Mental Health, Personal Development

How to Defeat Body Image Disorder (Dysmorphia) with Book Recommendations

What is Body Dysmorphic Disorder?

Body Dysmorphic Disorder is a mental health illness in which an individual perceives themselves to be what they are not, consistently seeing flaws in their appearance.

For example, this could be an overweight individual perceiving themselves as being underweight, or an underweight or healthy individual perceiving themselves as being overweight. These flaws which they see are not normally seen by others, yet individuals who suffer from Body Dysmorphic Disorder can seem consumed by it.

How Can I Deal with It?

Body Dysmorphic Disorder can be difficult to deal with, especially when you cannot see what others around you see. Your family, your friends, your companions may love you deeply, and see you as completely perfect the way you are, however, that is not the image that you see. You are consumed by your flaws & your appearance, which has turned into an obsessive relationship.

I know, it is very difficult to accept that you are struggling when you don’t even realise it. Criticising your body, your skin, your appearances can become second nature when you consistently do it. But remember, breaking through from this thought process is crucial to help you in your journey of healing. You have to remember mental health is fragile, yet the most powerful thing; because everything which surrounds you, from the decisions you make, from the emotions you feel, the relationships you have, they are all centred around your mind.

I don’t know if you can relate to this, or know someone who is in this situation, whether it’s your sister, mother, friend or daughter, but please take the step forward to help yourself or help them.

Sometimes, fear can overcome you which prevents you from seeking medical help such as counselling, but that doesn’t mean you should suffer in silence behind closed doors.

I know what that feels like, so I would like to personally recommend my favourite books to inspire you and help you to take the step forward in your journey of recovery.

Top 3 Books to Deal with Body Dysmorphic Disorder

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  1. The Little Book of Body Confidence: 52 Ways to Feel Good in Your Body by Judi Craddock

This is by far the BEST book I have ever come across when it comes to helping you break barriers in your mentality and negative relationship with body image.

Judi has gathered together 52 small, but powerful chapters which help you reflect on steps that should be taken in order for you to achieve body confidence and not be brainwashed by the media and the unrealistic standards of beauty; one of the major causes of body dysmorphic disorder.

One of my favourite chapters is Chapter 8: Do Daily Mirror Work – it consists of a quote which I felt was very powerful.

“When you look in the mirror, learn to see the person inside your body.”

Judi Craddock

This chapter literally blew my mind! I never thought of the gratitude I should have for my body and for the person who I am, in that way before!  

  • Each chapter has reflection questions at the end to help reinforce positive vibes when it comes to your relationship with your body
  • Small, 52 chapters are quick to read and easy to understand, small yet very powerful and impactful words
  • It’s small and handy – perfect to carry around in a handbag! Whenever you might feel a negative thought or a negative trigger associated with your body, just flipping open to any chapter can help reinforce positive thoughts!
  • Straightforward, chatty writing style – the informal language makes it more personal and relatable, rather than being felt as if you’re reading a textbook!
  • Easy language without excessive terminology – perfect for anyone looking for a boost in their journey of body dysmorphic disorder, without feeling bombarded with too much complicated info which is difficult to take in.
  • Perfect for young adults and teenagers too – in case parents are concerned for their children, or if you have a child suffering from body dysmorphic disorder, or showing worrying signs, then this would be a perfect book for them to help reinforce a positive relationship with their body.

If you are looking for something quick to read, small but powerful and impactful to help you recover in your journey, then this is the book for you!

I personally love it and read it multiple times to help me boost my confidence when it comes to my body image.

One of my favourite quote is: “I discovered that attempts to physically change your body do not create better body confidence. Feeling comfortable in your skin is something that happens within you. It’s a shift in mindset, not a diet, a beauty product, or the latest exercise programme.”

Judi Craddock

2. Overcoming Body Image Problems Including Body Dysmorphic Disorder a Self-Help Guide Using Cognitive Behavioural Therapy by Alex Clarke

Overcoming Body Image problems is an in depth book which focuses on using the techniques of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy to help tackle mental health illness including Body Dysmorphic Disorder. It has been written by three individuals combined; Rob Willson, a cognitive behavioural therapist, Dr Alex Clarke, a consultant clinical psychologist and Dr David Veale, a consultant psychiatrist in cognitive behavioural therapy.

The book is excellent in covering all different aspects of mental health illness and not just limited to Body Dysmorphia.

I like how it’s categorised into a series of ‘overcoming’ different mental health illnesses. Some of the chapters include:

  • Anorexia Nervosa
  • Anger & Irritability
  • Bulimia Nervosa & Binge-Eating
  • Childhood Trauma
  • Chronic Pain
  • Chronic Fatigue
  • Insomnia
  • Depression

Having all the different mental health illnesses covered makes it a complete book which helps individuals who may have more than just Body Dysmorphic Disorder. For example, if an individual is suffering from insomnia as well as Body Dysmorphic Disorder, then this book will help them to overcome both mental health illnesses.

  • Being written by clinical psychologist, and cognitive behavioural therapists makes it very authentic as it is jam-packed with useful information and techniques to help you step by step in your journey to recovery.
  • Bonus: It consists of worksheets which can help you track your progress and is also recommended by top therapists.
  • The size of the book is a little small (I mean the paper size,) so photocopying the sheets might be tricky, especially if you prefer large size worksheets.
  • Astonishingly affordable price for the levels of topics covered and the in-depth knowledge provided.
  • Excellent read full of practical information to support you on your journey to recover from mental health illness.

3. Mothers, Daughters and Body Image: Learning to Love Ourselves As We Are by Hillary L. McBride

Hillary has written a well detailed book capturing the very essence of a mother and daughter’s relationship and how she is determined to provide her daughter with the knowledge to be able to love herself in her body and not be consumed by the brainwashing effect of the media and the controlling ideology of society when it comes to what is expected of women.

The mother’s journey of how her body image insecurities are reflected on her daughter is very deeply portrayed.

  • Helps women to understand that she is not defined by what she thinks she is, or the norms of society which are placed upon her.
  • Emphasises that suffering from body dysmorphia isn’t something which we should place blame upon others in every circumstance, such as blaming your mother for ‘fat-shaming’ you as a child
  • Catches the raw emotion between a mother and daughter’s relationship and how their own individual relationship with their body impacts their relationship bond

I personally like how raw emotions are portrayed from a mother’s perspective, perhaps because I am a mother myself.

I believe this book would really benefit any person who has an up-down relationship with their body and their mum, because it is really insightful not into just the relationship with our body, but how a mother and daughter’s relationship can impact upon their insecurities with their bodies and mental health.

The details of how a woman’s mind is processed regardless of what age she is at in life, is captured very well through Hillary’s words. It entices me as a reader to deeply understand how powerful a woman is, yet still so vulnerable to her own true self.

  • The one downside I feel towards this book is that it is more focused upon expressing the emotional aspect of body dysmorphia rather than providing practical tips and techniques in dealing with it.

This book is perfect for an individual who gets emotionally overwhelmed with their body dysmorphia and wishes to be zoned out into a world where the reader understands what they are feeling and going through – if this sounds like you, then this would be the perfect book for you!

 These are some of the books I personally love and feel that they are very beneficial for anyone on a journey trying to recover with the relationship with their body.

Always remember, no step is too small or insignificant when it comes to the road of recovery from mental health illness. Today is the day that you should take the step forward, because making a change is what brings self-love into you, self-love for your mind, body and soul.

I really hope you enjoy reading these books and that they have a powerful impact on you just as they did on me! Feel free to share this post with your friends and family!

If you would like to see more book recommendations be sure to leave a comment down below!

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3 Comments

  1. Dani says:

    Love that you’re talking about this and spreading awareness. So many people I know, including myself struggle with this.

  2. Love this! Thanks so much for sharing!

  3. hoang vi fessenden says:

    Thank for speaking about this and sharing! I have body image issues as well!

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