Marcia Herrin, Ed.D., M.P.H., R.D.

Marcia Herrin Ed.D., M.P.H.,

Eating Disorders News

Body Image Books Can Help, Here Are our Favorites

Is body image still a problem for you?

Posted Oct 31, 2011

Body image problems still plague many who have recovered from an eating disorder. Books can help. We share our favorites, please share yours.

One of my "skype" patients asked me for recommendations for books to help with self-esteem and acceptance of body shape/size. I'll call her Julia. Julia feels especially stumped on how to accept her body size and shape. "Sometimes, I feel I can't stand my body if I can't be thinner," Julia told me. "I feel like I'm lying when I try to say 'positive affirmations' about my body." Below are the books I recommended to Julia. 

The Body Image Workbook: An Eight-Step Program for Learning to Like Your Looks by Thomas F. Cash is the classic. Dr. Cash's research has defined the field of body image. His workbook is a step-by-step approach based on 35 years of research. One of Cash's steps is to look at your "historical influences from the past that shaped how you came to view your body in the ways you do."

Feeling Good about the Way You Look: A Program for Overcoming Body Image Problems by Sabine Wilhelm, PhD, is another workbook that has helped my patients. Dr.Whilhelm wrote this work for people who feel they worry too much about how they look and want to do something about it.

 Live Large! Affirmations for Living the Life You Want in the Body You Already Have by Cheri K. Erdman, EdD, Dr. Erdman had put together a wonderful collection of affirmations, ideas and actions to help us accept our bodies.

 Carolyn Costin's new book 8 Keys to Recovery from an Eating Disorder has a nice section on how to stop comparing yourself to other.  Carolyn makes the powerful point that making comparisons in body shape and size is a recovery-sabotaging behavior.

Intuitive Eating: A Revolutionary Program That Works by nutritionists Evelyn Tribole, MS, RD and Elyse Resch, MS, RD, includes a good chapter on body image. One point that Evelyn and Elyse make is that learning to respect your body will let you feel better about who you are.

The Diet Survivor's Handbook: 60 Lessons in Eating, Acceptance and Self-Care by Judith Matz, LCSW and Ellen Frankel, LCSW also includes a chapter on body image. This chapter, Lessons on Acceptance, includes one of my favorite quotes: "I exist as I am, that is enough" by Walt Whitman.

The Gūrze website lists a number of other books that are good resources on body acceptance.

Let us know your recommendations for books that helped you improve your body image.

Marcia

Nutritionist Marcia Herrin and Nancy Matsumoto, co-authors of The Parent's Guide to Eating Disorders, Gūrze Books, Marcia is also author of Nutrition Counseling in the Treatment of Eating Disorders.

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