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12 Discerning Books About Eating Disorders

Get your eating habits right again.

An eating disorder is no laughing matter, in fact, is right up there along with the most serious diseases of both mind and body that our modern world has to face. It is something that does not happen by chance and is rooted deeply in the psychology of the affected, which having a breakthrough a battle that must be fought first in the mind.

The psyche aspect of the disease is what makes its’ treatment a challenge. The affected must be shown by someone that it is within them to stop over-eating or under-eating for their own good. That helping person might be you if you learn all the basics of treating eating disorders from these books.

#1 Unbearable Lightness by Portia de Rossi

Unbearable Lightness by Portia de Rossi
It’s hard dealing with an eating disorder, but it’s a little easier to cope with when you realize that no one, not even celebrities, are immune to its effects. In this book, de Rossi describes her seemingly perfect life- she was thin, blonde, and becoming increasingly successful on the outside- while on the inside she was slowly withering away.

De Rossi is open about her experience of having her weight and food take over every other part of her life. She details how even as she continued to gain fame she was still paralyzed by both her relationship with food and her hidden sexuality, but also opens up about falling in love, becoming healthier, and being an advocate for women’s health and gay rights. The book delivers a message of understanding, hope, and empowerment.

Before buying a book make sure to compare price and outlet, we have included links below to several large book outlets for different regions in the world:

Read more reviews and buy the book here (Amazon)

Search for the audiobook here (Audible)

#2 Ana: A Memoir Of Anorexia Nervosa by Syanne Centeno

Ana: A Memoir Of Anorexia Nervosa by Syanne Centeno
This raw memoir follows the story of Syanne Centeno’s decade long battle with Anorexia Nervosa. In detail, she describes what it is like to be engulfed by the deadly disease at the young age of 8 known as Anorexia Nervosa and how she came to name her “Ana.” Throughout the memoir, she speaks of her hospitalizations and how “Ana” took over her mind, body, and soul. She became Ana but she had the strength to fight back and defeat Ana for good.

Before buying a book make sure to compare price and outlet, we have included links below to several large book outlets for different regions in the world:

Read more reviews and buy the book here (Amazon)

Search for the audiobook here (Audible)

#3 Searching for God in the Garbage by Bracha Goetz

Searching for God in the Garbage by Bracha Goetz
Why would a young woman who was a successful and popular Harvard grad develop eating disorders? Searching for God in the Garbage is a unique and candid coming-of-age memoir that documents the development and recovery from eating disorders in a joyful and spiritual way.

Before buying a book make sure to compare price and outlet, we have included links below to several large book outlets for different regions in the world:

Read more reviews and buy the book here (Amazon)

Search for the audiobook here (Audible)

#4 Eating In the Light of the Moon by Anita A. Johnston

Eating In the Light of the Moon by Anita A. Johnston
This is the only book that helped me understand that recovery was going to be a challenge, but very possible, and that I shouldn’t be disheartened by falling back on old habits. I also had my friends and family read sections of the book, which they said gave them a better understanding of what I was going through and how to help me through the healing process.

Before buying a book make sure to compare price and outlet, we have included links below to several large book outlets for different regions in the world:

Read more reviews and buy the book here (Amazon)

Search for the audiobook here (Audible)

#5 The Unbearable lightness by Portia De Rossi

The Unbearable lightness by Portia De Rossi
The Unbearable Lightness is quite a tough book to read. It is emotional but very inspirational and powerful to see how she came through so much. I wouldn’t recommend this to someone in the early stages of recovery because it can be quite triggering and could put them in a state of emotional relapse. But it’s a very powerful story nonetheless.

Before buying a book make sure to compare price and outlet, we have included links below to several large book outlets for different regions in the world:

Read more reviews and buy the book here (Amazon)

Search for the audiobook here (Audible)

#6 Intuitive eating by Evelyn Tribole

Intuitive eating by Evelyn Tribole
This is not actually an eating disorder book specifically, but the end goal of recovery is to be able to eat intuitively and often sufferers and those who have recovered from an eating disorder have forgotten how to eat for their mind and body and need to almost re-learn how to tune into their body.

Before buying a book make sure to compare price and outlet, we have included links below to several large book outlets for different regions in the world:

Read more reviews and buy the book here (Amazon)

Search for the audiobook here (Audible)

#7 Life Without Ed by Jenny Schaefer

Life Without Ed by Jenny Schaefer
This book is good for early stages of recovery for anyone with an eating disorder. Discovering why you need and want to let go of your disorder. If you suffer yourself or have someone you are caring for with an eating disorder this is a great place to start.

Before buying a book make sure to compare price and outlet, we have included links below to several large book outlets for different regions in the world:

Read more reviews and buy the book here (Amazon)

Search for the audiobook here (Audible)

#8 Release: A Bulimia Story by Stephanie Syd Yang

Release: A Bulimia Story by Stephanie Syd Yang
Release offers an alternative narrative to eating disorder recovery, elevating a voice not traditionally heard — that of a queer, non-binary mixed race adult. Release tells the story of how a young child invited in a magical being who would help her survive a life of emotional abuse, excessive bullying, racism, homophobia and self-hate …and what it would take, close to 30 years later, to release that energy, the bulimia completely from her life.

Before buying a book make sure to compare price and outlet, we have included links below to several large book outlets for different regions in the world:

Read more reviews and buy the book here (Amazon)

Search for the audiobook here (Audible)

#9 Sick Enough by Jennifer L. Gaudiani

Sick Enough by Jennifer L. Gaudiani
It’s all too common for individuals, their families, and even their medical teams, to overlook symptoms of eating disorders. In other words, the person isn’t considered sick enough for treatment. Dr. Jennifer Gaudiani presents the most recent scientific evidence about the medical issues related to eating disorders, written in an accessible voice. Dr. G’s book has been an invaluable resource for me to communicate the seriousness of disordered eating to clients and their families.

Before buying a book make sure to compare price and outlet, we have included links below to several large book outlets for different regions in the world:

Read more reviews and buy the book here (Amazon)

Search for the audiobook here (Audible)

#10 Trauma and Recovery by Judith L. Herman

Trauma and Recovery by Judith L. Herman
This is a landmark book that explores the relationship between histories of trauma and the development of eating disorders. Research shows extremely high correlations between the two and thus, this type of book is extremely helpful for practitioners and families of those suffering. It ultimately takes a close look at the impact that shame, dissociation, and PTSD have on the eating disorder person and delves into all related research on the topic. This is an essential read for anyone attempting to understand trauma and the impact it has on someone with an eating disorder.

Before buying a book make sure to compare price and outlet, we have included links below to several large book outlets for different regions in the world:

Read more reviews and buy the book here (Amazon)

Search for the audiobook here (Audible)

#11 Trauma, Dissociation, And Impulse Dyscontrol In Eating Disorders by Johan Vanderlinden

Trauma, Dissociation, And Impulse Dyscontrol In Eating Disorders by Johan Vanderlinden
This book is written by two of the leading researchers in the field of eating disorders and trauma. It reviews research related to trauma, personality disorders and eating disorders and how they are all intricately related. As a practitioner in the field, I see a great deal of overlap between these issues and thus, this book has been a vital resource.

Before buying a book make sure to compare price and outlet, we have included links below to several large book outlets for different regions in the world:

Read more reviews and buy the book here (Amazon)

Search for the audiobook here (Audible)

#12 Cognitive Behavior Therapy and Eating Disorders by Christopher G. Fairburn

Cognitive Behavior Therapy and Eating Disorders by Christopher G. Fairburn
Fairburn’s book is one of the first evidence-based treatment protocols for eating disorders. Research has shown that CBT is one of the most highly effective treatment modalities for eating disorders thus, this book is an invaluable resource. Fairburn outlines the underlying psychopathology, how to address comorbidities, and how to manage extremely dangerous patients. It was written with practitioners in mind, but can also be helpful for families and those struggling with the ilness.

Before buying a book make sure to compare price and outlet, we have included links below to several large book outlets for different regions in the world:

Read more reviews and buy the book here (Amazon)

Search for the audiobook here (Audible)

Contributors to this article
Adina Mahalli from EnlightenedReality

Syanne Centeno

Bracha Goetz from Bracha’s Books

Linnea Zielinski from DIRT Mag

Aroosha Nekonam from Ultimate Performance

Stephanie Syd Yang from Blue Jaguar Healing Arts

Barbara Spanjers from Barbara Spanjers

Alexandra Grundleger from Grundleger Psychotherapy

Written by Zak Parker

Journalist, writer, musician, professional procrastinator. I'll add more here later.

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