The 9 Books That Changed My Relationship With My Body

For longer than I care to my remember, my relationship with my body was a war of attrition. I’ve been small enough to fit into sample-size jeans and big enough to qualify for the COVID-19 vaccine based on my BMI, but the one constant that followed me up and down the scale was fear; fear that I’d gain weight, fear that I’d stop losing weight, fear that I’d get—or stay—fat, and thus, to my mind, unlovable. I knew I was being unnecessarily cruel to myself, but still, I couldn’t seem to stop.

These days, my attitude toward food, exercise, and my weight is healthier than it’s ever been, largely thanks to my recent breakup up with diet culture and focus on pursuing physical activity that actually makes me feel good; that said, I still wake up some days (okay, a lot of days) hating my body. When that happens, though, I have plenty of tools at my disposal, from therapy to running to cooking, that help me to anchor myself in the wider world. And if I’m really struggling in my ongoing quest for body peace, I tend to reach for a book.

Of course, reading isn’t a total cure-all for body dysmorphia, but in the face of societally ingrained fatphobia, it’s always helpful to be reminded that I’m far from the only person doing their best to be okay with themselves. Below, find a list of the nine books I’ve turned to—from memoirs to novels and guides—for encouragement to stop hating my body, and instead strive for self-acceptance. 

By Emma Specter, Vogue

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