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

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salmy
I am sorry to say that I can not read others posts and respond to them yet. My heart hurts for the families that are coming for help and support from ATDT and I am so thankful for those who are able to respond and encourage!

I have a new question - one that I am sure comes up for families as their chlid with ED recovers. I am embarrassed to admit that prior to ED we used shaming language and thinking around food and movement. "You don't need that(3rd donut)", "You're not getting enough movement to eat like you do", "I'm not eating X because I'm eating keto/paleo/clean". We were a part of the diet culture and stuck in the shame cycle. 
As you know from my last post, I'm struggling with how I feel about the weight I've gained during D's recovery. I have had a conflict in my brain between the  way I think about my body/food choices/exercise and what I'm allowed to say outloud or actually do as a result of D's struggle with ED. That struggle has been giving me a constant headache and I just know I can not stay in that space any longer. 
I'm really wondering what tools and resources families use to turn their thinking around about bodies, food and movement? I've just started learning about Intuitive Eating, but the ideas make me feel really uncomfortable. I guess that is because things like my boys eating all.the.oreos and playing video games all.the.time makes me feel angry and sad.... we are so involved with D that everyone else in the house is suffering. Its true that I'm saying one thing and feeling something entirely different in my head. How do I actually change MY thinking? What language should I use?.... I feel like we can't even say the word "healthy" because that would indicate that something is *not* healthy and that is counterproductive to fighting ED. 
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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Enn

Salmy, 

I just want to let you know we all had to come to grips with ‘good’ and ‘bad’ food and the words  healthy and exercise and counting steps and fit bits etc.. 

What helped ME was that food has no good or bad it just is. It is fuel and our ED kids need a lot in calories. And really the highly processed foods had a lot of the calories that others would consider ‘bad’.

Also to put this into perspective, kids are young and they should eat ALL types of food to get the nutrients they need to grow and thrive. And if they need those other foods,  so be it. It won’t last for long and they still get the nutrients they need.

As for your internal conflict, I think it is a good thing. I know when I feel conflicted and upset , I need to listen to those feeling and understand them. They are usually right in that I need to make a change, be it at work, or internally and question my beliefs. That is what happened to me when ED came. 

Those feelings helped me reevaluate what I felt about food and health in relation to myself and my kids. I questioned my eating habits and others’ too. I got angry. I do think this is a time of change for you,  maybe all of us. This is very personal . 

I have no advice . I had to feel it, evaluate it, look deep into myself and make a drastic change in my mind and I am glad I did. 

there is no bad food. The only bad food is poison or rotten.
🌺

 

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

Ps don’t feel ashamed of what happened before. You did not cause this. 

Also please remember to be kind to yourself and have self compassion. We now know things  differently and see the world through ED eyes. 

As for your weight remember a healthy body is healthy and that is not determined by size. If your body can do what  it needs and wants to do, embrace that. Movement should be joyful, purposeful. Also remember you don’t need to eat like d. Some have exercised secretively too. All of our bodies have different needs and ED can be told that too.

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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melstevUK
Hi Salmy,

I totally get where you are coming from. It is incredibly difficult in the US and the west to maintain a stable weight without having some rules around food and eating. It is very easy to eat too much and put on weight which is why we have both an obesity problem and also eating disorders. 

I didn't put on weight because I was eating with my d while refeeding. I have just got more relaxed around eating and cared less as I have got older.  At the same time I HATE the weight I am at because I used to love wearing elegant and stylish clothes when I was younger and I simply cannot do this any more. Or at least I can still look stylish but a heavy waistline does not lead to wearing certain styles.  I talk about being too heavy to my recovered ed d and she just has to accept it.  

If I had a choice I would be much slimmer but I haven't got the energy to make it happen. I forgive myself for my vanity, for being superficial and knowing that not eating nearly killed my d. We live in a difficult environment on so many levels.  I hope you can find a way through these troubling thoughts but certainly don't do guilt. It is a wasteful emotion which saps energy.

It is also understandable that you had rules around eating because there is so much focus on avoiding obesity so it would be very normal to tell a child not to eat a third donut. Somehow you have to find your way around where you are. You didn't cause the ed and you are bringing all your children up to the best of your ability in a difficult environment.  It is maybe trying to see the realistic picture for all of you and coming out with some balance in the end.  There are no good or bad foods but overeating is also an easy cycle to get into so it makes sense that you would discourage your children to do this. 

I wish I could offer solutions but I all I have to offer is acceptance.  You really are doing the best you can at this particular point so forgive yourself and be kind. 
Believe you can and you're halfway there.
Theodore Roosevelt.
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HopeNZ
Hi Salmy

I really hear what you're saying about how your family culture once included talk about 'healthy' food etc.  And I agree that you just have to let go of any regrets or guilt you feel in that regard.  These negative feelings are undeserved and won't serve you well in this fight, where you need all your resources!

In our family, we've really embraced the idea that 'healthy', whether it relates to food or exercise, is different for each of us as individuals.  I have to avoid the high-fat, full-cream my recovering d still needs, as I have developed high cholesterol;  my non-ed s grazes constantly but is prone to putting on weight, so we have to make sure he nibbles on fruit and veggies in the lead up to dinner;  my h needs lots of exercise to manage work stress and keep sane;  my recovering and hypermetabolic ed d has to eat mountains of high-fat food and do only moderate exercise because that is what she needs to be 'healthy'.  

It's taken a while but this has definitely been a subtle culture shift in our family.  Only yesterday, my d was complaining that her school has introduced a 'healthy food only' policy in the school tuck shop... 'what's healthy for one is not healthy for all', she muttered, along with 'the goal should be healthy enjoyment of all food in moderation'.  Hear, hear!

I hope this helps.
Warmly, Hope
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MKR
Hi,

Didn't someone say bad food is only the food that has gone off.

It has been a culture shift with us, too. Shift from avoiding the diabetes that runs in my kids' father's family.  And plenty of guilt, too for having allowed any discussion whatsoever at the table.

(A bit of a vent here) Well, those diabetic rellies were plying our preeschoolers with candy, whether the kids liked it or not. But instead of going to the source of the problem and approach the adults, dad tried to educate the kids. In my opinion, children need to eat and go play, not discuss ingredients. 

What I found even harder to accept is banning sport. We chose the school for its facilities and a year on had to deny our daughter access to those. At times I thought I was either going mad or this was all a dream. 

The fact that you are feeling conflicted is one step closer to understanding it and choosing what is best for you. Follow your instinct. Your daughter is on the mend, time to give yourself some TLC.

All the best,
Mum's Kitchen

14-y-o "healthy living" led to AN in 2017 and WR at 16. Current muscle dysmorphia.
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MKR
Hi again @salmy,

If it helps, the regular 3 meals and snacks every 3 hours should work for everyone. 

Last year we spent 2 weeks with my AN daughter and someone recovering from nervous overeating. I had no idea how it would go. We decided to stick to this timetable and it worked great.  The blood sugar was kept in check so we could all focus on the holiday together. 
Mum's Kitchen

14-y-o "healthy living" led to AN in 2017 and WR at 16. Current muscle dysmorphia.
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blondie
I was in a similar position to you up until the last year or so - I had heard about a nutritionist here in the UK who had a podcast where she was trying to tackle some of the dieting bullsh*t that's out there and, whilst I was unconvinced, I started listening to it and I have to say that my mindset has gradually changed over time - I think I'm now far less judgmental - both of my own and others' lifestyle choices (be that what they eat, how they look etc) than I was before. The podcast is called "Don't Salt My Game" and the lady is called Laura Thomas - I don't know if you might find it helpful too? I know she has a book out now and has set up an online course about how to "raise intuitive eaters" - I haven't read or done the course so don't know what they're like - although I have just started reading a book by a lady in the US who I think tries to do something similar - her name is Christy Harrison and it's called "Anti Diet"
I'll leave a couple of links here in case you want to know more

https://londoncentreforintuitiveeating.co.uk/courses/raising-intuitive-eaters
https://www.amazon.co.uk/Just-Eat-intuitive-eating-together/dp/1509893911/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=laura+thomas&qid=1582071568&s=books&sr=1-1
https://www.amazon.co.uk/Anti-Diet-Reclaim-Well-Being-Happiness-Intuitive/dp/1529381177/ref=sr_1_1?crid=2HC78LZACRVJS&keywords=christy+harrison&qid=1582071606&s=books&sprefix=christy+harrison%2Caps%2C258&sr=1-1
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Scaredmom2019
This hits home and I am grateful for all the guidance!

I have gotten myself all confused about food since D was diagnosed with RAN. I'm overeating, over thinking everything related to food. 

I never knew food could be so complicated.
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MKR
I no longer compliment my friends' kids, gorgeous as they are (especially friends far away that I don't see often). I find myself saying Wow, they look so happy/ relaxed/ confident and the feeling does beam out of their smiles.  But I can no longer bring myself to say anything on physical appearance, for fear a kid might misread that. Also my PTSD too strong. 
Mum's Kitchen

14-y-o "healthy living" led to AN in 2017 and WR at 16. Current muscle dysmorphia.
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salmy
All of these responses were so very helpful. It's true that guilt from the things in the past is zero percent helpful. This feels like one more layer to the never ending ED sh*t cake. I don't ever want to say that I am thankful for this experience, there are many positive changes that have been brought around as a result. Our nutritionist suggested these resources:

For ED D:
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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salmy
another thought... did your teen ED kids still do some normal teen things like: get their drivers license, get a job once they were eating well and were into WR? Our D is avoiding anything stressful which includes: cleaning her room, reading the booklet for her learners permit, getting a job (or even just doing her daily jobs at home), taking care of the liter box for HER cat, working to improve her math grade..... am I just supposed to let these things go? I feel like I need to push her to tackle the hard things... avoiding them will not make them go away or improve her future... 

but maybe I also just need to be patient. And if that is the case, I honestly need someone to tell me that. 
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,

Thank you sooo much for the links to resources.  Just what I need. 

My sign-off only hints at the new stage of AN, being body dysmorphia.  Foodwise, it has meant piling on protein, building muscle, now even carbs are OK because so-and-so said on Instagram. Luckily, this stage is fading, too.


salmy wrote:
another thought... did your teen ED kids still do some normal teen things like: get their drivers license, get a job once they were eating well and were into WR? Our D is avoiding anything stressful which includes: cleaning her room, reading the booklet for her learners permit, getting a job (or even just doing her daily jobs at home), taking care of the liter box for HER cat, working to improve her math grade..... am I just supposed to let these things go? I feel like I need to push her to tackle the hard things... avoiding them will not make them go away or improve her future... 


I believe doing chores is still important. As is acquiring good working habits and life skills to prepare our kids for adulthood.

We divided chores into self-care (looking after personal stuff, like making your own bed, preparing school bag for next day, putting uniforms in the wash) and helping out, like folding the towels, carrying in the shopping. The latter earns reward points and lots of compliments, like Your help made it so much faster.

My daughter complained about her first (part-time) job's minimum pay but I explained that the first job is all about proving you can work along others, efficiency,  etc. plus learning a bit about the particular job, about markets, customers. 

I hope your daughter is not overwhelmed by all the tasks she needs to start. It wouldn't surprise me, given our ED kids' recent brain trauma. 

Maybe if you tried breaking into small tasks and a timeline, like, I will test you on the first 10 pages of the learner's in 20 minutes. Or announce next load of washing so she can add her stuff. 

In NZ there is a fun rode code app with mini tests, quite addictive to do a few questions every now and then.  I am sure the US has some, too.

All the best, 
Mum's Kitchen

14-y-o "healthy living" led to AN in 2017 and WR at 16. Current muscle dysmorphia.
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Torie
salmy wrote:
another thought... did your teen ED kids still do some normal teen things like: get their drivers license, get a job once they were eating well and were into WR? Our D is avoiding anything stressful which includes: cleaning her room, reading the booklet for her learners permit, getting a job (or even just doing her daily jobs at home), taking care of the liter box for HER cat, working to improve her math grade..... am I just supposed to let these things go? I feel like I need to push her to tackle the hard things... avoiding them will not make them go away or improve her future... 

but maybe I also just need to be patient. And if that is the case, I honestly need someone to tell me that. 

It is really up to you. 

My expectations were minimal during weight restoration.  It was the hardest thing either of us had ever done, and to my mind, that was enough to ask of her.  (She wasn't far off from needing a fairly high level of care, in which case, she would not have able to do most of those kinds of things even if she or I had thought she should be doing them.)

I can pinpoint the exact moment when my attitude changed about this - I was complaining that she had not done x (something rather minor that has long since slipped my mind) and she burst into tears: "WHAT DO YOU WANT FROM ME??? I'm eating and I'm not cutting."

I had 2 immediate thoughts: 

1) OMG what has happened to my life, and hers? and
2) This poor girl can only just barely cope with those two things.  I can't ask anything more of her.

To be fair, she was maintaining her traditional academic perfectionism and attending her (non-athletic) extra-curriculars. 

She did not, however, even once clean the litter box of the pet skunk we got her since her brother is allergic to the cat she wanted.  She did not have to put anything away, fold a piece of laundry or ao much as turn off a light switch.  I became hyper vigilant about squashing any hint of irritation, impatience or negativity in my tone with her.  In short, I gave her every break I could think of because she was utterly overwhelmed and at her wit's end.

MJKZ, for example, took a very different approach, and I know that hers is equally valid and appropriate.  It is up to you. xx

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

I love hearing about the experiences of other families. ED can make you feel like no one has ever experienced the crazy that your family
currently exists in.

this afternoon we had a chat about the math grade and drilled down on what is actually happening. It sounds like her disinterest in school start when she got her diagnosis (late October) and she just really doesn’t care what other think now. This is the girl that would list her teachers among her best friends; she always friended adults over kids her own age. Hearing that she doesn’t  care made me think about the control she was exhibiting when she was starving herself. Everything was under control. Then, we took that from her by requiring her to eat and suddenly she felt like nothing was under her control. 

As a part of our conversation she shared that she is bored. You know, she doesn’t fight about having to eat 4000 calories a day (she doesn’t know the number but it is SO MUCH FOOD!) she occasionally hides food still but that is happening less and less. She even eats challenge foods: ice cream, cookies, sweet muffins, strawberry milk. She literally has nothing going in besides her school day. She was withdrawn from sports in the winter(and did not really want to even talk about track for this spring) and doesn’t have any extra curriculars. She needs to have something else going on. We told her she has 3 weeks to pick some places to apply to for jobs and to begin prepping for her learners permit. I know this is overwhelming to her, but I truly feel like her brain needs something else to be working on rather than just fighting the ED thoughts. 
another thing she mentioned is that she thinks food isn’t her medicine anymore because she knows her brain is not yet  right even though she is WR. Which was a great opportunity to remind her (and myself!) that the brain takes time to heal. 

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
So good that you had a chance to chat with your d and see what she feels capable and incapable of at the moment!
Mum's Kitchen

14-y-o "healthy living" led to AN in 2017 and WR at 16. Current muscle dysmorphia.
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Torie
I think she may need more help with all the regular teen stuff as ED still is making hash of her brain.  For example, could you make a very specific plan for the drivers ed preparation and sit with her for that? Or perhaps suggest a specific friend she might like to study with on a specific day and time?  Of give her the choice does she want to sit with you and study that for x minutes per week or would she prefer to study that amount with Person Y?  I don't know your dynamics - I'm just tossing out the kinds of ideas my d needed me to do when she was in the foggy-brain phase.

You may have heard me say that I read every single science paragraph to my d that whole year; I did every math problem with her; DH did the same with history.  Not because we cared about her grades but because she was crazy-worried when the tests neared.  Just out of her mind.  And yet ... she could not study on her own, she. just. couldn't.  She would procrastinate forever.

I don't think she COULD read in that state.  Her brain was too consumed with ED.  Honestly, I wondered if I was going to need to start brushing her teeth for her.

I assure you that I was not a particularly hands-on parent with my other kids and until then not with ED-d either.  She told me that I went from being the most laid-back of all her friends' parents to the most over-protective.  I don't think that was an exaggeration.

We each have to find our own path.  That was mine.

It seemed like forever, but it was not.  She is off at university now; I think she is living the life she deserves.  It does get better; their brains really do heal with food + time. xx

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

Torie wrote:
I think she may need more help with all the regular teen stuff as ED still is making hash of her brain.  ... Just out of her mind.  And yet ... she could not study on her own, she. just. couldn't.  She would procrastinate forever.

I don't think she COULD read in that state.  Her brain was too consumed with ED.  Honestly, I wondered if I was going to need to start brushing her teeth for her.

-Torie


The things that she is (or isn’t doing now) not taking care of her things and procrastinating have been her M.O. for her whole life. I’ve actually begun to wonder if these are some of the things that led her into ED... everything seeming overwhelming so she avoids. She only very occasionally presented as anxious before ED,  is I wonder if anxiety prevents her from doing anything. I‘m trying to get to the bottom of this with her and have actually asked our FBT therapist if we could/should do therapy with a different therapist to address this now, and she suggested waiting but did think that we could do testing for ADHD now.
I have also been very handsoff with this child- what was the use in getting involved when she “refused” to do anything anyways. Now I am deeply involved in all the things.... all the way down to ”put your retainer in and come show me that you actually have it in before you get in bed!”
i think the specific plan is a good idea- she doesn’t have the ability to plans anything out (nor ever). This is what makes it hard- knowing what is her personality and working with that or knowing what ED has done to her brain that is making it hard for her....

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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ValentinaGermania
salmy wrote:
another thought... did your teen ED kids still do some normal teen things like: get their drivers license, get a job once they were eating well and were into WR? Our D is avoiding anything stressful which includes: cleaning her room, reading the booklet for her learners permit, getting a job (or even just doing her daily jobs at home), taking care of the liter box for HER cat, working to improve her math grade..... am I just supposed to let these things go? I feel like I need to push her to tackle the hard things... avoiding them will not make them go away or improve her future... 
but maybe I also just need to be patient. And if that is the case, I honestly need someone to tell me that. 


We needed to drag her into all and everything. To go out of the house, to see friends, to do all these normal teenage stuff. She wanted to avoid all stress but working on that with expostion like fear food helped a lot.
Only thing she was really keen on was the driving license. She was so happy to drive and she dreamed of having her own car. This was something we used as a leverage and that worked very good here.
Keep feeding. There is light at the end of the tunnel.
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Torie
salmy wrote:
.... have actually asked our FBT therapist if we could/should do therapy with a different therapist to address this now, and she suggested waiting but did think that we could do testing for ADHD now.

I agree with the therapist that it makes sense to focus on ED for now and deal with the rest later.  I don't know about ADHD testing while her brain is still scrambled with ED; I know that many diagnoses change once ED has been vanquished.

I had no idea any of my kids had anxiety issues.  Turns out that two of them do have an anxiety disorder.  I find that to be a tough nut to deal with.  AN is a very tough nut in a different way - we know what we need to do; it is just nearly impossible to actually do that.  I have never found such a straightforward goal for dealing with anxiety.  People do like the book by Tamar Chansky although I can't remember the exact title.

Keep swimming. xx

-Torie
"We are angels of hope, of healing, and of light. Darkness flees from us." -YP 
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MKR
We were very hands-off with our kids and I have a feeling the majority of the parents on this forum had been until ED. I am not saying that was wrong in any way, I mean why would you need to guide such independent kids.

However, I found that others have guided my children: pre-school and schools. Toddlers were shown pictures of tasks, such as "bag goes on hook", "shoes go on rack", "wash hands before meal" and I have to admit this life skill lasted a looong time.  At school each classroom has had an efficient set routine.  Does this help a child get organised? Or does it reinforce OCD? I don't know...

But I agree that ED takes over the brain and makes it so hard for the child to see clearly. Even I struggle to focus at work in the first 2-3 days after a bout of migraine (which includes no food or water for a day or so, well I try...). I find myself leaving stuff out by mistake and struggling to remember the next step. I can only imagine what it's like for a severely ir chronically malnourished brain.

You are at your daughter's side, you want the best for her, sounds like you are already finding a way forward! 😀
Mum's Kitchen

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