Book Review: Body Respect by Linda Bacon, PhD
** It is important to note that since the publishing of this book the author now uses the name Lindo Bacon and uses they/them pronouns.
The incredible book “Body Respect” was published in 2014 and is at the forefront of a wave of change in the world of health. The myth that health and weight are entirely linked is debunked in this book through both research and personal stories. In its place, Bacon offers the idea that behaviors are more impactful on health than weight itself, and focusing on weight to cure disease has been proven to be ineffective and unrealistic.
“Blaming fatness for heart disease is a lot like blaming yellow teeth for lung cancer, rather than considering the possibility that smoking might play a role in both. And telling people they need to lose weight is a lot like telling someone with pneumonia to stop coughing so much—it may not be possible and won’t make the disease go away.”
This quote highlights a primary point in the book: fatness does not equal poor health or disease. This is a myth that is profoundly enmeshed with our culture, and it is hard to get away from. It’s the idea that weight gain is always bad, and will have negative impacts on health, the idea that fatness equals disease and a lack of health or fitness, and therefore, the idea that thinness should always be the goal because it is equated with health no matter what. As I am typing this, I am feeling a strong sense of urgency to recommend this book and others like it so these myths can continue to be debunked and health can be better understood by the greater population.
So, who needs to read this book?
Anyone who believes in the myths mentioned above
Anyone who has ever been on a diet or desires to lose weight
Doctors, nurses, and therapists of all kinds
Parents and grandparents
Any person who experiences weight bias against fat people
Any fat person
Anyone with an eating disorder or in recovery from an eating disorder
Additional books that highlight similar themes and research include:
“What we Don’t Talk About When We Talk About Fat” by Aubrey Gordon
“More than a Body: Your Body is an Instrument, Not an Ornament” by Lindsay Kite and Lexie Kite
“The body is not an Apology: The Power of Radical Self-Love” by Sonya Renee Taylor.