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Intuitive eating is essential for someone who is a chronic dieter, obsessed with losing weight, food, eating, calories, or anything related to food and body image. It’s the opposite of dieting. Did you know we’re actually born intuitive eaters? We are not bombarded with societal messages about body image and food when we’re babies. We’re later conditioned by diet culture to unlearn our natural hunger and satiety cues. However, intuitive eating challenges all we’ve been taught about food and our bodies, and it may be tricky to unlearn all of this in the beginning. That’s why in this post, I bring you a list of the best intuitive eating books that can help you on your way to healing your relationship to food and body.
Many of these books were written by fellow Registered Dietitians who are on a mission to end diet culture and promote a healthy relationship to food and body. These intuitive eating books are also available on Amazon, and many have a Kindle version as well, for more convenience. And with such a wide variety of angles covering intuitive eating, there’s one that’s sure to resonate with you! Check them out below.
The best books on intuitive eating for healing your food and body relationships
- Intuitive Eating: A Revolutionary Anti-Diet Approach, 4th Edition: This is the first anti diet book I read that set me along the path to focusing on intuitive eating and an anti diet approach to nutrition. This is the newest edition, revised in 2020, and it’s even better than the first one. For example, it removes any of the previous weight-related language and it’s much more inclusive and it’ based on further and recent scientific evidence on the benefits of intuitive eating. If you’re new to intuitive eating, this is the place to start, since it covers the 10 principles in depth, and it’ll get you started on your journey to un-do the damage caused by dieting, help you connect with and honor your body, and regain your sense of autonomy with food and eating.
- The Intuitive Eating Workbook: Ten Principles for Nourishing a Healthy Relationship with Food: This workbook is the perfect companion to Intuitive Eating and helps you put those principles to work. The worksheets and suggested exercises help you really dig down inside to figure out why you eat what/when/how you do, and it provides you with direction for next steps to take. I love that the exercises are broken down to doable steps that take you closer to ditching the diet mentality. From examining your dieting history to learning to have more self compassion, this workbook is a must have for your intuitive eating journey. As the very description states it: “You were born with all the wisdom you need for eating intuitively. This book will help you reconnect with that wisdom and ultimately change your life—one meal at a time”.
- Anti-Diet: Reclaim Your Time, Money, Well-Being, and Happiness Through Intuitive Eating: One of the best intuitive eating books out there, this was written by of my favorite anti-diet crusaders, Christy Harrison. Here, she spells out how entrenched our culture is with diet and health. Considering that as many as 80 to 95% of dieters gain back the weight they’ve lost within a period of 1-5 years, one has to wonder: why do we keep engaging in it? In Anti-Diet, Christy Harrison takes on diet culture and the multi-billion-dollar industries that profit from it, exposing all the ways it robs people of their time, money, health, and happiness. Also, check out her intuitive eating and anti diet podcast, Food Psych, for more ways to fight back against diet culture.
- The F*ck It Diet: Eating Should Be Easy: “From comedian and ex-diet junkie Caroline Dooner, an inspirational guide that will help you stop dieting, reboot your relationship with food, and regain your personal power”. This book is is not just funny, but empowering to anyone who has ever struggled with chronic dieting. Caroline Dooner discusses the inherent flaws of dieting and diet culture, and offers the counterintuitive, yet simple path to healing their physical, emotional, and mental relationship with food. She urges you to honor your appetite, listen to your hunger, and trust that your body knows what it is doing in order to achieve a healthier relationship with food. For anyone who has ever felt guilt or pain over food, weight, or their body, this is a must read.
- Just Eat It: How intuitive eating can help you get your s*t together around food: Laura Thomas asks you: “When was the last time you even asked yourself what you’d like instead of what you ‘can’ or ‘should’ eat?” She is also very direct in explaining why Intuitive Eating is really the only way to go in order to heal your relationship with yourself around food, weight and diet culture. This book also explains why our relationship with food is so messed up, what are the the principles of intuitive eating, achieving weight neutrality and practicing intuitive movement vs structured exercise. A wonderful, practical intuitive eating guide.
- Unapologetic Eating: Make Peace with Food and Transform Your Life: This book from another one of my anti-diet inspirations, Alissa Rumsey, reminds us that dieting is the problem, not us. It disconnects us from our bodies’ wisdom and holds us back from living life to the fullest. The author explains that “Using a relatable four-step approach, this book walks you through how to reconnect with your body using your relationship to food as the entry point. It provides actionable tools that you can use to confidently nourish yourself physically, mentally, and emotionally”.
- Healthy Eating for Life: An Intuitive Eating Workbook to Stop Dieting Forever: This workbook helps you to say no to diet culture, to reflect and tune in to your inner body’s signals and to master intuitive eating instead of falling into another diet trap. There are written exercises to help you form lasting healthy habits. It teaches you to break out of the diet trap of counting calories, macros, portions (ugh!), and learn to trust your own body when it comes to eating according to your real needs. This book ultimately guides you into more self-awareness as the first step to change your relationship with food.
- The Eating Instinct: Food Culture, Body Image, and Guilt in America: Virginia Sole-Smith shines a light on the fact that modern food culture has made the biological need to eat feel dangerous. And although this book doesn’t have “healthy eating” advice, it digs deep into why we feel the way we do about food, how the diet industry and diet culture at large have overridden our biological instincts about food, and what happens when that instinct is compromised. “The Eating Instinct visits kitchen tables around America to tell Sole-Smith’s own story, as well as the stories of women recovering from weight loss surgery, of people who eat only nine foods, of families with unlimited grocery budgets and those on food stamps. Every struggle is unique. But Sole-Smith shows how they’re also all products of our modern food culture. And they’re all asking the same questions: How did we learn to eat this way? Why is it so hard to feel good about food? And how can we make it better?”
- Body Kindness: Transform Your Health from the Inside Out–and Never Say Diet Again: Any book that includes the phrase “never say diet again” in its title is a winner in my…book? (sorry!). In Body Kindness, Registered Dietitian Rebecca Scritchfield uses a body neutral approach and workable, daily steps to lead you towards self love, care and connection. It includes mind and body exercises and prompts to help you identify what YOU really want and care about, not what diet culture has conditioned you to. It also has really great visuals, flow charts, cool fonts and design. Check it out!
- Gentle Nutrition: A Non-Diet Approach to Healthy Eating: Among these great intuitive eating books, Rachel Hartley’s focuses on the big picture of intuitive eating, rather than getting wrapped up in minor details that can make nutrition seem confusing or overwhelming (turning intuitive eating into another diet can unfortunately occur). This book also includes more than 50 nutritious and delicious recipes for breakfasts, main dishes, snacks, and desserts. They’re not just satisfying, but also honor the need to have a pleasurable eating experience. It also helps us honor our health without health-ism and diet culture getting in the way.
- Nourish: How to Heal Your Relationship with Food, Body, and Self: In this book, Registered Dietitian Heidi Schauster uses a 10 step healing process to transform your eating “from self-control to self-love”. She also teaches you to ditch deprivation driven eating, manage self destructive thoughts and attitudes and discover how to trust your body. Learn how you listen to your hunger and make choices based on peace with food and gentle nutrition.
- Unworthy Weight: Reclaiming Your Worth From a Number on a Scale: It’s so frustrating to live in a society that attaches numbers to your worth, particularly when those numbers come in the form of a scale. Stepping on scale is one of the main sources of distress in women. It’s also significantly related to decreases in body satisfaction and increases in weight concern and depression. This faith centered intuitive eating book “is a journey to discovering what God’s Word has to say about our bodies and food…So take a deep breath. Stop dieting. Stop searching for a number to define your worth!”
- The Mindful Eating Journal: Prompts and Practices to Restore Your Relationship with Food: This super useful book was written by a Certified Intuitive Eating counselor. It will help you practice self awareness and compassion, two powerful tools to achieving freedom around food and body. This book includes quotes to inspire reflection, and intuition and writing exercises to “help you examine hunger cues, cravings, food choices, inner dialogues, emotional responses, and other aspects of mindful eating”.
- Permission To Eat: A practical guide to working yourself out of an eating disorder during college, while celebrating the awesomeness that is you!: For anyone who’s ever struggled with the hell that’s an eating disorder (🙋🏻♀️), this book gives readers the tools to finally break free from harmful food behaviors. “After reading Permission to Eat, you’ll feel the freedom to eat at any restaurant you want, to pick up any food that looks good, to get to know yourself, and to start loving your body instead of shaming it…this book is sure to guide you toward trusting your body and taking the first steps toward long-lasting recovery”.
- Kindred Table: Intuitive Eating for Families: This is a wonderful book filled with tips for how to introduce the intuitive approach to young children and teens. Kids these days are more bombarded than ever with dangerous dieting messages, along with weight stigma that’s going rampart. This book is a must have in order to break the diet mentality and internalized body shame from the start. It also includes nutritionally balanced recipes for breakfasts, lunches, dinners, sides, desserts, and snacks that your whole family will love.
Hi! I’m Melissa, Registered Dietitian and mother of two dragons. When I’m not talking nutrition you can find me rolling around the floor with my kids, sewing, crafting, cooking or missing the 90s (seriously, music just isn’t the same). Read More…