One of the big struggles many women have when trying to lose weight is emotional eating. (Myself included!) In this article, I’m going to share with you 7 emotional eating books to help you develop a better relationship with food.
Whether you struggle with binge eating, compulsive eating, or just find yourself hiding from your kids in the closet eating brownies after a long day, the books on this list can help. You can learn how to break the emotional eating cycle and create a relationship with food that helps support your health and weight loss goals.
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How Do I Stop Emotional Eating?
In order to stop emotional eating, you need to follow these steps:
- Become aware of when you’re doing it.
- Recognize that you can make another choice.
- Learn your patterns and triggers.
- Create plans and action steps for dealing with your emotions in a healthier manner.
- Work on reducing the overall triggers for emotional eating in your life.
Learning to beat emotional eating can be a difficult process. You’re rewiring habits and behaviors that may have existed for years.
Keep in mind that it’s going to require patience, self-compassion, and probably some support or help from others. The books on this list will help give you a great starting point to curb your emotional eating.
I share some of the steps and tips I use to help stop emotional overeating in this post here.
Is emotional eating bad?
One of the biggest revelations on my own weight loss and health journey is realizing the connection I have between my emotions and eating. It never occurred to me that making pancakes at 9:30 at night after a long day was part of my weight problem.
I thought it was normal to turn to food to help you feel better after a bad day. We even see it in the movies. It’s practically iconic to see some women turning to a carton of ice cream after a bad breakup.
In reality though, according to the Mayoclinic, “Emotional eating can sabotage your weight-loss efforts.” I have found this to be completely true in my own life.
When I’m eating because I’m frustrated with my husband or because I had a stressful day at work, I’m rarely choosing healthy, nutritious foods. I also don’t bother thinking twice about whether I’m actually hungry in the first place.
I’m just trying to “treat” myself to make up for whatever went wrong in my day. This means I’m typically overeating and eating something full of carbs and sugar.
Not only does this make it so much harder to lose weight, but it inevitably leads to guilt, shame, and frustration the next day. Which, you guessed it, can often lead to even more emotional eating.
The whole cycle can become a habitual pattern that leads to weight gain and an unhealthy relationship with food.
7 Emotional Eating Books to Develop a Better Relationship With Food
Stop Eating Your Heart Out: The 21-Day Program to Free Yourself from Emotional Eating by Meryl Hershey Beck
First on our list of emotional eating books is “Stop Eating Your Heart Out” by Meryl Hershey Beck. Beck, a licensed professional clinical counselor, shares her own struggle with food and out-of-control eating along with tools that she uses with her own clients.
Like most emotional eating books, the author dives into the connection between food, weight, and emotional eating. Then she dives into a variety of different tools that you can use to start making changes.
Some of the tools taught in the book are Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT), Inner Child work, 12 Step recovery, journaling, creative visualization, meditation, gratitude, conscious living, and more.
I think one of the things that makes this book so great is because it gives a wide variety of ways to get you started. This allows the reader to pick and choose what works best for them.
Breaking Free From Emotional Eating by Geneen Roth
The next book on this list is written by the amazing Geneen Roth. In her biography, she’s listed as one of the first women to start writing books about emotional eating.
She has written 10 books (two of which are on this list), and for the past thirty years, she has been hosting retreats and workshops to help women deal with compulsive eating and perpetual dieting.
One of my favorite qualities about this author is how she speaks to the whole person. With her refreshing, in-depth honesty and her clever wit, she helps you feel like you can finally be yourself.
Which I have found to be an important process of learning to develop better eating habits. “Breaking Free From Emotional Eating,” shares a lot of the tools and information that she teaches in her seminars and workshops.
The book focuses on learning how to ditch old diet rules and listen to your body’s cues for hunger and satiation.
Eating in the Light of the Moon: How Women Can Transform Their Relationship With Food Through Myths, Metaphors, and Storytelling, by Anita Johnston
In this book, the author, Anita Johnston Ph.D., CEDS, takes a totally different approach to teaching women how to transform their relationship with food. Instead of the typical “do this” or “do that,” she pairs it with storytelling to help us better understand where a lot of our emotional eating stems from.
The author is a clinical psychologist and certified eating disorder specialist and supervisor who has worked in the field for over 35 years.
The book is a bit dated (it was written in 1996), but a lot of the information stands the test of time. It speaks with a deep insight into what it really means to struggle with emotional eating as a woman and the steps you can take to overcome it.
This book is a good one to read if you prefer a more abstract method of learning and understanding new perspectives or ideas.
Eat to Love: A Mindful Guide to Transforming Your Relationship With Food, Body, and Life, by Jenna Hollenstein
The next book on this list is “Eat to Love” by Jenna Hollenstein. Jenna Hollenstein is a Nutrition Therapist (registered and certified dietitian-nutritionist) who also has a sobriety blog.
In this book, she offers a guide to mindfulness, intuitive eating, and falling in love with the body you have.
The author shuns all typical “dieting culture” mentalities and works hard to teach you how to reset your relationship with food by learning to love and accept yourself. She encourages you to let go of past food rules and learn to listen to your body and what it needs.
I think this book is a breath of relief for women who feel the weight of so many “shoulds” when it comes to their diet. You should eat this or you shouldn’t eat that.
You should be thinner, healthy, better… etc. It gives you permission to let go of all the “shoulds” and accept and love your body so you can create a healthier relationship with food.
- Emotional Overeating: How to recognize it & how to stop it!
- Overeating vs. Satisfied: How to Tell if You’re Eating Too Much
Women Food and God: An Unexpected Path to Almost Everything by Geneen Roth
Here is another emotional eating book from Geneen Roth. This one seems to be, by far, one of her most popular.
In this book, Roth dives deep into how the way we eat reflects on our core beliefs about life. She goes into how we use food to distract or numb ourselves as a way of dealing with our life.
Despite the title, this book doesn’t delve much into God or religion. Instead, she speaks more to our own personal spirituality throughout the book.
Unlike many other diet books, this one aims to help us really understand why we’re eating and what food means to us. Through this awareness, she hopes to help give us the tools to develop a better relationship with food.
The Food and Feelings Workbook: A Full Course Meal on Emotional Health by Karen R. Koenig, LCSW, M.Ed
This is one of the first emotional eating books I ever read and it opened my eyes to a lot of my own issues around food and emotions. The author, Karen R. Koenig, LCSW, M.Ed., is a therapist and eating coach.
In this book, she dives deep into a lot of the reasons why we turn to eating to help us deal with tough emotions in our life. Throughout the book, she tackles 7 major emotions: guilt, shame, helplessness, anxiety, disappointment, confusion, and loneliness.
She goes into how and why we use eating to avoid these emotions, and she offers tools and journal exercises to help develop better ways to experience our emotions.
As the title states, this is a true workbook. You’ll most likely want a paper copy so you can fill it in and answer the questions as you go along.
Chasing Cupcakes: How One Broke, Fat Girl Transformed Her Life (and How You Can, Too) by Elizabeth Benton
For this list, I have saved the best for last. Far and above this is my favorite book on emotional eating. It’s my favorite weight loss book too.
The author, Elizabeth Benton dives deep into her own weight loss journey and shares a lot of insights that helped her eventually lose weight and transform her life. After losing an amazing 150lbs and getting out of $130,000 in debt, she has a ton of insight to share with her story.
I recommend this book for any woman trying to beat emotional eating for two reasons: 1.) she does such a good job of explaining her own experiences struggling to lose weight, you’ll regularly feel like she’s writing a book about your own life.
And 2.) she lists really useful questions and tips at the end of each chapter that helps you apply the information shared in the book.
So not only will you get great information, but you’re left with journal prompts, actions, and information that you can then start implementing to help you develop a healthier relationship with food and your weight.
Conclusion to 7 Emotional Eating Books to Develop a Better Relationship With Food
So there are 7 emotional eating books you can read to help you develop a healthier relationship with food. Learning to have a better relationship with food can help you lose weight. You will also be more at peace with yourself and live an overall healthier and happier life.
I can attest that I have benefitted from every step taken toward improving my own relationship with emotional eating and food. It has helped make my health and fitness journey a happier and stronger one.
Do you have a favorite emotional eating book? Tell me in the comments below or email me at Candice@littlestepsbighappy.com. Follow me on Pinterest for more healthy eating tips and advice.
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I’m a busy mom of 3 turned Health and Fitness Coach and Self Defense Instructor. I help inspire other moms to reach their health, fitness, and weight loss goals. You can usually find me chasing my kiddos around, training Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, or sneaking away to read romance novels. About Me