Two books illuminating the landscape of eating disorder development and recovery

"You can't get free from a cage you can't see"   Michelle Sparkes

Illuminating ANOREXIA tells the story of the authors journey through anorexia, EDNOS and binge-eating to find "a self worth living for" and is told from the unique perspective of one who is both insider and long-term recovered health professional.

First person narrative including diary entries and case notes place the reader firmly in Michelle's teenage shoes, with the gentle oversight and commentary of her older, wiser (recovered) self who can now SEE and articulate what was impossible then.

Michelle illuminates the predisposing and maintaining factors in her eating disorder, the conflict at the heart of her struggle with food and weight, the voices at war within her, the impact on self and family, and the factors that both hindered and propelled her along the difficult road to recovery.

Told with compassion and insight, Illuminating Anorexia sheds light on the path into and out of an eating disorder for those who struggle, and for those who care for them.


I have never read a book like it that puts struggling with anorexia into words so well. Having been through anorexia myself it was always difficult to explain to people what was going on inside me and even to know what I was feeling. "Illuminating Anorexia" sheds light on the things you often can't explain or articulate when you are going through the disorder. Michelle's willingness to be honest and vulnerable with her life allowed me to relate and connect with her story on so many levels and her determination inspired me.

Vanessa M


This is a great book and should be essential reading for parents and partners of someone with an eating disorder and for anyone studying or treating these illnesses.

Kirsty Greenwood

 Eating Disorder Foundation Victoria


This book shone light deep into areas I have only been able to scrape the surface of. I wish I'd read it earlier in my recovery journey.

Kaila T


Really tells the odyssey of a long and complicated eating disorder like it is. I have often seen anorexia nervosa and it's aftermath ( bulimia nervosa, binge-eating etc) as a new religion and believe it really functions like this for many sufferers. I thought Michelle described this process very well.

Professor Janice Russell

Eating Disorder Specialist


To be so completely let in to someone's honest experience with an eating disorder has made me feel a lot less guilty and ashamed of my own, especially the bingeing side of things. Practical tips were very helpful.

Jen M


I would recommend this book to any person who may be struggling with these issues knowing that it is a great combination of accessible story along with sound advice.

Julie Crabtree


Illuminating Eating Disorder Recovery provides a model for understanding how an eating disorder develops and functions and how this 'seeing' can help a person get free from disordered eating (self and body) concerns.

"When pain comes our way," says the author, "it is natural to protect against it. And a very understandable way to protect against pain directed at the self or experienced within the self, is to try and control it. Food/body/weight control in this respect makes ‘sense’ because it gives us a tangible way to make ourselves feel more acceptable, competent and in control. Initially it seems to work and we may receive a lot of positive reinforcement from family, friends and the culture at large (for being ‘successful’, exercising more ‘discipline,’ making ‘healthier’ food choices etcetera), BUT if we continue to rely on this strategy to deal with the ongoing challenges and stressors of life, our ‘solution’ can quickly spiral out of control and create the problem of disordered eating or an eating disorder. Miche’s Model helps illustrate this process. "


This book is such a helpful tool in understanding an recovering from an eating disorder from someone who's been through it and come out the other side. I would definitely recommend it.


Amazon Reviewer


I came across an article you wrote when I was looking to help a young girl in the beginning phase of restrictive eating. With limited experience in this area, I quickly found the links to this book and have since been able to help her SEE a difference. Thank you for sharing your experience and knowledge.

Vee Vinci

 Headquarters Counselling


If you or your loved one has an eating disorder, this book is for you. Michelle Sparkes' very readable book provides a model which can help people affected by eating disorders understand and navigate the challenges of these conditions, in order to move towards recovery. As a life coach, I will definitely recommend this book to any person struggling with these issues.

Carolyn Handley

Life Coach


I have just finished this book and enjoyed it. I am confident in its purpose to bring to anyone who needs it, the courage and hope to begin the journey of their lives towards liberation and life and the love and self acceptance we all deserve.

Kez Reynolds

Amazon reviewer


A very readable and insightful snapshot of what Michelle is offering with her books, podcasts and courses on the sometimes little understood subject of eating disorders. Most people I know have at some stage in their lives had a complex relationship with food consumption. This book explains clearly many of the reasons we may struggle with under or over eating. I have learned a lot . Thank you Michelle

Lindsay Newton

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