Metro - 2 September 2020
When Zachary Twigger was just 18 months old, he developed a phobia of food that left him able to eat only Dairylea sandwiches. For years he lived off just soft cheese sandwiches and water, and would gag if he tried any other food.
Now 10, Zachary's phobia has been 'cured' through hypnotherapy , which means he now feels comfortable eating cooked meals. His mum Becky, 38, is hugely relieved, not only because she has worried about Zachary's health as a result of his restrictive diet, but because she'll no longer need to spend a small fortune making sure Zachary has an entire tub of Dairylea for each and every day.
Becky, from Coventry, said: 'I remember trying Zachary on solids as a baby and the only thing he liked was Dairylea.
'This carried on for years and I tried to get him to try other foods but he was physically unable to swallow them. 'He would gag and have to spit out food and the only thing he could keep down was Dairylea sandwiches.
'It was really hard but the doctors actually said he would grow out of it. He wasn't overweight and was getting plenty of protein. 'As he got older he started asking me to try other foods. 'We went past a Chinese restaurant and he said he really liked the smell of the food but when he tried it, he couldn't even get the food to his mouth.”
Unrelated to his Dairylea diet, Zachary developed Type-1 diabetes and was underweight for his age and BMI.
Becky said: 'His health was getting quite bad because he wasn't getting enough good fats so was losing weight. 'He needs insulin to control his diabetes but I knew we had to tackle his food phobia otherwise his health would get worse the older he got.'
Becky, also mum to Archie, six, and Bethany, four, was so desperate she contacted a cognitive behavioural hypnotherapist. After just one two-hour session of hypnotherapy, Zachary was able to tuck into his first ever cooked meal: a roast dinner. Zachary said: 'It was amazing, I never thought I'd be able to eat vegetables and gravy but after being hypnotised my fear was gone.
'I never really got bored of Dairylea, it was just the only thing I could eat without gagging. 'I got used to eating it. I did used to wonder what a Christmas dinner tasted like because I really liked the smell of it cooking but I could never get myself to actually put the food in my mouth. 'Now I can't wait to try different foods. I want to go to Pizza Express next because my friend's say it's amazing.'
Zachary had Neophobia, a fear of new things, he feared trying anything that was new to him, following a very restrictive diet. In this case, Hypnotherapy cured Zachary's food phobia enabling him to widen his diet and enjoy a huge variety of foods, making him healthier and happier. Our hypnotherapist treat food phobias and eating disorders at The Harley Street Hypnotherapy Clinic.