F.E.A.S.T's Around The Dinner Table forum

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LauraRu
We have been refeeding for about a month now. D is almost WR. We have a good routine going at home, almost no resistance at meals or snack time. We are about to spend 5 days with various family. They all know about D's ED, but since the world of ED is so topsy-turvy, I want to give them a few dos and don'ts. Here is what I came up with. Anyone have anything to add/subtract?
  •  DON’T forget that A has a serious eating disorder. Because she is almost at a healthy weight, it can seem like the problem isn’t that serious or that it’s all better. It is serious, and while she is making incredible progress, we are still on the road to recovery.
  • DO be authentic and include A in conversation, games, and general merriment.
  • DON’T tell her she looks great/healthy. That is heard as “you are fat”. In fact, if no one talked (in public) about how anyone looks, that would be great. You are welcome, however, to pull me aside and tell me how great I look. My childhood body image/food issues are not completely resolved either but hearing those things from other people helps :~)
  • DO tell her that she is beautiful and you love her new haircut.
  • DON’T talk about feeling stuffed or any diet or other food choices you may be making for yourself (e.g. going vegan or cutting out soy).
  • DO ask her about her art and what she is doing these days. School is also a fine topic.
  • DON’T ask her if she is hungry or what she wants to eat or if she needs more of anything or if she is enjoying a particular dish. her father and I will take care of feeding her.
  • DO tell her that you like her clothes. She has been really developing a style.
  • DON’T involve her in any sort of food preparation.

It would also be very helpful to limit discussion of meals – when they are going to happen, what is going to be in them, etc.

Thanks!

Stepmom of 16 year old with AN. Dx disclosed to parents 11/11/14. Restrictive eating, compulsive exercise. Also major depressive disorder, anxiety, self-harm, and mild OCD. WR 2/15. The journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step.
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BlueRidge
Are you doing the Magic Plate? Does you d need to eat more than average? We went to visit relatives and one morning, this 80-year-old great uncle remarked on the plate of breakfast I'd prepared for d, "Wow, that's quite a lot of food for a little girl like her!" I wish I had prepared him better. He did know that d had an eating disorder, but I guess it didn't mean much to him.
18-y-o d dx RAN Mar 2014; WR in 3 mons but continued to gain for another 30+ lbs. ED is mostly gone though some minor remnants are still present; SH finally stopped after 2+ years; started DBT in Jun '15. "Voice in her head", OCD, body image, all slowly chipped away. I am finally breathing again and trying to enjoy life no matter what it brings me.
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mamabear
I would say not to comment on her appearance period.

Otherwise your list is great!

And no matter how many times I have told my mom, mother in law etc over and over for 4 years- they still say incredibly stupid crap around D.
Persistent, consistent vigilance!
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Torie
This vile illness is so counterintuitive I think it is really hard for people to process what our kids need.  With that in mind, I think it's best to make requests as clear and concise as possible.  Do you think organizing the list like this would make it simpler for them to process / remember?
  •  DON’T forget that A has a serious eating disorder. Because she is almost at a healthy weight, it can seem like the problem isn’t that serious or that it’s all better. It is serious, and while she is making incredible progress, we are still on the road to recovery.
  • DON’T ask her if she is hungry or what she wants to eat or if she needs more of anything or if she is enjoying a particular dish. her father and I will take care of feeding her.
  • DON’T talk about feeling stuffed or any diet or other food choices you may be making for yourself (e.g. going vegan or cutting out soy).
  • It would also be very helpful to limit discussion of meals – when they are going to happen, what is going to be in them, etc.
  • DON’T involve her in any sort of food preparation.
  • DON’T tell her she looks great/healthy. That is heard as “you are fat”. In fact, if no one talked (in public) about how anyone looks, that would be great. 
  • DO be authentic and include A in conversation, games, and general merriment.
  • DO ask her about her art and what she is doing these days. School is also a fine topic

 

"We are angels of hope, of healing, and of light. Darkness flees from us." -YP 
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MumTo2UK
I love this list! I think I'll pinch it for my folks! [wink]
Mum of 17 year old daughter with AN seeking guidance
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LauraRu
Thanks you guys. We are doing magic plate, but she doesn't need to eat an amount that would seem unusual. Thanks for the vote of confidence! 
Stepmom of 16 year old with AN. Dx disclosed to parents 11/11/14. Restrictive eating, compulsive exercise. Also major depressive disorder, anxiety, self-harm, and mild OCD. WR 2/15. The journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step.
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galanick
One thing we run into problem with: d is on a scheduled meal plan. It's important not to have meals late or skip meals or snacks. Let them know that d will need to eat on time so they need to plan for that. Can't delay dinner for aunt so so in if she is hours late, can't skip snack because opening presents and that would interrupt things. I would compare d to diabetic, she needs the right amount of food and the right time or she will not feel well - just like a diabetic. You would not ask diabetic who had already taken insulin to delay or skip a meal.

Have a great holiday
eeyore
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Colleen
It's a good idea to prepare your relatives for eating and being around your d.

And I know it's that time of year, when we have family traditions and expectations, and it might be the only time the family gets together and all.  BUT I would add that the holidays and traditions are not as important as your child's health, and if you even *think* there might be a disruption to her recovery (because people say stupid stuff, because eating is hard, because eating other people's food is hard, because eating in front of people is hard, etc), maybe it would be better to give it all a pass this year and stay home.  Sometimes we have to step back consider where our highest priorities lie.

Not saying that this is the case for you, LauraRu; you know your situation best.  I'm just throwing it out there for general consideration.  We've all fallen into that trap of wanting life to go on as normal, when it really isn't.  It's so hard around the holidays not to give in to the pressure and expectations, and I want to remind all our members to be good to themselves...lower expectations.  The holidays tend to come around every year; missing out on one year sucks but it isn't the end of the world.
Colleen in the great Pacific Northwest, USA

"What some call health, if purchased by perpetual anxiety about diet, isn't much better than tedious disease."
Alexander Pope, 1688-1744
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mamabear
Tonight my answer to this is a simple : just shut up

My god people can talk.
Persistent, consistent vigilance!
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LauraRu
Colleen (BTW, we are also in PacNW (Kirkland,WA)) - we definitely thought about giving it a pass this year, but D was really looking forward to going.

Galanick - yes, I had already talked to them about the importance of staying on schedule, but if folks are using this list for their own use, that would be a good one to add.

BTW, I would be thrilled for people to use it; I was amazed that there was nothing like this easily findable on the web. BUT here is one to add - HIDE THE F'ing SCALE!!! It's so obvious to us, but not to others. D went to the bathroom at my aunt's house and boom! She was 10# up since the last time she was aware of her weight. She pulled through the setback, but I felt like an idiot for not thinking about it. All the relatives down the line have now been advised....
Stepmom of 16 year old with AN. Dx disclosed to parents 11/11/14. Restrictive eating, compulsive exercise. Also major depressive disorder, anxiety, self-harm, and mild OCD. WR 2/15. The journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step.
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galanick
So sorry forgot the scale thing. We have many events ruined, whole weeks ruined by other people's bathroom scales. Open weight or blind weight it is still bad to have weight in uncontrolled environment. Good Catch
eeyore
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