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Illuminating Anorexia, Eating, Self & Body issues
41 minutes | Feb 18, 2021
Recovery Conversation with Jeanne, age 51
Jeanne, 51, has struggled with disordered eating for decades. In this podcast she talks with Michelle Sparkes about finding hope and freedom from behaviors she thought she would have to live with. Prefer to watch? Check out the video of the interview here.
56 minutes | Jan 31, 2021
Recovery Conversation with Freda, age 38
Freda, 38, has struggled with anorexia and disordered eating for 19 years. In this podcast she talks about the process of finding freedom from the obsessive thoughts and rules that circumscribed her life until recently. [If you prefer to watch rather than listen, you can find the interview here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DMV-qqqlXss]
53 minutes | Dec 27, 2020
Recovery conversation with Kate, age 42
In this podcast I speak to Kate, a 42 year old mother of two who for decades struggled with disordered eating and who, in a very short space of time, experienced a sense of freedom that she says is “hard to put into words unless you experience it. It’s just a sigh of relief that overwhelms you.” Kate did the 4×4 Freedom Express and some individual work with me. Objectively her scores on number of key instruments shifted significantly: Her EDED-Q global score reduced from 2.95 to 1.38 with a marked reduction in restraint concern from 6.0 to 1.0. Her stress on the DASS 21 reduced from 8 to 1; her self esteem improved on the Rosenberg Self Esteem Score from 16 to 22; her distress on the Eating Attitudes Test reduced from 25 to 4. This is her story. For more information visit michellesparkes.com
31 minutes | Dec 16, 2020
Spiritual Power – what to do when you feel driven by fear
The fear that drives us down the scales and into the self-destructive behaviours characteristic of anorexia and other eating disorders can grow into a terror that is difficult to articulate. I believe there is a spiritual dimension to this fear, that it grows from the seeds of lies believed in the crucible of life experience that lead us to view ourselves as deficient and defective, not good enough and needing to “be different” or to “do more” in order to shore up the acceptance, love, security or support we crave. In this podcast I explore the spiritual dimension of this fear and comment on what I have found helpful in my own experience of overcoming this fear. My hope is that this may be helpful to the person battling fear right now in the midst of their eating disorder or to that one who has journeyed beyond disordered eating behaviours but finds old fears re-emerging in present circumstances. “Perfect (unconditional) love drives out fear” and “he who fears has not yet been made perfect in love”…we are all on this journey.
23 minutes | Feb 27, 2020
I believe at the heart of an eating disorder lies a deep-seated hunger for acceptance and security. How we see our “self” and what we believe about our worth, value and entitlement (to life, nurture and good things) are critical issues in both the development of, and recovery from, an eating disorder. In this podcast I share some thoughts about this spiritual dimension. I welcome your feedback and questions. firstname.lastname@example.org
16 minutes | Jan 5, 2020
Comfort, peace & hope
Have you ever felt deeply distressed, inconsolable or highly anxious? Right now in my country we’re grappling with the devastating impact of catastrophic bushfires. Closer to home my dearly loved mum is suffering and in decline. It got me thinking about comfort; it got me thinking about you. When we experience distressing emotions (as we do when we struggle with an eating disorder), we need comfort. Comfort that soothes and settles, that brings peace to our soul and fosters hope for the future.
15 minutes | Apr 9, 2019
I got caught in an ocean current on the weekend and it got me thinking how quickly we can go from being in control (“I’m okay”) to being out of control (“I’m in danger”). The slide from disordered or unhealthy (even sub-optimal) eating patterns and behaviours into a full blown eating disorder can happen quickly. What are the warning signs and do you know how close you are to the ‘edge’? Here’s some thoughts for you. Love to hear from you if you have feedback, questions or concerns. email@example.com
17 minutes | Mar 14, 2019
What to do when you’re paralysed by fear
Paralysing fear. Feeling stuck and terrified. Afraid to make a “wrong” decision; afraid to make any decision. Acute anxiety is a major feature of anorexia and something most of us will relate to in some measure. Even when you’re recovered from anorexia (as I am), there are times when situations trigger that old emotional response. So what can we do when we experience paralysing fear? Here are a few thoughts. I welcome your feedback, questions or comments. Contact me here www.michellesparkes.com/support
18 minutes | Dec 20, 2018
When we are locked in the self hatred of the eating disorder ‘cage’ we need to experience ourselves as seen, known, understood, worthwhile, valuable, loved. Even when and especially in the midst of our most acute struggles. For me the heart of the Christmas message is about this. The sound quality of this audio is poor and I apologise for that but I believe someone out there needs to hear this message of hope today. Big hugs to you.
13 minutes | Dec 11, 2018
Communicating when it’s difficult
When it comes to communicating around a difficult situation or personal challenge I find the following piece of wisdom most helpful: “He who seeks good finds goodwill (favour)” Proverbs 11:29 Attitude is everything. When we approach a difficult communication situation with the attitude that we are “seeking good” – to understand the other, to communicate with respect, to take responsibility for our own thoughts, feelings and behaviours, to find a good way forward for both parties – we will find “goodwill” or favour. Here are 7 simple principals and strategies that expand on this one key idea: Seek to understand the other. Ask open questions – can you tell me what’s going on for you? Listen, re-state (what you’ve heard, is it what was intended), respond Use “I” language – don’t blame the other, take responsibility for your own feelings, thoughts and behaviours – when X happened, I felt Y, I would prefer Z – can we talk about this Stay open but guard your heart if the other is unable to take responsibility for their feelings, thoughts and behaviours Remember we are all a work in progress – we all carry within us a world and history that is complex, layered and unseen but we share similar fears, desires and needs Treat each other with respect – the way you yourself would like to be treated. The ‘golden rule’ (seek good; treat each other with respect) never goes out of fashion.
12 minutes | Nov 27, 2018
Help for Chronic and Enduring Anorexia
What do you say to two brave women now both in their 40s, struggling to stay ‘well enough’ to stay out of hospital after a long journey with anorexia, both traumatised by previous hospital admissions and struggling to know who to trust and where to turn. This is my response. I welcome your feedback and questions, and, as mentioned in the podcast, here are the links to the resources promised: Prof Stephen Touyz : Presentation. Michelle Sparkes : Anchoring Worth and Value VIDEO Teaching
19 minutes | Oct 28, 2018
How not to revert to bad habits
In response to one listeners request for help “not to revert back to old bad habits” and to learn to eat when hungry, here are some thoughts.
9 minutes | Oct 19, 2018
The importance of compassion when you’re fearful
I recently asked people what their greatest challenge or concern was when it came to their struggle in the ED/DE landscape. One respondent asked how to combat her fear of gaining weight when she “knew she must.” It got me thinking about the importance of compassion. If you are scared of gaining weight but know you need to the following two podcasts will help you move forward: Coping with weight gain 1 Coping with weight gain 2 But beyond this, a word on COMPASSION. When we experience understanding and genuine compassion from others we become more SELF-compassionate and this helps shift our motivation from what [this person described as] needing harsh “force” to change, to accepting a kinder, gentler, more supportive and internally-guided rhythm and pace to change. This shift from what feels like exterior to internal motivation takes TIME. So be gentle with yourself and if you are struggling to practice self compassion seek out others who can model compassion TO you
17 minutes | Aug 29, 2018
Getting beneath the binge 2
When we explore what’s going on inside us in the lead up to a binge it helps makes ‘sense’ of our behaviour; our bingeing feels less mindless and out of control; we can view our situation with more curiosity and ourselves with more compassion. This in turn helps us consider what alternatives there may be for us next time and whether there are deeper issues or challenges we might need to work on. It can be particularly helpful to explore the binge with someone who is willing to listen without judgement and help us unpack and process our experience in a safe way (this will most likely be a trained counsellor, however a good and trusted friend can also be a great help). In this podcast I look at how this ‘modelling’ reflects back to us the worth and value so important to our recovery. If you need help with this, I can help you. firstname.lastname@example.org
12 minutes | Aug 29, 2018
Getting beneath the binge 1
Bingeing isn’t just (or even mostly) about physical hunger, although if we’re not giving our body sufficient food on a regular basis we will certainly binge. Bingeing is primarily about emotional hunger. Emotional hunger starts us on the journey of restricting and continues to drive us (whether we’re eating regularly or not) until we do […]
19 minutes | Aug 21, 2018
3 Pillars to Freedom
There are a number of things to embody and embrace (skills to learn, knowledge to apply) to get free from disordered eating behaviours and beliefs but at the heart of it all, I believe there are 3 pillars that are foundational to living a life that is whole and free… “Value is your birthright, your […]
24 minutes | Aug 14, 2018
Self and body esteem – how they connect
If embodying value is the first pillar to freedom from disordered eating; experiencing your body as home (not object) is the second…and they are intimately connected…listen here for more.
21 minutes | Aug 12, 2018
What makes you valuable
Here are three things that can help you value yourself in ways that are life-affirming and health promoting: Understand your intrinsic worth and value Reflect on what you value in others Spend (more) time in the company of those people
22 minutes | Aug 1, 2018
Why we binge and what we can do about it
We binge because we’re hungry –physically, emotionally, spiritually We binge because we’ve been restricting – possibly even starving ourselves – of nurture – physical and emotional We restrict because we believe we don’t deserve (more food, love, affection, belonging) – or that we should be different somehow (better, perfect) – and until then, we’ll keep […]
17 minutes | Jul 30, 2018
3 Keys for those who struggle
If you struggle with disordered eating, self and body concerns 3 key things you will need to recover a life worth living are compassion, curiosity and support. Listen here for more…
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