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Must-Read Books for Emotional Eaters: A Dietitian’s Picks

Updated: Oct 8, 2023

Medically reviewed by Serena Benali, Registered Dietitian. Published July 4, 2023

Women laying on floor in dress reading a emotional eating book covering her face

If you've ever found yourself turning to food for comfort during stressful times or seeking solace in that pint of ice cream after a tough day, you're not alone.

Emotional eating is a common struggle, but fear not – we've curated a handpicked selection of empowering books that will guide you on a transformative journey towards healing your relationship with food and finding emotional balance.

In this article we’ll go over:

Understanding Emotional Eating

The connection between emotions and food runs deep, and it can be challenging to distinguish between genuine hunger and emotional cravings.

Emotional eating is a complex and common phenomenon that many of us experience at some point in our lives. Emotional eating often leads to overeating or binge eating which can result in feelings of food-guilt and shame afterward.

Defining Emotional Eating

Emotional eating, to some degree, is a normal aspect of our relationship with food, as we all find comfort in indulging during celebrations or seeking solace when boredom strikes. Food is intricately tied to our emotions, and occasional emotional eating is a natural part of life. However, when emotional eating becomes a predominant coping mechanism and disrupts our overall well-being, it's essential to recognize and address it.

Emotional eating is a behaviour where individuals use food as a way to cope with or soothe their emotions, including responses to both negative and positive feelings. It involves seeking comfort, distraction, or reward through food during times of stress, sadness, boredom, or even happiness, which can lead to overeating and an unhealthy relationship with food.

Causes of Emotional Eating

Emotional eating can be triggered by a range of emotions and situations. Some of the most common triggers include:

  • Stress: High levels of stress and anxiety can lead to emotional eating as individuals seek comfort or distraction through food.

  • Sadness and Loneliness: Feelings of sadness or loneliness may drive people to turn to food as a source of solace or companionship.

  • Boredom: When feeling unoccupied or restless, individuals may resort to eating as a way to alleviate boredom and find temporary enjoyment.

  • Fatigue: Lack of sleep and tiredness can lead to emotional eating, as some people use food to boost their energy levels or elevate their mood.

  • Celebrations and Social Gatherings: Positive emotions and social events can also trigger emotional eating, as people may use food to celebrate or bond with others.

  • Anxiety and Uncertainty: Facing uncertainty or nervousness about the future can drive individuals to seek comfort in the familiarity and pleasure of certain foods.

  • Reward and Treat Mentality: Treating oneself with food after accomplishing a task or achieving a goal can become a habitual emotional response.

  • Negative Self-Image: Low self-esteem and body dissatisfaction can lead to emotional eating as individuals attempt to cope with negative feelings about their appearance.

  • Relationship Issues: Problems in personal relationships can trigger emotional eating as a way to cope with emotional distress.

  • Habit and Routine: For some, emotional eating can become a learned habit and a default response to various situations and emotions.

beautiful desserts including Cakes, cupcakes, brownies, coffee, tea on dinning table women's hands grabbing the food and emotionally eating

Empowering Books to End Emotional Eating

When embarking on a journey to overcome emotional eating, the road to healing can be both challenging and transformative. Fortunately, amidst this journey, books serve as powerful allies, offering invaluable insights, strategies, and tools for reclaiming control over our relationship with food and emotions.

In creating this curated list, we made it a priority to select books written by esteemed professionals in the fields of nutrition, psychology, and emotional well-being; ensuring that the insights and strategies shared are backed by evidence-based practices and expertise.

We omitted any books that promote quick-fix solutions or unsustainable approaches to emotional eating.

Self-help Emotional Eating Books

Self-help books are a great place to start and explore these powerful tools that will nourish your mind, body, and soul on your path to emotional eating recovery. Let’s delve into our dietitian picks for the best emotional eating books to help you break the cycle.

Intuitive Eating: A Revolutionary Anti-Diet Approach, 4th Edition

Written by Evelyn Tribole, MS, RDN, and Elyse Resch, MS, RDN

A powerful and compassionate roadmap to liberate individuals from the grips of emotional eating. The book's revolutionary anti-diet philosophy promotes a profound shift in mindset, encouraging readers to listen attentively to their body's innate hunger and fullness signals.

By embracing intuitive eating, individuals can break free from the restricting diet culture, build a healthy and balanced relationship with food, and find comfort and healing in moments that might have previously triggered emotional eating patterns.

The Emotional Eater's Repair Manual: A Practical Mind-Body-Spirit Guide for Putting an End to Overeating and Dieting"

Written by Julie M. Simon, MA, MBA, LMFT

Psychotherapist and life coach Julie M. Simon combines mindfulness, self-compassion, and cognitive-behavioural techniques.This empowering resource equips readers with actionable steps to address the root causes of emotional eating, fostering lasting transformation and the development of healthier coping strategies for a more balanced and fulfilling life.

This book is also included in our handpicked selection of the best food addiction books. This compelling read has earned its well-deserved spot on this list!

Eating in the Light of the Moon: How Women Can Transform Their Relationship with Food Through Myths, Metaphors, and Storytelling

Written by Anita Johnston, PhD

Psychologist Anita Johnston illuminates a unique and empowering approach to transform women's relationships with food through the power of storytelling and myths. By delving into ancient narratives, readers are guided on an emotional journey, uncovering the underlying reasons behind disordered eating habits.

Through relatable metaphors, the book offers profound insights into the complex emotions surrounding food and body image, encouraging readers to embrace healing and self-discovery for a more nurturing and balanced relationship with themselves and food.

Eating in the light of the moon book cover

End Emotional Eating: Using Dialectical Behavior Therapy Skills to Cope with Difficult Emotions and Develop a Healthy Relationship to Food

Written by Jennifer Taitz, PsyD

Clinical psychologist Jennifer Taitz guides emotional eaters on a transformative journey toward self-acceptance and healing. This book offers practical tools and strategies, including dialectical behaviour therapy (DBT), to cultivate mindfulness and resilience in the face of emotional challenges.

Through the application of DBT skills, readers gain valuable insights on how to navigate difficult emotions with mindfulness and build resilience in the face of challenges.

50 More Ways to Soothe Yourself Without Food: Mindfulness Strategies to Cope with Stress and End Emotional Eating

Written by Susan Albers, PsyD

Psychologist Susan Albers presents a collection of mindfulness-based techniques to combat emotional eating. With practical exercises and soothing strategies, readers learn healthier ways to cope with stress and emotions, promoting mindful eating and self-care.

Emotional Eating Workbooks:

Emotional eating workbooks can provide deeper insights into emotional eating behaviours and help develop effective strategies for lasting change and healing.

The Emotional Eating Workbook: A Proven-Effective, Step-by-Step Guide to End Your Battle with Food and Satisfy Your Soul

Written by Carolyn Coker Ross MD MPH

This comprehensive guide helps individuals put an end to their battle with food and find soul satisfaction. This step-by-step workbook offers practical tools, exercises, and strategies to confront emotional eating patterns, cultivate mindful eating practices, and create a healthier, more balanced relationship with food and oneself.

The Intuitive Eating Workbook: Ten Principles for Nourishing a Healthy Relationship with Food

Written by Evelyn Tribole, MS, RDN, and Elyse Resch, MS, RDN

Designed as a complementary companion to the Intuitive Eating book, this transformative workbook empowers readers to break free from emotional eating patterns and reconnect with their body's natural cues. Through practical exercises and gentle guidance, readers learn to honour their emotions, respect their hunger and fullness, and embrace pleasure in eating, fostering a sustainable and compassionate approach to food and emotional well-being.

This exceptional workbook also earned a place on the list of best binge eating books.

Intuitive Eating Workbook cover

Discover our FREE healthy relationship with food guide. This workbook unveils 3 pivotal strategies, providing the essential beginning steps to nourish a positive connection with food.

Key takeaways: Best emotional eating books

Emotional eating books offer valuable guidance on how to reset your relationship with food and break the cycle of emotional eating. With mindfulness, practice and dedication emotional eating is something you can overcome!

These books emphasize the significance of understanding causes of emotional eating, practicing mindful eating, and fostering self-compassion throughout the journey. They provide practical tools and strategies to implement in daily life, empowering individuals to develop sustainable and positive changes in their eating habits.

At In Good Nutrition, our team of dedicated dietitians are here to support you on your journey towards a healthier, happier relationship with food. With personalized guidance and practical strategies to help you overcome emotional eating and achieve your wellness goals, our registered dietitians can help you.

Book a session with our caring and compassionate dietitians today or contact us to learn more. Let’s navigate the challenges of emotional eating and pave the way towards a more fulfilling, nourishing, and joyful life.


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