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GageGage wrote on November 6, 2019 on 6:39 pm:
Hi. I am someone who was once an extremely picky eater but has now personally overcome this condition and has now added quite a few new foods to my palate. My goal in this post is to help others be able to do the same for themselves.

What I learned in my personal experience with picky eating was that what I deep down hated the most was not actually the food itself, but rather the whole "dinner table" experience that was thrust upon me as a child by my parents. They are good parents overall, but they unforunately failed when it came to providing me with a stress-free and fun dinner table experience while growing up. They didn't understand how scared I felt in those moments at the dinner table when there was "unsafe" food served to me, and it was always a lose-lose situation. If I wasn't completely opposed to the new food, they forced me to eat more of it than I was comfortable eating (to the point where I then formed a bad relationship with that particular food that I could've eventually liked eating had I been given the chance to slowly become accustomed to it on my own terms and comfort level). If I was completely opposed to the new food, they'd make negative comments about how small of a bite I took and made me feel like it was my fault that I didn't like the food. I then began giving an "it's alright" response to new foods in an attempt to avoid the two extreme before-mentioned responses, but then after a few times of that, they'd complain "you ALWAYS say that" and then I hated hearing that too, but it was the lesser of the "evils", so I kept going with that response, which eventually affected my ability to stand up for myself, voice my opinions, and etc. because that's how I began to deal with other life issues as well. I also had very little social life for twenty some years because of this condition. It's a cruel thing to go through, and like anything else, people who haven't gone through it for themselves simply don't understand how it feels and the effects that their "just eat it" (and similar) comments have on those people who are going through that.

I grew up thinking that this was my own fault, and was told that it was my own fault, so I could never overcome it because I felt like I was constantly failing at every turn. I had very low self esteem. The moment that I started overcoming my aversion to new foods was the moment that I realized that this condition was not my fault in any way, and realized that it manifested in me due to my parents' causing me to have a terrifying experience at the dinner table every time that I had no "safe" foods served to me and wasn't allowed to become accustomed to new foods at my own pace and comfort level. Since realizing this, I have now slowly added quite a bit of new foods to my palate. Still hardly any vegetables, but that's okay since I want to eat mainly a meat based diet anyway.

So, I then on my own (so there was no external pressures being placed upon me) started trying very very small amounts of new foods along with my "safe" foods. If I was completely opposed to them, I wouldn't try them again. If I was not completely opposed to them, but didn't enjoy them, I ate the small bit that I took and left it at that. Then, nice time, I'd take the same small bit of that same food again and eat it again. I'd repeat that process until I became more comfortable with the texture and taste of the food to where I would slowly take a slightly larger portion of it (again, at my own pace and comfort level) until I eventually began eating it like anyone else who liked it would eat it. Then once I'd "master" one food, I'd do that with the next food and so on. It is easiest to do this when sticking to very similar foods, such as changing from French fries to hashbrowns, or from fries to mashed potatoes. This allows for particular textures to become more palatable, then one can move on to other foods with similar textures, such as from mashed potatoes to applesauce, or from hamburger to pulled pork.

It really comes down to being an intense fear that needs to be identified and alleviated in a slow and safe way, as I have explained.

Hope this helps people who are going through this "hell on Earth". I'll check back here occasionally if anyone wants any sort of assistance or support from me, or has any questions.
MaureenMaureen from Cranbrook wrote on October 30, 2019 on 7:04 pm:
I am so happy to have read what other picky eaters have to say. I don't eat vegetables or fish or a multitude of other things. Why?? They may look gross or smell bad or, if I have had something in my mouth, it may be the texture or the sound it makes when I bite into it. Or, maybe I am with someone who is eating a rare steak & there is blood on his plate - then I can't eat my food either. Going out for dinner is not a treat. Because of how I eat, my weight is out of control. Might be easier to eat nothing because everything I like is bad for me. I know I need help but I don't know how that would manifest.
MelanieMelanie wrote on October 23, 2019 on 4:20 am:
I am so happy to finally find a welcoming community. I have struggled with this my entire life. My diet consists of yogurt, fruit, and junk food. I am "vegetarian," but don't eat vegetables. I would love to be able to eat salad one day, so I could sit down at restaurant and order a meal.
ProcrastinateherProcrastinateher from Australia wrote on October 21, 2019 on 2:47 am:
I found this website whilst looking for information on anxiety and food sensory issues, trying to figure out if it's my anxiety that is the reason behind my food issues or something else.

I do eat a variety of foods, but the ones I struggle with the most are vegetables. Corn, potato, sweet potato, pumpkin, I can usually eat by themselves whether roasted or boiled (not a big fan of mash).
Anything beyond that, it has to be in something for me to eat it. A couple of peas in a mouthful of pasta. Small pieces of carrot in a salad, stir fry or meatloaf.

Some foods I can't do at all, and will pick them out especially if there's big chunks of them, like mushrooms, brussel sprouts and anything from the pickled cabbage range of foods (sauerkraut, kimchi, pickles, artichokes, antipasto).

Even foods I regularly eat, I can't tolerate and won't eat if it's in a texture or smell that doesn't agree with me at that moment. E.g. right now, microwaved chunks of sweet potato from a ready meal are sitting there uneaten.

Sometimes my mouth sensory issues can be bad enough that regular toothpaste is too "spicy" and I can't tolerate it long enough to properly brush my teeth. Sometimes brushing my teeth activates my gag reflex, even if my toothbrush is nowhere near the back of my mouth.

As I've gotten older, I've been able to tolerate more tastes and smells. E.g. I now kinda like avocado, but make sure it's mashed into guacamole/spread and not in slimy slices.

It's become a problem again because I live alone and am trying to eat healthy. But it can be difficult to ensure my tastebuds will be okay with that flavour, smell and texture before the fresh food goes to waste.

Maybe lowering the medication I take for anxiety and depression has made things worse. Maybe I just have too much time to over-think and worry about my feelings toward food, and my sensitivities are actually in the "normal" range? Or I've just got to work hard to getting away from those junk "comfort" foods I used to emotionally eat.
CraigCraig from Cincinnati wrote on October 17, 2019 on 3:49 am:
When I was a kid, age 3 and up, I ate nothing but potatoes, grilled cheese, peanut butter, milk, soda, crackers, all very bland, plain food. That continued through adulthood. I didn't have a piece of pizza until 17, a hamburger until 37, eggs at 41, I could go on and on. I felt so ashamed and embarrassed because I did 't eat like everyone else. My siblings teased me about it constantly. My parents used to make me sit at the dinner table until I ate everything on my plate. I would sit there for an hour after everyone else was finished and gone doing their thing. My parents gave me chewable vitamins that I liked. I liked carnation instant breakfast chocolate drink so every morning through high school I drank one of those. Things started to change for me when I went into the service. You can't request food there and I either ate the food they had or starve. In basic I learned to eat meats. Chicken, fried fish, turkey and ham, hot dogs. I still don't eat a lot of different foods but a lot more than I used to. Starving in a situation made me eat and try different things also. I didn't have a burger until 37 like i stated before. The only reason i tried a burger is because we landed in Saudi Arabia back in 97 late at night and the only thing open on base was a Burger King trailer. They only had burgers and fries. I hadn't eaten that day for about 14 hours and was starved. I got two plain cheeseburgers and ate them both in about 3 minutes. They were good so I started eating more burgers. Same thing with other foods. I am now 60 and I am pretty healthy. Is still to this day have never had lobster, most seafood, the only veggies I eat are cooked carrots, baled beans, corn and potatoes. I have never had peas, green beans, or any other green veggie. I can only eat food that smells good and looks good. I am to the point now, being older, that I order what I want to eat. If someone is with me and they say anything, I look at them and say, are you buying my food? Then you need to be quiet. It wasn't easy trying different foods. I do eat all kinds of pastas now but I still only go with plain sauce, nothing fancy with a lot of flavor or spices. I do not eat mexican or any foreign foods. I do eat chinese every once in awhile too. So I am with each and every one of you on here and I know the struggles and embarressment we all have gone through in life. Hold your head up high, there is nothing wrong with us.
JanetJanet from Florida wrote on October 17, 2019 on 1:06 am:
I am 58 years old and today is the first time I have heard of this. I heard it on the radio and was stunned . All this time I thought it was just me, it has brought me to tears. It started as a child, I wouldn’t eat anything but bacon for meat. I would eat sweets, potato and bread but no fruit or vegetables. It continued through teens where I did add in a few more foods. Early 20’s I became binge eating and bulimic and still regress to that today when under stress/anxious. From what I have started reading online it all started in childhood which makes sense, all I remember is being physically forced to eat food several times, I black out the details and constantly being anxious and afraid. I still get that way in social situations where there is food. I have to check the menu online prior to going to make sure there is something there I can eat. Or usually just try to avoid going out to eat all together.
I am not sure what I am going to do now going forward, except research this more. I don’t think I could ever talk about it with anyone too ashamed. But knowing this is a real illness makes me feel alittle better today. Thank you.
BrittneyBrittney from Millington wrote on October 12, 2019 on 9:27 pm:
I just found out this was actually a real issue. I always just thought I was abnormally picky. I'm almost 18 and I've grown to be very insecure about how picky I am. I'm not overweight but I find it hard to lose weight and get fit because i only eat unhealthy foods. There are a few fruits that I like but no vegetables at all. I dont know how to change this. I just really want to eat healthier but I dont like anything.
MitziMitzi from Lafayette wrote on October 9, 2019 on 10:30 am:
My son, Taylor just turned 19 this year and is a picky eating adult. He has lived his whole life as a “picky eater.” That’s what people called him when he was younger when they found out he didn’t eat meat, or fruit or vegetables.. or even pizza or hamburgers! Their mouths would fall open and they would be shocked! I would try to explain to them that he had been that way his whole life, even when he was a baby. I would put a tiny bit of meat baby food under rice cereal and fruit flavored baby food and he would ALWAYS catch me and spit it out. Every time. My mom and I have tried over the years to introduce Mac and cheese to him. Nope, didn’t want it. I knew he has some sort of what I only knew to call an “eating disorder”. But there were no answers to find. His pediatricians didn’t seem to care because he was healthy. He never got sick. His MAIN FOOD, his FAVORITE FOOD, the only HOT FOOD he eats until this day are French fries. He even told me a few months back that there is a name for his “eating disorder”. I was so glad he had a name to validate the way he eats so when the negative people would poo poo his eating habits he could tell them what was true. And now that my mom shared the French Fry Lady’s story with me I too can let my husband, Taylor’s step dad know what’s true . I want to thank you all for being here for my son and anybody else struggling to try to be “normal “. Taylor and everyone struggling like him are worthy, precious and beautiful just the way they are right now!
Admin Reply by: Bob
Such a nice posting to our Guest Book. The name is ARFID Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder. It was entered into the DSM in may of 2013. People who belong to this group were instrumental in helping doctors discover and name our eating disorder. There are thousands of us all over the world in every country. I would bet your son is very special in other ways. Many of us are very successful and standouts in life. Thank you
TerryTerry from Phenix City wrote on October 7, 2019 on 1:43 am:
Hi I am a 56 y.o. man and I have suffered with this all my life. Until tonight I never knew what was wrong with me I just knew something was. It is much easier to list the foods I will eat than to list the ones I won't (can't) eat. I am 5'10" tall and weigh 320 lbs. I am praying I have found a place and a group of people that can help me fix me.
Admin Reply by: Bob
We can probably help you feel better about who you are. Fixes have been hard to come by. It does appear some have gotten better with lots of dedication and hard work. You have to want it really bad.
Welcome
ColleenColleen from Levittown wrote on October 6, 2019 on 1:35 pm:
I am 42 years old and I have been a picky eater my entire life. I got called a b**ch by family members and friends for being a picky eater and I get sick from mayo, mustard, and spicy foods and I can't eat fish, shellfish, lobster, or any type of certain foods and I get stomach aches by eating certain fruits and vegetables. I was told by family members and friends that I am an embarrassment to be seen in public and that I should order the food the way it is an eat it and I get called a liar by being a picky eater by family and friends. I am definitely writing a book about it because I felt it wasn't my fault about being a picky eater and being allergic to certain foods.
Admin Reply by: Bob
Let me know when you get your book done. There have been others published already. Suffering Succotash was one. You should give your relatives a chance by asking them to look up ARFID Avoidance/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder in the May 2013 version of the DSM. You really do have a real disorder that is not your fault. Plus you never chose to be the way you are. I wonder how they would like to eat raw liver or dog poop. If my relatives treated me the way yours have I would be forced to fire them and get some new friends too replace them. Hope your book is terrific.
CassieCassie from San Diego wrote on October 4, 2019 on 9:16 pm:
My name is Cassie and I’m 21 years old. I’ve been suffering with AFRID for as long as I can remember. Growing up my safe foods were fruits, cheese pizza, mac n cheese, milk, chow menu, plain bread, chips, and candy. I would never eat any meat, fish, vegetables, or basically anything healthy since even my safe foods were not healthy for me. It was always hard for me to go to my friends houses and be there when they’d eat or offer me food because I wouldn’t want it since it was out of my safe foods.. Because of it I’ve always struggled gaining weight no matter how much of the unhealthy stuff I’d eat. It wasn’t until about a year ago when a I moved out and I wanted to make a change, not having the pressure of anyone watching me try new foods was so much easier. I still wouldn’t eat much since I never learned how to cook and I was honestly lazy.. But from trying take out I tried burgers and chicken wings and then I got into a relationship 6 months ago with a guy who’s into fitness and being healthy, and I was nervous to tell him about my previous eating habits and his diet is basic and nothing crazy but healthy still so I’d eat what he would eat (chicken, veggies, and pasta) and now I’m able to eat ground beef, chicken, green beans, spinach, broccoli, ham, lettuce, and protein shakes. He now knows about my eating habits, but sees my efforts and it hasn’t effected our relationship. I sometimes get concerned with my health because of the long 20 years not eating anything with nutritional value but trying my hardest to beat this battle and regain all the health I’ve missed all these years.
JamesJames from Manhattan wrote on October 3, 2019 on 1:54 am:
My name is James and I am a 24 year old who beat ARFID. Growing up I had a very poor diet that went beyond the typical picky eating of many children. My diet consisted of French fries, plain pizza, Mac and cheese, cereal without milk, popcorn, waffles and pancakes, scrambled eggs, plain pasta without sauce or butter, pretzels, mashed potatoes, plain chips, sugary yogurts, and candy. At one point I ate bananas and then later decided I didn’t like them anymore. I carried a lot of shame with me. I was always embarrassed at family gatherings when dinner would be served or generally at any occasion where food was involved. “Why aren’t you eating?” “I’m not hungry” meanwhile I was practically starving. This was my reality for a long time. Casual dinners with friends would give me pretty intense anxiety. When my mom would try to expose me to new foods I would literally gag and choke while trying things like plain unseasoned chicken, pasta with tomato sauce, anything outside of my comfort zone. My mom has taken me to specialists and there was no resolve for my issue. My mom started picking up ensures at the grocery store so that at least I had some sort of nutrition in my diet. So let’s get to the point where things changed. I was 20 years old and had gotten a fresh haircut. Buzzed on the sides and bit of length on the top. I noticed bald spots on the side of my head and thought the barber shaved too close to my head. A few weeks went by and the spots didn’t grow in. I googled and came across alopecia. Whether I’m correct or not, I attributed my alopecia to my poor diet. I became extremely worried for my health, I knew I needed to make a change. I was working in the mall at the time and one day while on break, I decided to order a small classic house salad from Panera. Lettuce, fresh onions, a couple cherry tomatoes, cucumber, with dressing on the side(to this day I dislike most salad dressings) I forced myself to eat this salad in my car by myself. I was choking gagging and tearing up. I was literally crying as I ate ice burg lettuce. I absolutely hated it. But I knew that the way I was eating was going to lead to serious chronic health issues down the road. I finished most of the salad and threw the rest away. I probably went back to my typical eating habits for a while but I made an effort to make a change. Very gradually I tried more and more new foods. I essentially put myself through exposure therapy. Today I eat cooked and raw fish, absolutely every single fruit and vegetable, all nuts/seeds, all types of grain, and most meats though I don’t prefer to eat meat. I am more daring than a lot of people without ARFID and I am so proud of this. I am still particular in my own ways and I still have a lot of love for Mac and cheese and French fries above everything else. I definitely still indulge in my comfort foods. I’m not perfect but I can go to any restaurant and find something to order. My favorite health foods that I sincerely enjoy are cucumber, pistachios, almonds, spinach, celery, avocado, quinoa, broccoli, raspberries, and fish, especially sashimi. If I can do it, then you can too. It’s a serious mental block but it IS possible to work through it. I am living proof. It boils down to grit. I advise to try new foods that are as plain as possible. This way you understand what each food tastes like on their own. Part of the fear of new foods is how unknown they are to you. When you try plates with many ingredients you won’t know what to which attribute flavor to. Also, in the beginning it really helped me to try new things in comfort of my own privacy. I didn’t want anyone to see me gag and I was able to take things at my own pace. I’m writing this to inspire. I know how difficult living with ARFID was and I want anyone living through it to know that it’s possible to get through it.

PS no more bald spots :)
JamesJames from Manhattan wrote on October 3, 2019 on 1:35 am:
I am a 24 year old who beat ARFID. Growing up I had a very poor diet that went beyond the typical picky eating of many children. My diet consisted of French fries, plain pizza, Mac and cheese, cereal without milk, popcorn, waffles and pancakes, scrambled eggs, plain pasta without sauce or butter, pretzels, mashed potatoes, plain chips, sugary yogurts, and candy. At one point I ate bananas and then later decided I didn’t like them anymore. I carried a lot of shame with me. I was always embarrassed at family gatherings when dinner would be served or generally at any occasion where food was involved. “Why aren’t you eating?” “I’m not hungry” meanwhile I was practically starving. This was my reality for a long time. Casual dinners with friends would give me pretty intense anxiety. When my mom would try to expose me to new foods I would literally gag and choke while trying things like plain unseasoned chicken, pasta with tomato sauce, anything outside of my comfort zone. My mom has taken me to specialists and there was no resolve for my issue. My mom started picking up ensures at the grocery store so that at least I had some sort of nutrition in my diet. So let’s get to the point where things changed. I was 20 years old and had gotten a fresh haircut. Buzzed on the sides and bit of length on the top. I noticed bald spots on the side of my head and thought the barber shaved too close to my head. A few weeks went by and the spots didn’t grow in. I googled and came across alopecia. Whether I’m correct or not, I attributed my alopecia to my poor diet. I became extremely worried for my health, I knew I needed to make a change. I was working in the mall at the time and one day while on break, I decided to order a small classic house salad from Panera. Lettuce, fresh onions, a couple cherry tomatoes, cucumber, with dressing on the side. I forced myself to eat this salad in my car by myself. I was choking gagging and tearing up. I hated it. But I knew that the way I was eating was going to lead to serious chronic health issues down the road. I finished most of the salad and threw the rest away. I probably went back to my typical eating habits but I made an effort to make a change. Gradually I tried more and more things. I essentially put myself through exposure therapy. Today I can eat cooked and raw fish, absolutely every single fruit and vegetable, all nuts/seeds, all types of grain, and most meats though I don’t prefer to eat meat. I am more daring than a lot of people without ARFID and I am so proud of this. I am still particular in my own ways and I still have a lot of love for Mac and cheese and French fries above everything else. But I can go to any restaurant and find something to order. My favorite health foods are cucumber, pistachios, almonds, spinach, celery, avocado, quinoa, broccoli, raspberries, and fish, especially sashimi. If I can do it, then you can too. Ps no more bald spots :)
KawtarKawtar from Rabat -Morocco wrote on September 29, 2019 on 5:53 pm:
Hello
My name is Kawtar and I am 21 years old. I'm currently 46kg, 159 cm.
My story with food started about six years ago. I started narrowing the list of my safe zone little by little. I don't eat any type of meat. I don't like most of vegetables . I hate cheese, milk and butter. I can't even stand the smell of milk. My favorite food is French fries and my favorite drink is coke. My food phobia caused me a lots of problems....I cannot go out with friends to eat because I get discussed. I feel embarrassed when people ask me about my condition because nobody believes that there is something called food phobia. I barely visit people because I feel unconfortable when they offer me food. In some culture, when you don't eat in their houses they feel disrespected. My diet consists of bread, pasta with tomato sauce with no spices just salt, peanut butter, nutella, potatoes, bananas,eggs, buiscuits that don't have milk/butter and of course French fries and fizzy drinks. I don't wanna be like this anymore... I'm sick of being called a weirdo.
Thank you guys for reading my story.
Have a nice day.
Admin Reply by: Bob
Try looking up ARFID. It's more than food phobia.
RachelRachel from Durham wrote on September 27, 2019 on 1:23 pm:
Hey I’m Rachel, I’m not really an adult, I’m 16. But I’ve just found this and Ive been reading through it. It’s amazing to see that I’m not alone because my family give me such a hard time about my eating. I was never fed as a child and when I was. I only ate tuna sandwiches. And ever since I’ve had such a hard time with food. I’m so scared to try new things, and if I get told to try something I have panic attacks. And I don’t know what to do!! I want to be like everyone else but I can’t. It’s like something in my brain tells me not to try it because I wouldn’t know what to do if I hated it. I do need an answer if anyone could help me. My family think that I’m a freak and I’ll suffer in the long term but I think I’m normal. (Although it’s really hard to go out to restaurants or peoples houses in case they make something I don’t like) but could someone help me?
Admin Reply by: Bob
Dear Rachel
I would be willing to bet you will outgrow this sometime real soon. You should try things by yourself and not at meal times. I suspect you could be very successful. Being able to eat Tuna fish sandwiches tells me you have a good chance. Your condition's name is ARFID.
Good Luck and make sure you have a great life.
PaigePaige from Victoria, BC, Canada wrote on September 26, 2019 on 11:04 pm:
Honestly, I just found out about this today, and I feel this huge anvil lifted off of my chest. I'm 29 and my boyfriend loves ethnic foods. There's an Indian restaurant next to my work and it smells amazing, but all of it just looks like goop. Different textured goop.

When I was little, I used to love peanut butter sandwiches, and my parents made the mistake of saying "Well try this for dinner, and if you don't like it, you can have a peanut butter sandwich." Now, because I liked peanut butter sandwiches, I'd lie and say I tried it and didn't like it.

As an adult, I am now incredibly weary of all foods, feeling like I've tried it and not liked it. I literally only try new things off of other people's plates as well. Why would I pay for something at a restaurant that may be great, but what if I don't like it? Now I'm paying for something I don't like AND I'm still hungry.

Thank you for giving me a voice and more confidence.
Admin Reply by: Bob
Glad to here from you. You are not alone. Don't get married unless your current boyfriend is willing to accept you just the way you are with no promises of getting better. You might improve the number of things you eat but your relationship should not depend on it.
SadeSade from Detroit wrote on September 24, 2019 on 7:57 pm:
I’m 25 and I’m an extremely picky eater. I love fries, grilled cheeses and fried fish. I can eat a few breakfast foods but that’s about it. Don’t even like pizza because I don’t like the taste of the marinara. I really want to change my eating habits as I know my health will be impacted by this. I’m over weight and I want to lose the weight but I feel like I can’t because of my diet. Glad to know that’s there’s others around me who feel the same way.
Admin Reply by: Bob
I have lived with it my entire life and I just turned 72 doing fine.
Rennard EastRennard East from Philadelphia wrote on September 22, 2019 on 1:51 pm:
Hi I'm Rennard & ive eaten like this my entire life. I don't eat any seafood whatsoever, mayonnaise, salad dressing, dark meat chicken or turkey. I always got ridiculed at thanksgiving dinner for not eating stuffing or cabbage. I always knew my eating choices were very strict but I had no idea there were folks out there like me. I'd literally starve before eating things listed above.
JoJo from papamoa beach wrote on September 10, 2019 on 3:10 am:
Just a 62 year old fussy eater, scared to try new foods, hold my breath walking past bananas at the supermarket! For me it it's all about the texture, lots of crunch and salt and sugar. Have thought about hypnosis but haven't actively pursued it as a solution.
MelanieMelanie from Saint louis wrote on September 4, 2019 on 4:59 am:
I'm 27 years old and live in saint louis. I've had a small list of safe foods for almost my entire life. It mainly consists of pizza, bread and cheese. If someone sits an unsafe food in front of me and tell me to eat it, I immediately start gagging and panicking. I'm so sick of living with this but havent been able to ever find help for it. Any suggestions?
Admin Reply by: Bob
Look for ARFID. The disorder has been recognized since May of 2013. Lots of internet references can be found. Or you could read through our guest book entries.