The Best Books On Gaining Discipline For Diet and Fitness

This site contains affiliate links to products. We may receive a commission for purchases made through these links.

Discipline involves control obtained by obedience. The word comes from “disciple,” someone who follows another person.  The most famous “disciples” followed Jesus Christ.

There are a lot of forms of discipline, but the hardest might be self-discipline.  Getting up in the morning seems hard sometimes.  And, I am supposed to eat right and exercise too?!   

These days, there are many ways to learn how to discipline, including personal experience, advice from others, and podcasts.  And, there are books.  Lots of books.   Can they help here?

Read All About It

My purpose here is to provide some of the best books out there about disciplining your diet and fitness regime.  I will provide you with a link to where you can buy them, providing basic information to help you decide if they are good for your needs.   

Things to look for: the author’s expertise, the specific subject matter, what others are saying about them, the skillset of the intended audience, and any deficits that might be red flags.



The 22-Day Revolution: The Plant-Based Program That Will Transform Your Body, Reset Your Habits, and Change Your Life by Marco Borges

Marco Borges is an exercise physiologist, founder of 22 Days Nutrition, and plant-based living advocate.  

This book provides a plant-based, vegan program designed to transform your mental, emotional, and physical health in just 22 days. 

Its bona fides include an introduction by Dr. Dean Ornish. Dr. Ornish is the founder and president of the non-profit Preventive Medicine Research Institute. Read this book to start on a path to a healthier, more energetic, and more productive life. 

Possible Problems: Some found the diet plans hard to follow, which is not required to have a vegetarian/vegan diet.

Eat What You Love, Love What You Eat: A Mindful Eating Program to Break Your Eat-Repent-Repeat Cycle by Michelle May M.D.

Michelle May, M.D. is a recovered yo-yo dieter and the founder of the Am I Hungry?® Mindful Eating Programs and Training ( that helps individuals resolve mindless and emotional eating and senseless yo-yo dieting.

An important part of discipline is our diet. Many people try so hard to eat healthily that it is counterproductive. The result is yo/yo dieting makes it harder to maintain a healthy diet. 

This book aims for the reader to learn how to have long time health of the body, mind, heart, and spirit.  Dr. May helps you do this by examining internal factors — your food preferences, your body cues for hunger, fullness, and satisfaction — that often cause us so many problems.

Possible Problems: Some readers argued that a book meant to bring forth new insights actually told the same old lines about how to lose weight.

The Fitness Mindset by Brian Keane

Brian Keane was a footballer and professional fitness model. He is now a leading fitness coach in Ireland and the UK.

This book is split into two sections. The first half discusses fitness and health. The second discusses how to cultivate a mindset to get results using a step-by-step process in obtaining them. It is a quick (under 200 pages) and practical guide on building the discipline needed to have a fit and healthy life, both in mind and body.  

Possible Problems: Some readers felt it did not provide enough information and criticized the writing as too simplistic.

Intuitive Eating by Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch

The authors certified dietitians with training in eating disorders. Resch wrote The Intuitive Eating Workbook for Teens.

According to the National Eating Disorders Association, intuitive eating is about trusting your body to make food choices that feel good for you, without judging yourself or the influence of diet culture.  This book, now in its fourth edition, was a pioneer in this field. The book guides you in developing a positive body image and taking a more natural path to eat right.

Possible Problems: Some readers think the latest version is too “woke” about race and other issues. Some think the book is repetitive and has too many anecdotes. Some do not find intuitive eating a useful tool for their personal situation.

Intuitive Eating: How to eat everything guilt-free, build self-love and get your ideal weight without dieting ever again by Milena Harrett

Some found the classic volume on intuitive eating overwhelming.

This smaller book (half the size) with a more personal touch might be a better fit for some readers.  She writes from personal experience as someone who struggled with eating disorders and found intuitive eating worked for her.  This book applies her hard-fought wisdom and shares it with others.  Readers found it down to earth, written in simple language for all to understand.  

Possible Problems: If you want a more professional expertise based book with more detail, the other book on this subject might be better for you.

No Sweat: How the Simple Science of Motivation Can Bring You a Lifetime of Fitness by Michelle Segar

Dr. Segar is a researcher at the University of Michigan with almost thirty years studying how to help people adopt healthy behaviors.

She applies her scientific knowledge to provide a step-by-step program for staying motivated to exercise. Segar has developed a four-point program to help you broaden your definition of exercise, find pleasure in physical activity, and discover realistic ways to fit it into your lives. The successful experiences of her clients are provided as a guide.

Possible Problems: Some found the book badly edited.

Thinner Leaner Stronger: The Simple Science of Building the Ultimate Female Body by Michael Matthew

Michael Matthews is a bestselling fitness author and the founder of an all-natural sports supplements company (Legion).

This book provides a detailed, well-researched, analysis of how to eat well and be fit. It does not promise a quick way to have a bodybuilder body.  It does provide a way to transform your body with cardio being optional.  Resistance training is involved.  

Major recommendation: Best-selling discipline author James Clear.

Further Reading: The Year One Challenge for Women: Thinner, Leaner, and Stronger Than Ever in 12 Months

Possible Problems: Not ideal for those who do not eat animal products. Requires access to exercise machines. Too long.

Thrive: The Plant-Based Whole Foods Way to Staying Healthy for Life by Brendan Brazier 

Brendan Brazier is a former professional Ironman triathlete and a two-time Canadian 50km Ultra Marathon Champion. He is also a leading authority on plant-based performance nutrition.

This is the tenth edition of this book by a former triathlete promoting a plant-based lifestyle. The author argues that plant-based nutrition is not only healthy but also will improve your physical fitness with the environment helped as a bonus. The book will be useful to improve your physical and mental health even if you are not an athlete.  

Possible Problems: Some readers were not satisfied with the science used in the book.

That’s a wrap for this article; I have to hit the gym!