The Best Body Image Books To Transform Your Self-Esteem Now!

This blog article is intended to inform and educate and is not a replacement for medical advice.

I use and recommend body image books to clients every day in my private practice. I rely on these books to supplement the work we do in session on improving body image and self-esteem. Reading and discussing the ideas in the books leads to remarkable shifts in how my clients relate to their body.

So, I’ve curated this list of the best body image books out there. Each book can play a role in helping you make similar breakthroughs in your thinking about your body. These books can inspire insight by expanding our thinking on the following topics:

  • the media’s influence on body image
  • body objectification and self-objectification
  • self-worth, self-respect, body respect and self-care
  • anti-fatness, weight bias and toxic diet culture
  • unrealistic and unattainable body and beauty standards
  • health as truly complex and multifaceted, rather than just weight-related

Each of these body image books offers valuable insights into embracing your body as it is, boosting your self-esteem, and breaking free from diet culture. 

Ready to get reading?

Best Body Image Books For Anyone

I regularly recommend all of these books to clients. If you take action (purchase one of them) after clicking one of the links, I may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you.

More Than A Body by Lexie and Lindsay Kite

Lexie and Lindsay Kite’s groundbreaking book, “More Than A Body,” challenges the pervasive objectification of women’s bodies in society. This empowering read goes beyond body positivity. It equips you with tools to move beyond body image struggles to build a fulfilling life. 

Using this book, you’ll finally be able to reclaim your self-worth. The authors emphasize the importance of seeing ourselves as more than bodies to be looked at and evaluated. They encourage you to see your body as “an instrument, not an ornament.”

Through practical exercises and personal stories, they show you how to navigate the conflicting world of media influences that bombard us with unrealistic beauty standards. You’ll learn tools to cultivate self-compassion and appreciate your body for all it does. This appreciation helps you develop a sense of empowerment that goes far beyond achieving a certain size or look.

This is perhaps my favorite body image book. I love how the authors intersperse reflective questions throughout the book. The reflections allow you to journal your thoughts and learning as you read along. My clients gain so much insight from doing this. I wholeheartedly recommend “More Than A Body“!

The Body Positive Journal by Virgie Tovar

Virgie Tovar is an esteemed activist in the body positivity movement. In this book, she has crafted an engaging journal for those struggling with body image issues.

The Body Positive Journal” is more than just a place to write. It’s a guided exploration of your thoughts and feelings about your body. 

Using a variety of prompts, quotes, and creative exercises, Tovar encourages you to confront negative self-talk that may be limiting your growth. Additionally, you’ll practice gratitude for your body, explore your values and what truly matters to you, and celebrate your unique beauty. 

Embody: Learning To Love Your Unique Body (and quiet that critical voice!) by Connie Sobczak

Embody” is a transformative guide that empowers you to rediscover your inherent wisdom. To that end, the book is rooted in the belief that self-love, acceptance of body size diversity, celebration of individual beauty, and intuitive self-care are essential for physical and emotional health. “Embody” serves as a beacon of hope and self-empowerment.

This book leads you through The 5 Competencies outlined in the Be Body Positive Model. These guidelines encourage you to learn self-care practices and reconnect with your body’s inner wisdom. The book is enriched with exercises, stories, and affirmations that support you in developing a peaceful and affirming relationship with your body.

Health At Every Size by Linda Bacon

In “Health At Every Size” (HAES for short), Bacon challenges the prevailing beliefs about weight, health, and dieting. The author presents compelling research that supports a weight-inclusive approach to health. They advocate for acceptance of diverse body sizes and shapes. 

At its core, HAES challenges the conventional belief that health is largely determined by a person’s weight. 

Instead, the HAES approach promotes the idea that health is a complex, multifaceted concept that extends beyond our physical dimensions. It includes social, economic, spiritual and emotional determinants of health.

Recognizing this, it emphasizes the decoupling of weight from health. The book acknowledges that people of all shapes and sizes can achieve well-being and practice health-promoting behaviors. Similarly, it recognizes the harm that dieting causes, the discrimination, and bias present in our culture, especially in healthcare settings.

Using several core principles, HAES advocates for a holistic approach that prioritizes physical, mental, social and emotional aspects of health. 

You can read more about the Health At Every Size approach in my post on the topic.

Body Respect by Linda Bacon & Lucy Aphramor

Body Respect” is a revolutionary text that challenges the mainstream narratives about health, weight, and dieting. This book is a deep dive into the science of weight and health. It debunks common myths and presents an evidence-based approach that champions body diversity.

“Body Respect” argues for a shift from weight-centric health models. Instead, the authors encourage a holistic view of health that encompasses physical, psychological, and social well-being. There are also practical chapters on eating, movement, and emotional regulation to help you cultivate self-care and self-respect.

Bacon and Aphramor advocate for compassion, self-care, and social justice. They offer these as the foundations of health, offering readers a more inclusive and empowering perspective on their bodies and health. This one is a must read for your body image journey! 

Body Image Books For Larger Bodied People

What We Don’t Talk About When We Talk About Fat by Aubrey Gordon

Aubrey Gordon is known for her insightful commentary on fat acceptance through her blog, Your Fat Friend. You’ll also love her podcast, Maintenance Phase. She extends her humor and advocacy to the pages of “What We Don’t Talk About When We Talk About Fat.” 

This book is a powerful examination of fatphobia, bias, and the societal obstacles faced by fat people. I loved how her personal experiences intertwine with research and analysis, offering a critique of how society views and treats fat bodies. 

Her call to action is clear: it’s time to challenge and change the narratives around fatness for a more inclusive and compassionate world (and I couldn’t agree more)!

The Body Is Not An Apology by Sonya Renee Taylor 

The Body Is Not an Apology” is a transformative work that invites you to embrace radical self-love. Taylor’s approach to body positivity is deeply rooted in social justice. It suggests that your personal liberation is intertwined with the liberation of others.

This book is a mix of personal anecdotes, poetic language, and actionable strategies. It inspires you to reject societal norms that shame and diminish us. 

This book is your call to arms to celebrate your body. You can reclaim your power and advocate for a world where every body is valued and respected! 

“You Just Need To Lose Weight”: An 19 Other Myths About Fat People by Aubrey Gordon

In this book, Aubrey Gordon invites us to think deeply about anti-fatness.

You Just Need to Lose Weight” explores the pervasive myths and misconceptions surrounding fatness in society. With her trademark incisive wit and unapologetic honesty, Gordon dismantles common stereotypes. She offers a nuanced perspective on body positivity and fat acceptance.

Through personal anecdotes, research-backed arguments, and cultural analysis, she challenges the damaging narratives that equate thinness with health and moral virtue.

Gordon’s book is a vital resource for individuals navigating their own relationship with body image. Not only that, it is also a call to action for societal change. Confronting prejudice head-on, she advocates for a more inclusive and compassionate understanding of bodies of all sizes. “You Just Need to Lose Weight” is essential reading for anyone interested in dismantling weight stigma and promoting true acceptance and respect for diverse bodies.

You Have The Right To Remain Fat by Virgie Tovar

This book is a bold feminist manifesto that challenges the pervasive culture of weight bias and diet culture. Tovar offers a refreshing perspective on body positivity, advocating for self-love and acceptance regardless of size. Through a blend of personal anecdotes, cultural critique, and social commentary, she dismantles the harmful myths surrounding fatness and invites readers to reclaim their bodies on their own terms.

What I personally love about this book is Tovar’s unapologetic rejection of mainstream narratives that equate thinness with worthiness and success. She eloquently argues that fatness is not a flaw to be fixed but a natural variation of human diversity deserving of respect and dignity. With humor and insight, Tovar invites readers to challenge their own biases and rethink the way they view bodies in a society obsessed with thinness.

You Have the Right to Remain Fat” is a rallying cry for body liberation and social justice. Tovar’s message is both timely and urgent, thought-provoking and relatable. You’ll feel empowered reading this one!

Body Image Books For Parents

Fat Talk: Parenting In The Age Of Diet Culture by Virginia Sole-Smith 

Virginia Sole-Smith’s “Fat Talk: Parenting In The Age of Diet Culture” provides an insightful exploration into how diet culture impacts children and families.

This book acts as a comprehensive guide for parents striving to create a body neutral home environment. She shows parents how cultural norms perpetuate harm and body shame. Then, she guides parents to fight against these norms.

Sole-Smith delves into the complexities of raising children who are confident and comfortable in their own bodies. She offers practical advice on navigating conversations about food, weight, and body image. You’ll learn how to talk openly about these topics and model healthy behaviors for your family.

This is more than just a body image book: it’s a bible for parents to handle the sticky situations that crop up with healthcare providers, school teachers, friends, coaches, and others that might cause harm to your kids’ body image.

I think you’ll especially love Sole-Smith’s scripts for handling difficult conversations about bodies with your kids or others in your life at the end of the book.

How To Raise An Intuitive Eater: Raising The Next Generation With Food And Body Confidence by Sumner Brooks and Amee Severson

Many parents I work with worry about how their own body image struggles will affect their kids. If you can relate, let this be your cue to add “How To Raise An Intuitive Eater” to your cue! This book is an invaluable guide for raising kids to be competent, healthy eaters AND have a good relationship with food and body. I use this book in session ALL. THE. TIME.

Drawing from their expertise in nutrition and child development, the authors offer a three-part framework with actionable strategies to promote intuitive eating from an early age. Emphasizing trust in your child’s body and its cues, the book advocates for a responsive approach to feeding kids and supporting their self-esteem.

This book will help you guide your kids to living their best lives in the bodies they were born to have! A must read for anyone parenting in the 21st century.

Raising Body Positive Teens by Signe Darpinian, Wendy Sterling, and Shelley Aggarwal

Raising Body Positive Teens” is a helpful resource for parents. The authors focus on navigating the complex task of fostering a positive body image in their children. This book offers practical advice on promoting healthy attitudes towards food and body among teenagers. 

This book covers crucial topics such as navigating social media, understanding the impact of diet culture, and encouraging self-esteem and resilience. So, if your teen is struggling with food and body image, this book is a fantastic parenting resource! 

The book also enables you, as parents, to actively teach your teens about a positive relationship with food. Furthermore, it can help you take preventative measures to reduce the risk of eating disorders. The authors help by identifying early red flags of disordered eating, excessive exercising, or body dissatisfaction.

Body Image Books For Teens

No Weigh by Signe Darpinian, Wendy Sterling, and Shelley Aggarwal

No Weigh” is a collaborative effort by the authors of Raising Body Positive Teens. This guide empowers teens to build a positive relationship with food, embrace their bodies, and navigate the emotional ups and downs of adolescence. 

“No Weight” is a tiny book, but it’s packed with relatable examples, interactive exercises, and straightforward advice. It aims to equip teenagers with the tools they need to reject societal pressures and cultivate a healthy self-image. 

The Intuitive Eating Workbook For Teens by Elyse Resch

The Intuitive Eating Workbook for Teens” by Elyse Resch is a valuable resource for adolescents navigating the complex terrain of body image, eating habits, and self-esteem. Resch is a renowned dietitian and co-author of “Intuitive Eating.”

Here she offers practical exercises and insights tailored to teens. The workbook takes a compassionate approach, emphasizing self-acceptance and mindfulness rather than restrictive dieting or unrealistic body ideals.

Its interactive format encourages teens to actively engage with the material and reflect on their own experiences. The workbook offers exercises and journal prompts to guide readers toward a healthier relationship with food and their bodies. From challenging societal norms to cultivating self-compassion, each chapter offers valuable tools for building resilience and self-awareness.

Overall, Resch’s compassionate tone and evidence-based guidance make this workbook an essential resource for any teen seeking to cultivate a positive relationship with food and their body.

Final Thoughts on Body Image Books

Navigating the journey toward body acceptance can be a challenging, yet transformative experience.

The books I’ve included in this blog post are more than just reading material. They are proven guides to use on your path to understanding and accepting your body.

From debunking diet culture to embracing a Health At Every Size (HAES) approach, each book offers unique insights and practical advice for a healthier relationship with your body.

Whether you’re struggling with body image issues, looking to escape the cycle of dieting, or simply seeking to deepen your appreciation for your body, these books provide knowledge, empowerment, and support. They remind us that our bodies are deserving of love and respect, just as they are!

If you need a more tailored approach in navigating your relationship with food and body image, I’m here to help. Let’s work together to create a path that honors your unique needs and celebrates your body!