A schoolboy has conquered his phobia of food after 12 years of eating nothing but mash potatoes. Woody, 14, stopped trying new foods at 18-months-old which left his parents Kate,44, and David Murphy, 47, feeling ‘guilty’ and ‘confused’. It didn’t matter how many times they tried to introduce something new – Woody would refuse.
He suffered from extreme anxiety and nausea when anything nothing but mash potatoes was present. Woody, who lives in Birmingham, West Mids, has recently been hypnotised and can now eat an array of dishes from chicken korma to fruit and vegetables. Kate, who is a pub manager, said: “It has been hard for all of us as we had no idea what to do. “I had never heard of avoidant restrictive food intake disorder (ARFID) until earlier this year in April.
“We visited David Kilmurray, the hypnotist, who told us Woody had a phobia of food. “It totally made sense as he has spent practically all of his life eating nothing but mash potatoes. “It was awkward for him at school and parties as he would just go the whole day without food. “He was terrified of any other food.
“After a few years, we stopped trying to introduce new food as he was extremely anxious and would have panic attacks. “He would feel really uncomfortable which was heartbreaking to see.” Despite trying to introduce pea-sized portions of different foods, Woody refused. Kate recalls feeling guilty when other parents made remarks about what to try next. She said: “We tried everything but other parents would always suggest us trying something new or offering to help.
“It totally made sense as he has spent practically all of his life eating nothing but mash potatoes. “
“They assumed he was picky but it is much more complex. “But it wasn’t that simple. “He was assessed by the doctor and everything came back fine as he would eat carrots on the odd occasion. “He also drank plenty of milk. “He is a goalkeeper for a football team but used to lack stamina. “There wasn’t much the doctor could do – he was referred to children mental health team but the sessions never helped at all.” Whilst running out of options, Kate decided to contact hypnotist David Kilmurry.
She was hopeful but Woody was terrified ahead of his first session in April 2021. She adds: “David was our only hope – I was very open-minded about it all. “Woody didn’t understand how it works but he never believed he would be walking out the door with a pallet for new foods. “David made Woody feel completely at ease – he encouraged him to eat new things by stating how a goalkeeper needs energy and nutrients to play to the best of their ability.
“By the end of the two-hour session, Woody had tried blueberries, spinach, kiwi, cucumber and mango. “I was amazed!” Woody has had another session and tried tiny pieces of new four foods per day. Kate said: “Since the two sessions, Woody has eaten bread. “This is a huge achievement as he wasn’t even able to touch it before. “David gives kids the belief that they can try it and it won’t kill them. “He hypnotises them and removes the phobia from food.
“We now try four new foods a day and Woody rates it out of ten. “He’s had a chicken and beef burger, korma curry with rice which is his favourite. “He has also had a steak beak from Greggs, fruit and vegetables. “I can’t believe that he likes food. “It’s been hard for him as a teenager as he’s missed out on socialising with his friends. “In previous years, Woody would have fries if we ever ate out but now he likes to go Nando’s with his friends!”
Proud David Kilmurry said: “When Woody came in I knew we had a sportsman here, a strong winning ethic, crippling ARFID was beating him by seven goals to nil! “Mothers always try to take responsibility for their children’s food but with ARFID it is like trying to get an arachnophobe to hold a spider. Especially when emotion is involved. “I am very proud of my work with Woody and I know that he may well be fuelled with high-grade footballers food playing number one for England in the next euro finals!”