The best body image books

8 authors have picked their favorite books about body image and why they recommend each book.

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The Body Is Not an Apology

By Sonya Renee Taylor,

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

I met Sonya Renee Taylor in 2017 at a training organized by my nonprofit, The Body Positive. We hugged when we met, and it was one of the warmest hugs I’ve ever received. During Sonya’s keynote address, I was mesmerized by her wisdom and by the incredibly poetic way she shared her ideas about why and how to love our bodies. Her book was published the following year, and it is just as powerful as she is in person. The Body Positive has been teaching people to think about self-love as a radical act since the 1990s, so it’s good to hear a powerful, radical, and poetic voice take up the charge. If you’re needing a boost of self-love and body-love, this book is for you.


Who am I?

I’ve been a free spirit since I was born, but as an adolescent I got trapped by diet culture and believed I needed to change my body. I struggled for six years with an eating disorder and my sister Stephanie died at age 36 from faulty breast implants and malnutrition. Because of these experiences, and wanting my baby daughter to grow up staying lovingly connected to her body (she has!), I created The Body Positive, a nonprofit that has freed millions of people to love and respect their precious bodies. I’m now a full-fledged Wild Woman teaching and freeing other aging women to connect to their soul’s innate wisdom.


I wrote...

Embody: Learning to Love Your Unique Body (and Quiet That Critical Voice!)

By Connie Sobczak,

Book cover of Embody: Learning to Love Your Unique Body (and Quiet That Critical Voice!)

What is my book about?

Embody lovingly reconnects readers to their precious bodies, life force, and authentic beauty. The book’s message is rooted in the belief that people inherently possess the wisdom necessary to create positive self-care behaviors and live peacefully in their bodies. It emphasizes self-love, acceptance of genetic diversity in body size, celebration of the unique beauty of every individual, and intuitive self-care as fundamental to achieving physical and emotional health.

Rather than receiving a prescriptive set of rules to follow, readers are guided through patient, mindful inquiry to find what works for their unique lives to bring aboutand sustaina joyful relationship with their bodies and freedom in their lives. It’s a book that can be read cover to cover, or digested in small, delicious bites.

Bodies Are Cool

By Tyler Feder,

Book cover of Bodies Are Cool

This cheerful love-your-body picture book gives parents a fun way to approach body positivity. Each spread has beautifully illustrated scenes with all types of bodies; harry bodies, wiggly bodies, every age bodies, brown skin bodies, all gendered bodies, and so much more! Watching my daughter delightfully point to one of the gorgeously curvy tummies with absolute love was everything I was hoping for.


Who am I?

I’m a feminist author, illustrator, and UX designer who thrives on projects that help to improve awareness, healing, and community around marginalized identities. When I became a mother, I realized the importance of teaching and educating children around inclusivity and empathy. When we allow children to open their minds and question stagnant culture, we set the stage for real and meaningful collective growth. I center my work around this goal and focus on inclusive themes, often from perspectives that are unexpected.


I wrote...

Feminism Is for Boys

By Elizabeth Rhodes,

Book cover of Feminism Is for Boys

What is my book about?

Boys can play sports with girls, wear dresses, cook, play with dolls, express emotions, be friends with all genders, and believe in equality. Feminism is not just about equal rights for all genders, but also about the pursuit to eradicate gendered stereotypes - allowing everyone to be their truly authentic selves. Boys are some of the most important allies in the movement for gender equality. Feminist boys should not be the exception, but the norm. Feminism is for everyone, including boys!

Body Mindful Yoga

By Robert Butera, Jennifer Kreatsoulas,

Book cover of Body Mindful Yoga: Create a Powerful and Affirming Relationship with Your Body

I love this book because it addresses the issues we have with body image and how to heal ourselves from our negative words, thoughts, and beliefs. We get to dig deeper into our relationships with our bodies through the yoga practice. This book shows us mindful steps on how to listen, learn, love, and live with specific practical practices that can change our lives. If you live in the world today you have been faced with lots of body blaming and shaming. This read will help you find body peace and contentment.


Who am I?

I'm an author, movement coach, and yoga teacher. I've been practicing yoga on and off for about 48 years. I was introduced to yoga by my mom through a really old book called Be Young with Yoga at 3 years old. Yoga has been a part of my entire existence in one way or another. I have had the honour and privilege to study with yoga teachers and educators for the past 30+ years and it has been life-changing. I have been a yoga teacher and movement coach for 30+ years, I have watched yoga make sad people feel better, injured people get strong, and shy people become leaders in their communities around equity and diversity. 


I wrote...

Yoga for Everyone: 50 Poses for Every Type of Body

By Dianne Bondy,

Book cover of Yoga for Everyone: 50 Poses for Every Type of Body

What is my book about?

Bring Dianne’s body-positive yoga philosophy to your mat. No matter who you are, what you look like, or what your abilities are, you can do all 50 poses in Dianne Bondy’s new book, Yoga for Everyone: 50 Poses for Every Type of Body.

Learn how to adapt 50 classic yoga poses and how to put them all together to create 10 sequences you can practice at home. Explore how to use yoga props for each pose to make your practice uniquely your own. Discover how to harness yoga postures to experience specific physical and mental benefits.

Jemima J

By Jane Green,

Book cover of Jemima J

Catfish before there was Catfish. Though technically chick lit and not a romance, this book is old-school catfishing. Think scanning in doctored photos to email. No dating apps. No apps. It feels quaint nowadays.

Jemima Jones goes through a transformational weight loss to meet the man of her dreams, and of course, finds herself along the way. (And the guy who was always right in front of her – in true early chick lit fashion.)

I remember laughing out loud (before LOL was a thing) at this book when it first came out. And I really remember the smell of the bacon sandwiches.


Who am I?

I’ve struggled with weight and body issues most of my adult life. When I first wrote Worth The Weight (nearly 20 years ago), I had just lost a lot of weight and was coming to terms with what that meant to my self-image vs my body image. Package deal? Able to be separate the two? The weight loss romances on this list spoke to me. But the “love all those curves” books spoke to me on a different level. And the body-positivity movement has spoken to me on yet another level as I evolve into the imperfect, but hopefully always learning, person I am still becoming.


I wrote...

Worth The Weight (Worth Series Book 1): A Copper Country Romance

By Mara Jacobs,

Book cover of Worth The Weight (Worth Series Book 1): A Copper Country Romance

What is my book about?

Lizzie Hampton is literally a shadow of her former self. Having lost half her body weight, she's headed to her small hometown to test out her new body on an old flame. Just a harmless fling to get her self-confidence back before she returns to the city and the new man in her life. But Lizzie's plan has a few bumps in the road.

Finn Robbins can't believe Liz is back in town. Desperate to be the holder of her innocence eighteen years ago, he never got the chance. Now she's back and he can finally check her off his to-do list. But her friends, his son, and the mysterious Annie may have something to say about that.

Easy Beauty

By Chloé Cooper Jones,

Book cover of Easy Beauty: A Memoir

The best way to learn how to write a memoir is to read a lot of memoirs. It expands your sense of the possibilities (“what? I’m allowed to do that?”), provides you with techniques to steal for your own work, helps you identify your distinctive strengths and weaknesses, and inspires you to keep going when self-doubt and weariness swoop in. I could recommend memoirs all day, but here’s a brand new one I’m reading right now that I love. It’s written by a philosophy professor with a skeletal disorder (like me!) and combines reflections on art, beauty, and disability with the author’s personal experience of those things. It’s thought-provoking, funny, and moving, and offers what feels like a direct window into the soul of another human. Isn’t that why we read and love memoirs? So why not write one?


Who am I?

I’m a philosophy professor who started writing memoir in her mid-thirties. I love the similarities and the differences between memoir and philosophy (to sum it up: both are ways of making sense of your experience, but memoirists are allowed to tell stories, make jokes and break your heart.) On the trail of my obsession with the two, I’ve written a book on the philosophy of memoir and a memoir about philosophy. My sister calls them “your weird book twins.” Whatever! The whole experience has felt like falling in love, and I now want to encourage everyone to give personal writing a shot. 


I wrote...

Artful Truths: The Philosophy of Memoir

By Helena de Bres,

Book cover of Artful Truths: The Philosophy of Memoir

What is my book about?

Artful Truths offers a concise and accessible guide to the philosophical questions that arise when writing a literary work about your own life. Helena de Bres addresses what memoirs are, how they relate to fiction, memoirists’ responsibilities to their readers and subjects, and the question of why to write a memoir at all. Along the way, she delves into many large human questions, including the nature of the self, the limits of knowledge, the idea of truth, the obligations of friendship, the relationship between morality and art, and the question of what makes a life meaningful. Written in a clear and conversational style, Artful Truths offers insight and guidance for those who write, teach, and study memoirs, and those who love to read them. 

Too Much Temptation

By Lori Foster,

Book cover of Too Much Temptation

One of the first books I remember reading that had lots of sex with a plus-size heroine. There are many now (thank goodness – a long time coming!), but when this first came out, it was quite unique.

Grace Jenkins has long wanted Noah Harper. She gets her chance, but her body image makes her hesitate.

I loved Noah’s flat-out desire of Grace and all her curves. This made me come up with a mantra that I use to my friends, on myself, and in my writing: To men; any naked is good naked.


Who am I?

I’ve struggled with weight and body issues most of my adult life. When I first wrote Worth The Weight (nearly 20 years ago), I had just lost a lot of weight and was coming to terms with what that meant to my self-image vs my body image. Package deal? Able to be separate the two? The weight loss romances on this list spoke to me. But the “love all those curves” books spoke to me on a different level. And the body-positivity movement has spoken to me on yet another level as I evolve into the imperfect, but hopefully always learning, person I am still becoming.


I wrote...

Worth The Weight (Worth Series Book 1): A Copper Country Romance

By Mara Jacobs,

Book cover of Worth The Weight (Worth Series Book 1): A Copper Country Romance

What is my book about?

Lizzie Hampton is literally a shadow of her former self. Having lost half her body weight, she's headed to her small hometown to test out her new body on an old flame. Just a harmless fling to get her self-confidence back before she returns to the city and the new man in her life. But Lizzie's plan has a few bumps in the road.

Finn Robbins can't believe Liz is back in town. Desperate to be the holder of her innocence eighteen years ago, he never got the chance. Now she's back and he can finally check her off his to-do list. But her friends, his son, and the mysterious Annie may have something to say about that.

Weightless

By Kandi Steiner,

Book cover of Weightless

No other author captures the joy, longing, confusion, love, and heartbreak of the first few years of adulthood the way Kandi Steiner does. They don’t call her the Queen of Angst for nothing, and in Weightless, she showcases some of her best new adult romance skills to craft a story about stumbling your way into being a grown-up while learning to love yourself as you fall in love with someone else. The heroine of Weightless also struggles with body image issues, and Kandi Steiner doesn’t shy away from exploring the harsh realities of the way society and even the people we trust can reinforce our deepest insecurities. This was one of the first romance novels I read, and it led me to an enduring love for and appreciation of Kandi Steiner’s work.


Who am I?

I write romance novels that are as much about the characters learning to love themselves as they are about people falling in love with each other. While most of my books are romantic comedies, that doesn’t stop my characters from facing some of the darkest parts of themselves and coming out on the other side feeling sure of their own worth. I often explore mental health topics, and I love to see other romance authors de-stigmatizing things like therapy, medication, and reaching out for support. The romance novels I’ve included below cover a wide range of subjects, but they all handle mental health with care, respect, and hope.


I wrote...

This Used to Be Easier

By Katia Rose,

Book cover of This Used to Be Easier

What is my book about?

After a last-minute internship cancellation sets all her plans on fire, Meg Doyle is stuck spending the summer after college in her tiny hometown. It’s anything but a triumphant return. Her city friends won’t stop reminding her what she’s missing, her mom won’t stop researching lesbian slang terms to seem more ‘relatable,’ and around every corner in the town of Chapel Creek, there’s Connie Shipley.

The girl Meg used to know better than anyone in the world. The girl she spent countless nights huddled under the blankets with for sleepovers. The girl who leaned in and kissed her four summers before. The girl who hasn’t spoken to her since—which makes it very inconvenient that Meg’s heart still stops every time she sees her.

Stylin'

By Shane White, Graham White,

Book cover of Stylin': African-American Expressive Culture, from Its Beginnings to the Zoot Suit

Stylin tells the history of African American fashion and style. As a Black man, I have always loved the unique style of the Black community and noticed how trends that start with Black people have consistently become central to American culture. This book explains why this is; how black culture evolved in conversation and conflict with the dominant culture of white America. But it doesn’t devolve into stereotypes or typical, simplistic observations. Black style is the blues, jazz, the cakewalk but it is also refined elegance and a knowing commentary on European culture.  


Who am I?

I’m a law professor and the son of a very well-dressed man. My father was a university Dean, a community organizer, a Presbyterian minister, and a social worker. But he also trained as a tailor and knew clothing—both how it is (or should be) constructed and also how it communicates. I became interested in the importance of clothing because of his influence. Then, in law, I noticed a lot of disputes that involved clothing: high school dress codes, workplace dress codes, dress codes used on public transportation. I wanted bring these two together to give a better idea of why we still fight and struggle over clothing.


I wrote...

Dress Codes: How the Laws of Fashion Made History

By Richard Thompson Ford,

Book cover of Dress Codes: How the Laws of Fashion Made History

What is my book about?

Dress Codes is a serious but entertaining history of the laws of fashion. Clothing is been a wearable status symbol; fashion, a weapon in struggles for social change; and a way to maintain political control. In medieval Europe, silk, velvet, and fur were reserved by law for the nobility in order to ensure they were signals of social status. In the 1920s, bobbed hair and form-fitting “flapper” dresses were banned in workplaces throughout the United States because they signified women’s social and political liberation. In the 1940s baggy zoot suits reflected the social alienation of Black and Latino men causing riots in cities from coast to coast. Dress codes still govern us today: in fact, even when there are no written rules, implicit dress codes influence opportunities, and social mobility. 

Yoga Where You Are

By Dianne Bondy, Kat Heagberg,

Book cover of Yoga Where You Are: Customize Your Practice for Your Body and Your Life

In my humble opinion one of the best and only books that address yoga, diet culture, pose adaptation, yoga history, body image, and progressive accessibility. Helping readers and practitioners to find their level of practice exactly where they are. You can start as a true beginner and progress to challenging arm balances and poses with this book.


Who am I?

I'm an author, movement coach, and yoga teacher. I've been practicing yoga on and off for about 48 years. I was introduced to yoga by my mom through a really old book called Be Young with Yoga at 3 years old. Yoga has been a part of my entire existence in one way or another. I have had the honour and privilege to study with yoga teachers and educators for the past 30+ years and it has been life-changing. I have been a yoga teacher and movement coach for 30+ years, I have watched yoga make sad people feel better, injured people get strong, and shy people become leaders in their communities around equity and diversity. 


I wrote...

Yoga for Everyone: 50 Poses for Every Type of Body

By Dianne Bondy,

Book cover of Yoga for Everyone: 50 Poses for Every Type of Body

What is my book about?

Bring Dianne’s body-positive yoga philosophy to your mat. No matter who you are, what you look like, or what your abilities are, you can do all 50 poses in Dianne Bondy’s new book, Yoga for Everyone: 50 Poses for Every Type of Body.

Learn how to adapt 50 classic yoga poses and how to put them all together to create 10 sequences you can practice at home. Explore how to use yoga props for each pose to make your practice uniquely your own. Discover how to harness yoga postures to experience specific physical and mental benefits.

The Beauty Myth

By Naomi Wolf,

Book cover of The Beauty Myth: How Images of Beauty Are Used Against Women

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.


Who am I?

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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