I do not put anything on my resources list EVER that I have not read, seen, listened to or participated in myself! This means that there might be some obviously missing resources here. I'm doing my best to get as much in as I can so that I can share more recommendations with you!
None of the resources below are a substitute for professional help. If you are struggling with disordered eating and the serious consequences that can arise from body image issues, please seek counseling in the form of a HAES registered therapist and/or Intuitive Eating counselor.
Also: As I've made this list I've become hyper-aware of how white and able-bodied it is. I also don't see older women or trans women represented here. Please know that I am working on this! In the meantime, if you have a suggestion for a specific resource, please feel free to pass it on to me. That would be so appreciated.
Health At Every Size, by Lindo (formerly Linda) Bacon If you have primarily heard of Body Liberation, Body Positivity, Health At Every Size or Intuitive Eating on social media in the form of memes, posts, and tweets, you are going to need some substance to fully understand where all of this comes from and why. THIS is the answer. The research in this book provides substantial evidence that Dieting is quite simply, UNHEALTHY and that Diet Culture has co-opted the "health" (mainstream medicine, nutrition, fitness, and "wellness") industry. READ THIS and take notes if you want to be able to stand your ground when everyone around you starts saying, "oh you're just not dieting anymore so you can eat pizza and donuts all the time and never work out!"
Intuitive Eating, by Evelyn Tribole & Elyse Resch This book has perhaps the MOST unfortunate cover I have ever seen. It looks full-on like a typical diet book. My suspicion is that when going to print, the publishers needed a way to sell the thing and promising a "program that works" with a picture of the two thin authors on the front was the way to get the job done. Get over it. This book actually contains invaluable information for anyone attempting to leave Dieting behind forever. Where Health At Every Size gives you the WHY, Intuitive Eating takes you a very long way to the HOW. There is also, a follow-up Intuitive Eating Workbook that walks you right through the intellectual gymnastics it will take to leave Diet Culture behind and begin to know your own body and mind again. Many people become intuitive eaters on their own. If you have an eating disorder or have been Dieting for many years, I highly recommend finding an Intuitive Eating Facilitator or Counselor to work with while you're on this journey.
Body Kindness, by Rebecca Scritchfield This beautiful and easily digestible book brings a lot of the concepts from Health At Every Size and Intuitive Eating under one pretty little roof. Breaking all the ideas up into bite-size pieces, Scritchfield takes some of the intimidating and overwhelming feeling of leaving Diet Culture behind away without sacrificing too much depth. While not QUITE as science-y as those first two, Scritchfield's voice is incredibly friendly and joyful and this book provides simple coaching through many of the most important concepts to leaving Diet Culture behind forever. This might be a good ease-in place for anyone totally knew to the concepts of Body LIberation, Body Positivity, or Intuitive Eating.
Body Respect, by Linda Bacon & Lucy Aphramor This is Bacon's more recent follow-up to Health at Every Size and contains many of the same key insights with updated research aa well as Aphramour's saucy insights. If you find that you love the arsenal of information you have built by reading the first book, this is a great addition to strengthen your resolve and understanding of exactly what's at stake when an entire culture confuses thinness with "health."
Self Compassion by Kristin Neff & The Gifts of Imperfection by Brene Brown Neither of these books are about Body Liberation or Body Positivity but they lay a great deal of the foundational work for understanding how shame, vulnerability, compassion and resilience work in our lives. This may actually be a better place to start (or pre-start) than any of the Body Liberation or Body Positivity books if you feel you are still mired in shame regarding your own body, its desire and its needs. NOW, please keep in mind that while these authors are talking generally about the need to rid ourselves of shame and feel more self-compassion, they are both also very much still steeped in Diet Culture themselves (at least in these books) so if you are at the stage where you are feeling triggered by the mention of "obesity" and the need to "stick to a diet," you might want to steer clear of these books. And, if you do choose to read them, at least read the sections where these authors allow their fatphobia to shine through with a grain of salt. These books do have the potential to be extremely valuable to your journey if you are able to give these authors a little grace, take what you can from them, and leave what doesn't work for you.
Women, Food & Godby Geneen Roth Okay, here's the deal: what most RDs and helping professionals know about "compulsive overeating" NOW is that it mostly becomes a habit in response to chronic deprivation so... "compulsive overeating" isn't so much a diagnosis or disorder as it is the body's response to starvation. Most of Geneen Roth's work is centered in healing the desire to compulsively overeat and so it still smacks of Diet Culture a bit too much for most Body Liberation professionals' tastes. However, Roth has done some in-depth and long-term work in studying the way women relate to their bodies and food so I'm not a fan of throwing the baby out with the bathwater on this one. This should not be the beginning or end for anyone but it certainly is worth a stop and a consider -- particularly if you are at the stage where you can handle a little Diet Culture bias without being triggered back into Dieting.
Things No One Will Tell Fat Girls by Jes Baker Jes Baker's writing is hilarious and badass and heartbreaking. If you want a knowledgable, whip-smart take on Body Liberation that is also fun to read, START HERE. If you are less interested in the hard science of Bacon's Health at Every Size and Tribole and Resch's Intuitive Eating and would prefer to spend some time with a voice that sounds like one of your best girlfriend's chatting with you over some drinks, START HERE. Don't get me wrong, there are some hard-hitting facts and history delivered in this book that will school you but even this is done in such an entertaining voice, you'll hardly even notice how much your learning and growing until you're all done with the book, look back out onto the culture and realize Jes Baker just changed your whole life.
The Body Is Not An Apology by Sonya Renee Taylor THIS book is for those who are ready to start to understand how their Body Liberation is tied up with every Body's Liberation all over this world. This book is for those who are ready to think beyond their own self-compassion, their own self-esteem, their own self-love and begin to wrap their minds around what Taylor calls a "radical self love" that moves out beyond the self and acknowledges the larger political and social implications of the Body Liberation movement. If you're just starting out, the vastness of Taylor's proposal can seem overwhelming but if just one of all of these books on this list could be required reading in every school all over the world, I'd choose this one. I believe Taylor wholeheartedly that true self-love just isn't real until it is "radical." We will never accept or love our own bodies until we can make space for every single (and singular) body. Please make this book part of your journey, when you are ready.
Summer Innanen's Fearless Rebelle Radio I have a soft spot for Summer Innanen's work because she was the first voice I ever heard talking about Body Positivity. I had absolutely no idea who this crazy person was trying to get me to believe that I should stop Dieting. While listening to the first chapter of her audio book, I actually pressed "stop," laughed hysterically and said, "this woman's nuts!" then didn't go back to finish the book for a good six months! When I was finally ready, Summer's voice finally got through and I started to understand what she meant by Diet Culture and how deeply I had internalized all of its messages and expectations. If you listen to this podcast, I HIGHLY recommend starting with Episode #106: "50 Reasons to Divorce Diet Culture." Summer seems to work very hard to have a wide variety of relevant, well-established and up-and-coming voices in the arena of Body Liberation. I have discovered SO MANY of the other author's and works listed on this resources page through her podcast!
Rebecca Scritchfield's Body Kindness Scritchfield's podcast, like her book, is friendly, knowledgable and enlightening. Like Innanen's, her guest's perspectives range from highly personal to highly clinical. I always appreciate these new and/or validating perspectives. This podcast always leaves me with plenty of food for thought and is a great resource for just amassing more and more information regarding the necessity of leaving Diet Culture behind us forever.
Christy Harrison's Food Psych Podcast Harrison's work is very Eating Disorder centered and so it often feels more clinical to me than the others though she has very similar guests to Innanen and Scritchfield. I have learned a lot from her opening segment where she answers one question in detail, that was posed to her through the previous week in her facebook community. Harrison is thorough in her treatment of the various topics that come up on her show. Her voice was the first I ever heard mention the term "thin privilege".
Chris Sandel's Real Health Radio Hey! What do you know!? There's men working in Body Liberation too! Chris Sandel works as an Eating Disorder Recovery and Anti-Dieting Coach. His episodes often revolve around various studies related to these concepts but he also does the interviewing of other experts that all the other podcaster's listed here do. I found his interview with Scott Abel (ANOTHER man working in Body Liberation!) -- which is episode #002 -- to be one of the most enlightening talks about the fitness industry that I've ever heard.
Films & TV Shows
Embrace, a documentary film, by Taryn Brumfitt of Body Image Movement as of the publication date of this page, March 2019, this film is available on Netflix in the U.S.. Watch it immediately. I wish I had seen this film when I was at the beginning of my Body Liberation journey. At that time, it was showing in select theaters through public and semi-private screenings set up through some independent film screening company. None of them ever fit my schedule. And having just watched it, I have to say that I'm a fan. But, being a bit further along in my journey now, it was less eye-opening for me and more validating of what I've already learned. I think it has the potential to be eye-opening for people who are totally new to these concepts. I do think, as a serious documentary, too, that it's a little less in-depth and thoughtful than I would have preferred. There is an obvious attempt made to get a wide diversity of bodies shown and a wide diversity of voices heard but I think the film falls just a bit short here. I think it's probably very easy for a white woman living in an averaged-sized body to feel deeply moved by this film. But I'm not sure it would speak to everyone. STILL, Taryn Brumfitt did someone no one else was doing at the time. Taryn Brumfitt had the nerve to say something most people didn't (and still don't) want to hear -- that loving your ONE unique body is far more important than manipulating that body into submission until it painfully becomes the "beauty" everyone expects it to be. This film is worth watching and opening yourself up to and Brumfitt has a clear and necessary message that more people (women especially) need to hear!
I Feel Pretty, a feature film, by Amy Schumer Oh Lord! The Body Liberation police are going to be out to get me for putting this on the list, I know. This movie has basically been railroaded out of the scene for being too white, too thin, too clueless about the plight of people of actual size (not size 6's and 8's like Schumer who are just "hollywood-fat") but you know what? I don't care. I've NEVER seen another film capture the body hatred some women feel SO deeply when they look in the mirror at their naked bodies -- WITH NO WORDS AT ALL. For this one 5-second shot alone, I would put this film on this list. I also do LOVE that this movie brought the conversation about Body Positivity into the MAIN mainstream and I kind of think it's internalized patriarchal, misogynist bullshit that so many women were so quick to dismiss Schumer's groundbreaking work. Did it break enough ground? Probably not. But how much do you expect one woman to do on her own, people? It's for others to come after her -- AND THEY ARE!!! -- to keep breaking! As to the critique that this movie makes "getting over" body hatred look easy... well... it's a PG-13 rated Rom-Com written and directed by a stand-up comedian, it's not going to be a true-to-life drama, friends. Anyone who thinks that ANY Rom-Com is representative of "real life" might want to get that checked out.
Shrill, a Hulu original STOP WHAT YOU ARE DOING RIGHT NOW AND WATCH THE FIRST EPISODE OF THIS SHOW RIGHT THIS MINUTE!
Okay, now that you're back, do you not see how THIS show explores the concept of fatphobia more openly, fearlessly and hilariously than any other thing you've EVER encountered? This series is based on Shrill by Lindy West (see this title in the "Books" section above). Also, Aidy Bryant just couldn't be more badass and freakin' ADORABLE.
Dumplin', a Netflix original This film will undoubtedly meet with complicated reviews similar to I Feel Pretty. You just can't put the issue of Fatphobia and Jennifer Aniston together into a feel-good, light-hearted teen flick without some push-back, folks. But, dammit, I'm going to stand by the belief that this film is a small step in the absolutely right direction. And it sort of made me fall in love with Dolly Parton all over again which was unexpected and fun. If you aren't moved by this film it is likely because you already have a very nuanced and complex understanding of the way that patriarchy instills fatphobia in us from a young age and the damage that does to women of all ages and their relationships. But, if you are brand new to waking up to fatphobia and what total bullshit it is.... the only reason you wouldn't be moved by this film is that you're dead.
"Why You Can't Lose Weight On a Diet" by Sandra Aamodt A strong overview of the basic facts about why Dieting does not work for long-term health. Aamodt also adds personal story into this piece that really increases its emotional appeal. This article touches on many of the factual/ scientific points in Bacon's books so if you want a quick preview of that information, this is a good place to start.
Embrace You with Taryn Brumfitt of Body Image Movement To take the message of her film Embrace out into the world, Brumfitt created this 4-week course to introduce people to the concept of learning to love their bodies. All of the same comments about the film apply to its sister program -- this is a great initiation into the world of body love, PROBABLY mostly for white, able-bodied women who struggle with self-esteem despite hovering around the average weight mark. For people who fall outside of that description, this could still be a good initiation into the world of body love but they will have to look past the lack of representation. I also don't really recommend this program if you are already pretty far along in your Body Liberation journey. Brumfitt's program covers only the BASICS and assumes you have never considered loving your body or accepting your body as it is right now (a fair assumption, honestly) so if you're already there or pretty far past that actually, you may want to spend your resources elsewhere. The cost of this program, though, is really reasonable. I got an early-bird price at $49 for the entire course and I believe I have access to it for life (or as long as it remains on the interwebs).
Explore More Summit with Dawn Serra So, first of all, the ridiculous thing about this summit is that it is FREE. The wealth of deep information and knowledge you will receive from this summit is worth 1000s of dollars. As an academic for 20+ years, I have had to attend MANY conferences. I have NEVER attended any conference (most of which cost me 1000s of dollars to attend) from which I received such useful, intelligent, thoughtful, relevant resources. The summit consists of recorded talks with a wide variety of Body Liberation experts coming from a wide variety of perspectives. Each day there are 4 talks or so. Each day, you are also provided with a guided Workbook within which you can take notes and thoughtfully respond to the days talks. Twice during the conference, Dawn Serra (the host) provides a real-time video conference chat to participants as well! This is all FREE! Now, since I am starting my MSW this fall and I want to concentrate my studies in Body Liberation, I bought the paid package that allows me lifetime access to these recorded talks in audio AND video format, transcripts of all the talks, as well as live phone calls with Dawn for six weeks after the conference. This particular paid package also came with the same access to ALL previous summits. It was a ridiculous steal at only $100 or something like that. I HIGHLY recommend this online summit -- particularly if you are ready for a deeper look at Body Liberation and how it impacts us culturally at all levels of society and in every facet of our lives.