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.



      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...



      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....



      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...



      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...



      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...



      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




      Coping with weight gain in anorexia 1

      To recover from anorexia a person will need to confront their fear of food and eating; their fear of getting fat and losing control. It’s a huge challenge because the semi-starvation diet of an anorectic CREATES the food obsessions and inflexible, polarised thinking that make seeking recovery so difficult.

      Fear drives anorexia; and the anorectic (semi-starvation) diet drives fear.

      It’s a vicious cycle that can only be broken by feeding the body and conquering the...



      Helping young people navigate porn culture

      “Pornified messages are bombarding our young people and giving them distorted ideas about their bodies, about relationships, and about sexuality,” says Melinda Tankard Reist, in this podcast interview, “According to global research, (this is) making our kids very unwell.”

      We are seeing a rise in negative physical and mental health outcomes, eating disorders, anxiety and depression, self harm, low self-esteem and poor academic performance.

      “I believe we are facing a...



      The problem with porn culture

      Grace, a podcast listener asks, “Do you have any insight on the impacts of not only the media, but porn as well. For the folks in relationships (I am married, second time around) is it such an issue for most people with ED?  I recently found a great deal of it on a computer history and I’m having a really hard time not feeling good enough. I didn’t eat for a week the last time I saw it, talked to my spouse about it but it’s apparent that he’s a typical guy who...