Mindful, intuitive eating and/or just plain helpful books

Holy slackarse, Batman. I was digging around in the archives looking for an old post when I noticed I'd said last September that I would write a post "later in the week" about the books that had helped me with my mindful eating/living experiments.

Rather than faffing around for another eleven months I thought I'd jot down a few of them RIGHT NOW. Action woman! Kapow!

When You Eat At The Refrigerator, Pull Up A Chair: 50 Ways To Feel Thin, Gorgeous, And Happy (When You Feel Anything But) When You Eat At The Refrigerator, Pull Up A Chair by Geneen Roth

A good Gateway to Geneen book. I read her mega famous Oprah-blessed Women, Food And God but the writing style didn't gel with me as much as this one. Refrigerator consists of short essays written with humour and straight-to-the-guts-ness. There's a nice mix of insight and practical ideas. I was chuckling throughout, "Geneen you crazy cat! I do that shit too!". I went a little crazy with my yellow highlighter pen.

Memorable quotes:
"There is no right way. What works for one person may not work for another. What works at one time in your life may not work five years later. It's important to honor all the paths you've taken, the cures you've tried, the efforts you've made, and to let go of them when they stop assisting your growth."

"If you start eating when you are not physically hungry, it is very difficult to stop when you've had enough. It is like pouring water into an already full glass. There's no space for the food to fill."

Eat, Drink, and Be Mindful: How to End Your Struggle with Mindless Eating and Start Savoringfood with Intention and Joy

Eat, Drink, and Be Mindful: How to End Your Struggle with Mindless Eating and Start Savoring Food with Intention and Joy by Susan Albers

This book is a follow-up to another Albers book with an equally unwieldy subtitle, Eating Mindfully: How to End Mindless Eating and Enjoy a Balanced Relationship with Food. I skipped straight to this one as it's a workbook full of quizzes and practical exercises and I really love writing inside books. With pen! Naughty naughty.

Seriously, I enjoyed Eating Mindfully. It's practical and the exercises ask some very insightful questions. And just when you're feeling rather raw and vulnerable having learned a lot about why you go crazy with the chocolate, there are practical steps to help you move forward, from setting up your environment, mindful shopping and how to let go of old habits.

Beyond Chocolate

Beyond Chocolate: How to stop yo-yo dieting and lose weight for good by Sophie Boss & Audrey Boss

I mentioned Beyond Chocolate during the 10th Birthday Sell Out earlier this year. Here's what I said:

"… I like that Beyond Chocolate is not written by doctors or scientists. It's about two ordinary women who got fed up with dieting, worked to find a new way of eating without going bonkers, then shared their learnings with others. The book has a good balance of "the deep stuff" and practical tools and information, to make the book both useful and enlightening.

What I like most is that Beyond Chocolate stresses the importance of "being your own guru" – that you can have all the information in the world but only you know what is best for you and your body. They don't pretend to have all the answers for you, just tools and ideas to get your started on your own path. At first that can be a scary concept – especially if you've been following other people's diet rules all your life. But it's so empowering when to realise (re-realise, in my case) that you know yourself better than anyone else, and treating yourself with kindness and respect gets far better results than punishment and deprivation."


Feed Me!: Writers Dish About Food, Eating, Weight, and Body Image edited by Harriet Brown

This collection of essays offers a great variety of perspectives – women of diverse sizes, cultures, backgrounds and ages. There's some fantastic raw and honest writing; I particularly liked the essays by Wendy McClureKate Harding and Joyce Maynard – you can read her essay Pie online. The book left me thinking, Dang, we all got issues. That might sound a depressing thought but it was kinda reassuring and I felt more peace and perspective on my own body image niggles. Thanks again Nikki for kindly sending this book!

The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You're Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You're Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are by Brene Brown

Brené Brown is a research professor who has spent the past ten years studying vulnerability, courage, authenticity, and shame. I'd watched her TED talk (a great place to start to see what Brené is all about) but I didn't order the book until Jen of Perfect in Our Imperfections wrote about it. Jen is my personal barometer of good things, you see 🙂

It took me three months to finish the book. At first I thought, "I'm cool with me these days, I don't feel unworthy and I'm no perfectionist!". But one phrase in the book kept singing out: hustling for worthiness. To quote from her DVD of the same title: "If we spend a lifetime trying to distance ourselves from the parts of our lives that don’t fit with who we think we’re supposed to be, we stand outside of our story and have to hustle for our worthiness by constantly performing, perfecting, pleasing, and proving."

The Four P's of the human doormat! Anyway… I think I'm still digesting this book, but parts of it really resonated. I've since noticed since that so many times when I reach for food it's triggered from uncomfortable feelings of shame or unworthiness. It's been very helpful to recognise that. Interesting stuff!

So there's a wee sample of books that have got my rusty brain cogs working! Note: As always the book links are Amazon.com affiliate links. I make a small commission from any sales made via the links. As a non-US resident I am rewarded in Amazon.com gift vouchers, and have use them to support my workout DVD and almond butter habits. A huge thanks to everyone who has purchased via these links over the years 🙂

18 thoughts on “Mindful, intuitive eating and/or just plain helpful books

  1. I have just written a post where I have inaugurated myself as my own high priest of my own eating cult. My turf, my rules I declared. I clearly must read Beyond Chocolate.

  2. I just found your website and am so excited to read through your archives/book/look at the links you recommend etc.

    I am only just starting on my own weight loss journey, and I couldn’t have asked for better inspiration in “diet girl.” Thank you for sharing your story.

    Looking forward to devouring your writing!

  3. That is so funny you love to write in books with pen. I am the exact opposite; I xerox the pages with the quizzes on them and fill those out. In pencil 🙂

  4. Wow, thanks for the list! This was really helpful. I have been wanting to read some smart weight loss books (I’ve read a few about intuitive/”relaxed” weight loss in Finnish) but I haven’t really found any, and it never occured to me I could read some in English even though I read novels in English… Heh. I will definitely get to know some of those books! Thanks a lot! 🙂

  5. they sound so great and of course if you recommend them then they are on my must-read list! that last one in particular sounds brilliant

  6. I felt the same way about Women, Food and God. But I quite like Overcoming Emotional Eating. Must read your recommended Geneen book too now.

    Thank goodness for Book Depository, or I’d be broke…

    Hugs to you, Girlie – hope you’re trundling along happily! 🙂

  7. IT is good that you get commissions from amazon for your almond butter and DVD habits, otherwise you would be robbing little old ladies. 🙂

  8. Nooooooooo! I’ve only just decluttered my bookshelves and been quite ruthless in clearing out as much as I could, and your timing sucks! NOW I MUST BUY BOOKS.

  9. I have been working through the mindful eating books too Shauna so it’s interesting to hear your thoughts. I’ve just done some training in using mindfulness to help people with weight loss and other eating issues so I’ve been immersing myself in the subject and the books.

    I enjoyed Susan Albers Eat Drink and be Mindful but couldn’t get past the whole writing in the book thing (I know, I need to learn to let my hair down). Her 50 Ways to Soothe Yourself Without Food is a lovely little thing too, but I think my favourite mindful eating books so far are Jan Chozen Bays Mindful Eating (great writing) and Michelle May’s Eat What You Love, Love What You Eat (very practical).

    I’ve still got a few more to read though so I reserve the right to change my mind completely at any later date!

  10. Ladies, this is exactly why I bought my kindle. It was either that or another bookshelf…. 🙂

  11. I just watched the Brene Brown TED talk.. wow, some interesting stuff. The only problem I have with these kind of things is that it seems so ephemeral… I loved her concept and I would love to follow her advice, but, “embrace gratitude and lean into joy”.. what does that MEAN? Practically speaking?

  12. After reading beyond chocolate i gained 20kg lol not sure that was their intention. Then i read ‘Overcoming Overeating: Conquer Your Obsession With Food’ which started me on tracking mouth hunger & stomach hunger which was very helpful but i was still having uncontrollable cravings which brought me to ‘why do you overeat’ by zoe harcombe, helped in identifying with intolerances then to a book which i mostly found utter drivel called thin commandments but had 1 very, very helpful phrase which made me go DING and that was ‘it’s time to have an adult relationship with food’ and it went on how overeaters are immature when it comes to food and only children believe they can have their cake and eat it too blahblah. It was strange because the ‘why do you overeat’ had the same thing in it only worded differently. It’s time to have an adult relationship with your food. Then I read Dukan diet right after which said the exact same thing. It was extremely creepy but yeah, I GOT THE MESSAGE DIET GODS. I still have tantrums now and again because I can’t have a sandwich or cookies (wheat & sugar) but I’d really rather be fit and not controlled by food so *happydance* lol

  13. Gabby, YES! I think that is why it took me three months to read the book and why Women, Food and Good didn't resonate with me. I can't really wrap my head around phrases like that!

    CatNL – that sounds really positive stuff! I REALLY like that "adult relationship with food" phrase!

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