Medically reviewed by Serena Benali, Registered Dietitian.
Are you ready to find freedom from your binge eating…no more feeling out of control, no more sense of shame and guilt?
If you are struggling with binge eating, you are not alone. This is a very common problem that can be difficult to overcome...and even harder to talk about. But did you know that about 1 in 50 people in Canada suffer from binge eating disorders (1)? You may very well have people in your network who are also struggling and not even realize it.
Getting started on the road to recovery can feel overwhelming. Fortunately, there are resources available to help you on the journey to recovery, books being a great place to start.
In this blog post, we recommend nine books that can help you begin the healing process. These books have been written by experts in the field of binge eating and food addiction, including psychotherapists and registered dietitians as well as people who are sharing their own experiences healing from binge eating disorders.
What books did we skip? Any binge eating book that was not written by an expert or any that were advocating for weight loss. This is not helpful for anyone on the road to recovery from bingeing.
This library of books offers valuable advice and support. We hope that you find these books helpful!
And if you’re here because you’ve just had a binge, I offer some tips and compassion to feel better right now: What To Do After a Binge: 9 Proven Ways to Break the Binge Eating Cycle.
Self-help binge-eating books
Self-help books are a great place to start. Remember, binge eating is not a personal failure on your part, it can be caused by a cocktail of factors including restrictive dieting and psychological factors (2). These books can help you to understand the underlying nature of binge eating and why you feel so out of control around food.
And the best part: they offer hope and guidance for recovery.
I Can't Stop Eating: How To Break Free From The Cycle Of Bingeing
Written in 2020 by Sarah Dosanjh
Sarah Dosanjh writes this book both as an expert (she is a psychotherapist) but also as someone who has been in the trenches of her own disordered eating…and won.
In this book, Sarah teaches you how to control your appetite to avoid out-of-control bingeing, improve your body image, and use your intentions for good.
4th edition updated in 2020 by Evelyn Tribole, MS, RDN, and Elyse Resch, MS, RDN
Intuitive Eating, now in its 4th edition, is a well-known and well-respected book that is of value to both clinicians and everyday people alike.
Intuitive Eating is the idea of building trust with your own body and letting go of restrictions, diets, and the “food police”. This can be far easier said than done, but the research supports eating in this way (3).
BTW: check out the accompanying Intuitive Eating workbook later in this article.
Getting Better Bite by Bite: A Survival Kit for Sufferers of Bulimia Nervosa and Binge Eating Disorders
2nd edition updated in 2015 by Ulrike Schmidt, Janet Treasure, and June Alexander
This book is written by a powerful trio: two world-renowned researchers and someone who has been through disordered eating and is now in recovery. This book is based on twenty years of research and is now in its second edition; updated with recent research.
Gentle Nutrition (A Non-Diet Approach to Healthy Eating)
Written in 2021 by Rachael Hartley, RD
It is common for people with binge eating disorders to swing like a pendulum from feast to famine, binge eating all foods to restricting to only “healthy” foods…and back again.
True health is being able to enjoy a variety of foods, without restriction or guilt. In Gentle Nutrition, dietitian Rachael Hartley helps you to develop the ability to eat with flexibility. This book helps you to learn how to take care of your body, without a restrictive diet.
More Than A Body: Your Body Is an Instrument, Not an Ornament
Written in 2020 by Lindsay Kite, PhD and Lexie Kite, PhD
In a world that values beauty, it is easy to believe that happiness, health, and love are unattainable without it. Lindsay and Lexie Kite—PhDs and creators of the non-profit Beauty Redefined (and also twin sisters!)—offer an alternative vision in this book.
With insights drawn from their vast body image study, Lindsay and Lexie show the way to gain skills to connect with yourself and shed society's belief that your worth only lies in how you look.
Binge-eating books to help others
Maybe you need guidance on better supporting someone you love as they work through their binge-eating disorder? Here we have a recommendation to support friends and family members.
When Your Teen Has an Eating Disorder: Practical Strategies to Help Your Teen Recover from Anorexia, Bulimia, and Binge Eating
Written in 2018 by Lauren Muhlheim PsyD and Laura Collins Lyster-Mensh
You may feel powerless, concerned, or unsure about how to help your teenager on the road to healing if your child is struggling with anorexia, bulimia, or bingeing. It’s overwhelming for both of you! This guide is based on evidence-based techniques and will give you the confidence you need to assist your teen in making healthy decisions and recovering physically.
As you educate yourself on binge eating disorder, the next section will also be useful: memoirs written by those who have already been through it and are now on the other side.
It can be hard to understand what it is like to have binge eating disorder if you haven’t experienced it firsthand; the memoirs help you to get more familiar with the feelings of overwhelm, guilt, and shame.
Autobiographical binge-eating books
Sometimes it can be comforting to know that you’re not the only person in the world struggling with something. Memoirs and autobiographical accounts offer you compassion and connection as you read through their stories. Not only can their healing offer you inspiration and encouragement, but they can also offer you hope for your own recovery.
Brain over Binge: Why I Was Bulimic, Why Conventional Therapy Didn't Work, and How I Recovered for Good
Written in 2022 by Kathryn Hansen
It isn’t about the food.
In this memoir, Kathryn details her own experiences with disordered eating and then explains her unusual technique for recovery. She also offers an alternative viewpoint on the field of eating disorder publications to assist others in crisis.
Kathryn didn’t find help with conventional therapy and explains how she was able to recover, working with her brain, not against it.
Binge eating workbooks
To make this next step, from intellectually understanding something to taking action , requires you to explore your own emotional connection to food and eating with workbooks. Workbooks are a way to gain new insights and actively use your new tools. So grab your pencil and get ready to take action because we've got two workbook options to consider!
The Mindful Eating Workbook: Simple Mindfulness Practices to Nurture a Healthy Relationship with Food
Written in 2018 by Vincci Tsui RD
Eating mindlessly is easy; learning to eat mindfully takes effort. If you’ve ever felt defeated by your binge eating habits, this workbook will help.
The Mindful Eating Workbook provides practical, mindfulness-based techniques and exercises for adopting a mindful eating habit and nurturing a healthy relationship with food. This mindful eating workbook combines reflective exercises and strategies to help you reconnect with your body and your needs in practice.
The Intuitive Eating Workbook: Ten Principles for Nourishing a Healthy Relationship with Food
Written in 2017 by Evelyn Tribole, MS, RDN, and Elyse Resch, MS, RDN
The Intuitive Eating Workbook shows you how to interpret your body's natural hunger signs in order to have a better understanding of when you're hungry and when you're full. The mindful approach in this workbook encourages you to give up unhealthy weight-loss tactics, build a positive body image, and—most significantly—stop feeling unhappy about food!
This journal is meant to accompany the Intuitive Eating book listed above by the same authors.
Key takeaways: best binge-eating books
Binge eating disorder is common, grueling, but treatable. You are not alone. If you’re struggling with binge eating disorder, a book or two is a great place to start learning about the root causes of this eating disorder for yourself and to begin the exploration of what it will take to heal.
As a registered dietitian who also has personal experience with binge eating, I know that it can feel scary and vulnerable to ask for help. It is so important to work with practitioners who gets it and with whom you have a good connection.
I invite you to join my 5-Day Challenge to Break Up with Binge Eating. With a tangible workbook, created by an expert, you’ll be able to go beyond reading and begin taking action. With my ebook, I'll be by your side to guide you as you take the beginning steps in finding binge freedom. Not only will you get a sense of who I am as a dietitian and how I help my clients, but you'll also discover new tools to help you on the road to recovery.