In this episode, I interview Anna Sperlich, an addiction psychologist helping women get over self-abusive food behaviors. She talks about why understanding addiction is so important, what it takes to set goals the right way, the things we don’t know about smart goals, and how this applies potentially in the classroom.
Anna Sperlich, MSc., HP-PT, is a registered addiction psychologist, counsellor, yoga teacher and eating disorder coach who helps women with eating disorders and food/weight/body image issues learn how to transform their relationship with food by transforming their relationship with themselves and create a life and body they love. She’s the founder of AnnaSperlich.com and the creator of the world’s first online Dessert Party for women who want to learn how to prepare and enjoy safe, healthy and delicious dessert.
Anna lives in Berlin, Germany. When she’s not teaching women worldwide how to stop their self-abusive food behaviours and heal their food, body, mind relationship, you can find her in the kitchen creating mouth-watering trigger-free desserts, hanging with her family or rebalancing herself on the yoga mat.
(02:23) When people ask you what do you do, what is your answer to that?
(02:44) Let’s dive into some of your family background. I’m always curious as to how people grew up. Your mom and dad, what do they do for work, and the environment that you grew up in.
(05:30) You said your parents had different belief systems. What were their different belief systems and which ones did you end up adopting at a young age?
(06:01) Being a daddy’s girl, did you almost force yourself into being a perfectionist, or feel that you’re not just good enough, I guess?
(08:09) What do you think you were trying to achieve?
(08:25) What got you interested in addiction psychology? Is there any specific moment?
(11:43) What sort of problems are you helping your clients get over? Maybe you can give some examples.
If you binge, it’s not about the food, it’s about the shame, and the guilt and the disgust that you’re feeling afterwards.
It’s typically not the food that’s actually the addiction, it’s our relationship with ourselves that the addiction really is.
(15:21) You mention that you work with women specifically. What is it about women that makes them: 1) Are they more prone to a food addiction? 2) What is the psychology behind that?
(16:27) You mentioned something about high achievers and high performers. Once they’re done performing in whatever discipline that they’re performing in, that addiction to success ends up becoming addiction to something else. What’s the structure behind that? What is that mentality that causes that obsession?
(18:46) What are the key traits are that you need to develop to deal with this and become better at it. I wonder if one is self awareness, knowing yourself, looking internally at what’s motivating you…And gratitude, and understanding perspective on what really is important to you… What would you say are the key traits or criteria that you need to develop to overcome or deal with addiction?
(21:34) The people that I work with who are trying to achieve performance goals or trying to become better, it’s an authentic pursuit, right? But typically, what i see is, this happens to me all the time, is you end up being so hard on yourself.
(23:14) What do you make this mean about who you are?
Am I doing something because i want to get that external, I want to reach to something that’s outside of myself in order to give me that feeling inside that I feel I’m not having?
(30:20) So what’s the right way, in your opinion, to set goals?
Danielle LaPorte’s The Desire Map
(32:07) My friend Joey Coleman is a public speaker who talks a lot about personal branding. One of the things he talks about is being kind to ourselves especially when we are trying to achieve something.
(33:53) I was just thinking about how this applies… One of the other things that bother me is it’s 21 days to develop a habit. I get the time allotment to it, but when you fall in day 10, you automatically think you go back to the beginning, at the start of the 21 days.
(37:07) That is the ultimate question, right? Why do we have to focus so much on the next best thing?
(37:12) It makes me think of alcoholics. A lot of times people talk about alcoholics, if they haven’t drank for, say, 90 to 180 days, but they have one drink, then they slip back into their habit. Is that true?
(39:16) What book has most influenced you and why?
A Return to Love by Marianne Williamson
The Big Leap by Gay Hendricks
(39:54) What are you most proud of?
(40:32) When you hear the word successful, who is the first person that comes to mind?
(41:35) If you could have dinner with one person you admire, past or present, who would it be and why?
(42:42) What are you working on right now and how can the audience find out about what you’re doing online?