Reading various books for eating disorder recovery helped me so much to be able to fully recover from bulimia and orthorexia. As I was recovering on my own some particular websites and books helped to educate me on how to recover as well as kept me motivated when I wanted to give up.
So in this post, I have put together a list of books for eating disorder recovery that I recommend you to read when you start your path towards food freedom!
These books are not in any particular order and each of them gives value in their own way. Some of them are directly about eating disorder recovery, some about intuitive eating, some about mindset work.
Below you can find all the links to each book and a brief explanation of mine of why I recommend it!
1. “Intuitive Eating” by Evelyn Tribole, Elyse Resch
One of the goals in reaching full recovery is to be back to normal eating or intuitive eating. And this is definitely the book to read in order to understand what intuitive eating is about. This book talks about stopping dieting and restriction, challenging the “food police” and letting go of any “good vs. bad” thinking around food in order to make peace with food. This book is great for someone coming from a past of dieting but people with eating disorders would also need additional information about the recovery process and what to expect.
2. “Intuitive Eating Workbook” by Evelyn Tribole, Elyse Resch
This is a great practical guide in addition to the book “Intuitive Eating”. We can all be good in theory but putting things into practice is where the results will come from! So this is why this workbook is an invaluable tool to actually start challenging old thoughts and beliefs that keep us stuck in food prison. The workbook guides you through the 10 principles of intuitive eating and gives exercises and assignments to put it all into action. This can be one of the most practical books for eating disorder recovery and your journey towards becoming an intuitive eater!
3. “Health At Every Size” by Linda Bacon
Health At Every Size (HAES) is a weight-neutral approach to health. It promotes healthy behaviors like enjoyable body movement, intuitive eating, self-acceptance without the focus on weight loss or control. In the book, you will also find the scientific study done on HAES approach vs. traditional diet approach to health outcomes and find out the results that HAES is a much better long-term solution to health improvement than any common weight loss program.
4. “Recover From Eating Disorders” by Gwyneth Olwyn
This is a book by Gwyneth Olwyn who runs a recovery website edinstitute.org (formerly known and Youreatopia.com) which was a great resource for me in my recovery. It talks about the Homeodynamic Recovery Method (HDRM) or formerly known as the “MinnieMaud Method”. From Gwyneth’s website, I first became aware of the well-known Minnesota Starvation Experiment, extreme hunger and why stopping exercise is important for reaching full recovery. The HDRM recovery calorie guidelines helped me to understand that I did not have a “binge eating” problem, but I actually had the problem of not allowing myself to eat enough. The information she shares had a significant positive impact on my recovery from bulimia and orthorexia.
5. “The F*ck It Diet” by Caroline Dooner
As you can read by the title this book is clearly an anti-diet book and talks about the dangers of dieting and all the craziness that comes with it. It is an important read to anybody who is not yet convinced why they should stop weight obsession if they want to stop their food obsession. It is full of personal experience by the author as well as backed up by scientific evidence. Caroline is a comedian so trust me when I say that is a FUN read! If you are starting out your diet-recovery then this book is a must-have!
6. “Rehabilitate, Rewire, Recover” by Tabitha Farrar
This book is from a fellow recovery coach Tabitha Farrar who I have also interviewed for my Youtube channel. She fully recovered from a decade of anorexia and is now helping others to do the same. On her website and in this book she talks a lot about The Migration Theory that is an evolutionary approach to understanding eating behaviors and particularly anorexia. This book is packed full of personal examples as well as examples of other people in recovery and scientific evidence. It explains each aspect of anorexia recovery in detail and step by step. Definitely one of the must-have books for eating disorder recovery!
7. “Neural Rewiring For Eating Disorder Recovery” by Tabitha Farrar
This is another book from Tabitha and another must-read. It talks about brain rewiring for eating disorder recovery. Stopping physical restriction and eating enough to reach nutritional rehabilitation is one important aspect of recovery but another equally important factor in reaching full recovery is brain rewiring. This is the missing key from people’s recovery who have gained back their lost weight and may seem “physically recovered” but mentally still feel trapped in ED. Tabitha makes brain rewiring for eating disorder recovery easy to understand without needing to go deep into complicated brain science.
8. “You Are Not Your Brain” by Jeffrey M. Schwartz
This is another book I can recommend about brain rewiring. It is not directly aimed towards people in eating disorder recovery but it can be applied to almost any aspect of life. Things like OCD and other destructive behaviors and habits can be resolved by the help of this book. It explains brain rewiring through a simple (not necessarily easy) 4-step process and gives plenty of real-life examples and stories of how to implement this method in common everyday problems. It also explains each step in detail and also backs it up by science.
9. “BrainwashED” by Elisa Oras
And, of course, I can’t NOT recommend my own book! 🙂 I fully recovered from bulimia, orthorexia, overexercising and extreme dieting and used a particular step by step approach to achieving that. In this book, I guide you through the whole recovery process, I explain the reasons of why you got trapped in an eating disorder and how to fully recover from it. I talk about both the physical and mental side of recovery, recovery symptoms and what to expect and also how to recover normal hunger cues and intuitive eating. Over the years I have got amazing feedback about my book and so many people have successfully used it as their “recovery bible” (their words) to reach full recovery.
10. “Loving What Is” by Byron Katie
This book is again not directly about eating disorder recovery but I think it is a must-read if you are interested in the mental side of recovery. Byron Katie is famous by “The Work” method or process she teaches that helps people to become free from suffering caused by their own thinking. This book and The Work also helps to resolve any issues you may have regards to dealing with other people as it helps you to stop being a victim and become empowered instead. I use The Work process with many of my clients to help them change their mindset and it is one valuable tool I use as an eating disorder recovery coach.
11. “The Completion Process” by Teal Swan
The completion process can be another book that may help with the mental aspect of recovery. Many people who have eating disorders also have gone through trauma and healing from past negative experiences can be an important aspect in order to reach full recovery. The Completion Process is an 18-step process that guides you through a method of self-healing meditation to connect with your inner child and heal from past traumas. You can also find facilitators who can help guide you through the steps or you can read the book and do this process on your own. The author Teal Swan also has a Youtube Channel with a lot of great videos around spirituality and mindset work.
12 “The Power of Your Subconscious Mind” by Joseph Murphy (bonus recommendation! Not included in the video!)
This is one personal favorite of mine. It is again not directly about eating disorder recovery but I truly believe that this book helped me believe that full recovery from an eating disorder is 100% possible for me. This book talks about the power of your own thinking and focus. It is maybe a more vintage version of the current well-known “The Secret” since ultimately it is about the same thing – your ability to control your life by the way you think and what you choose to focus on. I remember when I first read this book at 18 years old it gave me a feeling of self-empowerment I never knew even existed. I would say the message from this book is how I try to live my life now. Definitely a huge recommendation!
I hope you have found this list of books a great resource for you in recovery. Feel free to let us know in the comments if you have other personal book recommendations!