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

Welcome to F.E.A.S.T's Around The Dinner Table forum. This is a free service provided for parents of those suffering from eating disorders. It is moderated by kind, experienced, parent caregivers trained to guide you in how to use the forum and how to find resources to help you support your family member. This forum is for parents of patients with all eating disorder diagnoses, all ages, around the world.

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turtled
Hi, I am new to the forum and feeling very unsure of my skills in helping my d, 14, diagnosed with aneroxia and depression in December. She is preparing her own meals and only two variations at night-time meal and eating in her room and I need to get her to the dinner table. I need to take control. She is not eating enough real food, maintaining weight definitely with the required three snacks of generous amount of dairy milk chocolate and twisties and sometimes cakes. She is occasionally trying foods she used to eat before, recently handful hot chips, ice cream, chicken schnitzel. I know what to cook for her to gain weight but she is scared to eat with us. Can anyone tell me what to say to her, anything that might make her let me take control. I am worried about refeeding with my 12-year-old present. She is changing tablets for depression currently, is seeing a psychologist weekly, Telehealth now and GP regularly. She is low in iron. Thanks
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Enn
I am glad you are here. We really do understand how challenging taking  care of a child with ED is. 
I would agree with your assessment about your position in this dynamic. I do think you need to take all the control of food from her. It is a kindness to  do this. Your poor child is likely torturing herself to do "ED right". She will have a lot of rules that will be hard to break if left to herself. By taking over, yes there will likely be a fight or many but it may be the best way through.
Sitting her down during a quiet non-food moment and telling  her how you know how hard this is and from now on you will be taking over. Telling her also that you understand but as she is ill, as the mom, who knows her best, it is time to take your place and the helm and steer her to recovery.  Remind her of all the love you have for her and that you are ready and wiling to do what it takes to get her better. Hard, hard stuff, just oh.. so hard. 

You will need to be able to say no to ED. That is not an easy feat, but you know, you will get there and we will help you. There are so many voices here with so much experience. Our job is to share what we learned, in order for you to pick and choose what may be the best fit for you and your family. 
There is no perfect right way, there really isn't. We all find our way in time. Remember with ED there is so much learning and trial and error. What may work today, may not tomorrow. 
Sending a big hug. 
Please let us know how we can help. Ask away, there are so many ears listening and wishing to offer support.
When within yourself you find the road, the right road will open.  (Dejan Stojanovic)

Food+more food+time+love+good professional help+ATDT+no exercise+ state not just weight+/- the "right" medicine= healing---> recovery(--->life without ED)
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turtled
Thank you so much for your kind words. I am in the right place and trying to absorb as much information as I can. food with love and compassion is what I will do. Thank you x
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Torie
Hello, and welcome.   I wonder if it is possible to feed your 12-year old first in case the meal does not go smoothly. One thing that was a tremendous help to me was this video

Eva Musby has also written a book that many find really helpful.  Please feel free to ask all the questions you like. xx

-Torie
"We are angels of hope, of healing, and of light. Darkness flees from us." -YP 
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Barberton

turtled, 

The Eva Musby diagram is right, your d is most likely terrified eat and especially in front of others. The ED often tells them that everyone is looking at them and judging them. But you have to stop her eating in her room alone! She will probably protest, but you simply have to make that one of the rules.

Perhaps the answer is to take things in small steps.  Instead of insisting she sit with the whole family to have her meal, what if she sits with you before the others eat. If she needs motivation for eating, knowing that the others will join the table in 45 minutes, might help her keep her pace up (if that's her problem). It might cause one step back for a while, but once she is used to the routine and you have reassured her that she is safe, then it's another step forward.

Good luck.

D fell down the rabbit hole of AN at age 11 after difficulty swallowing followed by rapid weight loss. Progressing well through recovery, but still climbing our way out of the hole.
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turtled
They are great suggestions. Thank you. I am nearly finished Eva Musby’s book and I have to say it has helped and inspired me so much even though I am so scared of not doing things right and causing any further setbacks. I am going to be brave like she is. 
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Foodsupport_AUS
Welcome to the forum. It is so hard early on. I agree with you that things are likely to grind on a lot longer with the current state of play. You don't need the therapist's consent to take over the feeding, or your daughter's for that matter but it is better in particular if you and the therapist are on the same page. It sounds like already there may be an issue in that the therapist did not offer and has not started with FBT. 

No one here got their child to agree for them to take over feeding them. The child was generally told this was how it was going to be until they were able to feed themselves. It sounds like your D was diagnosed in December? If so has she regained any significant portion of weight over that four months. Maintaining weight is not good enough. As a growing adolescent, maintaining weight is actually losing weight. Most gain at least 3-4 kg per year even once they have completed growth in height ( muscle, bone and fat for moving into adulthood). Insisting that weight gain is happening is the most important thing, also normalising meals. This means not eating in her room. Of course she is scared to eat with you, she is scared to change what she is currently doing. That doesn't mean things don't need to change. 

Since you have mentioned wanting to start FBT perhaps opening up a conversation with her therapist (you alone) to discuss plans and directions. Does the therapist know of or have any experience in FBT. Do YOU feel they have been effective in getting weight on your daughter. If things have not changed yet a new path needs to be started. That means either changing therapy or therapists or both. 
You do get to call the shots here. It can be tough to go against "expert advice", however the experts here, who have successfully helped their child will tell you that experts frequently make decisions which seem to not help,even with the best of intentions. 

Bringing your D to the table will be difficult, especially for the 12 year old. You may choose to initially get your younger child to the table early and then they can finish and leave. None of this is easy. I love Eva's videos but in my experience they make re-feeding look far too easy. This will be hard. 
D diagnosed restrictive AN June 2010 age 13. Initially weight restored 2012. Relapse and continuously edging towards recovery. Treatment: multiple hospitalisations and individual and family therapy.
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MKR
Hi and welcome,

Just to add to the great ideas and sound advice above (Eva Musby's book covered many of our scenarios):

We simply announced "From tomorrow, these rules will apply". I don't think you should wait any longer because you don't want any more weight lost.

So from now on it is Mum's Kitchen and Mum is in charge. She eats what she is served and maybe only choose between two options for the next meal (eg chicken or beef) just like we used to ask toddlers to choose between two. The less the child is involved in preparation, the better.

If there is resistance, don't be afraid to calmly step up control. If she should shut herself in her room, make it impossible. My daughter's father even took her bedroom door down for a while. 
Mum's Kitchen

14-y-o "healthy living" led to AN in 2017 and WR at 16. Current muscle dysmorphia.
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Enn

turtled wrote:
I am so scared of not doing things right and causing any further setbacks. I am going to be brave like she is. 


We understand how anxiety provoking this stage is. What can we advise on?

It is going to be hard, I am quoting Foodsupport, here. I am absolutely not like Eva and I wish I could have been, but I was so so worried and did not have the ability  to be so calm. That is just not who I am.

Overtime you will get stronger. Just trying one thing different from where you are can be empowering.
What do you feel is your first priority?  I am leaning to getting her to eat in front of you even if in her room AND what YOU have prepared. 

💐

When within yourself you find the road, the right road will open.  (Dejan Stojanovic)

Food+more food+time+love+good professional help+ATDT+no exercise+ state not just weight+/- the "right" medicine= healing---> recovery(--->life without ED)
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Torie
turtled wrote:
I am so scared of not doing things right

It is okay to make mistakes.  We all do that.  This is such a hard and counter-intuitive thing to deal with.  Wishing you continued strength and courage. xx

-Torie
"We are angels of hope, of healing, and of light. Darkness flees from us." -YP 
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