Beyond Body Positivity: Memoirs of the Body

Learning to accept your body can be isolating if those around you are not on the same page. You may have family members who obsessively talk about their latest diet, coworkers who go on and on about how much “bad” food they ate last weekend, or friends who constantly put themselves down and expect you to join in on the self-deprecation.

When you feel like you have no one to share your self-acceptance journey with, memoirs are a great resource to turn to. By learning about others’ lived experiences, you realize you’re not alone in your struggle. Some of these authors may have overcome body shame, disordered eating, or size discrimination. Others may still be figuring it out just like you are. Either way, I hope these personal accounts can educate, inspire, and comfort you while you are making peace with your relationship to food and your body.

As a warning, some of these books include depictions of disordered eating and assault. Feel free to contact me for help in determining which triggering passages you may want to avoid.

Memoirs of the Body

Hilliard tackles society’s unattainable beauty standards while relating back to her own experiences with negative body image and racism. Her personal journey is authentic and funny, and she shows that you can focus on your health without obsessing over your body size.

Comedian Sophie Hagan loves her body and isn’t afraid to take up space. Her conversational style makes it seem like you’re meeting your smart, funny, activist friend for a cup of coffee.

Stand-up comedian and writer Guy Branum shares his struggles with being different in a small town and succeeding in Hollywood as a gay man in a large body.

Hijabi social media influencer, author and plus-size model recounts her tumultuous life as a black, Muslim woman in a world that wants to silence her.

Baker hilariously takes you through her own journey to body-positivity and makes a convincing case for changing the world by loving yourself. If you enjoy Baker’s snarky tone, you’ll love her follow-up book Landwhale.

Author Kelsey Miller, creator of Refinery29’s The Anti-Diet Project, shares her honest journey from body-obsessed to intuitive eater. This is a great read for those who could use support with intuitive eating and joyful movement.

Tressie McMillan Cottom’s essay collection examines what it means to be thick—whether it’s a “thick” body or a stubborn, opinionated mind. She brilliantly takes apart problematic beauty standards, white supremacy, objectification and more.

Funny, relatable, and honest, West goes from being insecure and shy to an accidental activist for the equal treatment of women and fat people. It’s also the basis for the hit Hulu TV show Shrill starring SNL alum Aidy Bryant .

Plus-sized blogger Stephanie Yeboah was bullied for her size as a child and objectified by men when she entered the dating world as an adult. Through determination and self-love, she has figured out how to live her life without shame.

This essay collection covers it all—body image, love, sexuality, fashion, and living fabulously at any size.

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