Top Books on Eating Disorders

People who suffer from eating disorders go through severe disruptions in their eating patterns. These disruptions not only act on a physical level, but the sufferers also face psychological stress. 

For example, people experiencing eating disorders are constantly in a state of anxiety regarding their food and body-weight. The fear of getting fat or gaining weight often compels a set of these people to subject themselves to semi-starvation. There is another sub-group of people who eat a lot in phases and often purposefully throw up driven by post-eating anxiety. There is a third set of people who don’t panic. Yet, frequent overeating leads them to severe obesity, diabetes, heart diseases, and hypertension. 

The demographic segment that is affected the most by eating disorders are women between the age of 12 and 35.

Depending on the type of disturbances people are facing in their eating pattern, there can be three types of eating disorders: anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and binge eating disorder. Since an eating disorder is also about mental health, psychological interventions and psychotherapy play a crucial role. One needs to properly understand the problems he/she is facing to regain control of his/her thoughts and emotions. And, that’s why reading up stuff plays a crucial role in the entire process of diagnosis and cure.

A lot of books have been published to date that tries to explain the eating disorder and suggest a cure. Here, in this article, we cut the clutter for you and shortlist the top 5 books on eating disorders. 

Life Without Ed: How One Woman Declared Independence from Her Eating Disorder and How You Can Too by Jenni Schaefer and Thom Rutledge

One of the most long-standing bestsellers among eating disorder self-help readers, Life Without Ed is currently available in its 10th-anniversary edition. The book is co-authored by famous writer and speaker and the current chair of the Ambassadors Council of the National Eating Disorders Association Jenni Schaefer and psychotherapist-cum-author Thom Rutledge.

Jenni Schaefer has narrated the book in the most gripping way possible. She has used a character named Ed who personifies the inner voice of a young woman suffering from an eating disorder. Ed represents the psychological tribulations a woman suffering from an eating disorder goes through. As a metaphorical character, Ed constantly bullies the woman telling her that she is the fattest among her friends. He dissuades her from following a healthy dietary pattern. 

Finally, the book tells the story of how this woman rises over her doubts and defeats Ed with the help and guidance from her psychotherapist Thom who elaborates on the point-of-view of Thom Rutledge. This intriguing book combines the delight of reading literary fiction with the confidence-building narrative structure of a self-help book. Thousands of women have benefitted from this bestseller.

Intuitive Eating by Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch

Currently, in its fourth edition, this book by Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch propagates the groundbreaking theory of anti-dieting. It encourages us to go back to the idea of eating as a pleasure. According to Tribole and Resch, one needs to get rid of chronic dieting forever. Ten principles constitute the tenet of intuitive eating. These principles ask us to find satisfaction in what we are eating, to be kind to our bodies irrespective of our age and weight. Finding positivity and regaining self-esteem is the way to fight an eating disorder is what the book teaches.

Ms. Tribole and Ms. Resch, who are experienced and registered diet and nutrition experts have written the book in a way that helps to follow practical guidelines along with understanding the importance of a confident and healthy lifestyle.

Eating Disorders Anonymous: The Story of How We Recovered from Our Eating Disorders 

This fascinating book brings out actionable insights from stories of hope, resilience, and success. Eating Disorders Anonymous is a collection of experiences of the members of Alcoholics Anonymous who went through issues of eating disorders both on a physical and mental level. The great thing about the book is that it shares first-person accounts and from those experiences brings out action points that can be practiced. 

It also provides a religious and spiritual framework to the approaches of healthy eating. Through the 12-step approach, it seeks to teach us how to maintain balance in our body without losing the perspective of why we are doing it and what we are trying to achieve. 

This is a highly relatable book. The experiences shared help to instill confidence in people who are often in doubt about the utility of a self-help book.

Coming Home: Healing From An Eating Disorder By Finding Beauty in Imperfection by Anna Palmer

This is another gem of a book written in a first-person narrative. The write Anna Palmer was one of the 30 million people in the US who suffered from an eating disorder. In this book, she tells the story of her overcoming. Anna discusses the repercussions or impacts of an eating disorder at all levels: mental, physical, and spiritual.

The mantra that she tries to elaborate on is about the perspective. Beauty is in the eyes of who sees it. It’s the most crucial to consider our bodies as perfect with all its so-called imperfections. This is the first and foremost step to recovery. Eventually, the book provides some workable guidance. It provides practical insights on how one can heal using the tools and techniques of yoga, somatic healing, Craniosacral massage, psychology, and spirituality.

People looking for identifiable stories, workable guidance, and an overarching perspective may read this book. 

Making Peace With Your Plate by Robyn Cruze and Espra Andrus

This highly appreciated book on eating disorder recovery is currently in its second edition. Co-authored by Robyn Cruze and Espra Andrus provides answers to some fundamental questions that are often neglected. Yet, only a proper understanding of the issues raised by these questions can help us to reach to the core of the disorder and find a cure. Some of these questions try to explain what the notions of good, bad, healthy, and unhealthy foods are all about. Is recovery a time-bound process, or a consistent effort towards maintaining a healthy lifestyle?  All these questions find an answer in this book. 

The writers being mental health advocates and therapists stress upon the importance of working on our fears, anxieties, and lack of self-esteem to reclaim our eating habits and our body.