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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.
MattMatt wrote on August 30, 2019 on 9:55 pm:
I’ve been a picky eater my whole life. I will soon be 37. I’ve learned to deal with it. I’ve found ways to get all the macro and micro nutrients I need. I still have a strong fear of being rejected when in social settings where the only food available is something I do not like. I started going to a therapist lately, but I think I need to talk to a psychologist that understands this situation more. Is there a list of specialists in this condition? I live in the Boston area.
DaniDani from Bloomington wrote on August 30, 2019 on 7:40 pm:
I've been a picky eater my whole 20 years of living. It's not that I just don't like other foods, it's that I am exteremly afraid of trying them, as to why I believe I have food neophobia. I have already been diagnosed with GAD (Generalized Anxiety Disorder) and mild panic disorder, but all my panic and anxiety stems from my phobia of trying new foods.
Admin Reply by: Bob
I just sent you a private email. Welcome to our group
ArielAriel from Memphis wrote on August 27, 2019 on 3:32 pm:
My name is Ariel, I'm 25, and I don't know where I fit in the world of picky eaters. My list of safe foods is a lot longer than most people on this website, which is good, and it has grown throughout my life. But it also kind of varies from day to day, which is frustrating. Some of my most unsafe foods are onions, strawberries, and cabbage, but I also struggle with peppers, asparagus, kale, brussel sprouts, oranges, raspberries, shrimp, fish roe, etc...

I also often deal with my gag reflex being too sensitive, even with foods I like and when I know I'm still hungry. I love broccoli (but only steamed and with lemon), but recently I've been gagging while eating it. I also have a problem with getting bored while eating. Even when I'm still hungry, I just get so tired of it. Recently, I was eating cheese pizza (a very safe food), but it still took me an hour and a half to eat the same amount as usual. Sometimes I just avoid eating because I just do. not. enjoy it.

I don't know what I'm hoping to get out of posting here. I guess I'm just wondering if anyone else feels like they're too picky to be a normal adult, but not picky enough to qualify for ARFID or anything like that. Like I'm in this weird limbo and I don't know how to get help.
SydneySydney from Pittsburgh wrote on August 16, 2019 on 2:08 pm:
Hello I'm a 22-year old picky eater whose diet essentially boils down to pizza, french fries, and ham and cheese sandwiches. I decided to post here because I feel like I need to start making a change. I've read about AFRID and I have no doubt that my picky eating falls in that category. I also wanted to post here because I do feel alone as a picky eater but I also feel like a hypocrite. I recently graduated from college with a degree in Exercise Science. I am supposed to be promoting healthy lifestyle choices and here I am unable to eat a healthy diet. Another reason for this feeling is that I have recently started gaining weight and with my knowledge base of how the body functions I worry all the time that that I'm going to drop dead from a heart attack due to unhealthy eating for the past 22 years. I don't like feeling like a fraud but it is so hard for me to try new things. Like i used to be the picky eater who would order mozzarella sticks and take off the breading, why I have no idea but I did. And overcoming things like that strangely make me feel like I'm taking a step in the right path but I just feel like a joke to those around me who don't understand. I feel like I see way too many walls up for trying something new where maybe there aren't really any. I would like to mention that I have reached out to a therapist about working things out and that is honestly why I am posting here. I feel like by speaking out into the void that I'm trying to make some progress might hold me accountable in to keep it up. It's nice to know I'm not the only one out there and that there are others out there who know the anxiety going to a new restaurant brings. I'm interested in hearing any ways any of you have made small successful steps to introducing new foods into your diet!
Admin Reply by: Bob
I don't think you will drop dead any time soon. I just had my 72 birthday and I'm feeling pretty good. I think you should ask your therapist how many others with ARFID he or she has treated successfully. I would bet the answer will turn out to be zero or close to it. Don't get into the endless cycle of visits that only cause you to spend your hard earned money for little or no gain. The one thing I know that has helped others is chaining. What you do is take some food that you can eat and add something to it which will expand your choices. Most everyone has problems with certain foods. In our case the list is way longer. Don't let your food challenges keep you from having a great life. It's only food.
JissellJissell from Clinton wrote on August 15, 2019 on 3:01 am:
To start off I am not an adult I am 16 years old. I’ve been picky ever since I was born, my mom always tells me stories on how she would try to feed me certain foods and I would spit them out. Till this day I am still like that I only rely on chicken nuggets or tenders with fries , tacos with out cilantro or onions, spaghetti without sauce just butter, all types of fruits. No vegetables at all except for cucumbers. I love steak and chicken,turkey. I am very ashamed of me for this I just wished I was a normal eater but the texture and smells of foods that I don’t like just make me not want to eat them. One thing I do to see if I don’t like the food is look at it or smell it . I have a feeling I will be like this for the rest of my
Life
Admin Reply by: Bob
Cheer up. Many people that come to this website have much shorter lists of foods they can eat. Some no meat or vegetables. You will probably expand your list in the next few years. Even if you don't most people have some foods they can't tolerate. In your case it's just a little longer. Try adding just one new food which is similar to something you can eat now about once a month. I think your going to be fine. Being picky is not so bad when you think of some many other problems we could have which are way worse. Now go out and have a great life. It's up to you.
HannahHannah from Bristol wrote on August 11, 2019 on 4:51 pm:
Hi, I’m Hannah and I’m 18 years old. I’ve always struggled with having a varied diet and I believe it’s affecting my hair and my weight for sure. I’ve been underweight for a long time and not by choice. I wish I could eat more healthy foods but I simply don’t like the taste and my parents can’t understand that. I struggle with almost all fruit apart from apples and most vegetables apart from carrots, peas, sweetcorn + green beans. My parents cook a lot of all in one pots with rice, onions, peppers + chicken. I end up eating the chicken then picking through the rice trying to avoid eating the onion. It’s becoming a big problem and I’m due to move out to University soon. Any advice on how I can deal with this problem would be unbelievably helpful. Thankyou x
Admin Reply by: Bob
Sounds like you are lucky that you can eat some vegetables and fruits. Seems like your not getting enough to eat because of all the extra items going into the pot. You could be a super taster and your parents are trying to force you into eating things you probably will never learn to like including Onions and peppers. If you feel like your deficient you might want to get some blood tests to see how you are really doing health wise. You should be fine when you move to the University. Perhaps you need to have a very serious talk with your parents about a disorder you may have and they are not helping things by trying to force you into eating some foods you probably will never like. Your limited food choices should not keep you from having a long and healthy life. I just made it too 72.
KatieKatie from Bloomington wrote on August 10, 2019 on 7:45 pm:
Hi! My name’s Katie, and I’m actually a teenager, not an adult. I’m in high school, and I was diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome at age 6. My mom is a vegetarian, and I have been too since I was born, but ever since I started feeding myself, my diet has become very restrictive. I eat most dairy products, most egg products, all grains but rice, and a few fruits. I can also eat almost all sweets. I don’t want to change the fact that I’m vegetarian for moral reasons, but I have found it extremely difficult to have such a restrictive diet at my age. I don’t understand what’s going on inside my brain, or why I can’t eat like other people, and I just feel broken and alienated. I do have depression and anxiety, which I really think would go away if I was able to get over my eating disorder. I’ve got a wonderfully supportive boyfriend, and a mom who’s specialized in dealing with cases of autism, and I’m seeing a therapist and a nutritionist and a woman who specializes in eating disorders. Yesterday, I went to my general therapist, and after I talked to her about how after all the therapy I’ve been through, I just keep hearing people tell me to suck it up and do it, because food would get better after exposure. She also said it was important for me to listen to my doctors because if I didn’t, I could really jeopardize my health and maybe my lifespan. I don’t wanna die early. I want to settle down and have a nice family and all that stuff. But most of all, I just wanna be able to explore the foods people around me love so much. As people who have been through what I have, do you know what I can do to help make it less scary to try foods? I was able to eat a few bites of salad yesterday because I was terrified I’d die if I didn’t. Is there any other way to control my fear of foods than thinking it’ll be fatal if I don’t? I feel stuck with three options: eat my regular diet, but jeopardize my health and be judged for it; don’t eat and have no stress about food but die very quickly; or try new foods as they tell me but have constant anxiety about eating. I want to go with the third option, but I need help and some advice to start a new phase of my life. Can any of you help me? I just wanna be a normal kid.
Admin Reply by: Bob
Most people with Asperger’s syndrome tend to have lots of problems with food. It appears I have a mild case but my eating is probably way worse than you. Long life I just turned 72 and have lived longer than most of my normal eating relatives. Can't figure that out. Your very lucky to have an understanding boyfriend and his mother. That is very rare. There are not magic bullets and you will probably have food issues your entire life. Things a person can have are way worse than our disorder. Go out and have a great life and just be the best you can be.
FernFern from Sheffield wrote on August 8, 2019 on 6:57 pm:
Hi there!
Im so glad this is not just me! I can't believe I am seeing poor folk here with lists smaller than mine! I can pinpoint when my fear started and what frustrates me is that I've tried... And tried.. And TRIED to put any kind of vegetable, fruit or most meats, but the story goes I was born with hip dysplasia and when I had an operation as a 21 month old, the first meal I had given to me in hospital, was liver and onions and because I wouldn't eat, I was force fed by a nurse. Since then I have been so afraid of food and it is so embarrassing. I've tried everything to help, even hypnotherapy to no avail. I just want to eat normally so I can actually diet properly and get the nutrients and vitamins I need and experience all the flavours in the world I am desperate to try. Has anyone managed to get help anywhere in the UK for this?
Admin Reply by: Bob
There appears to be a hypnotist named Felix somewhere in the UK that claims to cure people in just one day. Caution I really don't know if those claims are valid or not. Most of us have a really hard time trying to expand the variety of things we can eat.
AshleyAshley wrote on July 25, 2019 on 2:06 am:
I'm 19 and have been such a picky eater my whole life. I basically only eat mac and cheese, chicken, peanut butter sandwiches, french fries, and some things with sugar/chocolate. I'm going into my second year of college in the fall and it is very hard going to so many dinners with friends and sitting there since I didn't want to make them have to go to a restaurant at which I would eat something at. Last year, I would go to the dining hall with my friends almost every day, but at least half of the time, I would just sit there and watch them eat because they weren't serving anything I liked that day. My friends would ask me every now and then "why don't you just try it" and in my head I wanted to say because I'm literally gonna have a panic attack, but I always just laughed it off and said "I don't know". The last few times someone has made me try a new food, I have had panic attacks. These instances happened when I was like 12 or 13 and I haven't tried very many foods since then. My family and I have gone on many cruises and when it comes to those sit down dinners with the same waiters each night, I feel embarrassed ordering off the kid's menu and getting the same thing each night. But I would rather eat than sit and watch my family eat. It has just become the standard for me to order off the kid's menu if they don't have anything I want on the adult menu. I will only go to a handful of restaurants and out of those, I still only order off the adult menu half of the time. One of the times that I had a panic attack, my parents were forcing me to try banana pudding and I absolutely hate the smell of bananas. Anytime I smell it, it makes me wanna throw up. It took me 30 minutes to take a bite, after sitting there in tears in public as my parents watched me. I just hope that as time goes on, I can be able to try a food that they serve at most restaurants that I will actually like.
Admin Reply by: Bob
I feel your pain. I have been like you for 72 years now and still going strong. Part of the problem is that many foods do not look or smell like food to our brains. For us to put some things in our mouth is like eating barf or baby poop. Most people have some food they can't stand to eat and in our case we have many things that don't look like food. You should find out all you can about ARFID placed in the DMM in May 2013. I always say we never asked to be the way we are and we really would change if we could. Following my note is a link to a story on ABC TVs 20/20 news magazine. Amber has appeared on several TV shows to raise awareness about our disorder and reach people who are suffering alone. She is now a pr acting attorney in California. Know reason why you can't have a great life no matter how much you can eat.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ofgqx-OcmAU

Bob K
AutumnAutumn from Silverdale wrote on July 17, 2019 on 6:05 am:
I am 20 years old and since I was 4, I've always been picky. I eat very few items and growing up I lived off of grilled cheese, hot dogs, tacos (but wouldn't touch hamburgers), Mac and cheese, french fries(but can't eat mashed potatoes),very childlike things like that. It's how I've always been and I get shamed for it. I hate that I can't go out to eat because most places just don't have things that I can stomach. And going to friends houses gives me so much anxiety because then people are like "oh just eat it, stop being picky", "it's all in your mind, just get over it" and other things like that. When I eat something that I know I don't like or that I've tried before and I'm retrying, it makes me physically sick to the point where I throw up or I'm close to it. It's gotten to the point where it's causing me to not want to eat around people or in public because of the ridicule

I could drone on and on, but it's good to know that I'm not the only one
Admin Reply by: Bob
We all know just how you feel. The social stigma is one of the very worst consequences of having ARFID. Strive to keep from being social isolated because it is just food. No reason you can't have a great life.
JamesJames from Marietta wrote on July 13, 2019 on 8:17 am:
I am 31 years old and ever since I can remember I have had severe food aversions. I eat mostly french fries or hash browns and a few select other foods. It was especially hard growing up in social settings having to explain why I didn't want to eat what everyone else was having. My health is very affected by this and I just found out about this group and was surprised I actually was not alone in this struggle.

I have a 3 year old son and I want and need to set a good example for him and see him grow up.