Illuminating Anorexia, Eating, Self & Body issues

Michelle Sparkes is a physiotherapist, professional counsellor and wellness coach with lived experience of anorexia, EDNOS and binge eating in her teen and early adult years. In this podcast she delivers powerful insights, keys and strategies to help individuals recover from these health and life consuming problems.



      The Father’s Hug

      What happens when the drive for health becomes unhealthy? asks Jenny Brockie, host of SBS Insight, as she explores our nations “health obsession” with a roomful of people and three 20+ year olds struggling to recover from disordered eating and eating disorders. As I watched the show I found myself reflecting on the power of the fathers hug to bring soothing and rest to a heart of anxiety.
      When a heart is anxious and troubled, what helps settle that is to be held, to be...



      Exploring the spiritual dimension in mental health

      “Could it be that depression is not purely a physical sickness but a spiritual malaise?” asks Elizabeth Farrelly in her article, “Finding the black dog’s spiritual lead” (The Sydney Morning Herald, 26-27 August 2017 , p.30).
      “Perhaps we should see it less a personal issue than a societal indictment, less a treatable pathology than a spur to spiritual recovery.”
      I believe the same pondering and reflections could be directed towards the...



      Help for depression with Prof Ian Hickie AM

      More than just feeling down, clinical depression is a serious mental health condition that affects the way people feel, think, and react to general daily activities, such as eating, sleeping, or working.
      In Australia one-in-seven people will experience clinical depression in their lifetime and globally the number is one-in-five.
      Predicted to be the second leading cause of world disability by 2020, and the largest contributor to disease burden by 2030, clinical depression (also...



      Hello Japan

      Great to be back in the podcasting seat! I’ve been offline piloting the 4×4 Freedom Express and really enjoying the face to face interaction involved.  I believe human connection is more needed now than ever to promote health and well BEing in our fast-paced, low-grace, digitally-connected world. One thing I’ve noticed over the last few months is a growing number of Japanese listeners to the podcast. I’m humbled, honored and intrigued. I’d love to hear your ...



      Why I do what I do

      I traveled through an eating disorder in my teen and early adult years (as illustrated) and lost ~ 15 years of my life spinning my wheels on the eating disorder treadmill because I couldn’t SEE what I was dealing with or why I was struggling and I didn’t have the knowledge, skills or support to get free or get through that territory more quickly. I lost a lot of time, health and opportunity as a result and it’s made me passionate and committed to helping others not do the same. Food is the sy...



      Why and how hospital helped

      In the last episode I was saying that in my experience of anorexia prior to my hospital admission, I had become enmeshed, hyper-vigilant and ‘trigger-happy’ in my family environment. I was physically and emotionally starving but could not receive the nurture that existed in the relationships around me. Admission to hospital was the beginning of a shift for me. I experienced myself in new relationships in a new way. The anorectic defence began to loosen and as it did I began to binge. This hor...



      Connections That Heal

      When you have fallen for, and are isolated by the lie that you are not worthy or good enough you need to reach out…to connections that can affirm, nurture, and encourage YOU. It’s important to say here that anorexia itself isolates a person and lies to them about their worth and value in such a way that they cannot receive the nurture that may in fact be available in the relationships closest to them. To mums and dads and other caretakers who are watching on I did not mean to imply in t...



      To the young person struggling to accept yourself

      Self and body acceptance go hand in glove. The message of EMBRACE may be a challenge for the young(er) person struggling with anorexia or ED because when we’re struggling in this space, our sense of self as “unacceptable” can go very deep. Without a doubt we need to see and celebrate more diverse body shapes and sizes (this is super important for everyBODY!) but when the message that self is not okay, not acceptable, not worthy of taking up space, goes DEEP and ISOLATES, what can a young pers...



      Embrace body diversity

      Embrace is a wonderful documentary (film) that celebrates body shape, size, and ethnic diversity. The brainchild of Taryn Brumfitt, a wife and mother of 3 who almost went under the knife in her quest to overcome body loathing, the message she brings goes beyond acceptance to embracing the skin you’re in whatever your shape, size, ethnicity or ability. I love the film and the message Taryn brings. I concur wholeheartedly. When we get beyond body loathing and negative comparisons we free up so ...



      Coping with weight gain in anorexia 2

      Gaining weight from a low weight may be possible in an outpatient setting if a person is not critically unwell. If a person can make progress with the support of a doctor, dietician and therapist in an outpatient setting, fantastic. If not it simply means more intensive support is required. (See previous podcast notes for further information and links).
      Some helpful thoughts about gaining weight from a low weight
      Accurate information is better than uninformed fear