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

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Yael826_
Hello parents. I'm seeking advise regarding husband who refuses to get on same page with regards to high calorie meals. Our D was diagnosed with RED + binge eating and bulemia one year ago. No prior hospitalization or comorbidities. I have done 90% of the feeding. She was weight restored very early  after about 10 weeks) but I believe she needs more weight.   Much better than she was but still with ED thoughts and wants to restrict if left on own. Often binges and feels guilty then hard to feed the following day.  She's 7 lbs heavier than her pre-annorexia weight. She looks healthy, periods returned then during COVID it stopped now for two months. We see a great phycian and FBT therapist who is doing individual counseling for D and couples with my husband and me on weekly bases.  We intitally did family therapy but found the couples more helpful. A year later my husband still cannot put a proper portion of food on her plate. The therapist and I have tried everything and he JUST doesn't get it!! I'ts so infuriating. I'm in medical field, a GI nurse practitioner and have explained to him repeatedly that if she's not menstrating someting is off and she needs MORE!. Of course my daugher now prefers to have him feed her because it's easier and I become the villian who's constatnely pushing  three big meals and 3 snacks. By the way during covid we let her start exercising after not exercsing for a year. We let her do one hour every other day or else she would truely go bonkers with the understanding that privilege will be revoked if she looses any weight. She has maintained but is not gainning. Anyone have a similar experience with spouse? Any advise. We live in SF bay area. I'm wondering if we should make appontment with male ED specialist, maybe Locke at Stanford who will read him riot act. He just doens't get that he's placating ED and not helping our daughter in the long run.  Frusterated and exhuasted mom. 
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Enn

Your question is such a common one, unfortunately. 


It is difficult when both parents are not on the same page.
There can be so many dynamics. In our house I too did/do  most of the ED stuff. I know it scared h a lot but he took my lead. That was helpful.
I don’t think there is an easy answer. Some have required their partner or ex partner to read up just like the primary caregiver, but if they wanted to, I think they would have already done it. My h still has not read much at all, still leaves most care to me. It has been three years. I do think that the roles and responsibilities tend to be about how the parental relationship functions ‘ normally’. By that I mean I feel that the issue lies in your overall relationship with him and not just forcing/encouraging change.  

How do you feel your h will understand? Glad about the couples' therapy. Wish we had done that.

I have a paper on how FBT and ED therapy and approach to the families is usually female biased. Most ED therapists are female. The perspectives of the men are not taken into account as well as we’d like or expect. The communication styles of men versus women are different and the way men are approached needs to be tailored to them in ED . Maybe a male therapist? I will find that paper for you and post. I found it illuminating.

Many fathers get it, I know. But it is very interesting, even in this international forum that is seems to be mainly women? There is something there for sure. There are some ED forums I think, designed for men in  particular.

Sorry no advice just my meandering thoughts.

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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Enn
Here it is.
https://cfe.keltyeatingdisorders.ca/sites/default/files/resource/Hughes2017_JCCAP_FBT_Participation.pdf
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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Enn
That is one article. The other I am looking for is more specific to fathers and once I find it I will post.
This is the abstract.  https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/00377317.2019.1601917
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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LaraB

Hi, Similar issues here. I am interested that your H goes to weekly sessions with you which suggests a willingness to engage. I rarely get H along to a session. 

I remember a therapist suggesting to me that I need to look at what strengths each of us has and how they can be harnessed to support my D and the family. I get equally frustrated if H does not give a good enough portion etc.

 I have kind of learnt to accept that he is not great at some aspects of care but he is really willing to do other things, and I need to let him and ask for his help and appreciate what he does ( ie not criticise). I have tried reading riot act but has not worked here!!! I agree that therapy can feel a bit female orientated and on occasion when we have been together, I need to make a deliberate effort to keep quiet and give him some space to talk. I hope you find a way forward that’s right for you. Xx

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Yael826_
Thank you for thoughtful reply. Reminds me to appreciate what he does do. I think it really is a male/female way of handeling stress. I read everything I can get my hands on, proabably overly anxious and involved allowing him to retreat. Our FBT therapist is doing couples with us. I do suspect if she we're an older male he might have a different reaction. 
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Enn
This is the article  https://d28lcup14p4e72.cloudfront.net/4830/4809570/NotMyTerritoryHowGenderRoleSocializationImpactsFatherInvolvementinCari.pdf

I really found it enlightening and gave me some insight.
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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Foodsupport_AUS
A fascinating article Enn. It does surprise me how many fathers are not involved in their child's illness, and I am always saddened when I hear of fathers feeling they are excluded and not a part as well. 

I can't tell you what I did, single parent here. It strikes me though that reading the article and reading posts such as LaraB's that we need to look at playing to strengths. Talking about strengths and weaknesses, ours and theirs. Generally the goals are shared it is the pathway there that we need to agree on. Talking about how that can be achieved, giving some leeway and taking some back at the same time. There have been many families where one parent did all the re-feeding exclusively whilst the other did all of the other things. Owning up to things that you feel are not good for you and taking on more load for things that you feel you can accomplish. There is no doubt that having team plan is really important - ED likes to separate out the team members and play them off against each other. The more cohesive the team the less likely this will happen. 
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 @Yael826_,

I am sure your husband appreciates that you, too - like he and all of us, were new to eating disorder until it struck our families. We were all shocked, no doubt, and had to learn and upskill quickly. So you are not trying to have the last word, you are merely helping him close the loopholes to beat the illness.

I agree that each person has strengths. My daughter's father wasn't big on cooking but then again he supervised lunch at school. Together we closed the loopholes.
Mum's Kitchen

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

I struggled to get H on the same page too and felt desperate at some points. The flood of emotions about it were difficult for me until at some point I decided to accept he viewed things differently and I couldn’t control that. 

I felt frustration at my ‘good work’ being undermined but found other ways of making my voice heard louder by my D. I took opportunities to reinforce positive messages in front of him and when alone with her. Privately we would have horrendous fallouts over what was the right way to help her recover. 

Looking back I feel she recovered slower than I hoped but she recovered never the less and now understands what she must do to stay well. 

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salmy
I am so thankful I stopped by ATDT this afternoon with this very topic in my mind and weighing heavily on my heart. We are about an hour away from our weekly FBT appt where once again the "how are mom and dad sharing food responsibilities" question will be asked. Like you, I have done most of the feeding, and also DH has been heard saying things like "geez that's a lot of food" and rolling his eyes among other things. Oh my, the drama when he saw me adding canola oil to her smoothies in the morning! ðŸ˜« We have tried to work out a schedule: I do breakfast, lunch, afternoon snack and he does dinner and evening snack. Then there was the issue of was he plating enough when it was his turn... and the biggest issue... if I trusted him to plate well. The truth is I did not. Like you (and likely many moms of recovering ED kids) I became a control freak because the prognosis is not good for slow weight gain and a lackadaisical approach. I attacked feeding our D like it was my one and only job. Letting go of any of that responsibility of ensuring that she was fed enough and that each and every precious bite was eaten was really hard. We have our good days and our challenging ones here... but I am working on relaxing. It helps that she is fully WR plus 10% at 6 months in and that we are at the point where we are beginning to decrease her calories just a tiny bit. Dinner is the most challenging because I do much of the cooking and calculating as I'm cooking. That's a hard situation for DH to walk into... and it sometimes feels like me telling him that X food equals X nutrition is still like me controlling all of it. And sometimes I'm not successful at stopping myself before I say "she'll need a piece of bread with a TBS of butter, or give her half of the avocado" before it comes out of my mouth. In some ways it feels unfair to him because he hasn't spent as much time looking up and planning and prepping to hit nutritional goals as I have and if I didn't tell him, wouldn't I be setting him (and D) up to fail? 
I'm thankful to hear other families have struggled with this... I just want to know what the magic formula is for getting both parents in the same book, on the same chapter, page, paragraph, sentence and word like Locke and LaGrange (or one of the other author's) suggest? 
D16 diagnosed AN October 2019 -25% of body weight, but still "healthy weight" per Dr.
Started FBT Dec 2019
July 2020 Fully WR + 10%
2 Months in to Phase 2
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MKR
Hi @salmy,

You've made an excellent point! One person has spent time doing all the background research and preparation while the other gets to take it up at the last minute and tries to make sense of it all. You both need to appreciate and trust each other. He will trust you with contents and quantities - and you will trust him with his strategy to get your child to eat it.

I say, pay him a lot of compliments as to how he handles the feeding at the table, as you might justly need a rest after all the preparation.

Good luck at the meeting, it's there to push progress ahead 😀.

(edited for typos, aargh)
Mum's Kitchen

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

I cannot imagine 2 parents ever being so totally on the same page as you suggest Locke and LeGrange described!
It sounds to me like you are doing brilliantly. You have done a fantastic job with refeeding and weight restoration. I am likely a control freak too as I see nothing wrong in letting him know what she needs. That is my style too. But I understand the importance in trying to relax - esp now the acute crisis of refeeding is over, and perhaps trying to have a more relaxed atmosphere around mealtime.

It is so hard when you have been fighting to save your child’s life and you have been so focussed on getting every calorie in, to relinquish some of the control. I am guessing from what you say that your H wants to be involved too and that’s good and certainly this is a long and exhausting business and great if you can allow him to prepare some of the meals- to give you a break. Although it would be good if there were some ground rules like not commenting about the large amount of food. 

so no magic formula here but it sounds like you are consciously trying to work at it. Maybe the discussion with the therapist will help. I assume your D is not there. I think it will be important to be open about your concerns. I am unclear if your H is worried that your D is being fed too much or what his worry is about the oil in the smoothie. 

good luck. X

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