I love books! I have compiled a list of books that can help you start looking at your own habits, eating patterns and self-talk in more detail from a few of my favourite authors.
This post contains affiliate links so that I can keep my blog running! I love all of these books and I am happy to share them with you!
This book by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish remains one of my favourites to this day, and is always on top of my recommendations to people. I know you’re thinking; “What does this have to do with healing my relationship with food?!”
Bear with me.
I admit, I didn’t read this to help with my relationship with food. I read it because at the time, I was (and still am) a stepmother and wanted to be able to communicate effectively with my stepchildren. But you know; I found that the ideas and lessons in this book helped me connect with my own inner child, and give her the love, understanding, empathy and connection I had been wanting – and may even have been trying to get from food.
So, of course, you don’t need to read this, but if you think you have a wounded inner child, I think you’ll find this helpful!
French Kids Eat Everything by Karen Le Billon is more about how children learn to eat, and although directed to parents – I think can help us appreciate how we may have formed some of our own tastes and preferences and maybe, to play a bit with our idea of tasting food and being mindful about it from a child like stance!
First Bite: How We Learn to Eat by Bee Wilson really helped me see how balance with food is something that is learned. Although more to do with food than healing our inner child, I think this book can help us forgive some of our odd tastes and preferences as we see how they could have been formed by so many factors as we sat around the dinner table as children.
So now we move on to books that are more to do with our grown up selves, our mindsets and our thinking habits.
Women Food and God: An Unexpected Path to Almost Everything is one of my go-to books for poetic insight into my own eating relationship. I have read pretty much all of Geneen Roth’s work and I would highly recommend her as a resource to check out for your own eating relationship. I love her flowing, soft, inspiring writing style and I find it full of gentle grace.
Willpower’s Not Enough: Understanding and Recovering from Addictions of Every Kind – by Donna Boundy and Arnold Washton. I read this one early in my healing relationship with food. I felt that it was a really fair overview of the fact that willpower isn’t really what we think it is. We need to understand the circumstances we find ourselves in, and our habits of mind to see why we eat (or behave the way we do)
Why The Chinese Don’t Count Calories – Lorraine Clissold – I read this one recently. It actually awakened a sense of excitement and inspiration around eating new flavours! I was never really on board with the idea of ‘energy’ in the body – but over the last few years I have jumped right on that energy train and believe it so so much now! And this book just shows how the ancient Chinese saw how the energy of food must be respected. I think you’ll like it, it’s really brilliant to see how a culture can embrace balance with food and apply it across a whole nation!
The Happiness Trap (Based on ACT: A revolutionary mindfulness-based programme for overcoming stress, anxiety and depression) Russ Harris. This is a really useful book on how our minds work! It teaches us to check in with dodgy thinking patterns and to evaluate; “is that really true?!”
The Disease To Please: Curing the People-Pleasing Syndrome – Harriet B. Braiker. So many people I work with feel like they are people pleasers. I find that people pleasing and unhappy food relationships go hand in hand. We stuff down what we really want to say, we find it difficult to say no and to stand up for ourselves. If you find yourself in this position and you think you can relate – check this one out.
The Gifts of Imperfection – Brene Brown. Ah Brene! She is amazing. Did you watch her Netflix programme? She is just so likeable and confident and you just feel so connected to her when you watch her. And her writing is amazing too. Out of most her books I would recommend this one. In her other ones, she does talk about ‘the data’ a lot, but I think this one is full of jaw dropping, grab the pen and notebook, realizations that just keep you connecting ideas about yourself over and over again.
13 Things Mentally Strong People/Women Don’t Do – Amy Morin. Amy is a hero. She is so strong and powerful and she has definitely earned the right to write this book. It starts off talking about tragic incidents that happened to her and her family, and how she made a commitment not to go to pieces through it all. I learned a lot in this book, it gave me a mental shake and helped to get my focus right.
You Are A Badass – Jen Sincero. I find Jen Sincero super inspiring. In her 40’s without a penny to her name and a failing rock band, she decided enough was enough. It’s a no-nonsense look at manifestation, visualization and positive thinking in Jen’s tough-girl speak. Love it. And I also love her one about money!
The Mind Monster Solution – by Hazel Gale. I listened to the audiobook of this when I was driving to the North of England to run a Eat Happy Course. Hazel is a boxer and she is a hypnotherapist. With those two skills she is aptly placed to talk about fighting self-doubt and over coming self-sabotage! She is a mental toughie with lots to teach. Found her very easy to listen to and apart from Harry Potter, is the only audio book I’ve successfully gotten on with!
That Sugar Book: This book will change the way you think about ‘healthy’ food by Damon Gameau. There is also a film of this which I’d really recommend too. On the whole, I rarely talk about nutrition and WHAT to eat. But I hold an exception when it comes to sugar. Sugar is everywhere and it can have some negative health effects, as well as mental effects. For these reasons I really believe we need to be savvy when it comes to added sugar and refined carbs. If not only for the reason that so many people I coach seem to criticize themselves for low willpower when in fact sugar has given them the munchies!
Gut: the inside story of our body’s most under-rated organ by Guilia Enders is a fun and fascinating read about our digestive system that you should really read! Why? Because if you know about something in a bit more detail, I think you find it easier to respect! Actually a really fun book.
Eating Less: Say Goodbye to Overeating by Gillian Riley is a practical approach to compulsive eating. I was a major binge eater and some of her approaches helped me a lot. Especially her time and plan idea which I modified over the years to suit me, but her one may also work for you. I would say that what helped me was a combination of SO many things. All of these books, plus therapy and mindfulness everyday. That’s why I have put everything together in my coaching so you can save a sh*t ton of time and get it all in a few sessions instead of years!
Switch: How to change things when change is hard by Chip Heath, Dan Heath. I always share a technique from this book called Action Triggers – and so I think I need to credit them here!
Radical Acceptance: Awakening the Love that Heals Fear and Shame by Tara Brach. You may have heard me talk about Radical Kindness and Acceptance – well that’s where the idea came from. Tara gave me that word and it stuck with me ever since. Not the easiest book to go through, but the idea of radical acceptance? I think that one is totally understandable.
Teach Yourself To Meditate: Over 20 simple exercises for peace, health & clarity of mind: Over 20 Exercises for Peace, Health and Clarity of Mind by Eric Harrison. A simple guide for how to meditate. There are loads out there, but I read this one and I’ve put it on my reading list just to give people some simple, bare bones ideas of how to actually DO IT!
Wherever You Go, There You Are: Mindfulness meditation for everyday life – Jon Kabat-Zinn. This is my all time favourite quote, and I got it from this book. I realized that if I was thin, or rich, or in a different country – I am always ME. So I better get on and like ME today because I’m not going anywhere! Stop wasting your life waiting for tomorrow and smaller thighs. Nothing changes. NOTHING – unless you learn to accept yourself today. This book is about HOW to sit with yourself when that’s the last thing you want to do.
So there we have it! I love reading self-help and personal development. Apart from a few novels I re-read now and again – my bedside table is always always stacked with personal development books. I will have more to add here over time. My next set of books is about manifestation and visualization. I’ll see how I get on with them – if I like them. I’ll add them here.
Happy reading – happy eating!