Mother who binges on sweets and chocolate in her SLEEP, fears meat and hasn’t eaten veg since childhood is warned she’s at risk of liver and brain damage on Extreme Food Phobics
- Mother-of-three Rebekah, 29, from Hull, was terrified of meat and vegetables
- She had lived on diet of crisps, energy drinks, and sweets since she was a child
- Risked damaging liver and brain because of large amounts of processed sugar
- Appeared on Extreme Food Phobics where she conquered fear of meat and veg
A mother-of-three who binged on sweets and chocolate in her sleep has conquered her fear of meat and veg after discovering that she could be causing longterm damage to her brain and liver.
Single mother-of-three Rebekah, 29, from Hull, hadn’t touched a vegetable since childhood and lived on energy drinks, unhealthy snacks and occasionally chips and lasagne.
In a bid to tackle her fear of healthy food, the mum appeared on this week’s episode of Extreme Food Phobics, airing tonight on W, where she admitted that she unconsciously snacks in the middle of the night – a habit she thinks is because her body needs more nutrients.
In a candid chat with the show’s host Dr Ranj, he told her that the amount of processed sugar she was consuming could be causing longterm damage to her brain and teeth, and contribute to fatty liver disease.
Single mother-of-three Rebekah, 29, from Hull, hadn’t touched a vegetable since childhood and lived on energy drinks, unhealthy snacks and occasionally chips and lasagne
In a candid chat with the show’s host Dr Ranj, he told her that the amount of processed sugar she was consuming could be causing longterm damage to her brain and teeth, and contribute to fatty liver disease
‘I have a really bad relationship with food,’ she said. ‘I don’t go out for food with friends.
‘Dating is really hard because I don’t go to restaurants and its starting to rub off on my children, so I have to buck up my ideas and do better.
‘Normally I will cook meals for the kids and stand next to them just snacking. Just because I never crave anything or fancy anything, unless it is sweets or puddings. Anything that is just quick or unhealthy.’
Rebekah started eating after her sleep after her children were born, but said the habit was ‘slowly getting worse’.
The first step in Rebekah’s rehabilitation was aversion therapy with Anthony Tait, a leading food phobia expert, who took her into a room full of burgers, with a plate of raw steak under a serving platter
The mum, who said that meat it her ‘worst nightmare’ was able to hold one of the burgers in the aversion room, but said it made her feel ‘hot, sweaty, sticky and sick’ and like she was ‘holding a dead animal’
‘I won’t know anything about it until I’ve woken up and there will be crisps all over me or chocolate all over my face’, she said.
‘Sometimes I’ve left the fridge open and there’s wrappers all over fridge or things are missing. I think it’s because I’m not eating enough during the day.’
Typically, Rebekah would begin her day with an energy drink and wouldn’t eat anything until lunchtime. Then she’d snack on crisps and sweets, ending the day with a cheese sandwich with crisps, chocolate and another fizzy drink.
‘I need to do something about it now because obviously my children are starting to notice and I don’t want them to go down the same route I am, where they’re scared of certain foods and trying things,’ said the mother.
‘I want them to grow up healthy. It would be so much better if I could eat variety of things.’
Four weeks on, Rebekah was seen eating an apple with her daughter as she insisted: ‘It’s absolutely crazy how much it’s changed
After showing Rebekah the vast amount of sugary snacks she consumed in a month, Dr Ranj explained the damage that her diet could be doing to her health.
‘The problem here is that when you eat sugar like this, your blood sugar levels skyrocket you feel great.
‘The body does it’s job, the pancreas kicks in, it makes insulin and then makes those sugar levels come crashing down so you feel really low. You’re not getting the nutrients your body needs. ‘
What is avoidant/ restrictive food intake disorder (ARFID) and how does it affect people?
Avoidant/restrictive food intake disorder (ARFID)
ARFID is when someone avoids certain foods, limits how much they eat or does both.
Beliefs about weight or body shape are not reasons why people develop ARFID.
Possible reasons for ARFID include:
- negative feelings over the smell, taste or texture of certain foods
- a response to a past experience with food that was upsetting, for example, choking or being sick after eating something
- not feeling hungry or just a lack of interest in eating
The mum said that her eating habits make her feel ‘really lonely’ because she was unable to spend quality time with her friends and family while they eat together.
Dr Ranj went on: ‘It doesn’t just affect the way you’re feeling. We know that if you eat high levels of processed sugar for a long time, it does actually damage your brain. It’s playing hell with your teeth and damaging your liver as well.’
The first step in Rebekah’s rehabilitation was aversion therapy with Anthony Tait, a leading food phobia expert, who took her into a room full of burgers, with a plate of raw steak under a serving platter.
The mum, who said that meat was her ‘worst nightmare’ was able to hold one of the burgers in the aversion room, but said it made her feel ‘hot, sweaty, sticky and sick’ and like she was ‘holding a dead animal’.
Under the silver platter was uncooked steak, which the mother branded ‘disgusting’, insisting: ‘I just feel sick, I can smell it.
‘It just looks like a bloody animal which freaks me out, it just looks disgusting. It’s making me realise how bad it is, it’s making me feel awful, really queasy, sweating a lot.’
Next in the therapy course was hypnosis with the help of clinical psychologist Felix Economakis, who aims to create new neural pathways in his patients to tackle fear of food.
After the session the mother was able to snack on grapes, a tomato and even nibbled on a piece of salami. Her final challenge was a banquet where she managed green beans, carrot and steak.
Four weeks on, Rebekah was seen eating an apple with her daughter as she insisted: ‘It’s absolutely crazy how much it’s changed.
‘As soon as i’d finished with Felix I felt completely different, I eat whatever the children are eating now. Sometimes I don’t like it, but I’m putting it on my plate and trying it.
‘I’ve noticed the children are eating more. I’m sat with them eating the same thing. It is amazing to just eat with my children, to eat with them all the time is just great.’
Extreme Food Phobics airs Wednesday at 8pm on W
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