I read a lot of these books the end of 2017, beginning of 2018. Reading these, combined with running again, made me realize what a gift our body is and how important it is to treat it with love and kindness. Eating junk food, drinking soda, drinking alcohol, is not treating your body with the respect it deserves. You also can’t hold off on loving your body till it looks the way you think it should. An attitude like that is never satisfied, no matter what you accomplish, or how much weight you lose, your body will never been good enough. And that’s where eating disorders come into play.
If you love your body as it is right now, for all its done for you-fighting off colds, walking you to your classes or jobs, functioning even when you weren’t treating it right, your heart that keeps beating, your organs preforming their functions, some women’s bodies have grown children-it’s done all of that for you and never stops doing its best to keep you alive and healthy. It deserves your love and kindness.
Once you love and appreciate your body, that will change the way you view food and what you use to fuel your body. Every bite and drink you take, is either helping or hurting. When you care about yourself, you will be more mindful and choose the foods that help. Now I’m not saying I’m perfect at this. I still have a hard time using food to cope with stress. I still have moments where I eat too much dessert and get upset at myself for doing so. But I’m making progress. I’m doing better than I was in years past and that’s what counts. Progress is success, so just keep making progress.
As with self-help books, I get tired of the authors’ of these health books always saying how their method is going to change your life and all you need to do is what they say in the book and you’ll be able to achieve all you’ve ever wanted. I think it’s bologna. At least in part. I read these books and take what I like and leave the rest. Obvioulsy reading these books has helped me (why else would I be writing about them). I just don’t like the way they act like they have the one secret to living a healthy life. Everyone and everyone’s body is different. What works for one may not work for another. So I think it’s important to read and apply different techniques till you find what’s best for you.
Here are the books that helped me appreciate my body, and taught me to have a different, healthier, perspective on food.
Let Your Mind Run : A Memoir of Thinking My Way to Victory-Deena Kastor
This book isn’t entirely about food, but she does talk about the food and body connection. I think anyone and everyone can learn from this book, runner and nonrunner alike! She focuses on the importance and power of your mind. Food can affect your mind and your ability to be positive, and she talks in detail about the food she eats and is effect. Our mind/body/spirit are all connected and what affects one, effects the other.
Body Love: Live in Balance, Weigh What You Want, and Free Yourself from Food Drama Forever-Kelly LeVeque
Another disclaimer: I have made her Fab Four Smoothies, but I never stuck to her whole Fab Four thing entirely. Kelly makes some good, scientific points that make sense to me and I have altered parts of my diet because of her. She says however, that you should limit how much fruit you eat. I’m sorry, but I LOVE all kinds of fruits and I don’t see them as being so bad that I need to start measuring them out or something. So, as I said, I take what I like, apply that, and I leave the rest.
It Starts With Food: Discover the Whole30 and Change Your Life in Unexpected Ways-Melissa and Dallas Hartwig
Disclaimer: I have never done the Whole 30. The only way I could do it, is if my husband did as well. However, you can still read this book and apply its methods without going all in. They really do open your eyes to the food industry and how they market things to us. They talk about ‘food with no brakes’, meaning food that has been created to make you basically never feel full, so you just keep and keep eating-which is the goal of these companies. It also teaches you how to test foods to see which are good or bad for your individual body. As I said earlier, everyone’s body is different. Just because someone can’t eat dairy doesn’t mean you shouldn’t. And vice versa. If you’re only going to look into one of these books I have listed-this would be the one. So much insightful information.
Melissa Hartwig also has a book titled Food Freedom Forever which is also good. However, a bit too similar to It Starts with Food. For that reason I wouldn’t necessarily recommend both unless you just really want to read it.
Eat and Run: My Unlikely Journey to Ultramarathon Greatness-Scott Jurek
As you can tell by the title, this books is as much about food as it is about running. Jurek is a vegan, and although I don’t have any plans on going vegan, you can learn a lot about his experiences and what led him to rethink his diet.
Racing Weight: How to Get Lean for Peak Performance-Matt Fitzgerald
This one is helpful for runners, as you can tell by the title. I wouldn’t say this book was revolutionary for me, but it was interesting. I try not to get obsessive about my weight, and this book basically tells you that you should if you want to race your best. I get where he’s coming from, and a lot of people have found this book helpful.
This one is a documentary, and I can’t recommend it enough. It shows the dangers of sugar and how companies market their products and get us addicted to sugary crap. And then they tell us we’re fat not because of the sugary foods, but because we don’t exercise enough. Obviously, I’m a big proponent for exercise, but I also know that your diet makes a HUGE impact on your health, even more so that exercise really. If you’re exercising but eating junk food, that junk will cause your muscles to be inflamed, slow recovery and cause you to get injured. As they say, “You can’t out exercise a bad diet.” I’m saying the word ‘junk food’, but you may be surprised how snacks you think are healthy are actually not helping you at all. If you’re buying packaged food, be mindful of the label. If it weird words you don’t even know, rather than natural whole foods, it’s junk.
Have you already read any of these? What food-related books has helped you the most?
Check out this list of motivational running books!