The first step to ditching diets is to rebel against diet culture. One of the best ways to do that is to read up on the growing body of anti-diet research put together by doctors, dietitians and biologists. Doing this will not only reaffirm what you already know: that diets don't work, it will also prepare you intellectually to be challenged by anyone who criticises you for your weight and eating habits.
In The Health Mindset Programme, we talk extensively about the Health at Every Size Movement, Intuitive Eating and Body Positivity. The Programme a wonderful way of getting an overview of the information you need, combined with practical exercises, enabling you to begin your recovery journey right way, but for anyone who wants to explore a topic further, these are the books to turn to first.
Health at Every Size: The Surprising Truth About Your Weight* (2010), by Linda Bacon, PhD
The HAES movement is gaining increasing popularity with health professionals (along with a growing body of supporting clinical research), who recognise that dieting and an obsession with weight and weight loss, is not the answer to declining public health.
Instead the movement advocates for a focus on health, both physical (via gentle nutrition and joyful movement) and mental (a peaceful relationship with food, self-esteem, body acceptance and respect).
Intuitive Eating, 3rd Edition* (2012), by Evelyn Tribole, MS, RDN & Elyse Resch, MS, RDN
Intuitive Eating (IE) is about listening to your body͛s cues when it comes to hunger, fullness and food choices, and giving yourself unconditional permission to eat, instead of relying on external cues like calorie counters and diet plans. It͛s really about building trust with your body.
In this book, Tribole and Resch break IE down into their 10 key principals and explain the health benefits of IE. It͛s a research-based approach and seen as pivotal part of recovery from disordered eating and a lifetime of dieting.
Body Positive Power* (2017), by Megan Jayne Crabbe
Megan is a well-known advocate for the Body Positive movement. In her book, Megan shares her own story of battling body image issues and anorexia. She discusses the body positive movement, diet culture and eating disorder recovery in this uplifting and empowering book.
In a sea of books and magazines telling you how to be thinner or look better, sexier, younger, this book is a breath of fresh air from society's bulls**t. We talk more about Body Positivity & Self Compassion module of The Health Mindset Programme.
You can also follow Megan on social media. Instagram: @BodyPosiPanda Twitter: @BodyPosiPanda_
Body Wise: Discovering Your Body͛s Intelligence for Lifelong Health & Healing* (2017), Dr Rachel Carlton Abrams
Written by a doctor who treats her patients holistically, this book is brilliant for illustrating just how much our emotions and mental wellbeing affect our overall health, and can even show up as bizarre symptoms.
If you͛re struggling with identifying your body͛s internal cues, this book contains exercises and assessments to help you become attuned to your needs. Topics covered in the book include depression, insomnia, loss of libido and digestive issues. If you'd like to know more about this book, I͛ve reviewed Body Wise right here.
Stuffed: How To Feel So Good About Food, You Won͛t Have Room For Cake* (2017), By Fadela Hilali
This is a brilliant quick read to give you an introduction into some of the reasons we eat for comfort. If emotional eating is an issue for you, this book will help you understand which emotions you’re trying to numb with food and suggest ways to tackle these emotions head on instead. I've reviewed Fadela's book right here.
All of these books have been instrumental in my own recovery from disordered eating and dieting. I advise swapping out the health and fashion magazines which just make you feel bad about yourself and trading them for books like these, podcasts and self-care magazines. As a starting point, be sure to download my guide to recommended anti-diet podcasts, magazines, apps and more as part of the free 6 day online course I run.