You just got out of a relationship; You recently had a baby; Someone told you that you “look like you’ve gained weight.” There are so many reasons women struggle with negative body image, and regardless of the reason, it’s always uncomfortable and frustrating.
Struggling with the way you look affects everything in your life, from the clothes you put on in the morning to your performance at work. It’s easy to get caught up in negative self talk, but the benefits of spending the time to change your mindset far outweigh the body shaming. Whether this discomfort with your body is brand new or has been plaguing you for years, here’s 10 books that will help you get through it and start loving your body again.
This read takes a more scientific view toward body image, but in doing so it addresses some major issues women face constantly. We’re consistently told about the obesity epidemic occurring in America, but what we should be focusing on is accepting other body types and promoting health regardless of size. This one took me for a wild ride, finally expelling a lot of body-anxiety I always dealt with but never really understood.
The Gifts of Imperfection
Almost everyone knows by now that my favorite self-help/nonfiction writer is Brene Brown. All of her books have changed my life in a different way. This one focuses on accepting our imperfections and using them to our benefit. In a world that is always telling us who and what we should be, Brene Brown is here to say we’re allowed to be whoever we want.
The Romance Diet: Body Image and the Wars We Wage On Ourselves
While this novel focuses specifically on body image, it touches so many aspects of our lives and how our body image is affected by them. It’s a memoir of Allison’s experience losing weight and how it affects her relationships and how she views herself. It’s really a love story, both for her spouse and herself.
Ooh yes! A novel! Dietland tells the story of Plum, an overweight woman just waiting until her weight loss surgery to start feeling happy with herself. Then, she meets a woman and is introduced to a society of other women who reject society’s rules and ideas of what women should look like and be. While body image isn’t all you’ll get with this one, you’re sure to start feeling okay with going against expectations of beauty yourself.
Body Outlaws: Rewriting the Rules of Beauty and Body Image
This anthology delves into the intersections of body image and race, ethnicity, gender, and sexuality. It addresses how different our world would be if women consistently defied the norms of beauty laid out for us, and honestly, it’s breathtaking.
Big Girl: How I Gave Up Dieting and Got a Life
Big Girl is a memoir based on a twenty-something’s journey of giving up the world of dieting and learning to fuel her body with food instead. Miller is absolutely hilarious, but she also drops some mad knowledge that is so relatable. Pro tip: Miller reads the audiobook, and hearing it all in her own voice is truly astounding and so empowering.
Landwhale: On Turning Insults Into Nicknames, Why Body Image Is Hard, and How Diets Can Kiss My Ass
Annnndd another amazing body image read by Jes Baker! I’ve always been a huge fan of her, but this one really hit home for me. She discusses what it was like growing up overweight, and how it’s impacted other areas of her life, such as dating. She is such a queen, and everyone can get something out of reading this.
Shrill: Notes from a Loud Woman
Sometimes, you just need someone to tell you it’s okay to take up space. We’re told to be timid, sweet, and complacent as women. Lindy West says “nah, I’ll do my own thing” in this book all Beyonce/feminist icon lovers should read.
This was written over eight years ago, and it still rings true. Sigh. However, Molinary gives us 365 days of actionable ways to begin loving and accepting yourself, inside and out. This is a good one to keep on your nightstand to read every morning during your meditation time.
Health At Every Size: The Surprising Truth About Your Weight
This book has started a movement aimed at reminding people through scientific evidence that it is possible to be healthy and traditionally deemed overweight. This book was so eye opening for me and allowed me to look at my health above everything else.