Woman who was so terrified of TURKEY she spent 20 years hiding in her room during Christmas dinner is set to enjoy her first festive feast after hypnotherapy cured her food phobia
A mum who was so terrified of turkey, she hid in her bedroom, while her family ate Christmas dinner for more than 20 years, will be joining them for her first festive fowl on December 25, thanks to hypnosis.
Selective eater, Amy Millington, of Stockport, Greater Manchester, was so food phobic, she would heave when exposed to anything other than Weetabix, crisps, garlic bread, plain pasta, plain noodles, rice, chocolate and plain McDonald’s cheeseburgers.
Amy, 24, said: ‘Every Christmas, I’d go and sit in my room, as I couldn’t stand to watch everyone enjoying a big old lunch, while I was munching on the chocolate I’d got in my stocking. It was really miserable.
‘By Boxing Day, I really needed my fried noodle fix, so my fiancé, Jonny Hurst, would drive me to the local Chinese, as well as taking me to the McDonald’s drive thru twice a week.’
Amy Millington, of Stockport, Greater Manchester, 24, pictured with her son Cruz, has missed out on Christmas dinner for the past 20 years because of her food phobias
A plain McDonald’s cheeseburger was one of the very few foods Amy could bring herself to eat
But Amy, who suffered a tragedy, when her baby boy, Emilio, was delivered stillborn at 33 weeks on September 7, 2015, decided she had to change when she fell pregnant for a second time.
The stay-at-home mum, who met cashier Jonny, 23, in 2013 in her local Wetherspoon’s pub, said: ‘With my second pregnancy, I realised I didn’t want my baby to develop the same eating habits as me.
‘My eating hadn’t harmed my first baby, but I knew with another one on the way, I needed to do something about it.’
Then, when she was six months pregnant, she read about a London-based hypnotherapist, Felix Economakis, who had worked wonders for people with phobias.
The mother-of-one was determined to change her ways when she fell pregnant for the second time with Cruz, after suffering a heartbreaking stillbirth
Amy’s fiance Jonny would take her to the McDonald’s drive thru twice a week so she could she could eat plain cheeseburgers
Still, Amy, whose deep-rooted problems had blighted her entire life, found it hard to believe he could possibly cure her.
SELECTIVE EATING DISORDER
SED is also known as picky eating, fussy eating, food phobia, selective eating, or Perseverative Feeding Disorder.
It is more common among those within the autistic spectrum and in combination with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.
It starts in childhood or early adolescence and the most common cause of SED is a development of extra sensitive taste sensation, which is caused by an increase in fungiform papilla – taste buds – throughout childhood.
Typically the food preferred by an SED sufferer are ‘comfort foods’ – bland and refined foods, high in carbohydrates – such as pizza, cheese and chips, often from particular brands or food outlets.
The types of food will be restricted to ten or less with extreme cases only eating one or two types of food.
SED sufferers can get psychiatric help such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and other treatments for OCD which have been successful.
Recalling her childhood eating habits, she said: ‘My mum Kathryn said I didn’t seem to like food much growing up and doctors thought I was just a fussy eater.
‘I’d stick to a few select foods, with my favourite being a plain McDonald’s burger and a Chinese take-away, but that was it.’
When she reached 18, though, Amy realised her beige diet was taking its toll.
She said: ‘I was getting really upset about what I couldn’t eat. I wouldn’t want to go out socially, because I didn’t want everyone to know about it.
‘It took over my whole life. I wouldn’t eat at school and I’d miss social events like friends’ birthdays.
‘Then, when I met Jonny, I was sure that when he found out about me, he wouldn’t want to be with me.’
Finally, though, after her beautiful baby, Cruz, was born on May 19, 2017 she knew she had to try something.
‘I’d been very sceptical about hypnotherapy, but, I realised I had nothing to lose,’ she admitted.
So, in September 2017, she drove to London, for a £300 hour long session with Felix Economakis at his Finchley, north London, clinic.
She recalled: ‘He was talking to my sub-conscious mind, telling me I needed the eating habits of a 23-year-old, not a two-year-old.
The mother-of-one was unsure about trying hypnotherapy but didn’t want to pass on her disordered eating habits to her son
This year, Amy will tuck into turkey with all the trimmings for the first time in memory
‘Then, he started to bring food into the room – beginning with a banana, something I’d never even imagined eating before. But I ate it all and actually really enjoyed it.’
After the session, Amy even tucked into a spicy chicken wrap and, for the first time in her life, now enjoys a varied diet.
‘Hypnosis has changed my life completely,’ she said. ‘This year, we are going have our first family Christmas dinner, with me and Cruz. We’re having turkey and all the trimmings.
Since undergoing hypnotherapy, Amy now enjoys a balanced diet and eats a variety of foods
When Amy first met Jonny she was worried he wouldn’t want to be with her when he found out about her eating habits
‘It’s something I never thought would happen and I can’t wait.’
Felix Economakis, who runs the Heath Clinic in north west London where Amy went for hypnotherapy, explained that he negotiated change with her subconscious mind.
He said: ‘Hypnotherapy has changed Amy’s life for the better. After just one session, Amy can now enjoy Christmas dinner with her family and enjoy all the things she missed out on before.’