Over the last year I have been working with an increasing number of adults who struggle with food phobia or selective eating problems.

Whilst they do eat certain familiar foods, people with a food phobia tend to struggle with any new foods - they just physically cannot take a mouthful and swallow it. Depending on how long it has been going on, and the range of foods they can eat, this can impact on health - as well as causing social problems about eating around others.

If you struggle with something similar then it may well have been going on so long that it's just become what you do around food. You'll have a mental list of foods that are ok for you to calmly eat, and you will have developed practices to avoid getting into embarassing and anxious situations around food (e.g. making up excuses to avoid social eating, cooking your own meals).

If you try and force yourself to eat something new, you may experience anxiety and a thought in your mind along the lines of 'I can't do this'. And the more you repeat this pattern, the harder it becomes to eat new foods or new combinations of foods.

Breaking Free of Food Phobia

The first thing to remember about a food phobia or a restrictive eating problem is that it is just something that you learnt that has continued over the years. There may have been a particular incident that started it or it may be just how you now do things. 

Often children go through phases of what they will and won't eat and sometimes, with all the best intentions, those around them may try to force them to eat more or even tell them off for wasting food. This can then create a pressure and stress around eating, which for most passes, but for some may stay in place into adulthood.

By learning to take control of your thoughts and feelings you can take control over your eating - you can then calmly choose what you want to eat and when from a wide range of foods. You can then relax about food, mealtimes and social eating as, like everyone else, you try more and more new foods, tastes and combinations, curious to find out how much you like them.

As Harry said after coming to see me:

"I have had issues for years about eating and trying new types of food, not being able to physically do it and having it limit my life in a negative manner. I wanted to become more healthy but at the same time didn't feel as if I could. 

After having the sessions from Dan I definitely feel as If this problem has left me. I now feel much more free in terms of trying and eating new food using the techniques that Dan has taught me, with it also being much easier for me to deal with social situations involving food such as eating around friends. I definitely recommend Dan for those dealing with phobias and fears based on my own experiences with him." Harry, Ely

Best wishes

Dan Regan

Hypnotherapy Ely & Newmarket

www.danreganhypnotherapy.co.uk