If you want to be exposed to new ways of thinking then reading is important.
Books offer people of all ages a convenient way to acquire new information from a diverse range of perspectives.
One question I’m often asked over emails, at conferences and through Instagram is: “what are the best eating disorder books?”
This question doesn’t have a straightforward answer – certain books serve different purposes, so first we need to know what you’re trying to get out of your reading time.
Are you looking for a book that will help you overcome your eating disorder by yourself?
Are you a therapist looking for a book that will teach you how to better treat your clients who have eating disorders?
Are you looking for a book about the lived experience of an eating disorder?
Below, I’ve chosen and compiled 18 of the most useful eating disorder books of all time from each of these categories.
Self-Help Books For Eating Disorder Sufferers
Overcoming Binge Eating (Christopher Fairburn)
Overcoming Binge Eating is, in my opinion, the best self-help book for people struggling with binge eating. The binge eating book contains a psychoeducation component and a structured self-help component, shown to be highly effective. It’s easy to read and follow, and the self-help steps are based on solid evidence.
Getting Better Bite By Bite (Ulrike Schmidt, Janet Treasure, & June Alexander)
Another incredibly useful self-help book for people struggling with bulimia nervosa. Written by arguably two of the most influential eating disorder researchers, this step-by-step self-help book is not only grounded in evidence-based principles, but its warmth, compassion, and understanding towards people with eating disorders is something to applaud.
If Not Dieting, Then What? (Rick Kausmann)
Written be a Melbourne-based medical professional, “If Not Dieting, Then What?” takes a unique approach to helping people address disordered eating by teaching readers about the pitfalls of diet culture and how to properly engage in a sustainable pattern of eating that is guided by internal hunger and satiety cues.
The DBT Solution for Emotional Eating: A Proven Program to Break the Cycle of Bingeing and Out-of-Control Eating (Debra Safer, Sarah Adler & Phillip Mason)
If you’re looking for tools to transform your relationship with food, then this book might just be for you. Grounded in dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), this motivating guide offers a powerful pathway to change. The authors have translated their proven, state-of-the-art treatment into a compassionate self-help resource for anyone struggling with binge eating and other types of stress eating.
Skills-Based Caring for a Loved One with an Eating Disorder (Treasure, Smith & Crane).
Skills-based learning is an excellent resource that will help equip carers with the necessary skills and knowledge needed to support loved ones suffering from an eating disorder. An excellent read to understand how to address those critical barriers that stand in the way of recovery. This book brings a nice mix of empirical research and lived experience to help those fighting an eating disorder.
Eating Disorder Books for Clinicians
Cognitive Behavior Therapy and Eating Disorders (Christopher Fairburn)
This manual takes a transdiagnostic perspective to the treatment of eating disorders. It’s well-written, easy to follow, and contains practical examples for how best to help you and your clients implement the strategies that underpin CBT. Highly recommended for clinicians wanting to fine-tune their CBT skills for this population group.
Brief Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for Non-Underweight Patients (Glenn Waller, Hannah Turner, Madeleine Tatham, Victoria Mountford & Tracey Wade)
Written by a team of eating disorder experts with a wealth of experience, this book provides an evidence-based protocol that can be delivered by junior or senior practitioners, helping people with an eating disorder to recover and life a fulfilling life. This book will appeal to clinical psychologists, psychiatrists, psychotherapists, dietitians, and nurses.
A Cognitive-Interpersonal Therapy Workbook for Treating Anorexia Nervosa: The Maudsley Model (Ulrike Schmidt, Helen Startup, & Janet Treasure).
This book is based on the authors’ ground-breaking research at London’s Maudsley hospital, providing adults with anorexia nervosa and mental health professionals working alongside them with a practical resource to work through together.
Dialectical Behavior Therapy for Binge Eating and Bulimia Nervosa (Debra Safer, Christy Telch, & Eunice Chen).
This book gives practitioners a new set of tools for helping clients struggling with binge-eating disorder or bulimia nervosa. If you’re looking for case examples, practical handouts, and detailed explanation on how to implement DBT principles, then this book is worth a read.
Eating disorders in boys and men (Jason Nagata, Tiffany Brown, Stewart Murray, & Jason Lavender)
Recognizing that eating disorders often get overlooked in men, this book aims to bring together all of the latest theory, research, and treatments on eating disorders in young boys and men. If you’re wanting to learn more about how eating disorders are expressed in males, what the best treatment approaches are, and why men have traditionally been overlooked, then this book is for you. It’s written by experts who aim to bring more awareness on this important topic.
Treatment Manual for Anorexia Nervosa: A Family-Based Approach (Lock & Le Grange)
This book describes the treatment of family-based therapy (FBT), the leading psychological treatment for anorexia nervosa. Lock and Le Grange are arguably the most influential scientists in FBT, having conducted numerous studies proving this style of treatment to be effective for anorexia nervosa. Any mental health professional who works with clients who present with anorexia nervosa should have a strong understanding of the theory and techniques of FBT, and this book will help with this.
Schema Therapy for Eating Disorders Theory and Practice for Individual and Group Settings (Simpson & Smith)
For clinicians wanting to help clients address deeper personality traits, schema therapy is a suitable option to consider investing time in. There aren’t many reputable books out there to teach professionals how to implement the techniques of schema therapy, but this is one I’d highly recommend. This book draws on the latest evidence, provides clinical case examples, and reviews the theoretical foundations of schema therapy in an organized fashion. Innovative and accessible, this fresh look at the treatment of eating disorders will be an invaluable resource for clinicians in the field.
Wasted: A Memoir of Anorexia And Bulimia (Marya Hornbacher)
One of the first bibliographies I had read, Wasted is the story of a women’s long-standing battle with anorexia nervosa, and her decision to fight for recovery. This book paints an excellent picture for what living with an eating disorder is like, and the constant battles faced on a daily basis.
How To Disappear Completely (Kelsey Osgood)
Through her own decade-long battle with anorexia, which included three lengthy hospitalizations, the author describes the haunting and competitive world of inpatient facilities populated with other adolescents, some as young as ten years old.
Fat Chance (Leslea Newman)
Fat chance is an excellent book that describes the life of a young girl who fantasizes of becoming the thinnest girl at school. This fantasy quickly turns to a dark battle towards obsessively controlling her calories, foods, pounds, and bulimia nervosa.
This book takes the perspective of a mother desperately trying to help her son who is battling anorexia nervosa. This inspirational account documents how the mother watched helplessly as her son transformed into someone she didn’t recognize. It also describes how the young boy eventually recovered and re-built his life.
Thin (Grace Bown)
“Thin” is a captivating book that describes the devastating effects of experimenting with new weight loss diets. The eerie details about the lengths a young girl will go to maintain her dangerously low body weight will have you think twice about anorexia nervosa.
Struggling with binge eating? Download my free eBook, 5 Proven Steps To Breaking The Binge Eating Cycle here.
I go through five simple self-help steps that will assist you in breaking out of the binge eating cycle. These techniques are scientifically proven to be effective in breaking the binge eating cycle! In fact, research shows that nearly half of those who implement these strategies properly experience a 70% reduction in binge eating within just 4 weeks.
What’s Your Favorite Eating Disorder Book?
Did I miss any of your favourite eating disorder books in 2022?
If so, comment below telling me:
Your choice for the #1 best eating disorder book you think we should read
The name of the author.