Eating Disorder Book Recommendations

ANAD’s eating disorder book recommendations are curated to educate, motivate and inspire anyone affected by an eating disorder. Many of these books are written by our board, staff, and clinical consultants. If you would like to see your eating disorder book included on this page, please contact our Digital Outreach Coordinator, Angelo Thomas at .

8 Keys to Recovery from an Eating Disorder

by Carolyn Costin and Gwen Schubert Grabb

A unique and personal look into treatment of eating disorders, written by a therapist and her former patient, now a therapist herself.

This is no ordinary book on how to overcome an eating disorder. The authors bravely share their unique stories of suffering from and eventually overcoming their own severe eating disorders. Interweaving personal narrative with the perspective of their own therapist-client relationship, their insights bring an unparalleled depth of awareness into just what it takes to successfully beat this challenging and seemingly intractable clinical issue.

For anyone who has suffered, their family and friends, and other helping professionals, this book should be by your side. With great compassion and clinical expertise, Costin and Grabb walk readers through the ins and outs of the recovery process, describing what therapy entails, clarifying the common associated emotions such as fear, guilt, and shame, and, most of all, providing motivation to seek help if you have been discouraged, resistant, or afraid. The authors bring self-disclosure to a level not yet seen in an eating disorder book and offer hope to readers that full recovery is possible.

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Not All Black Girls Know How to Eat

by Stephanie Covington Armstrong

Stephanie Covington Armstrong does not fit the stereotype of a woman with an eating disorder. She grew up poor and hungry in the inner city. Foster care, sexual abuse, and overwhelming insecurity defined her early years. But the biggest difference is her race: Stephanie is black.
In this moving first-person narrative, Armstrong describes her struggle as a black woman with a disorder consistently portrayed as a white woman’s problem. Trying to escape her selfhatred and her food obsession by never slowing down, Stephanie becomes trapped in a downward spiral. Finally, she can no longer deny that she will die if she doesn’t get help, overcome her shame, and conquer her addiction to using food as a weapon against herself.
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The Incredible Jake Parker

by Angelo Thomas

Six months ago, nineteen year-old Jake Parker was on top of the world as a platinum-selling singer, songwriter, and pop music sensation. Now, Jake faces the biggest challenge not just of his career but of his entire life – recovering from anorexia. Jake’s life, including a second album and a planned world tour, is put on hold as his world turns upside down and he’s sent to residential treatment in another state. Jake has enough on his plate with the pressure to recover and to get his life back on track, but his strength is really put to the test when word gets out about his condition and the whole world is now watching Jake’s battle against anorexia.

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The Diet Survivor’s Handbook

by Judith Matz, LCSW and Ellen Frankel, LCSW 

The best non-diet book for those looking to embrace a positive and satisfying relationship with food.

If you’re looking for diets that work, STOP RIGHT THERE. Dieting is hazardous to your health. Diets don’t work and they won’t work, and yo-yo dieting will make you fatter.

You can step off the destructive diet bandwagon and reclaim your self-esteem, positive body image and a happy, healthy life. These 60 inspiring lessons will give you the tools you need to change your relationship with food, your body and yourself.

This book can show you how to:

  • Never diet again and allow your weight to stabilize
  • Stop feeling guilty about eating the foods you love
  • Free up all that mental energy to be more productive and have more fun in life
  • Get in touch with physical hunger and learn to love your body
  • Stop stress eating, compulsive eating and emotional eating and instead practice mindful eating

Give up the vicious cycle and stop overeating.

Judith Matz and Ellen Frankel are therapists specializing in eating problems and weight issues. Each holds a Master’s degree in Social Work and has over 20 years of clinical experience in the field of eating disorders. They are the authors of Beyond a Shadow of a Diet.

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Body Kindness

by Rebecca Scritchfield

Create a healthier and happier life by treating yourself with compassion rather than shame.

Imagine a graph with two lines. One indicates happiness, the other tracks how you feel about your body. If you’re like millions of people, the lines do not intersect. But what if they did?

This practical, inspirational, and visually lively book shows you the way to a sense of well-being attained by understanding how to love, connect, and care for yourself—and that includes your mind as well as your body.

Body Kindness is based on four principles.
WHAT YOU DO: the choices you make about food, exercise, sleep, and more
HOW YOU FEEL: befriending your emotions and standing up to the unhelpful voice in your head
WHO YOU ARE: goal-setting based on your personal values
WHERE YOU BELONG: body-loving support from people and communities that help you create a meaningful life

With mind and body exercises to keep your energy spiraling up and prompts to help you identify what YOU really want and care about, Body Kindness helps you let go of things you can’t control and embrace the things you can by finding the workable, daily steps that fit you best. It’s the anti-diet book that leads to a more joyful and meaningful life.

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Good Enough

by Jen Petro-Roy

A young girl with an eating disorder must find the strength to recover in this moving middle-grade novel from Jen Petro-Roy.

Before she had an eating disorder, twelve-year-old Riley was many things: an aspiring artist, a runner, a sister, and a friend.

But now, from inside the inpatient treatment center where she’s receiving treatment for anorexia, it’s easy to forget all of that. Especially since under the influence of her eating disorder, Riley alienated her friends, abandoned her art, turned running into something harmful, and destroyed her family’s trust.

If Riley wants her life back, she has to recover. Part of her wants to get better. As she goes to therapy, makes friends in the hospital, and starts to draw again, things begin to look up.

But when her roommate starts to break the rules, triggering Riley’s old behaviors and blackmailing her into silence, Riley realizes that recovery will be even harder than she thought. She starts to think that even if she does “recover,” there’s no way she’ll stay recovered once she leaves the hospital and is faced with her dieting mom, the school bully, and her gymnastics-star sister.

Written by an eating disorder survivor and activist, Good Enough is a realistic depiction of inpatient eating disorder treatment, and a moving story about a girl who has to fight herself to survive.

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Beauty Sick

by Renee Engeln PhD

An award-winning Northwestern University psychology professor reveals how the cultural obsession with women’s appearance is an epidemic that harms women’s ability to get ahead and to live happy, meaningful lives, in this powerful, eye-opening work in the vein of Naomi Wolf, Peggy Orenstein, and Sheryl Sandberg.

Today’s young women face a bewildering set of contradictions when it comes to beauty. They don’t want to be Barbie dolls but, like generations of women before them, are told they must look like them. They’re angry about the media’s treatment of women but hungrily consume the very outlets that belittle them. They mock modern culture’s absurd beauty ideal and make videos exposing Photoshopping tricks, but feel pressured to emulate the same images they criticize by posing with a “skinny arm.” They understand that what they see isn’t real but still download apps to airbrush their selfies. Yet these same young women are fierce fighters for the issues they care about. They are ready to fight back against their beauty-sick culture and create a different world for themselves, but they need a way forward.

In Beauty Sick, Dr. Renee Engeln, whose TEDx talk on beauty sickness has received more than 250,000 views, reveals the shocking consequences of our obsession with girls’ appearance on their emotional and physical health and their wallets and ambitions, including depression, eating disorders, disruptions in cognitive processing, and lost money and time. Combining scientific studies with the voices of real women of all ages, she makes clear that to truly fulfill their potential, we must break free from cultural forces that feed destructive desires, attitudes, and words—from fat-shaming to denigrating commentary about other women. She provides inspiration and workable solutions to help girls and women overcome negative attitudes and embrace their whole selves, to transform their lives, claim the futures they deserve, and, ultimately, change their world.

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My Name is Caroline

by Caroline Adams Miller

For most of her life people thought Caroline was the girl who had it all. She grew up in a good neighborhood, went to the best schools, and was a successful competitive athlete. But, unknown to her family and friends, she also had an eating disorder that almost killed her. After marrying her college sweetheart in 1983, Caroline hit her last bottom and clawed her way back to health and happiness, using free support groups, role models and hard work to finally triumph. In 1988, fully recovered from her addiction, Caroline wrote My Name is Caroline, the first major book on bulimia recovery, at a time when treatment options and hopes for returning to wellness were nearly non-existent. This new version of My Name is Caroline, Caroline’s raw story of hitting bottom and summoning the inner resources necessary to fight her way back to health, is still as relevant today as it was 25 years ago. Eating disorders are still too prevalent, and are increasingly impacting people of all ages and genders around the world, so her story of hope and resilience provides important ingredients for anyone who needs to take that first step towards change.

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Positively Caroline

by Caroline Adams Miller

Positively Caroline: How I Beat Bulimia for Good and Found Real Happiness is one of the first books of its kind to tackle the subject of how eating disorder survivors can and do create lives of joy and health that persist past the early years of recovery. Some media reports have led people to believe that there is an “addictive personality” that careens from addiction to addiction without ever experiencing lasting wellness, but Caroline’s story is a demonstration that many people can, and do, put food into its proper perspective and then go on to handle other life challenges without sliding backwards into food abuse or turning to other addictive substances or behaviors.

Positively Caroline is the sequel to the bestselling My Name is Caroline (Doubleday 1988), which was the first major autobiography to cover recovery from bulimia, and which continues to sell well today. The book was an Alternate Selection of the Literary Guild and was reviewed in countless newspapers and magazines all over the world, and featured on television and radio programs. Tens of thousands of people say that the book helped them to have hope for themselves or someone close to them, and that it gave them the courage to speak up and get the help they needed.

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By Their Side by Lara Lyn Bell book cover

By Their Side

by Lara Lyn Bell

In the depths of illness, it can be difficult to believe recovery is possible. Overcoming an eating disorder is one of the hardest battles any of us can fight—not only for the afflicted person but also for the friends, family members, and loved ones suffering beside them, wondering how they can help. By Their Side understands. The parents, siblings, friends, doctors, psychologists, and survivors who lend their voices to this book have all witnessed the destructive power of an eating disorder firsthand. By sharing their powerful testimony, expert advice, tips, and technical knowledge, they hope to empower you to understand what your loved one is going through and how you can provide the best possible support. As you read, you may also follow along in the companion book, Working by Their Side, a workbook for guided journaling, recording observations, and compiling resources for your loved one and yourself. No matter how dark the future seems, there is hope for healing. Let By Their Side help you find the way. Learn more at bytheirsidebook.com.

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The Daily Dare for Eating Disorders

by Linda Kaye

A book to help those struggling with an eating disorder, such as anorexia or bulimia, or even other addictive illnesses. designed to provide practical help and tips for overcoming the battle. Through interactive activities and a daily dare, Linda challenges the reader to carry out a hands-on activity to help fight the voice of “Ed.” It is the perfect recovery companion, providing inspiration, compassionate, and meaningful messages to inspire and promote hope for a journey that can, at times, feel hopeless.

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Hope for Recovery book cover

Hope for Recovery

by Catherine Brown and Christina Tinker

The statistics regarding eating disorders are staggering. 30 million people in the U.S. alone suffer from eating disorders and every 62 minutes, a person dies as a direct result of an eating disorder. In fact, there is a higher mortality rate from eating disorders than from any other mental illness.

Co-editors Catherine Brown, a writer, and Christina Tinker, corporate storyteller and courage cultivator, are among the 60% of people who have recovered from eating disorders. To help others who struggle, they have co-edited and contributed to a compilation of essays by women and men who have recovered from eating disorders, including anorexia, bulimia, and binge eating disorder.

The book’s diverse essays emphasize each writer’s journey to recovery, providing hope for individuals suffering with an eating disorder and their loved ones. In addition to these highly personal, vulnerable essays, the book includes informative sections with insights from mental health professionals on topics such as how families can help loved ones affected by eating disorders and males with eating disorders.

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Starvation book cover

Starvation

by Molly Fennig

16-year-old Wes McCoy is not the favorite child. He does not have a wrestling scholarship to Stanford nor does he live up to the family legacy as an athlete, unlike his brother, Jason. But when Jason dies in a car accident on the way to the state high school wrestling championship, Wes turns to food to give him the control over his life he didn’t have before, and the kind of success he never tasted.

Told through alternating past and present chapters revolving around Jason’s death, Wes must come to terms with more than Jason’s death. There’s Caila, a defiant girl who introduces him to the painful pleasure of starving. And there’s Collin, Wes’s best friend who speaks in Shakespearean insults and with whom his relationship is irreparably damaged. But most of all, Wes must take back control from his eating disorder as he learns more about himself and the mystery surrounding Jason’s accident, before he loses his life and those closest to him.

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