5 Books to Read in Eating Disorder Recovery
There are so many amazing and inspiring eating disorder recovery books out there. I’ve listed one for each of the many phases I’ve experienced in recovery. Here are a few that really hit home for me and were key reads in my recovery.
1.“Life Without Ed” by Jenni Schaefer
I recommend this book if you need a kick start. Jenni’s book is the reason so many of us have given our eating disorders another identity — someone by the name of Ed. It’s a great book to read in the early phases of recovery — either when you’re in the admittance phase, or just starting down the road to healing.
2. “Intuitive Eating” by Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch
This book is helpful when you are having trouble believing your dietician. This is not necessarily deemed an “eating disorder recovery” book, but anyone who has been through treatment knows the end goal is to be able to just “eat intuitively,” which means to eat when your body tells you to eat, and what it tells you to eat. If that seems like a load of crap to you, please read this book. They describe in great detail why this way of eating actually works and will ultimately lead you to a healthy relationship with food.
3. “8 Keys to Recovery from an Eating Disorder” by Carolyn Costin and Gwen Schubert Grabb
If you’re already in recovery and need an extra boost of motivation, this book will not only help you understand how and why you developed an eating disorder, but it will also walk you step-by-step through the recovery process and offer effective tools and strategies for change and healing. If you’re ready and motivated to improve both the mental and physical components of your eating disorder, this is a great one to always have by your nightstand.
4. “Gaining” by Aimee Liu
This book digs a little emotionally deeper than Carolyn’s and Gwen’s book and will give you tremendous insight into the issues that may underlie your eating disorder. It’s not for the faint of heart though — at several points in the book, I had to put it down so I could process what it was uncovering about myself. But while it can be overwhelming at times, it is an amazingly powerful book. It’s was what inspired me to get back into horseback riding, which has been an instrumental part of my recovery.
5. “Decoding Anorexia” by Carrie Arnold
If you really want to understand why and learn a little brain science along the way, check out this book. I’m fascinated by brain science so this book really resonated with me and helped me understand how developing an eating disorder is related to genetics and explained why I did the things I did when I was sick. It doesn’t discount how our body-obsessed culture and/or a traumatic event might help fuel the disorder, but focuses on the way our brain is inherently wired and how starvation and restriction alters the way we think and actually changes the physical structure of the brain.
If you or someone you know is struggling with an eating disorder, you can call the National Eating Disorders Association Helpline at 1-800-931-2237.
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Thinkstock photo via MaskaRad.