byerly Why did Carol love this book?

One of the editors of this volume is a pioneer in the history of medicine, Charles Rosenberg, who theorizes that diseases are powerful “actors” in society. The book uses fourteen case studies to demonstrate how diseases can “frame” people in various ways, defining their lives with pain, disability, or stigma. Diseases also give rise to various institutions such as sanitariums, research laboratories and stimulate the development of medical specialties. As our scientific and social understanding of individual diseases changes over time, how a society responds to or “frames” those diseases changes as well.

By Charles E. Rosenberg, Janet Golden (editor),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In some ways disease does not exist until we have agreed that it does, by perceiving, naming, and responding to it, "" writes Charles E. Rosenberg in his introduction to this stimulating set of essays. Disease is both a biological event and a social phenomenon. Patient, doctor, family, and social institutions-including employers, government, and insurance companies-all find ways to frame the biological event in terms that make sense to them and serve their own ends. Many diseases discussed here-endstage renal disease, rheumatic fever, parasitic infectious diseases, coronary thrombosis-came to be defined, redefined, and renamed over the course of several centuries.…


Book cover of The Trick Is To Keep Breathing

Elissa Soave Author Of Ginger and Me

From my list on Scottish reads centring working-class women.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a Scottish writer and have long loved books from and about Scotland. But I would love to see more written about the working-class Scottish experience from women’s perspective as I think that would lead to less focus on the violence and poverty that is featured in so many contemporary Scottish books from male authors. There is so much joy in the Scottish working-class experience – a pot of soup always on the stove in someone’s kitchen, the stories, the laughter, a community that cares for their own. Let’s see more of that, and more stories from and about Scottish working-class women.

Elissa's book list on Scottish reads centring working-class women

Elissa Soave Why did Elissa love this book?

This magnificent book made me realize perhaps more than any other by a Scottish female writer that the lives of working-class Scottish women are unique, important, and worth writing/reading about.

The book tells the story of Joy, a woman whose mental health is slowly crumbling before our eyes. Galloway masterfully tells this story in the first person so that we are right inside Joy’s mind. We discover a background of abuse and recent bereavement, leading to issues with alcohol abuse and anorexia.

That should all make for a depressing read, and it is of course heart-breaking at times but it is also ultimately about one woman’s search for what it takes ‘to keep breathing’. Utterly spellbinding writing from one of Scotland’s greatest writers. 

By Janice Galloway,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Trick Is To Keep Breathing as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From the corner of a darkened room Joy Stone watches herself. As memories of the deaths of her lover and mother surface unbidden, life for Joy narrows - to negotiating each day, each encounter, each second; to finding the trick to keep living. Told with shattering clarity and wry wit, this is a Scottish classic fit for our time.


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