22nd February this year I received an e-mail from a lady called Heather, this IS her real name as she would like to help others after her life changing experience. I remember the title of the e-mail she sent 'Food Aversion' now over the years I have worked with clients who have had an Anxiety towards certain types of food but, NEVER to the extent of Heather.
For nearly 60 years..yes 60 years!! Heather had survived on the same 6 items of food, Chips, Weetabix, Ice Cream, Toast, Cucumber, and Tomatoes. This situation was causing her huge embarrassment, she couldn't go out for meals, attended business dinners with her husband, enjoy holidays, socialising with friends, even a day out at the races!! Things had become so upsetting and stressful for Heather she had even contemplated having her taste buds removed....Her last resort was contacting me.
Heather and I had a quick chat on the phone, I found out more about her childhood, school years, early adult life, and recent years too. I explained that when born we only have two fears, the fear of falling, and the fear of loud noises, therefore everything else we had learned ourselves, of which in turn mean't we could 'Unlearn' the behaviour's and Hypnotherapy would be able to help achieve this. Despite being sceptical about Hypnosis, and the outcome, Heather booked an appointment - in her words the best thing she ever did!!
Our first session built the foundations for an incredible but, short journey to a long success, I discovered that when Heather was around 3/4 years old she nearly choked on a piece of dry meat, this caused a panic attack and traumatic experience. The incident became a talking point over the coming days, and instead of mum/dad explaining that there was nothing to worry about, using the old phrase "sometimes food goes down the wrong hole" and saying "a glass of water will rectify things" and that she would be ok - in other words reassuring her and installing confidence, they allowed her to eat different meals from her brothers and sisters - mostly Toast and Chips, so Heather's confidence to eat meat again disappeared, and her confidence to try new food disappeared too.
As humans we only need to follow a pattern of behaviour half a dozen times for a new system to be installed into our unconscious mind, this then becomes a new behaviour. All behaviour patterns can be turned around to be positive/negative, or removed from our unconscious mind using Hypnotherapy and NLP (Neuro Lingustic Programming) techniques.
I explained Hypnosis to Heather, reassured her that the experience would be relaxing, exciting, safe, and rewarding - oh and that I wasn't going to turn her into a Chicken or Pop Up Toaster!! The Hypnotic 'Trance' like state is like day dreaming, you are totally safe, can't be made to do something you don't want to do, and most importantly you DON'T go to sleep - despite Hypnotists all over the world telling subjects to "SLEEP and RELAX"!! *Hypno is in fact the Greek for Sleep - but let's not even go there today...
I lead Heather into a nice relaxing Hypnotic Trance, I allowed her mind to become crystal clear, let her worries assume their true proportions, and problems seem less significant. I then started decreasing her anxieties, installing confidence, and a thought process that even until this day she still uses in all aspects of her life "What is the worst that can happen?........nothing"
Ask somebody out on a date, What's the worst that can happen?......they say no.........so Nothing!!
Try a new brand of food, What's the worst that can happen?........it doesn't taste like your usual brand......therefore.....Nothing!!
After her first session Heather felt good, and was already on a mission to start trying, and testing new foods, although without her husband knowing. Why you may ask.....Heather and her Husband we off to Majorca at the end of April, and therefore she wanted to be able to sit in a Restaurant, for the first time order a proper meal, and shock her husband who had got into the habit of ordering for her - Chips!!!
There were various dishes/meals Heather really wanted to be able to eat and enjoy, but was anxious because of various reasons including the smell, these included fish dishes, and curries.
Over a period of a few weeks, we worked on textures, smells, flavours, spices, combinations, and different items on the plate touching each other, really overcoming the different areas of food anxieties, and also remembering that different dishes can taste good or bad depending on the person who cooked it, and therefore should never dismiss a new dish on the first taste, all of this was achieved using various Hypnotic / NLP techniques.
Only two people knew that she was coming to see me, her Daughter, and her Son. Two weeks prior to the Majorca holiday, Heather started to do test run's in restaurants with her daughter, and a few friends, the first test was instead of ordering chips she went for Gammon with various extras - this she really enjoyed, other meals that followed included Chinese, Mild Curries, Pizza, Steaks, and even Fish including Prawns.
The Majorca trip came, and on the first night out Heather's husband nearly choked on his bread dipped in oil....... the first meal she ordered was Seafood Paella.
Upon her return I received this e-mail from Heather:-
Just to say I had a lovely holiday in a fabulous hotel with incredible food!! I tried lots of different things some I liked some I didn't but I am still attempting to try each day My husband and I have been out for meals since we came back and he is delighted that at last I am " normal!!" Many thanks for your help I still recite in my head " what's the worst that can happen?? Absolutely nothing !!" My life has changed dramatically all thanks to you
If you suffer from food anxiety, or any other form of anxiety please send me an e-mail or give me a call as I can most certainly help you and help to change your life too.