September 26, 2022

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If you’re looking to lose weight, buying a weight loss book or cookbook can be a great place to start.
However, knowing which book to buy can be challenging.
While many books promise quick results by drastically cutting calories or restricting entire food groups, these diet plans are difficult to maintain and can foster negative relationships with food and your body.
Instead, we rounded up the best books that focus on sustainable and realistic approaches to weight loss.
Keep reading to see our picks of the 11 best weight loss books.
We rounded up the best weight loss books using the following criteria:
General price ranges with dollar signs ($–$$$) are indicated below. One dollar sign means the product is rather affordable, whereas three dollar signs indicate a higher price range.
Pricing guide:
Note that the prices above reflect the current manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) for paperback editions, unless the book is available only in hardcover. Exact prices may vary by retailer.
Dr. Gonsahn-Bollie shares her own story of overcoming emotional eating, making “Embrace You” a relatable read.
She also acknowledges that everyone is different, which is why she believes weight loss strategies need to be individualized.
The author’s approach to weight loss involves compassion, self-love, and acceptance, as well as realistic tips and education on how to lose weight sustainably.
Each chapter has two main subtitles, “Release” and “Embrace,” that are designed to help you to let go of negative habits and thoughts and open yourself up to healthier behaviors and a positive mindset.
While the book is relatively new, reviews are positive overall, with readers appreciating the book’s practical and behavior-changing approach to wellness.
Kevin Curry is a personal trainer and fitness influencer. He’s also the founder of FitMenCook — a brand that includes a YouTube channel, website, and app, all of which offer recipes and tips for healthy living.
Curry’s cookbook, “Fit Men Cook,” provides more than 100 recipes that are designed to be quick and easy to follow, many taking 40 minutes or less.
Each recipe also includes full nutrition information, which is useful if you’re counting calories or macros.
The book’s tagline says that all the recipes are meant to be “#HealthyAF, Never Boring,” proving that you don’t have to sacrifice flavor to eat more healthfully.
The cookbook has more than 2,000 mostly 5-star reviews online, with readers noting that they enjoy Curry’s fun and conversational tone.
Reviewers not only love the recipes but also appreciate that the book makes living a healthier lifestyle feel doable.
While this cookbook isn’t specifically for weight loss, it does offer sound advice for fueling for exercise along with delicious, nutrient-dense recipes, all of which may help support weight management.
Written by Shalane Flanagan, an Olympic silver medalist, and Elyse Kopecky, a chef and nutrition coach, “Run Fast. Cook Fast. Eat Slow” is loved by many. In fact, the cookbook has over 2,000 reviews, most with 5 stars.
The authors first wrote “Run Fast, Eat Slow,” which was also well reviewed, but many customers prefer this second cookbook because it includes easier, less time consuming recipes.
In particular, the book’s recipe for Superhero Muffins and its many variations are popular with cookbook fans.
In addition to recipes, you’ll find useful tips from both Flanagan and Kopecky on what to eat before, during, and after a workout.
The authors chose not to include nutrition information for these recipes because they prefer to keep the focus on fueling your body with whole, nutrient-dense foods rather than on counting calories.
The recipe creator behind Skinnytaste, Gina Homolka, is a James Beard Award finalist and International Association of Culinary Professionals award finalist known for creating healthy twists on classic recipes.
“Skinnytaste Meal Prep” is one of several cookbooks written by Homolka. It also features nutritional information provided by registered dietitian Heather K. Jones.
Whether you’re trying to lose weight or simply eat healthier, this cookbook aims to set you up for success by helping you prepare meals and snacks ahead of time.
In addition to general meal-prepping tips, the cookbook contains recipes for breakfast, snacks, lunch, dinner, and even freezer-friendly meal prep ideas for anyone who is looking to really plan ahead.
Recipes are labeled vegetarian, gluten-free, dairy-free, quick (meaning 30 minutes or fewer), freezer-friendly, Instant Pot, slow cooker, or air fryer as appropriate, making it easy to find your perfect meal.
With mostly 5-star reviews and more than 8,000 reviews, the cookbook is clearly a fan favorite. Reviewers comment on the convenience of prepping ahead, and many also find the recipes to be family-friendly.
Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch are registered dietitians and the founders of Intuitive Eating.
First published in 1995, “Intuitive Eating” is now in its fourth edition and continues to be the go-to book on the subject.
Intuitive Eating is a style of eating that focuses on following your hunger and fullness cues rather than a structured diet. It has also been shown to help improve psychological health and reduce the risk of eating disorders (1).
Throughout the book, you’ll read about diet culture and learn realistic tools for changing your approach to eating.
The goal of the book, according to its authors, is to help readers rebuild a healthy body image and make peace with food by following ten principles of Intuitive Eating.
There’s also a workbook sold separately for readers who are looking for a more interactive experience.
“Intuitive Eating” is highly rated, with many readers sharing that the book helped them drop their dieting mentality and feel at peace with their bodies.
Christy Harrison is a registered dietitian, a Certified Intuitive Eating Counselor, and the host of the podcast “Food Psych.”
In “Anti-Diet,” Harrison uses her professional experience along with scientific research to provide an alternative approach to dieting. It’s a good read if you are managing body image and disordered eating.
Using an Intuitive Eating approach, Harrison encourages her readers to escape the endless cycle of dieting and ultimately reclaim their lives. She also discusses what to do next, once you’ve decided you’re done with traditional dieting.
Satisfied readers call the book compassionate and inclusive. Many mention that the book helped them foster a healthier relationship with both food and their body.
However, some reviewers are disappointed that the book isn’t written in a “how-to” style like they were hoping for.
Keep in mind that while this book can be useful for people experiencing disordered eating, it doesn’t replace the help of a qualified healthcare professional.
Considered a part of Intuitive Eating, mindful eating helps people slow down and enjoy their food, which can ultimately lead to better eating habits and even fewer instances of overeating (2, 3).
Written by Vincci Tsui, a registered dietitian and Certified Intuitive Eating Counselor, “The Mindful Eating Workbook” is useful for anyone interested in developing mindful eating skills.
Before jumping into the meat of the book, Tsui shares how mindful eating helped her break free from dieting and unhealthy eating habits.
Designed for people who learn best by doing, the book teaches you how to become a mindful eater and provides opportunities to practice and record your experiences.
Several reviewers claim the book is a “game-changer,” and many mention that it’s appropriate for anyone looking to become a more mindful eater.
Written by registered dietitian Marina Savelyeva and Viktoria Waite, an expert in food manufacturing and nutrition, “The Plant-Based Weight Loss Solution” features a 28-day plan to help you lose weight.
The book discusses the basics of plant-based eating, including health benefits and tips for getting started. It also includes a 28-day meal plan and 75 recipes.
Not only are the recipes vegan and whole food-based, but they also focus on flavoring foods with spices and herbs rather than large amounts of salt and sugar.
Additionally, the book includes a portion control guide that uses the size of your hand to help you estimate appropriate serving sizes.
Positive reviews mention that the recipes and meal plan are useful and simple to follow. Readers also appreciate that the meal plan includes tips for incorporating leftovers.
However, the recipes and meal plan may be too low in calories for some people.
If you’re trying to lose weight, having a positive mindset can help.
Written by Shad Helmstetter, PhD, author of 19 books on the topic of self-talk and personal growth, this book provides an affirmation for each day of a year.
It also includes tips and background information to help you understand how positive self-talk could be useful in your weight loss journey.
The affirmations are specific to weight loss and are meant to inspire and boost motivation.
According to the author, “The thoughts you think and the words you say physically and chemically change your brain. Your self-talk literally wires your brain to succeed or fail.”
Affirmations can be a perfect complement to any healthy eating or weight loss plan and are particularly helpful when you’re having difficulty getting out of a mental funk (4, 5).
Many reviewers comment on how easy the book is to read because you need to read only one affirmation each day. Several readers also mention that they feel using positive self-talk as directed in the book helped boost their confidence and motivation to lose weight.
“Fit Gurl” was written by Melissa Alcantara, a personal trainer and athlete who is best known for training Kim Kardashian.
Alcantara approaches weight loss with realistic and simple strategies that stem from her own experiences with losing weight and keeping it off.
While most of the book focuses on a fitness plan with detailed descriptions and images of each exercise, you’ll also find 40 tasty recipes and the author’s motivational story of how she reached her weight loss goals.
Alcantara doesn’t believe in quick fixes like skinny teas or detoxes. Instead, she focuses on setting specific goals with actionable steps and staying consistent over time.
It’s important to note that the fitness plan does include gym equipment, so you’ll want to make sure you have your own equipment or access to a gym.
The book has more than 1,300 mostly 5-star reviews, with readers finding the message inspirational and the plan realistic.
“The PCOS Workbook” is an interactive book designed for women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), a hormonal disorder that affects the ovaries and can cause weight gain (6).
The book was written by two PCOS experts: Angela Grassi, RDN, an award-winning PCOS dietitian, and Stephanie Mattei, PsyD, a clinical psychologist specializing in eating disorders and PCOS.
The book provides an overview of PCOS, including the causes, symptoms, diagnosis, treatment, and more. It also reviews dietary recommendations for PCOS and provides tips for improving lifestyle habits such as sleep, stress, and exercise.
As a bonus, you’ll find prompts and places throughout the book to keep track of your journey.
Reviewers note that in addition to making PCOS easier to understand, the book helped them feel empowered in navigating their diagnosis. Others comment that the workbook helped them improve both their symptoms and their relationship with food.
When shopping for a weight loss book, first consider your goals and preferences.
For instance, a cookbook may be an excellent choice if you’re looking for tips on cooking healthy meals at home. Or, if you learn best by doing, a workbook might be the best fit.
Some of these books may complement each other as well, so it may be helpful to read more than one.
Regardless of which book you choose, be sure to find one that’s evidence-based and doesn’t recommend an overly restrictive or potentially unsafe diet.
Instead, look for something that seems sustainable and realistic, so you can not only reach your goals but also maintain them.
Weight loss comes from adjusting lifestyle habits, including nutrition, exercise, sleep, and more. Many of the books on our list discuss some or all of these strategies, but it’s important to find what works best for you in your day-to-day life.
Making lifestyle changes can be overwhelming. In addition to reading about weight loss, it can be beneficial to work with a healthcare professional, particularly a registered dietitian, who can help you set realistic goals and provide support and accountability.
Many health professionals, including registered dietitians, accept health insurance and Medicare or can adjust fees based on a sliding scale as needed to help make their services more affordable.
While some books may provide valuable information and help you learn new tools and skills to be successful with losing weight, they won’t yield results on their own. In order for the book to be effective, you’ll need to implement the strategies you learn from your reading.
We recommend skipping weight loss books that encourage overly restrictive approaches to weight loss, such as diets that cut out entire food groups or promote eating unreasonably low calorie intakes.
It’s important to opt for books that use evidence-based approaches to weight loss and suggest realistic, sustainable lifestyle changes.
Research shows that a number of factors can play a role in successful weight loss. For example, setting realistic goals, keeping a food diary, and maintaining a good support system have all been found to be helpful in weight loss (7).
While there are many different diets and approaches to weight loss, the evidence shows that adherence to any diet, rather than the specifics of the diet itself, is what makes the difference in terms of success, so choosing an approach that feels sustainable for you is important (8).
There are countless weight loss books on the market, making it difficult to know which ones to choose or skip.
When shopping for a weight loss book, be sure to look for one that’s evidence-based and provides realistic advice. Keep in mind that you may need to read a few books before you find the one that works best for you.
Lastly, remember that weight loss books can’t replace individual guidance and treatment from a qualified health professional such as a registered dietitian.
Last medically reviewed on July 29, 2022









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