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What Is ARFID (Avoidant /Restrictive Food Intake Disorder) Eating Disorder?

By May 17, 2023June 8th, 2023Podcasts, Understanding Eating Disorders
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What is ARFID eating disorder?

Avoidant Restrictive Food Intake Disorder is a new diagnosis in the DSM-5m, it Is a type of eating disorder characterized by a persistent and extreme avoidance or resistance of certain foods or entire food groups.  People with ARFID may have a limited range of accepted foods, they may experience anxiety or discomfort around certain textures, smells or tastes of food.

What Makes ARFID Different from Other Eating Disorders like Anorexia or Bulimia?

Unlike cases of anorexia and bulimia, ARFID does not typically involve poor body image, a drive to be thin, fear of fatness, or dissatisfaction with ones appearance. However, inadequate nutrition and caloric intake, especially among children, can seriously delay growth or prevent normal weight gain.

ARFID frequently occurs with other conditions, such as autism spectrum disorder (ASD), attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and obsessive-compulsive disorders (OCD).

How is ARFID Diagnosed?

Diagnostic criteria for ARFID, according to DSM-5, include:

The individual must associate with one or more of the following:

  • Weight loss (adults) or failure to gain weight (children)
  • Nutritional deficiency due to inadequate intake of food
  • Decline in psychosocial function
  • Dependence on supplements to maintain nutritional health
  • The disturbed eating is not due to an explainable external factor, such as food being unavailable or in short supply.
  • The person does not have a distorted body image or a desire to be thin
  • The feeding disturbance or food restriction is not a result of some other physical or mental illness. For example, if someone has the flu or food poisoning and looses weight, this does not mean they have an eating disorder. In this situation a diagnosis of ARFID would not be relevant.

What are the causes of ARFID?

The causes of ARFID are not fully understood, however research has suggested that it may be related to a combination of genetic, psychological and environmental factors. Some possible causes may include:

  1. Anxiety disorders or fear – Some people with ARFID may have anxiety or fear around eating, or may have had a distressing experience with food e.g. choking or vomiting, which can then lead to avoidance or restriction of certain foods.
  2. Sensory sensitivity or aversions – People with ARFID may have an unusually heightened sensitivity to certain textures, smells or tastes of foods, which could then lead to avoidance or restriction of those foods.
  3. Autism – AFRID is seen to be common is people who have autism, or other developmental disorders e.g. OCD
  4. Childhood feeding problems – Some children may develop ARFID after experiencing difficulties with feeding, e.g. a medical condition, which could make eating an uncomfortable experience or even painful.


The following signs should help you to determine whether your child has ARFID:

  • Extreme pickiness in food
  • Avoidance of particular foods based on texture, smells, colour or tastes
  • Anxiety when presented with fear foods
  • Difficulty eating in social situations – this can then lead to social isolation
  • Weight loss or malnutrition
  • Gastrointestinal problems
  • Lack of appetite
  • Fears of choking or vomiting
  • Limited range of preferred food
  • No body image disturbances or fear of weight gain

How to find more support?

Because ARFID is unique and the support is lacking, it is important an intensive and specialized treatment approach is needed in most cases. For more information and treatment options visit this website here:

Listen to our Podcast below with Felix Economakis

Felix’s Speaker Bio:

Felix Economakis is a renowned expert in phobias, with a particular focus on food phobias. He believes that phobias work in the same way, whether it is a fear of spiders or a fear of certain foods. Many people believe that if they have a phobia of food, it means they hate all foods, but this is not necessarily the case. Felix understands the confusion around this issue and has helped many people overcome their fear of specific foods. He is a sought-after speaker and consultant, and his insights into phobias have helped numerous individuals and organizations.

This episode overview

“On this episode of Jenup, host Jen discusses food phobias with guest expert Felix. As someone who struggles with food phobias themselves, Jen talks about the difference between being a fussy eater and having an actual phobia towards certain foods. Jen also shares their love for chocolate and mentions the podcast is sponsored by supplement company Sunbitd Three. The episode delves into different types of food aversions and how they affect people’s lives, including sensory processing aversions and aversions caused by trauma. Jen provides insights into their unique approach to therapy that has helped many people overcome their food phobias quickly. They also emphasize the importance of seeking out professionals with experience in specific issues like ARFID. This episode is a must-listen for anyone struggling with food phobias or looking to understand them better.”

ARFID PODCAST Episode Transcript

Jenny Tomei [00:00:10]:

And welcome to the Jenna Podcast. I’m Jenny Tomei I’m a qualified nutritional therapist, eating disorder coach and personal trainer alongside Sam Woodfield, who is my co host. So Sam is an excellent cyclist and has recovered edge from anorexia orthorexia and exercise addiction. So, welcome to series two of the Jeanette podcast, focusing on all things sporting performance, mental health, physical health and removing the stigma around eating disorders. So, Sunvit D Three is sponsoring this podcast. You can find more details about them at Sunvitd Three co UK, and they supply a large range of vitamin D supplements and multivitamins that are vegan and vegetarian. And you want to ask us anything. You can find us at Arsenal, on Facebook and on Instagram. And also my new TikTok account, which is Gentine. Sam, who’s going to introduce our guest today.

Sam Woodfield [00:01:09]:

Hi, guys, and welcome back to not. It’s been a little bit of time since we recorded something and, yes, we’re going to dig into an area that I know very little about, so this time I can actually shut up on today’s podcast and let the guest and Jenny do some talking for a change. So today we have Felix on the show. Felix has worked in line with the NHS for over eight years now, has been working full time in the private practice since 2007. Felix works with a variety of conditions and is also the most prolific practitioner for ARFID in the world today. Felix is a chartered counseling psychologist and clinical hypnotist. He has successfully treated hundreds of clients who have not benefited from previous therapies. Felix has also appeared on Freaky Eaters Extreme Food Phobics alongside Japanese and German documentaries. We can tell it’s been a while since we’ve done a podcast because I can barely get through an intro. But welcome on board, Felix. Lovely to have you. How are things today?

Felix Economakis [00:02:17]:

Very good, thank you. Lovely to be here.

Sam Woodfield [00:02:23]:

Excellent. Now, it’s brilliant to have you on board. I know Jenny’s been super keen to get you on and we’ve spoken about yourself a few times. I think you’ve actually worked with my dietitian before. Have you worked with Reedy McGregor? I think Jenny was saying. Yeah, I remember Jenny saying that.

Felix Economakis [00:02:44]:

Yeah. Small world.

Sam Woodfield [00:02:48]:

It’s like the cycling world. Everyone knows everyone in cycling as well. So I’m going to kick today off because it’s one of the more simple questions. So, Felix, can you explain what ARFID eating disorder is and how you go about treating it?

Felix Economakis [00:03:06]:

Sure. Okay, so ARFID, for those who don’t know, stands for avoidant restrictive Food intake Disorder. And it’s very different from fussy eating, which is a conservative stage in our development as children. This is more of a phobic type response. One of the easiest ways to remember this is with an analogy of another phobia. So, for example, Jenny, or are you afraid of spiders, by any chance?

Jenny Tomei [00:03:32]:

Yes, I don’t like spiders.

Felix Economakis [00:03:35]:

Okay. So when you think of spiders, you will feel some fear, you feel a level of disgust or revulsion, maybe some anticipate anxiety, like, oh, if I’m in the garden, the spiders are coming out, it’s their time, or SIM the carpet, and that will lead to avoidance. All those elements are part of a phobia. It’s exact the same thing for food. Now, the problem is, because the stimulus is food, this is the distraction sort of red herring, because there’s a confusion with fuss eating and also because we eat some foods, we love some foods, but not others. People are confused because they think, well, if you have a phobia spiders, you hate all spiders, especially the big ones, but you hate them all. Whereas I love some food, but most others I don’t. I’m afraid of them. It’s very confusing for people. So you’ll see, even eating disordered specialist units will confuse. It will take a tough love approach and all sorts of unhelpful irrelevant approaches because they don’t understand that food can also be a phobia as well. Not all foods, some foods. Think about it. Same things that apply to fear of spiders, fear of flying would apply to the prospect of eating new foods.

Jenny Tomei [00:04:52]:

Okay, how do you distinguish between I guess that question has come up from fussy eating and offered then how do you distinguish the two?

Felix Economakis [00:05:02]:

So for me, a general rule of thumb is with fast eating, a child likes things to be the way they are. They like sameness, they don’t like a banana, little brown bits on it, or chicken with bits of that, and they might not like new foods, but if you say to them, you know what, I’ll give you five pounds if you try that thing, they might go, oh, five pounds, and they’ll eat it. So it’s basically more about preference. There is no amount of money you can generally bribe off at people with or threats because what’s more dangerous than eating food that the brain thinks is poisonous? So the difference is that fuss eaters like their preferred foods and can be bribed or threatened to eat a new food. ARFID people want to eat these other foods that they’re desperate to eat them, they’re unhappy that they’re not eating them, but they just can’t. And no amount of bribes or threats will convince their brain otherwise. So that’s a simple sort of way of thinking about it.

Jenny Tomei [00:05:57]:

Okay, no, I love that it’s really simplified and I like that. That’s really good. Thank you for that. With food Fabias, how would you go about treating that?

Felix Economakis [00:06:07]:

So, for example, I developed this approach called the four R’s, and I need to go a little bit backwards with my context a bit. So I’m a chartered psychologist, so I trained in the formal conventional approaches. Cognitive behavioral therapy, I think is one people know. A lot of these are very left brained approaches. They’re very logical, analytical and they work with a conscious mind, but also had a big interest in Hypnosis and NLP, which is more of a right brained approach and it’s my preferred approach. It works best with a subconscious mind. As I’m fond of saying, the subconscious mind is not a great fan of logic because if it were, I won’t have any clients. People say this is illogical. Well, I just make it logical I won’t have any clients. So people often say, logically, I know this is illogical, but I can’t change the way I feel. I’ve had professional chefs say to me, logically, I know food is safe. It’s grown on my ganic farm. I know it’s tasty, I’ve got great reviews. I just can’t eat my own food. But I know it’s safe and other people are eating it. So this is where things like CBT fall a little bit short because they’re relying on you working with a conscious mind to tell your subconscious mind is being irrational. People often say, I know that already. What I like about a more right brain approach is you talk directly with the part of the mind, the client. You cut out the middleman. You go straight to the subconscious mind and work with it. So my four R’s approach, by the way, four R stands for rapport I got to develop rapport with the subconscious mind I want to stop people fighting so the second R is reconciliation, stop the fighting. The third eye is take responsibility for a goal and I clarify the goal in detail and values and finally I do an open version it’s not formal hypnosis, but you might be hypnotized or you might not, depending on how comfortable you are called rewiring the old behavior. So it’s me cherry picking everything I liked about all the many therapies I’ve studied and the ones that work for me and resonate with me. That’s my approach. Conventional therapy would probably be CBT. It’s the most common thing. Obviously, I’m biased, Jenny, because I’ve seen people that it hasn’t worked for. They’ve been to Cams, they’ve been to NHS, even specialist eating sorts of clinics. And there’s a problem because, well, firstly, there’s a huge waiting list made worse since the pandemic. And even if you then get on something, it’s the luck of the draw. If you meet someone, actually knows what outfit is or understands it, and even if they understand it, can they help with it rather than common sense approaches with it? Because often they’ve made things worse they blame the mother oh, the whole family needs to go to family therapy what’s a phobia going to do with family therapy? If I choked on something, for example, the tough love all because they don’t understand it and they blame the family or the mother or the client. So it really makes my blood boil when I see that. Because then confidence of people who should know better rather take responsibility for it. They’re blaming the client for it. There’s an ongoing thing with that in my forums whenever people I’ve been to this therapist and this, and I just say if they don’t know what off it is, just don’t waste your time and money. Go with somebody who knows what it is. Trust me on this, you’re going to waste a lot of time and money if they don’t know what off it is.

Sam Woodfield [00:09:27]:

So Swerve got a question on this. Is it food groups that people have a phobia of? So if you don’t know Felix, I work more in the athletic performance based world. Ten years ago, probably a little less carbs were like no, just high fat, high protein, especially in the endurance world. Carbs are now starting to come back in and it’s now kind of done role reverse. Is it food groups people have these phobias of? Or is it like actual individual, I can’t eat that, I don’t know, piece of steak or meat or how does it work for people?

Felix Economakis [00:10:04]:

Well, there are different kinds of arthrit. They all lead to avoidance and the phobic type responses. The most common one, fortunately in terms of treatment is some kind of trauma based version of people that you hear. They developed a lot of acid reflux, very colicky, baby choking, confusing pain of teething with feeding, having an unrelated illness. Food got the blame. A lot of people say to me my son was eating everything and then had a vomiting bug for a week. It wasn’t even food you catch it from dawn of or whatever. And after that they went off their food. So that’s the most common type and it is amenable to one session treatment because if you know how to detraumatize very rapidly, it’s a trauma.

Sam Woodfield [00:10:53]:


Felix Economakis [00:10:53]:

The second type more challenging is sensory processing version of it, where people experience taste more intensely than the average person. So again, as a child I’m eating things like extra sour, extra bit, extra lumpy, extra this. And so the child builds up this mistrust around food thinking I don’t like the world of food, it’s quite intense. And so they carry that into adulthood, even when the taste buds have balanced out a bit or developed or all these other things have taken place. So the people that aren’t afraid to try food but still don’t enjoy it a lot because of extra sensory issues, they’re the hardest to treat because that needs a lot of exposure and all I can do is help to take the anticipatory anxiety away so they can just explore, explore as much as possible. And a couple more versions. There is a family dynamic space version. It’s in the minority where people are looking for some kind of special preferential treatment or attention. They realize they’re in a good thing and they hold their parents to ransom. But that’s what every ignorant therapist thinks is going on. It’s actually the minority of cases. And also there’s other biological versions like Pans or Pandas, which is a sort of strep infection early on, causing inflammation in the brain and leading to arfit type behaviors. And that’s going to need a course of anti inflammatories, for instance. So there are different versions of it, but by far the most common that I’ve worked with, and I have worked with thousands of people, is the trauma based version of it. That’s good news because that’s thesis to.

Sam Woodfield [00:12:34]:

Treat how long if someone’s had a dodgy takeaway and they all of a sudden they’ve been very poorly and decide they can’t go back to that takeaway, how long does it take? Is it a couple of sessions? Is it one session?

Felix Economakis [00:12:47]:

Is it for an adult? It’s usually one session, actually, because I’ve done this work a lot, I’ve refined it and I try and make things as simple and learnable as possible. So it’s usually possible to understand the concepts in one session. If you need a second session, it’s usually half an hour. So with children, they often need a follow up of 30 minutes, sometimes another one after that. Because they’re young, you’ve got to remind them a little bit about how it works and what they need to do. They’re quite used to abdicating responsibility. Like, I’m a kid, adults take care of things. For me, I have to teach them. Well, your mind only listens to you in this regard, and you’ve got to remember to do this to maintain the changes you made. But it’s very quick and even quite serious ones. I’ve had turnarounds in one session on the Extreme Food phobics. We’re only given one session with everybody, and that was a 45 minutes session, so kept popping in and interrupting as well. So when it comes down to it, if you need to do it, you can do it under an hour. With the approach I developed. Okay, the other therapist on Extreme Food pubics was one that trained in my approach. We know this approach.

Sam Woodfield [00:14:08]:

People that brought up vegetarian until I was ten just because of a time in the early 90s when I was born. So I wasn’t allowed to eat red meat or pork based products. And I’m now scarred from lasagna for life because all I got fed at school was vegetarian lasagna that I now still can’t go near because of that is that we’re talking about.

Felix Economakis [00:14:33]:

Well, that’s very common because you see, when people only have a few safe foods and they eat them over and over, they get bored. So bored that they begin to associate pain with, oh, not that bloody food again, and then they’ll avoid that.

Jenny Tomei [00:14:46]:

Yes, I think no, a question just sort of come up. We’ll go back to the list I had up. So what do people do then, Felix, if obviously there’s an issue at the moment, the waiting lists are high. If a parent suspects Arthur in a child and what do they do? Where do they go for treatment? Do they reach out to you or.

Felix Economakis [00:15:08]:

Where do they this is my profession, obviously something I love doing, and I’ve trained a handful of other people to do it. Obviously, I would recommend my approach because that’s the one I find the most effective. If I found something more effective, I’ll be doing that instead. What I care about is what works the best. And as far as I know, nothing has come close to this. I put my money where my mouth is. I do live demos on TV, workshops and stuff. I have live people come in, I do demos. There’s nowhere to run or hide because I stand by my work and I don’t know anyone else who really does that, but I’ve got this experience with it. So definitely I’ll be happy to help people. I’ve also got a pre recorded video as a lower cost option. It’s me talking the cameraman as if to a client. There’s a junior version and an adult version or a senior version. So that’s for people who can’t afford, say, face to face or remote therapy and otherwise, somebody who’s got some kind of proven track record. I mean, again, it’s that old thing where people go for the cheap option. I heard about this article where I helped somebody with Hypnosis, even though it’s not really hypnosis. So I went to my local Hypnotherapist and they had a crack at it. We had three sessions and again, you were I hear that all the time. Just because somebody can stop you smoking with Hypnosis doesn’t mean they know other thing with ARFID, it’s it’s just the lack of a draw. Maybe they know a bit, can infer and extrapolate, or maybe they don’t, which is obviously the people I see that they’ve had those experiences. Seeing somebody who knows about ARFID is really crucial, not somebody who, oh, let’s find out and let’s give it a go.

Jenny Tomei [00:16:53]:


Felix Economakis [00:16:53]:

Tends to be a waste money.

Jenny Tomei [00:16:55]:

Okay, that’s really good to know. And also, I had a question on my TikTok actually, a while back about someone asking me if you can have both anorexia and Arthur at the same time.

Felix Economakis [00:17:05]:

And I didn’t know you can. Just to be clear, anorexia, to simplify, is a phobia of being fat. So there’s a revulsion of being fat discussed. There’s a fear of being fat and lots of calorie counting with Alfred, the person is not actually interested in the calorie aspect of it or weight gain. They want to eat, they want to become stronger. They’re underweight, and they’re fed up with being under height. Underweight, underdeveloped. They’re just terrified of food and bored with their safe foods. But yeah, it is possible to say, I’ve got Anorexia and also even my safe food, I’m outgrowing because I’m bored with them and I’m terrified of trying something else. I want to eat something else. It’s low calorie, but I’m afraid of it. So I could treat both. Okay, you can treat both even anorexia it depends. There’s different versions of it. I have had to turn around anorexia in sort of one to three sessions, a main session, two follow ups. Having said that, the client was a great client. They’re willing and able to full instructions. If you can do that, you get very quick results.

Sam Woodfield [00:18:14]:

How many people do you see for this? Is it a high percentage? Is it a low percentage? I think the better word is it common within kind of the eating disorder world.

Felix Economakis [00:18:25]:

It’s super common. It’s up there with fear of spiders. I think I’m turning down a bit because I don’t want to overdo it. It’s like getting bored of Saturdays, but I was seeing, on average, ten people a week just for this, and I could have seen more, but I didn’t want to really do more than two a day, otherwise it gets a bit off. It off, it off. It’s a point when one says, I like to see for depression, I go, oh, great, just break from change. Yeah. And I trained Glenn in Australia, who’s also got a similar kind of thing. We really get through it because there’s a lot of people with it. It’s very common. If you ask around, everybody knows somebody not who’s being fussy, but my dad can’t eat anything green, my mum won’t eat this. Right, okay.

Sam Woodfield [00:19:17]:

So it can be as simple as I don’t want to eat anything that’s green. Don’t overcomplicate the thoughts behind what an actual food phobia is, is what I’m trying to say.

Felix Economakis [00:19:28]:

Yes. So there are people who can they’re quite functional because they’ll be healthier if they green stuff, but they’re still alive and they just lost any interest in it. That’s quite common. It’s more of a problem. When I go out to restaurants, I’m now embarrassed because I have to say, can you take that off? And that off and that off and that off and that’s when people come to see me, when the old ways of coping aren’t working anymore. At home, you can get away with it. I never cook and clean food, but outside and socializing you can’t. And that’s when it becomes a problem. And they can’t do it on their own. If they could, they would, because there’s a phobic type block.

Sam Woodfield [00:20:10]:

And what sort of symptoms would let’s say that person’s gone to a restaurant, they don’t like green food and it appears on their plate. What sort of signs and symptoms are they going to potentially show? Are they going to feel nauseous, sweats, shakes?

Felix Economakis [00:20:25]:

How they tend to look like anything? There’s a spectrum. There are people who won’t be in the same room as a plate of food. There are people who the food can’t touch, or if someone’s with them, they could have moved to other side because it’s contamination type fears can’t come into it. Could be just a smell or look at people. So even if I look at it. I just feel gagging. I feel like gagging, right. It can really vary. But the main inconvenience is, oh, the waiter waitress got my order wrong and I can’t eat it now because there’s bits in it and I have to reorder it or something. I don’t quite understand. So they’ve still got something else in it because the chefs under pressure. If you say keep it plain, oh, sure, I took out tomatoes, but I put herbs in, herbs upon me. No, I can’t eat herbs either. Even a bit of basil. So you have to keep remaking the food or just not eating it and paying for it, which is something here quite a lot.

Sam Woodfield [00:21:23]:


Felix Economakis [00:21:25]:

It’s an inconvenience. And a lot of people say work dues. I’m now a manager. I have to socialize and network a lot. There’s a lot of food involved. I have to eat with the partners. And it’s embarrassing that a grown man, I’m putting things on the side of my plate or looking out or being a bit distracted. So that’s quite common.

Sam Woodfield [00:21:42]:

I think we’ve discussed most of it. If we were just to simplify it, what do you need to look out for? If you’re another half of someone else, if you’re a parent, if you’re a friend. To me, I suffered with orthorexia for years and still occasionally do, and I know how to start picking up my own kind of crap. I’m going down that rabbit hole again. I know how to kind of pick it up. How would someone pick up these signs and symptoms? Because they sound a little bit like orthorexia ones like food avoidance, restaurants things.

Felix Economakis [00:22:17]:

Yeah, look at it. If the child is panicking at the thought, I mean, panicky very distressed. Not like, no, I don’t want to eat that one. My chicken to be white. They’re more like you can see the fear in their eyes. Just try this new texture. They’re very distressed, but also they’re unhappy, are being left out. And social events, they’re envious of friends who can go there and eat a pizza. They are sacrificing things. Social life or camp or something like that. Holidays, then that’s all going to suggest. Offered. As I said, the fussy eater is not unhappy with their food choices, they’re just happy. They want to eat what they want to eat because they know it. It’s fun. Now, some offered kids, you can also be off it and fussy conventionally. So some of kids can also realize, you know what, I get to eat the food I want. That’s safe and also delicious. It’s unhealthy, but it’s also delicious. And there’s very little incentive to change when they’re young, as we said, it’s when they grow older, the problems start to show. They’re socializing with friends, networking, girlfriend, boyfriends. I want to be the weird kid at school that needs three things. That’s when it starts. Motivation kicks in for them to see someone like me. But until then you can tell when a child is really scared and distressed rather than just being conservative about food choices. That’s the main thing and obviously people.

Sam Woodfield [00:23:45]:

Can develop this later in life is that the same thing with kind of adults and people in their twenty s and thirty s? They develop the same kind of showings and signs?

Felix Economakis [00:23:55]:

Yeah, generally with adults results of choking instance, unrelated illnesses I had a man in sixty s, I had it off the chemo he said to me I was fine eating before then but after chemo I went off my food. I’m gagging every time I see food so it can be things like that, something that makes you feel nauseous food always gets the blame. It’s the primary suspect, rightly or wrongly, often wrongly so that’s when the brain makes an association which want to break and just say you know what, food was never the problem. It’s other stuff, it’s a misunderstanding going on but you want to clear up.

Sam Woodfield [00:24:31]:

I’m learning a lot. I could have eaten a lot more foods as a child, that’s for sure.

Felix Economakis [00:24:39]:

Yeah, you could. Yeah, that’s the thing. And it’s a shame because denying yourself good fuel and just variety and stuff all because of a fear, if you think about it. I still get amused at this and part of my therapies I make things a bit absurd. People go, that’s true. I’ve seen professors for this. I’ve seen the smart people from every part of society and they still buy into this. There’s a young part of the mind that says, hey, based on past experience, I’m an expert on food risk and danger. Are you? I better listen to you. So what’s the danger? Well, you know vegetables? Yeah. Super fuel, best for your body. Yeah, avoid that. They’re very dangerous. But McDonald’s, eat as much as you like, not nuggets as much, crisp, whatever you like, chocolate as much as you want, soft drinks. It’s exactly the wrong advice. And people buy into it and when you point out ludicrous but people can do that. They go with an old habit, an old pattern because it started so young they take it for granted it’s just normalized. They don’t think wait a minute, what am I listening to? This part of my mind it’s like two years old or three or four years old. That’s what I help them to do.

Sam Woodfield [00:25:50]:

We do discuss sports and athletic performance if we would discuss athletic performance here. Obviously one of the biggest things on this topic at the minute is reds for anyone that doesn’t know that’s relative Energy Deficiency Syndrome. It’s been talked about lost on this podcast, I think every podcast that’s come up at some point whole number of factors you can do it can happen voluntary or involuntary. Most people start out involuntary and unfortunately when they work out what they’re doing it turns to voluntary and then they need the treatment once it goes beyond that when they figure it out. Obviously, acid, if you have a food phobia I mean, I’m trying to think if I had a phobia of, say, rice and pasta, I don’t know how they’d come about, but let’s say I’d eaten it so much as I would be in trouble there, because that is a staple of an endurance based diet. So do you often get some athletes that are struggling to eat? Certain.

Felix Economakis [00:26:52]:

I have amazing thing about Alfred, you can see one child that has one diet, has medical problems, and then you can see an athlete that lives off croissants and casu, touch fries and something else and is an athlete. Right. You pull that off. And also, how much better would you be with the right fuel? But there’s enough of these people, big strapping six or four boy.

Sam Woodfield [00:27:18]:

What do you eat?

Felix Economakis [00:27:19]:

Well, mostly so biscuits and snacky food. Anything else? That’s kind of it.

Sam Woodfield [00:27:22]:

How that was a very good triathlete that lives local to me. And I know he gets through two packets of ginger nut biscuits every day, and his diet is and he’s very talented. I’d love to see someone, obviously, if they take an energy gel and they have a bad experience and then they go, I’m never having an energy gel again, would that come under acid? And would you be able to treat something around that?

Felix Economakis [00:27:51]:

Yeah, basically, I treat any kind of aversive association. Whenever the brain says, I’ve associated this with pain, that’s something I work with all the time to break, so it can be on a light spectrum, oh, I’m off bananas. I ate them too much. Pretty straightforward to something more severe than that. But anything like that, it’s just reeducating the brain.

Sam Woodfield [00:28:15]:


Felix Economakis [00:28:15]:

And if you know what the brain is doing and how to lead it, what it needs, then it can actually be quite straightforward and simple.

Sam Woodfield [00:28:22]:


Jenny Tomei [00:28:23]:

Now, that’s really interesting. No, thank you. Don’t they say phoenix? Don’t they say to some our subconscious mind is like, is it 80%? Is it? And conscious is 20. Is that right?

Felix Economakis [00:28:33]:

The iceberg thing. The conscious mind is the tip, and underneath the majority is the subconscious. Indeed, yeah.

Jenny Tomei [00:28:40]:


Felix Economakis [00:28:45]:

If it’s the majority shareholder, you need to understand it. You need to know that the majority of my clients is the subconscious. I need to understand it and have therapies that work with it. Not just work with a 20% minority majority.

Jenny Tomei [00:28:59]:

No, sure. And with the NHS, for anyone listening to this, because obviously there is no treatment sort of on the NHS at the moment, is there, right now to target this?

Felix Economakis [00:29:12]:

Well, they do CBT and exposure therapy, the very slow graded desensitization. And it worked for some people, if they’re committed enough, but a lot of other people, it’s too much hard work, it’s too stressful and too long, and they lose motivation. So it’s not an effective therapy compared to what I.

Jenny Tomei [00:29:31]:

Do and other people what you’re doing. Okay.

Felix Economakis [00:29:33]:

Know what they’re doing.

Jenny Tomei [00:29:35]:


Felix Economakis [00:29:36]:

But there are some great resources. I just want to mention I’ve done a Ted Talk on this. I’ve got a YouTube channel. What is our Fit and do? I have ARFID. And I trained a great friend of mine called Glenn Robertson and he’s combined three articles I did into one dude Defy. It’s better. It’s better than I can do. So I’m not going to try and compete with it. It’s dude, if I with the cartoons explaining what is often what is this? He’s brought it together. So you just search for Glenn Robertson. That’s really useful for a lot of people as well.

Jenny Tomei [00:30:07]:

Okay. Yeah. I was just going to say, where can people find out more about it if they want to read up on it? So your Ted Talk.

Felix Economakis [00:30:15]:

My YouTube channel, if you do search for my name and there are some other online resources, occasional therapist or organization will do a list of this is our little drawings or cartoons. Yeah, it’s pretty good. The ones that are in my mind are the ones I’ve done, but you can just search them. There’s a lot of resources online. Not necessarily NHS, but out there, other organizations out there.

Jenny Tomei [00:30:40]:

Okay, thank you.

Felix Economakis [00:30:43]:


Jenny Tomei [00:30:44]:

Sam, we do finish off with some questions. Really. I don’t know if sam, you want to do that.

Sam Woodfield [00:30:53]:

With this one. Normally it’s a bit yeah, I don’t really know where to go. I normally just try and get like a feeling of the character that I’ve spoken to and I feel like this has been a bit more serious and on topic. Actually, do you know what? I’m really blown away by this topic. We did one about sleep, but I really knew the chat quite well and I’m just thinking maybe I do have some phobias around foods that I just thought I was being fussy. That lasagna one really stands out to me. I just remember the school wouldn’t provide any form of other vegetarian offering, so for like three days a week I had that. Then I think they did like a vegetarian fish and chips on a Friday. And then I also remember at my first school I went to, I wanted to eat the salad bar, but you had to have I think you used to have to have all the lettuce, iceberg, all of that, and tomatoes and cucumber. To this day I still can’t eat raw tomatoes because of my experience on that. And I’m just thinking I’ve been fairly open about problems I have on here in the past and thinking maybe I should have had some treatment for foods as well. Because joking aside, I’m like maybe I have actually missed out on some foods because I won’t eat lasagna and I’m a cyclist and if I go out for an Italian meal the night before and they’ve only got lasagna, I am in trouble. And that is the only reason I won’t eat lasagna.

Felix Economakis [00:32:23]:

Yeah, well, you know where I am. But these are resolvable, for sure. They’re very common. I mean, we had a kitchen renovation, so we had to live off takeaways for three months and perhaps just six days a week, because once we go and eat in our in laws, I couldn’t stand takeaways for, like, weeks afterwards. And I have a variety of takeaways. So imagine years and years of the same thing over and over. Not burgers again. We’ve had it twice this week. The brain does that. Their brain gets bored of the same thing and starts to distance itself from discomfort.

Sam Woodfield [00:33:01]:

But we will do some fun questions to finish off. So this is a sporting, healthy podcast. We talk about sport and performance a lot. Let’s dig in a little bit to about Felix. Are you an outdoor cyclist, endurance athlete? Runner? Are you a gym person? What sort of exercise do you tend to do, Felix?

Felix Economakis [00:33:22]:

I go to gym.

Sam Woodfield [00:33:23]:


Felix Economakis [00:33:24]:

Try and go four times a week for 40 minutes. I love walking. I’ve got a dog, so I walk in Hamster Heath up here, which is very hilly. And in my youth I did martial arts and got a couple of black belts. Bits old for that now, but, yeah, I liked active Persian.

Sam Woodfield [00:33:42]:

I’m guessing. Do you live up in Hampstead, then?

Felix Economakis [00:33:46]:

On the outskirts. Just.

Sam Woodfield [00:33:51]:

My cousin lives there. There’s some lovely coffee shops in Hampshead. George coffee. Most people now have a slight coffee coffee problem. Are you a coffee or a tea man?

Felix Economakis [00:34:01]:

As you drink primarily coffee at the moment, it just hits the spot. I like herbal tea, a milky coffee.

Sam Woodfield [00:34:12]:

Or a black coffee.

Felix Economakis [00:34:14]:

It’s one in my Velvetizer, so it’s a sort of flat white type thing, although a bit frothy.

Sam Woodfield [00:34:19]:

There we go. Very nice. Do you prefer the mountains or do you prefer the beach? If you were to go away on holiday?

Felix Economakis [00:34:29]:

Probably a beach, because I grew up on them more. Sitting Greek beaches, hanging out, hot ocean, pretty people to go with beach.

Sam Woodfield [00:34:40]:

You’ll get on with Jenny more than me, then. I’m a mountain baby.

Felix Economakis [00:34:44]:

I like mountains too. I wouldn’t turn down I loved all nature, I wouldn’t turn down any landscape.

Sam Woodfield [00:34:52]:

Obviously. We’ve talked about food on here quite a lot and different things. Desserts. Desserts is something we cover on here a lot, purely because it’s an athletic podcast. People, when they get race ready, cut out their desserts and all of that stuff. If you are out for a meal and someone offered you apple crumble or chocolate brownie with ice cream, what are you going to select?

Felix Economakis [00:35:15]:

Tough one. I like both. Depends on my mood. I’m generally pro chocolate, but my mother in law makes an amazing apple crumble, so if that were enough, I’d go for hers with eggs or vanilla.

Sam Woodfield [00:35:28]:

There we go. Now we’re talking. Yeah, I think mine’s brownie. Every day. I’m a massive chocolate fan. Just want to say massive thanks to Felix today. This is one of the podcasts I have learned so much about and I really am quite gobsmacked and taken away by the discussion we’ve had around food phobias. I know we repeated a lot of it, but I really am quite taken aback at just how distinguishing the difference between fosse and phobias. I thought it was fosse but maybe I did grow at some of those phobias. Maybe that’s where future things then developed, but who knows. I just want to say a massive thanks to Felix today, but also to our great sponsor of this podcast. That is Sunbitd Three. Sunbit all multivitamins, vitamin D and other multivitamins available on their website. We do have a discount code which is Ask Jen Up. That is all in capital letters. Please head over to their website, Sunvitd Three dot co UK for all their range of supplements. I’ve used them, Jenny uses them. Discount code is great. The sun is coming guys. But if you are a performing athlete, you need way more vitamin D than you think, especially in the UK. Very much for everyone. For listening to the Jen Up podcast today, the main host has been Jenny. She’s done far more talking this week than normal, so well done to Jenny on that front. You can find us out on Facebook and Instagram. Jen up or over on Jenny’s website, which is If you head over there, there’s all the show notes, there’s all the links to all the guests that we’ve had on previously. Please also make sure you give this a like a subscribe and a share. It really helps us grow, lets us great podcasts on. And guys, please remember, if you do need to reach out to anyone, I just talk. I just sit here and listen. Jenny is fully qualified and Felix is fully qualified, okay? If you reach out to me, I will simply just pass you on or pass you on to any of the other guests that we have had on this show as they are far more qualified than I am. I do a little bit of personal training and occasionally I ride a bike, so that’s my forte. The other people on this podcast are the true experts in their fields, so please reach out to them. That’s my piece. I need to go and ride my bike and enjoy the sunshine for the rest of the afternoon.

Jenny Tomei [00:38:04]:

Thank you, guys. Thanks Felix.

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