15 Books That Shaped My Body Lovin’ Journey

I’ve been getting lots of questions lately on my favorite body positive books. And since there’s not much I like to talk about more than books (except yoga, of course!), I thought I’d share the list of my favs.

Here they are, in no particular order:

1. Radical Acceptance, Tara Brach

This beautiful book opened me to acceptance as a concrete thing that even I could potentially access.

2. The Gifts of Imperfection, Brene Brown

I believe many people would say that Brene Brown’s important work on shame and vulnerability has radically changed their life. I’m one of them.

3. Women, Food & God, Geneen Roth

I believe I’ve read almost all of her oeuvre, but this more recent book of hers is my fav. This book is about how our relationship to food, which we often try to piecemeal as about only one particular issue, is really about wholeness — and our desire for it.

4. Intuitive Eating, Evelyn Tribole & Elyse Resch

It’s hard to pinpoint any one book on this list as the catalyst, but if I had to choose one, this might be it. I was completely unready for it when I first read it, but I’ve been back to it many times since — learning more each time.

5. Mega Yoga, Megan Garcia

Megan’s fabulous book opened my eyes to the fact that there was at least one other person in the world besides me who was interested in practicing yoga in a curvy body.

6. Health at Every Size, Linda Bacon

Whenever anyone asks me for scientifc facts to back up the idea that self-/body-acceptance are a good idea, I point them to this book. This book is very accessible but also so packed to the gills with facts that it puts many a mind at ease.

7. Fat!So?, Marilyn Wann

Marilyn is a pioneer and radical advocate for fat acceptance. Love and admire her so — this book grew out of her beloved zines.

8. Full Catastrophe Living, John Kabat-Zinn

I read this one quite awhile ago, but it was my first introduction to a spelled-out path to mind/body connection. Blew. My. Mind.

9. Traveling Mercies, Anne Lamott

I just adore this book. I read it almost every year and always walk away inspired. I included it here because, while it’s not explicitly about body acceptance, Anne’s writing style and description of her path to self-acceptance most definitely affected my own belief that I could do it, too.

10. Yoga Mind, Body & Spirit, Donna Farhi

I love Donna Farhi’s writing about yoga, and this book of hers tops my list. It was required reading in my 200hr training and does a beautiful job of illuminating the fullness and wholeness of yoga practice — on and off the mat.

11. A Path with Heart, Jack Kornfield

Jack Kornfield’s writing and work inspires me to live mindfully and with an open heart. There’s not much more important than that when practicing body love.

12. Writing Down the Bones, Natalie Goldberg

Okay, this is a writing book, so it might not seem like it fits. But this book helped me to learn more (and, importantly, practice!) embodiment — really digging deep in order to access my true voice. No matter the context, that is an essential skill in treating your body with more kindness.

13. The Snow Leopard, Peter Matthiesen

This is another one that might seem like an odd fit. But I read this book in college, and the author’s story of taking an external journey only to find oneself is very much one that informed my worldview — especially that there is more for us to know about ourselves than we might have ever considered.

14. Yoga from the Inside Out, Christina Sell

Christina’s lovely book is all about her healing of an eating disorder through yoga. Hers is the first book like this I ever read — and remains one of few.

15. Wild Feminine, Tami Lynn Kent

This one is a recent, but important, addition. Tami’s work to help women get in touch with their body and their power has been transformative — both in my personal life and my work.

I could have added at least 50 more here, but I hope you enjoy this list — and add some of your favs in the comments!


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  • http://www.clickthegoodnews.com Amanda @ Click. The Good News

    Great list! I loved Brene’s book- got her new one on my “to be read” pile!

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  • http://about.me/vivinnewilliams Kala

    These books are all wonderful thank you it. I”m gonna check out the ones that I”m not familiar with.

  • http://eatingasapathtoyoga.wordpress.com Eating as a Path to Yoga

    Some great choices! For me it would be Intuitive Eating all the way! I’m eager to read Christina Sell’s book.

  • Anna Guest-Jelley

    Yep, they’re both awesome!!

  • Cindi

    Thanks so much for sharing your list . I have a few of the same books on my book shelves but have been introduced to Brene Brown by you from your blog and have enjoyed her books and insight on shame. I’m currently reading I thought it was just me and have reserved her newest book at our local library, I’m on the wait list. Thank you for being you I appreciate all that you are and what you represent to me. I have you as a guide and role model. take care Cindi

  • http://www.drannbeckerschutte.com Ann Becker-Schutte


    So many of these books are on my shelf too!! Now I have to check out the others.


  • Anna Guest-Jelley

    Oh, I’m so glad to hear you’re enjoying Brene’s work. I’ve read “I Thought It Was Just Me,” too, and found it so insightful.

    Thank you for your kind words — I’m honored! :)

  • Anna Guest-Jelley

    Love knowing that we have kindred bookshelves, Ann! :)

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