The best weight loss books

2 authors have picked their favorite books about weight loss and why they recommend each book.

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Burn

By Herman Pontzer,

Book cover of Burn: New Research Blows the Lid Off How We Really Burn Calories, Lose Weight, and Stay Healthy

I’m so sick of popular magazines comparing our bodies to cars that burn energy at a predictable, steady rate; suggesting that daily 100 calorie cuts to our diets will add up to 10 pounds per year of weight loss; or promising that certain foods or meal patterns somehow “boost your metabolism.” Literally, none of this is true, and evolutionary biologist Dr. Herman Pontzer’s new book takes you on a methodical and humorous trip through decades of research into human metabolism and energetics to explain why. While he’s taking down one myth after the next using a robust body of scientific evidence, Pontzer also explains how despite what we’re promised, it’s almost impossible to exercise enough to promote significant weight loss; why severely calorie-restricted diets are doomed to fail—and make you more likely to gain weight when all is said and done; why modern Paleo diets bear no resemblance to how…

Who am I?

I am an evidence-based dietitian who’s worked in gastroenterology practices for over a decade and have seen countless patients defrauded by modern-day snake oil salespeople and unqualified influencers trying to hawk fad diets, unregulated supplements, pseudoscientific lab tests, and more. Knowledge is power, and scientific literacy—understanding how our bodies actually work—is the best defense against being led down a harmful rabbit hole of health misinformation. I love popular science books, and I especially love it when people can write about science with humor and intelligence without ‘dumbing it down’ or oversimplifying; these books all meet that criteria!


I wrote...

The Bloated Belly Whisperer: A Nutritionist's Ultimate Guide to Beating Bloat and Improving Digestive Wellness

By Tamara Duker Freuman,

Book cover of The Bloated Belly Whisperer: A Nutritionist's Ultimate Guide to Beating Bloat and Improving Digestive Wellness

What is my book about?

Since bloating can accompany many conditions, my book starts with a symptom-based quiz that helps narrow down the likelier causes of your individual problem. It then directs you to the most relevant chapters so you can read about these conditions in detail, determine whether they resemble your experience, and learn all about how they’re diagnosed and treated with diet, supplements, medicines, and/or other interventions. It includes several therapeutic diets tailored to different causes of bloating, 50 digestively friendly recipes, and an encyclopedia of common dietary supplements with a summary of the scientific evidence to support their safety and effectiveness.

The Classic Vegetable Cookbook

By Ruth Spear, Grambs Miller (illustrator),

Book cover of The Classic Vegetable Cookbook

Spear goes through the vegetable (and vegetables-that-are-really fruits) table alphabetically, explaining ways to steam, roast, boil, cut, blanche, and dress the plain vegetable, as well as recipes that use the vegetable in fancier ways. I’ve got to get an artichoke and finally learn the finesse.


Who am I?

I love to cook and it’s difficult to find something beyond chicken and salad when you’re trying to lose weight.  Over the years I’ve assembled a cookbook library that covers many topics (interested in how the Georgians ate green beans? I can help you out!), many of them as off-topic from weight-loss as my cookie cookbook collection. But I still return to what I call “abstinent” favorites, simply because they are so tasty.


I wrote...

Passing for Thin: Losing Half My Weight and Finding My Self

By Frances Kuffel,

Book cover of Passing for Thin: Losing Half My Weight and Finding My Self

What is my book about?

An intimate and darkly comic memoir of a woman who does a 180 with her body.

When she was in her early forties, Frances Kuffel lost half her body weight. In Passing for Thin, Frances describes with unflinching honesty and a wickedly dark sense of humor her first fumbling introductions to her newly slender body, shining a light on the shared human experience of feeling uncomfortable in one’s own skin. She gradually moves from observer to player—enjoying for the first time flirting, exercising, and shopping–as she explores the terrain on the “Planet of Thin.” As Frances gradually comes to know—and love—the stranger in the mirror, she learns that her body does not define her, but enables her to become the woman she’s always wanted to be.

The Breathing Cure

By Patrick McKeown,

Book cover of The Breathing Cure: Develop New Habits for a Healthier, Happier, and Longer Life

Patrick is the Ninja of Nose Breathing! He is one of those special people who learned how to pick himself up by his own bootstraps! He healed himself of asthma and has helped thousands of others do the same. His first book, The Oxygen Advantage, was a game-changer. And his most recent book, The Breathing Cure takes the Oxygen Advantage to the next level! It is packed with practical teachings and filled with evidence-based exercises and resources guaranteed to help you improve a host of health issues, including stress, anxiety and panic disorders, snoring, Insomnia, lower back pain, high blood pressure, even diabetes, Epilepsy, and more!


Who am I?

I am one of the earliest pioneers of the Modern Breathwork Movement and recognized as a leading expert and authority in the field. I have been studying and practicing the Art and Science of Breathwork since 1970, and I have published a Breath and Breathing Report every month since 1976. I have traveled to over 65 countries and trained more than 250,000 people, including navy SEALs, first responders, Olympic athletes, psychotherapists, medical doctors, nurses, hospice workers, spiritual counselors, corporate executives, yogis, meditation teachers, and celebrities such as Tony Robbins. I am the Founder and Director of The International Center for Breathwork, and The Breathing Festival. 


I wrote...

Just Breathe: Mastering Breathwork

By Dan Brulé,

Book cover of Just Breathe: Mastering Breathwork

What is my book about?

What if you could control your outcomes and change results simply by controlling your breath? Now you can. In this definitive handbook, world-renown pioneer of breathwork Dan Brulé shares for the first time his Breath Mastery technique that has helped people from every walk of life all over the world.

Just Breathe is a simple and revolutionary guide that reveals the secret behind what the elite athletes, champion martial artists, Navy SEAL warriors, and spiritual yogis have always known—when you control your breathing you can control your state of well-being and level of performance. So if you want to optimize your health, clear and calm your mind, and spark peak performance—the secret to unlock and sustain these results comes from a free and natural resource that’s right under your nose.

The Best Life Diet

By Bob Greene,

Book cover of The Best Life Diet

This for-life approach diet is based on solid science, is easy to follow, and emphasizes exercise in a healthy lifestyle. There is a universal agreement among experts on the issues of a healthy lifestyle. This book simplifies these issues for the layman. Knowledgeable and qualified people hold it in high regard.


Who am I?

I retired after 54 years of private dental practice. I hold four dental implant patents and have been awarded fellowships in four honorary dental academies. I've made it a personal mission to use print, radio, TV, and personal appearances to bring into focus the dietary connection between diseases of civilization (excess weight, diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, constipation, diverticulitis, varicose veins, hemorrhoids, deep venous thrombosis, and others) and dental decay which predicts all the others. They account for over half of all hospital admissions and over half of the money spent on health care. Understanding their common dietary origin will allow anyone to prevent, reverse and eliminate any and all of them.


I wrote...

Your Mouth, Your Health: Stop and Reverse Aging

By Milan Somborac,

Book cover of Your Mouth, Your Health: Stop and Reverse Aging

What is my book about?

Tooth decay is the precursor to many health problems –obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and more. Dental decay is the first to develop, and it predicts the others.

Milan Somborac, DDS, sees the same patients again and again, suffering from plaque, cavities, and infection. He provides expensive treatments for preventable conditions, and he blames it all on refined carbohydrates. In Your Mouth, Your Health Somborac makes the connection between overall health and dental health. He tells us how to prevent decline, through easy-to-apply examples that will save your teeth and your life. 

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.

Intuitive Eating, A Revolutionary Anti-Diet Approach

By Evelyn Tribole, Elyse Resch,

Book cover of Intuitive Eating,  A Revolutionary Anti-Diet Approach

This is the OG non-diet book, originally published in 1995 by registered dietitians Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch, it has since been updated and revised four times to reflect the latest research. The book outlines the 10 principles of the intuitive eating framework, including tips and suggestions on how to integrate intuitive eating into your day-to-day lives. Learn how to let go of dieting, reconnect to your body cues, and build back body trust so that you can follow your inner wisdom to tell you when, what, and how much to eat. 


Who am I?

I went on my first diet in high school, a reaction to panic brought on by weight gain (which was a completely normal part of puberty). That first diet led to a decade of yo-yo dieting and food and body obession. It also led me to pursue a career in nutrition and fitness. Six years ago, I came across the book Intuitive Eating, which completely changed my life. Now, as a registered dietitian, nutrition therapist, and certified intuitive eating counselor, I'm passionate about helping people reclaim the space to eat and live, unapologetically. I'm the founder of Alissa Rumsey Nutrition and Wellness, a weight-inclusive nutrition practice that offers virtual counseling, group programs, and online trainings. 


I wrote...

Unapologetic Eating: Make Peace with Food and Transform Your Life

By Alissa Rumsey,

Book cover of Unapologetic Eating: Make Peace with Food and Transform Your Life

What is my book about?

Everything you think you “know” about food, appearance, body size, and more, is something you were taught at some point. Unapologetic Eating walks you through unpacking and questioning everything society has taught you so that you can let go of dieting, make peace with food, and find your way back to your body, your intuition, and yourself. Using food as the entry point, the book helps you explore more about yourself, your beliefs, your values, and what you truly want out of life. You will learn how to reconnect with your body and yourself using your relationship to food as the entry point—going from trying to “fix” or change yourself to unapologetic eating and finally to unapologetic living.

Fixing Dad

By Jen Whittington,

Book cover of Fixing Dad: How to Transform the Health of Someone You Love

Illnesses affect families as well as individuals. How would you react to the news that your Dad would soon lose a leg because of type 2 diabetes? Two brothers reacted by setting out to find the hard information about type 2 diabetes. That was tough—but the brothers tracked down the new information that this type of diabetes could be reversed to normal. Then persuading Dad that things had to change was an even greater challenge. The family’s journey, and the remarkable achievement of major weight loss, is brilliantly documented. The insights into the stresses on the family as they support Dad are sublime. Even after decades of dealing with human tragedies as a doctor, this book raised a lump in my throat. Today, Geoff still has two legs. 


Who am I?

Since childhood, I’ve wanted to find out how things work. The human body is an amazing combination of mind and body. As Professor of Medicine and Metabolism at Newcastle University, I’ve been fortunate to be able to find out what goes wrong to cause type 2 diabetes. It was not the complex mystery believed by other experts, but just one simple process. A little too much fat inside the liver caused insulin not to work properly, and an overspill of fat prevented enough insulin to be made. Growing a wild idea into a proven NHS programme involves sleepless nights, disbelief of colleagues, gratitude of patients, and hugely enjoyable team-working. 


I wrote...

Life Without Diabetes: The Definitive Guide to Understanding and Reversing Type 2 Diabetes

By Roy Taylor,

Book cover of Life Without Diabetes: The Definitive Guide to Understanding and Reversing Type 2 Diabetes

What is my book about?

This book explains the new understanding of type 2 diabetes, and how to get back to full health. Medical opinion used to be emphatic—type 2 diabetes was always lifelong, requiring more, and more medicines. Emphatic, but wrong! The story of the exciting journey of discovery is told as a ‘who dun It’. The answer is shocking for scientists—it also was for me as a scientist-doctor—but very good news for people with type 2 diabetes. 

The research described was hugely controversial when first announced. It has been a long battle to change the minds of doctors and scientists. But now the method described is part of routine care for people with type 2 diabetes or pre-diabetes. 

Eat Right 4 Your Type

By Dr. Peter J. D’Adamo, Catherine Whitney,

Book cover of Eat Right 4 Your Type: The Individualized Blood Type Diet Solution

This book is not the one-size-fits-all approach of many food books. Naturopath Dr Peter J. D’Adamo has carried on the work of his father to research the effect of various types of lectins, a type of protein found in our body, and found in many foods. One way our unique biology is expressed is in our blood type – O, A, B, or AB. Different types of lectins cause agglutination (the clumping of particles) in different blood types. ‘If you eat a food that contains lectins incompatible with your blood type, those lectins cling or bind themselves to membranes in the digestive tract causing damage such as inflammation.’

Who am I?

I am a naturopathic therapist, teacher, and writer working mainly with plant medicine since 1989. For decades, I’ve been teaching many aspects of natural healing and have written 5 books, published in 6 languages, on various aspects of my work. One of my favourite books is DEEPLY HOLISTIC, a Guide to Intuitive Self-Care, a synthesis of much of the advice I’ve given clients over my 30 years of practice.


I wrote...

Deeply Holistic: A Guide to Intuitive Self-Care--Know Your Body, Live Consciously, and Nurture Your Spirit

By Pip Waller,

Book cover of Deeply Holistic: A Guide to Intuitive Self-Care--Know Your Body, Live Consciously, and Nurture Your Spirit

What is my book about?

Natural medicine outcomes depend partly on helping people create a lifestyle which acts as the foundation for good health. Deeply Holistic is a smorgasbord of suggestions that you can help yourself to, to help yourself move more towards your optimum possible level of health, presented in the format of relevance to the various body systems.

Good eating is an essential foundational building block to feeling well. But what to eat, in the modern climate of often conflicting and contradictory advice? As I discuss in Deeply Holistic, there is no real one size fits all approach to diet, hence the emphasis on ‘intuitive’ self-care – increasing your ability to tune in and listen to what your body is asking for.k

Indian Cooking

By Madhur Jaffrey,

Book cover of Indian Cooking

If you discount Northern Europe and North America, it’s amazing that most of the world has such clean food. I love Indian food and Madhur Jaffrey knows how to make it accessible and easy for the rest of us.  You’ll find dishes here that are not part of your local Indian spot: Dry Moong Dal, Goan-style Hot and Spicy Pork, Cold Yogurt Soup with Mint.


Who am I?

I love to cook and it’s difficult to find something beyond chicken and salad when you’re trying to lose weight.  Over the years I’ve assembled a cookbook library that covers many topics (interested in how the Georgians ate green beans? I can help you out!), many of them as off-topic from weight-loss as my cookie cookbook collection. But I still return to what I call “abstinent” favorites, simply because they are so tasty.


I wrote...

Passing for Thin: Losing Half My Weight and Finding My Self

By Frances Kuffel,

Book cover of Passing for Thin: Losing Half My Weight and Finding My Self

What is my book about?

An intimate and darkly comic memoir of a woman who does a 180 with her body.

When she was in her early forties, Frances Kuffel lost half her body weight. In Passing for Thin, Frances describes with unflinching honesty and a wickedly dark sense of humor her first fumbling introductions to her newly slender body, shining a light on the shared human experience of feeling uncomfortable in one’s own skin. She gradually moves from observer to player—enjoying for the first time flirting, exercising, and shopping–as she explores the terrain on the “Planet of Thin.” As Frances gradually comes to know—and love—the stranger in the mirror, she learns that her body does not define her, but enables her to become the woman she’s always wanted to be.

Body Respect

By Linda Bacon, Lucy Aphramor,

Book cover of Body Respect: What Conventional Health Books Get Wrong, Leave Out, and Just Plain Fail to Understand about Weight

Body Respect was one of the first books that introduced me to the Health at Every Size® approach which changed how I thought about health. The book highlights the science behind health and weight in an approachable and easy-to-understand way. They break down the reasons why weight loss is not the key to health, the misconceptions of the BMI, and why fatness is not as linked to health as we’ve been led to believe.


Who am I?

I went on my first diet in high school, a reaction to panic brought on by weight gain (which was a completely normal part of puberty). That first diet led to a decade of yo-yo dieting and food and body obession. It also led me to pursue a career in nutrition and fitness. Six years ago, I came across the book Intuitive Eating, which completely changed my life. Now, as a registered dietitian, nutrition therapist, and certified intuitive eating counselor, I'm passionate about helping people reclaim the space to eat and live, unapologetically. I'm the founder of Alissa Rumsey Nutrition and Wellness, a weight-inclusive nutrition practice that offers virtual counseling, group programs, and online trainings. 


I wrote...

Unapologetic Eating: Make Peace with Food and Transform Your Life

By Alissa Rumsey,

Book cover of Unapologetic Eating: Make Peace with Food and Transform Your Life

What is my book about?

Everything you think you “know” about food, appearance, body size, and more, is something you were taught at some point. Unapologetic Eating walks you through unpacking and questioning everything society has taught you so that you can let go of dieting, make peace with food, and find your way back to your body, your intuition, and yourself. Using food as the entry point, the book helps you explore more about yourself, your beliefs, your values, and what you truly want out of life. You will learn how to reconnect with your body and yourself using your relationship to food as the entry point—going from trying to “fix” or change yourself to unapologetic eating and finally to unapologetic living.

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