Beyond Body Positivity: Beginning Your Journey to Body Acceptance and Food Freedom

Lizzo is topping the music charts. 

Hunter McGrady is the first plus-sized model in Sports Illustrated’s Swimsuit Edition. 

Dove soap is urging everyone to embrace their #RealBeauty.

It seems like everywhere you look, people are telling you to love your body! However, it might seem impossible to jump on the body positivity bandwagon when you are in a constant battle with your body image. 

The good news is that you don’t have to be a supermodel or pop star to start accepting yourself the way that you are. BPL has great resources to help you begin your own unique journey to body acceptance. None of these resources will ever make you feel shamed for who you are, what you look like, what you eat, or how you choose to move your body. 

There are two main books that those in the body acceptance movement trust—Health at Every Size and Intuitive Eating. 

These two books changed my life! The concepts made sense to me, and I was finally able to stop being so fixated on my negative body image and food anxieties.

Health At Every Size by Linda Bacon, PhD                      

Health At Every Size© (HAES©) is the concept that everyone has a right to pursue health, no matter what your body size is.  Dr. Linda Bacon shows that by adopting healthy habits such as joyful movement, eating mindfully, and lowering stress levels, one can become healthier – no weight-loss required! HAES also has its own nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing size acceptance.

Intuitive Eating by Elyse Resch, MS, RDN and Evelyn Tribole, MS, RDN                   

Oftentimes people struggle with their relationship to food as well as their bodies. Intuitive Eating provides 10 principles to help you tune into your innate hunger and fullness cues that everyone is born with. This is not a diet book! You won’t find any guarantees of weight loss, but you will find an easy to understand guide to forming a new, relaxed relationship with food. There's even a workbook (The Intuitive Eating Workbook) to help you along your journey. 

Here are eight more great body acceptance books to get you started!

Inspiring Body Positive Books

List created by swmahon

Crabbe is one of the most well-known body positive influencers today. She delivers an inspirational read filled with personal testimony that is sure to add fuel to your own body acceptance fire.

Dooner gives a funny, irreverent look into why diets don’t work and how you can regain your self-worth through ditching them.

From fashion to Intuitive Eating, these experienced bloggers address it all. Great read if you're not offended by the f-bomb!

Harrison provides a scathing critique of diet-culture delivered in a heavily research, evidence-based package, all while guiding you through the principles of Intuitive Eating.

Innanen will have you feeling powerful as she helps you smash your scale and realize that your body size does not dictate your worth.

Colorful and interactive, this book was especially helpful in my own recovery. Scritchfield urges you to treat yourself with compassion rather than body-shaming and dieting.

Embody is a wonderful foundational book to help you live your daily life with intention. It helps you discover self-care that works for you, so you can free yourself from weight and body obsession.

This book is a thought-provoking call to arms that teaches you to break free of body-shame through what Taylor calls radical self-love. It was an indispensable part of my journey to loving myself. We all deserve acceptance and love just as we are at this very moment. When everyone believes this, the world can be a tolerant and compassionate place.

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Check out these nonprofit organizations

Beauty Redefined, opens a new window

Twin sisters Lindsay and Lexie Kite, PhD formed this educational organization to show women and girls everywhere that they are more than just their bodies. Their powerful slogan is “Your body is an instrument, not an ornament”. Check out Lindsay's TedEx Talk, opens a new window titled “Body Positivity or Body Obsession? Learning to See More & Be More”. The talk has been viewed over 190,000 times!

The Body Positive

This nonprofit is a resource for individuals, treatment providers, educators, and activists alike. Their "Be Positive Model" teaches basic skills to live your daily life with self-love and mindfulness. It's also the companion organization to their book Embody.

I Weigh, opens a new window

The Good Place actress Jameela Jamil founded this community to combat shame and promote acceptance for all walks of life. Her own experience with an eating disorder inspired the idea that you "weigh" more than just a number on a scale. You are the "weight" of all your wonderful qualities, not what your body size is.

Podcasts to help you along your journey

It’s hard to make peace with food and your body all by yourself!  Listening to these podcasts is like catching up with your virtual, body positive best friends. They can provide encouragement when your journey gets tough. Many of these podcasts are companions to books listed above.

Being stuck in quarantine can be especially triggering for those of us with body and food issues. Be gentle with yourself! Remember, learning to accept your body is a journey, not a destination.

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