Mel C opens up about Spice Girls-era eating disorder

Mel C has opened up about her battle with an eating disorder during her Spice Girls days, and said that using holistic therapies and talking therapies helped her in her quest to recovery.

The former girl band star, who has previously discussed her struggles with her body image, also said that now – at 42 – she has far better knowledge of food and how it fuels the body.

Mel told BBC Good Food magazine: “I joined the Spice Girls when I was 20 and it was an insane time. I developed an eating disorder; I was in the spotlight, being photographed constantly, and I started to become self-conscious of my body image.”

Back in her Spice Girls hey-day, Mel – who was nicknamed Sporty Spice – was known for her incredibly fit figure, but it was not happiest time for her.

“I was in denial for a long time but I always wanted to get better – I had talking therapies and holistic therapies, like acupuncture. Sport became really important to me too,” she said.

“I love to be physically fit and, obviously, to really push yourself, you have to make sure you eat the right things. I like to think I have a healthy relationship with food now, and I love to cook.

View this post on Instagram

#tbt little Sporty 😊 @adidasoriginals #youth #spicegirls #90s ✌🏼️

A post shared by Mel C / Melanie C (@melaniecmusic) on

The singer added: “We’re so much more aware of nutrition nowadays. When I was a teenager, I didn’t know the difference between a protein and a carb.

“We need to get back to realising that we are what we eat.”

Mel C, who is still going strong with her post-Spice Girls solo career, recently confessed that she didn’t want to join the band’s reunion because it would remind her of her negative past.

She turned down a huge pay packet to reunite with them and said: “I’d like to say the money didn’t matter to me. I’m a single mother and I do have financial concerns.

“It was a really difficult decision. I didn’t take it lightly. I did go quite far down the route with the girls. I went to a lot of meetings but I just didn’t feel it was right in my gut. When I finally said no I just felt relief,” she told Event magazine.

But now she’s feeling much better about her life and her relationship with food and, in the BBC Good Food chat, she praised her mother’s incredible cooking.

She gushed: “My mum, Joan, always found time to cook from scratch when I was young, even though she worked full time and sang in a band.

“She was really organised: she’d do her shopping and would know what we were going to have every day, and used leftovers wisely. A lot of people from Liverpool will know scouse. It is basically Irish stew and I think it originally came to Liverpool with Irish immigrants – there are many in my family tree.

“Lamb or beef, potatoes, carrots and onion are cooked slowly together, and you have it with red cabbage or beetroot. When scouse is on the stove, there’s no smell like it. It’s like a warm hug.”

To read the feature in full, see the December issue of BBC Good Food out now.

More in this Section

Star Wars-themed stamps to mark release of new filmStar Wars-themed stamps to mark release of new film

Acclaimed musical Follies to be adapted for the big screenAcclaimed musical Follies to be adapted for the big screen

Netflix to amend Nazi documentary following complaints from PolandNetflix to amend Nazi documentary following complaints from Poland

Netflix making fourth Beverly Hills Cop film starring Eddie MurphyNetflix making fourth Beverly Hills Cop film starring Eddie Murphy


I’d always promised myself a day off school when Gay Bryne died.Secret diary of an Irish teacher: I’ve been thinking about my students, wondering who their ‘Gay Byrne’ will be

In an industry where women battle ageism and sexism, Meryl Streep has managed to decide her own destiny – and roles, writes Suzanne HarringtonJeepers Streepers: Hollywood royalty, all hail queen Meryl

'Ask Audrey' has been the newspaper's hysterical agony aunt “for ages, like”.Ask Audrey: Guten tag. Vot the f**k is the story with your cycle lanes?

Daphne Wright’s major new exhibition at the Crawford addresses such subjects as ageing and consumerism, writes Colette SheridanFinding inspiration in domestic situations

More From The Irish Examiner