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lind

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Reply with quote  #1 
Hi my 17 yr d was hospitalised in jan of this year with anorexia nervosa - restrictive type, and since then we have been with the state mental health ED team, who have been helpful. She has put on 9 kg but her weight. remained 2-4kg under full restored weight for past three months. She has been running as she says
it would help motivate her to eat. Last year before diagnosis she ran a half marathon. This week I said she should stop the running for a while and concentrate on getting healthy first, but she became hysterical and threatened to commit suicide as she said she cannot cope without it. She wants to run more but we have compromised for now with saying if she gains weight she can continue with just one run. She was also doing netball but that has stopped now. Should I make her stop.....i am afraid she may try and harm or kill herself. I am also thinking of going to private psychologist for her to help with the compulsion, but do we just need to concentrate on getting the weight on? She says she will put on weight but then usually drops it again the following week, by not eating. Any suggestions would be much appreciated.....I feel like we are so stuck.
tina72

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Reply with quote  #2 
Hi lind,
if she is still not weight restored completely and she is hysterical about not running it is clear that ED is running and not your d. She would not get the weight on by running because she has to eat more if she wants to run. I know that is hard with young adults (mine is too) but you have to be strikt: no eating, no running. If she wants to run on Tuesday, she has to eat extra food on monday. If she isn´t gaining weight, no running. When she tells you she will commit suicide that is blackmail. Try to turn the ball back to her: if you want to run tomorrow, you need that extra smoothie today. You can run if you eat that extra. Then it is her "guilt" if she isn´t allowed to run. She has to decide what is more important: not eating or running. Both is not possible.
We had a lot of problems with this last kilos, too. They try to do everything but not to get there. Keep on being strict. Gaining weight is necessary and if she doesn´t reach that target weight she has no chance to get rid of ED. You have done a great job. 9 kg is a lot, we had the same amount, I know what I´m talking about. Keep on going. You are doing the right thing.
Tina72
maturemom

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Reply with quote  #3 
As soon as I realised my daughters weight dropped too low, I stopped ALL of her exercise. She had been walking 45 minutes a day and going to the gym 2 to 3 times a week to do cardio. When we finally got in to see the GP and dietician, they told her absolutely no exercise until she got to a healthy weight. Her clinical psychologist told her she should not exercise until she had her period back for 6 months but the GP, dietician and I thought that advice was too extreme. So what we ended up doing was when she got within 2 kilos of healthy weight, she got to walk to school 1 day a week and when she got to her healthy weight, she can now walk 3 days a week. We used going back to the gym as an incentive to maintain her weight. She has been maintaining for 5 months, periods back and she goes twice a week for 30 minutes. When we were actively refeeding, she basically sat around and ate.
Foodsupport_AUS

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Reply with quote  #4 
Welcome to the forum. It sounds as though your daughter is still stuck quite deep within her anorexia. Her exercise sounds very compulsive and although she agrees to gain weight  in part it is not happening because she is exercising and unable to eat enough to overcome this. Her hysteria about stopping running is enough to tell you this is not a healthy or normal response. Her best chance of getting healthy is to continue to gain the weight, remembering that for some the initial target is sometimes too low. Does she have her period back, and is it regular? The threats though do need to be taken seriously. 

The level of distress when eating disorder behaviours are interrupted- being required to eat, stopping exercise or gaining weight can be extreme. It may be her eating disorder making her say these things, but it may also make her act on them. Are you getting support from your current mental health team? If you feel they are being helpful then getting a new therapist may be a waste of time when more weight, and stopping the exercise is what is needed. 

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D diagnosed restrictive AN June 2010 age 13.5. Weight restored July 2012. Relapse and now clawing our way back. Treatment: multiple hospitalisations and individual and family therapy.
mjkz

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Reply with quote  #5 
Welcome lind. You are 100% right.  She can't stop on her own which is why she needs you to help her stop.  Until she is fully weight restored and can maintain that for 6 months to a year, I would not let her exercise at all.  At this point, it is not your daughter who is deciding to run but her ED.

My daughter was a compulsive exerciser to the point she injured herself many times but kept on going.  She tells me now how happy she was when I made her stop exercising because she was so sick and in pain all the time from it but couldn't stop on her own.
Torie

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Reply with quote  #6 
Quote:
Originally Posted by mjkz
My daughter was a compulsive exerciser to the point she injured herself many times but kept on going.  She tells me now how happy she was when I made her stop exercising because she was so sick and in pain all the time from it but couldn't stop on her own.


Just to clarify, I'm pretty sure mjkz's d fought to keep exercising (think: hitting, spitting, swearing type of stuff) at the time.  Usually, it is only later that they thank us for saving them from this vile monster of an illness. xx

-Torie

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mjkz

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Reply with quote  #7 
Quote:
Just to clarify, I'm pretty sure mjkz's d fought to keep exercising (think: hitting, spitting, swearing type of stuff) at the time.  Usually, it is only later that they thank us for saving them from this vile monster of an illness. xx


Thanks Torie.  She fought like crazy.  She has been sick for a long time and it was just recently that she told me that (15 years later!!).   When I stopped her exercise, she threatened to kill herself, exercised in secret, exercised in my face and told me to try to stop her, skipped school to exercise, tapped out different patterns with her feet under the desk at school-you name it, she did it.  Even today she rocks herself in her sleep which I've never been able to stop.  That is a hold over but she doesn't exercise now.  She works on a farm so her exercise is working there.
lind

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Reply with quote  #8 
Thank you sll for your support, stories and encouragement.
Mamaroo

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Reply with quote  #9 
Hi Lind
So sorry you had to find your way here, you'll get a lot of support. My d did dancing and gymnastics when she became ill. Before that, she wasn't really into exercise at all. Now after 5 months being weight restored, she is a couch potato once again.

Think of exercise as an abusive boyfriend. Off course your d would not want to leave it behind, but when she is better, she can reassess her exercise regime again.

In general, people exercise because it relaxes them, releasing serotonin and making them feel calm. However when someone isn't eating enough, especially protein, there is no serotonin and the stress relief effect of exercise doesn't happen. This will cause them to exercise even more and more, but without proper nutrition, they can't enjoy it and it won't calm them.

Best wishes ☺

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D became obsessed with exercise at age 9. Started eating 'healthy' at age 9.5. Restricting couple of months later. IP for 2 weeks at age 10. Slowly refed for a year and WR at age 11 in March 2017. Challenging fear foods and behaviours now.
BattyMatty_UK

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Reply with quote  #10 
Hi Lind, My son was addicted to exercise - you wouldn't believe how much he used to pack into every day! Or maybe you would... He would even ask to be excused from a school lesson to 'go to the bathroom' only to run round the block instead. He even did sit-ups in his art GCSE exam when the invigilator wasn't looking. It was a massive problem for us and he admitted that he took any opportunity to exercise, even punching the air if standing still. He also admitted that he HATED exercising, but couldn't stop.

It wasn't easy to fix; indeed it took longer than most issues to fix but we did it by officially agreeing that he could only exercise within certain parameters and once he'd done that he wasn't permitted to do any more. This made it easier for him to control the exercising rather than it controlling him. In an ideal world I'd have liked him to stop altogether, but I could see that, with him, it simply wasn't going to happen and so the agreement (which was part of our 'famous' Recovery Contract) helped to contain it. And it worked brilliantly.

This post from my blog describes the extent of his exercising: https://anorexiaboyrecovery.blogspot.co.uk/2011/01/exercise-and-honesty-with-anorexia.html

And this page describes how we incorporated exercising into our 'famous' Recovery Contract: https://anorexiaboyrecovery.blogspot.co.uk/p/recovery-contract.html

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Bev Mattocks, mother of 23-year old male DX with RAN 2009, now recovered. Joined this forum in 2010 - it was a lifesaver.
lind

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Reply with quote  #11 
Hi BattyMatty. Thanks for your post. This is what we have agreed this week. As in her mind it is impossible to stop, we have agreed that as long as she continues to gain weight she can do just 1 run per week. Hopefully this will an incentive and help her control it too. We will keep this going if it is working and hope once she has been weight restore for a while that the impulse reduces.
BattyMatty_UK

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Reply with quote  #12 
Yes, in an ideal world we would have stopped all exercise, but (for various reasons including the fact that our treatment team were advocating for limited exercise) I could see that wasn't going to happen. HOWEVER it is so important that you keep an eye on your D because I am sure that there are some situations where even a small amount of exercise could be dangerous.

With us it was also very important that my son was telling the whole truth and nothing but the truth as regards to how much exercise he was doing. Thankfully we'd arrived at a stage where I could trust him and, to be honest, he was so relieved to have something that would allow him to control his out-of-control exercising. It was also important that we could discuss any problems he was having with keeping within the parameters. But I honestly believe that he stuck to it which is brilliant.

As time went on he naturally began to exercise less. These days he'll just do a handful of situps every day which I think is pretty normal for a young man. He no longer feels that dreadful urge to exercise or get upset because he's 'been sitting around doing nothing' all afternoon / day / hour, etc. So it became increasingly easy to deal with as he recovered.

I hope this encourages you - but do keep a close eye on her health if she's running, won't you? Maybe good to check with your GP / pediatrician?

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Bev Mattocks, mother of 23-year old male DX with RAN 2009, now recovered. Joined this forum in 2010 - it was a lifesaver.
toothfairy

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Reply with quote  #13 
Hi there,
Here are a few links

http://tabithafarrar.com/2017/05/exercise-anorexia-case-cold-turkey/

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Son,DX with AN, (purging type) in 2015 ,had 4 months immediate inpatient,then FBT at home since. He is now in strong recovery, (Phase 3 ) and Living life to the full, like a "normal"[biggrin] teen. This is with thanks to ATDT. Hoping to get him into full recovery and remission one day at a time. Getting him to a much higher weight, and with a much higher calorie plan than his clinicians gave him as a target, was instrumental to getting him to the strong recovery that he is in now. Food is the medicine.
toothfairy

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Reply with quote  #14 
http://tabithafarrar.com/2017/05/anorexia-exercise-2-lower-level-movement-trap/


__________________
Son,DX with AN, (purging type) in 2015 ,had 4 months immediate inpatient,then FBT at home since. He is now in strong recovery, (Phase 3 ) and Living life to the full, like a "normal"[biggrin] teen. This is with thanks to ATDT. Hoping to get him into full recovery and remission one day at a time. Getting him to a much higher weight, and with a much higher calorie plan than his clinicians gave him as a target, was instrumental to getting him to the strong recovery that he is in now. Food is the medicine.
toothfairy

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Reply with quote  #15 
https://www.kartiniclinic.com/blog/post/exercise-and-the-severely-anorexic-patient/
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Son,DX with AN, (purging type) in 2015 ,had 4 months immediate inpatient,then FBT at home since. He is now in strong recovery, (Phase 3 ) and Living life to the full, like a "normal"[biggrin] teen. This is with thanks to ATDT. Hoping to get him into full recovery and remission one day at a time. Getting him to a much higher weight, and with a much higher calorie plan than his clinicians gave him as a target, was instrumental to getting him to the strong recovery that he is in now. Food is the medicine.
mjkz

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Reply with quote  #16 
I used to think letting my daughter exercise once a week would work but I was lucky that she had a physician who just laid it all out on the line.  When you are starving, your body consumes muscle.  The heart is a muscle and gets consumed too.  The walls get thinner. Heart muscle does not regenerate.  You have all the heart muscle cells you are ever going to have. Yes, they will get stronger with continued nutrition but if your daughter has a heart attack out there running, she is crippled for the rest of her life at the age of 17.  You can't unring that bell once it happens.  She might not be able to imagine a week without running but I really think that's where we have to stand firm and not allow her to endanger herself.  We can imagine a week without running for her.  Yes, it will be hard but the price of not doing it can be so much higher.  My daughter thought it would kill her not to be able to exercise.  She found out that it was possible.
BattyMatty_UK

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Reply with quote  #17 
Tooth, that is a very, very good article. (I love Dr Julie O'Toole!!) I have put a link to it on my blog - just posted 2 blog posts about the topic. So very important that you check with your child's physician before allowing ANY exercise. Having said this, I know how difficult it can be to halt it altogether which is why we arrived at a compromise, although in an ideal world we'd have said no to exercise altogether. The risk of heart problems is very real - I know, because my son ended up hospitalised TWICE with heart issues. As I said to the (unsympathetic) hospital staff: "He is my only child and he only has one heart"...
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Bev Mattocks, mother of 23-year old male DX with RAN 2009, now recovered. Joined this forum in 2010 - it was a lifesaver.
mjkz

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Reply with quote  #18 
There is a difference between some exercise and a run too.  Also as you say stopping all exercise is not a guarantee that heart problems will not occur.  We found out later that my daughter did have a heart attack while exercising in secret.  She was very lucky in that it was very mild and there was not too much damage.  We had a physician who was not afraid to lay it all on the line whether I wanted to hear it or not.  He said allowing any exercise before full weight restoration was like playing Russian Roulette.  Sooner or later you were going to get the bullet.  We started out with very gradual stretching exercises and worked with a physical therapist and physicist to get her muscles built back up and allow her to safely exercise.  She also went through cardiac rehab which really helped because she was in with much older people and got to see first hand what a heart attack can do to your life.

Quote:
Having said this, I know how difficult it can be to halt it altogether which is why we arrived at a compromise, although in an ideal world we'd have said no to exercise altogether.


I guess because I was able to keep my daughter from exercising I have to believe that it is 100% possible. Not easy but far better than taking a risk that could affect him/her for the rest of his/her life-and that is if they survive the heart attack or arrhythmias that strike.  It takes a lot of time and a lot of effort but I do think it is possible.  You were lucky that your son was able to recover and still exercise.  My daughter was not able too.  It was another anorexic behavior that had to be broken.
mamabear

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Reply with quote  #19 
Although my daughter was a younger child, she had a very severe exercise issue. In fact, we officially knew we were in way deeper than we thought when I found her in her closet, covered in sweat, hysterical at 3am doing crunches etc.

I at first felt incredible guilt for making her stop exercise. In fact we would set a timer for 15 minutes and let her bc I thought it was too much to ask for her to not have this " outlet for anxiety" .

I was SO WRONG. THE OPOSITE WAS TRUE.

The exercise is TORTURE for them. ED is SCREAMING at them. FASTER HARDER MORE! YOU ARE LAZY YOU ARE FAT AND WORTHLESS!

Every person I have known over 7 years who stopped exercise for their loved one has zero regrets. And a lot of those with regrets, regret not stopping the exercise sooner.

My daughter cried and screamed and threatened when we stopped all exercise. I mean all. But then seemed relieved... and months and months later was able to tell us how relieved she was as her body ACHED and ed was torturing her.

You don't quit smoking by having one pack Thursdays. You don't quit drinking by having shots only on Monday's.

And I think we have all been guilty at some point of not fully understanding that our kids organs have been put under huge stress. They look good, they are gaining weight, so their heart must be ok. Not so. It takes a long time for everything to heal.

Don't be afraid of ED.

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Persistent, consistent vigilance!
BattyMatty_UK

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Quote:
My daughter cried and screamed and threatened when we stopped all exercise. I mean all. But then seemed relieved... and months and months later was able to tell us how relieved she was as her body ACHED and ed was torturing her.


So true, Mamabear, so very true.

I remember my son stumbling through the front door after yet another gruelling run, falling on the floor, clinging to the radiator crying and screaming he just couldn't stop, yet he HATED exercising. I will never forget it.

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Bev Mattocks, mother of 23-year old male DX with RAN 2009, now recovered. Joined this forum in 2010 - it was a lifesaver.
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