Anorexia/Eating Disorders/Food

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QUESTION: Ever since I can remember I have had a horrible relationship with food. When i was little I could not stand the rubbery texture of a hot dog, the black dots in sausage, or salsa. Salsa has all different consistencies... hard peppers, liquid, squishy beans. All mixed together. Sometimes I will be eating a sandwich, and half way through I feel like I just can't continue. I have to force myself to finish the sandwich. Not because i feel fat or anything, just the same flavor for so long, I get full, I feel like I'm going to puke. When I was in grade school I was scared of spiders in my cereal. Food has tortured me my whole life. My parents constantly worry and think I am trying to starve myself. I'm not anorexic or bulimic. What is wrong with me? this is becoming a serious problem.

ANSWER: Hi Darcy,

Your problem isn't that uncommon. I have three friends with the same issue. One of them has a smell issue - he can't smell his food so he has to rely solely on consistency and some consistencies just weird him out. My other friend can taste and smell just fine, but she doesn't like food that is mixed together or for her foods to be touching each other. My third friend has to eat each food separately. So he'll eat all of his corn and then all of his green beans and then all of his mashed potatoes and they all have to be in separate dishes so they don't touch.

When you are eating that sandwich, does it taste good to you at first and then you just get tired of it halfway? Would you be able to eat something else at that point or are you full and that's why it doesn't taste good to you anymore? If you eat foods separately like corn and then beans, does that work for you? I need a bit more information before I can help you.

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: When you are eating that sandwich, does it taste good to you at first and then you just get tired of it halfway? It does taste good at first, but then after awhile it just gets sickening... eating the same thing, it gets really dense, the flavor just gets awful.

Would you be able to eat something else at that point or are you full and that's why it doesn't taste good to you anymore? I could go without eating, but mostly I am still hungry. I could still eat another food to finish the meal.

If you eat foods separately like corn and then beans, does that work for you? I need a bit more information before I can help you. Yes, I have no problem eating foods separately. But if I had a corn and bean salad I could not eat it together. That's why salsa are expecially awful.

Pizza sauce is also a very tough food for me. It has lots of spices, and tomato slices along with the more liquid sauce. The tomato slices are what really get to me. I try to only eat sauce-less pizza, or I find myself picking through everything.

To sum up my issue, it's all complicated and very intricate foods. Mixed consistencies. I don't mind if my foods touch (ex. if a pea touches a potato I can still it eat, as long as I'm not eating a spoonful of the potato with the pea in it.) Smells don't bother me at all.

Answer
Hi Darcy,

I don't see an eating disorder here. I see a finicky eater, like some of my friends. The solution seems simple. Eat foods you like until they don't taste good anymore. Then switch to another food or two until you get full. It may be a pain to fix more than one food for each meal, but it's better than not eating, and you'll be more likely to get your nutrient needs met if you eat multiple foods at one meal.

I hope that helps! Good luck!

Anorexia/Eating Disorders

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Mary Pritchard

Expertise

I can answer questions about the psychology of eating, disordered eating attitudes and behaviors such as drive for thinness, drive for muscularity, binge eating, body dysmorphia, dieting, excessive/obsessive exercise, and body dissatisfaction. I can also answer questions about anorexia and bulimia.

Experience

I have a PhD in Psychology and teach courses in the Psychology of Health and the Psychology of Eating. I have been conducting research on disordered eating and exercise behaviors for 15 years.

Organizations
Midwestern psychological association, rocky mountain psychological association

Publications
Over 50 peer-reviewed journal articles in journals such as Eating Behaviors, Eating Disorders, and Eating and Weight Disorders

Education/Credentials
PhD in Psychology from the University of Denver

Awards and Honors
30 teaching awards, have received funding to conduct my research from academic institutions and state and local government

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