- Tyler Hives was fed by a tube as a baby and this triggered a phobia of food
- His mother took him to doctors but was told he was ‘just a fussy eater’
- Was finally diagnosed with selective eating disorder – fear of some foods
- Mother claims he can now eat solids after undergoing hypnotherapy
A boy who has eaten nothing but tinned sausage and beans for his whole life has finally been cured of his bizarre eating disorder.
Tyler Hives, 11, had a traumatic experience with a feeding tube as a baby – and ever since then has had a phobia of food.
For years, his worried mother Lindsay tried desperately to get him to try new foods, but Tyler was too scared to let anything other than sausage and beans pass his lips.
Ms Hives, 38, took Tyler to countless doctors over the years – but each time she was told he was a fussy eater and would grow out of it.
Tyler was eventually diagnosed with selective eating disorder (SED) – where a person restricts their eating due to a past experience with food.
And after visiting a hypnotherapist, his mother is delighted that he has been able to try new foods for the first time in his life.
Tyler Hives, 11, ate nothing but tinned sausages and beans for years, but his mother claims he has finally been cured by hypnotherapy
Ms Hives, a mother-of-one, from Coventry, said: ;He’s been fussy ever since he was born.
‘He was premature, and it was a complicated birth.
‘I nearly died during the birth, so I wasn’t able to feed him at first – a tube was rammed down his throat, and that was how he was fed for the first few weeks of his life.
‘When I was better, he wouldn’t feed with me – he was only a baby, but I think subconsciously the trauma of having the tube inserted had made him stressed and anxious.’
Ms Hives believes he associated that fear with food.
‘He would take little bits of milk now and then, so I kept telling myself he’d been fine when he went onto solids,’ she said.
‘But he would only eat very basic, mushy baby food – even that was a massive struggle, and without fail five minutes later he’d make himself sick.
WHAT IS 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.
‘He just didn’t like anything going down his throat.’
As he grew up, she took her son to many different doctors to see if they could help – but they dismissed him as a fussy eater.
Although she hoped it was something he’d grow out of, deep down she knew he needed professional help.
Ms Hives, an accounts assistant, said: ‘As Tyler got older, he would only eat sloppy or mushy food.
‘He just didn’t like the sensation of chewing or swallowing.
‘The sausage and beans in a tin were really soft, and that became a safe food for him.
‘Every day he would ask for sausage and beans – I’d beg him to try new food, but he refused.’
She said meal times became a nightmare she began to dread.
She said: ‘I’d stress that he wasn’t eating anything, he’d stress because he was scared to try new food and then we’d both get worked up.
‘I went back and forth to the doctors so many times, but they just said he was a fussy eater and would grow out of it.’
When he got to the age of six, other children who who were fussy eaters started to get better – but Tyler continued to demand nothing but sausages and beans.
Yet doctors continued to tell Ms Hives her son would grow out of his habits.
She said: ‘I knew there was more to it – he had a phobia of food, but I still kept getting told he was just fussy.
‘It made him quite isolated – he never wanted to go to friends’ houses or parties because he’d get anxious, and it would leave him really embarrassed.’
Tyler was diagnosed with selective eating disorder – where a person develops a fear of food due to a traumatic experience in the past. He is pictured with mother Lindsay, 38
One day while browsing the internet, Ms Hives stumbled across an article about selective eating disorder (SED) online – and immediately she knew that was what Tyler was suffering with.
After doing some further research, she found hypnotherapist David Kilmurry – who has experience of helping patients overcome SED.
Ms Hives said: ‘I followed David online for a little while, before taking the plunge and booking Tyler in.
‘He had an upcoming school residential trip, and I wanted him to be able to go away and enjoy it without stressing that he couldn’t eat anything.’
Now, Ms Hives is thrilled Tyler is finally branching out and trying other foods
Her son was ‘transformed’ after one session, Ms Hives claims.
She said: ‘Now he’s so much more confident around food – he’ll try most things, and he’s eaten so many things I never dreamed he would eat.
‘It’s completely changed our lives – we can go out and have a meal without having to think twice.
‘He’s got a way to go, but already he’s so much better.’
She continued: ‘Before I’d always have to make sure the cupboards were stocked with tins and tins of sausage and beans.
‘I’m just so pleased I don’t have to buy them anymore.
‘There are a couple of tins left, but Tyler just doesn’t ask for them anymore which is great.’
Tyler added: ‘It made me sad only being able to eat one thing.
‘I would worry about going to school and what people would think – eventually everyone got used to me not eating though.
He continued: ‘I was just so scared of new foods – they would taste horrible and make me sick.
‘I would get so anxious, and I always made excuses to not go out with my friends, like pretending to be ill.
‘Now I feel so happy I can try new food, and not worry anymore.’