Ever since I started writing Weightless, I’ve learned so much about building a positive body image, ditching dieting, genuinely accepting myself and embracing true health.

While every day is a process, I’m light years away from where I was: deeply dissatisfied with my body, not knowing who I was, thinking thinness would make me a better and happier person and afraid of relinquishing dieting, because left to my own devices, I’d surely devour everything in sight. (Magazines love to make us think this, but it’s so far from reality.)

The more I wrote Weightless and importantly, the more I read, the more informed I became. The more tools I had to cultivate a healthier body image and become proud of myself for longer than a few minutes or a few accomplishments.

I have so many books to thank for giving me these gifts. So, today, I want to share with you just a few of the books that have had a pivotal impact on my body and self-image.

So in no particular order, here are the books that’ve inspired and helped me.

1. Beautiful You: A Daily Guide to Radical Self-Acceptance by Rosie Molinary.

This book is packed with 365 thoughtful and inspiring ideas and activities to help readers foster a positive body image, self-acceptance and self-love. What I love about it is that it’s like a little workbook that you can work through every day. Plus, Rosie seems like one of the sweetest people and her blog is just awesome!

2. Health At Every Size: The Surprising Truth About Your Weightby Linda Bacon.

Here, Linda Bacon debunks many myths about what it means to be healthy (myths such as fat kills, losing weight is the end-all-be-all for being health and dieting works, you just don’t have enough willpower). She cites a slew of scientific studies (minus the jargon), and reveals how readers can truly lead a healthy and fulfilling life. It’s seriously life-changing and life-saving!

3. Intuitive Eating: A Revolutionary Program that Works by Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch.

Eating intuitively means listening to your body’s internal cues of hunger and satiety. It’s a natural way of eating, a way that honors and respects your body; and it cultivates a healthy relationship with food and with yourself. This book presents the 10 principles of intuitive eating and provides tons of insight on the process. It’s a real eye-opener!

4. Women, Food and God by Geneen Roth.

My copy is filled with notes, scribbles and underlined passages. My head seriously hurt from nodding so much. Geneen Roth understands so intimately and so deeply the desire for thinness and the supposed magic that comes with it. She unmasks what weight loss and dieting really mean and helps readers heal and yearn for something more meaningful in their lives. It’s really a powerful read.

5. The Diet Survivors Handbook: 60 Lessons in Eating, Acceptance and Self-Careby Judith Matz & Ellen Frankel.

Judith Matz and Ellen Frankel are amazing women. And their pocket-sized Diet Survivor’s Handbook is packed with insights on dieting and activities to help you relinquish the diet mentality and take better care or yourself. I’ve referred to their book on Weightless so many times, because it’s such a valuable resource. What I also love is that both women are advocates of Health At Every Size.

6. Read My Hips: How I Learned to Love My Body, Ditch Dieting and Live Large by Kim Brittingham.

In this memoir, Kim Brittingham writes about her desire for thinness, the many years she spent dieting and despising her body and how she finally found self-acceptance and self-love. It’s a beautiful read. It’s beautifully written and it tells a very powerful and inspiring story. While it doesn’t give specific tips for improving body image, it’s filled with lessons for readers.

7. 30 Specific Strategies for Overcoming Emotional Eatingby Katie McLaughlin.

Katie used to write the fantastic blog Health for the Whole Self. (She stopped writing it in August.) Not only is her e-book well written, relatable and thoughtful, but its packed with valuable tips and tools to help readers overcome emotional eating. Katie struggled with emotional overeating, and through the help of her therapist and many other tools has been recovered for a while now. The activities are spot-on and super helpful.

The Giveaway

In November 2009, I began writing Weightless. So, this month, Weightless turns the big 2! What’s a better way to celebrate than to host a giveaway! I’m going to buy one reader a book of their choice on body image.

Just let me know in the comments the book you’d like to read, and I’ll pick the winner next Thursday. Might be one of the above or another book you’ve recently come across. Doesn’t matter. The only requirement is that it’s a book that’s body positive (of course nothing on how thin equals a fantastic life…because that’s a lie).