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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2018summer
Hi there, our daughter exhibits the above behaviour.  We are new on this journey and she wants to change yay![smile]  She does a lot of chewing and spitting out of food which is found in the kitchen rubbish bin.  She snacks during the day and so reluctantly joins us around the dinner table for dinner as she says she is not hungry.  She also eats with many small dishes in front of her, particularly at breakfast and lunch, mixing her foods together and keeping what's left over in small containers in the fridge which takes up fridge space!  She enjoys eating out as she knows this curbs this behaviour and so the boundary is there for her.  I have asked her to now join us for every family meal and have suggested that any food she prepares herself outside of this should be eaten out of one plate or bowl (for visual portion control). Any other suggestions would be greatly appreciated while we wait to see professional therapists.
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Foodsupport_AUS
Welcome to the forum. Sorry that you have had to find your way here. 

For anyone to offer suggestions, I think you may need to clarify some points. 

Chewing and spitting are commonly associated with anorexia.  Binging can be a part of many eating disorders, anorexia, bulimia and binge eating disorder to name a few. You don't say what you think is wrong with your daughter, if there is a diagnosis or whether she is in a healthy weight range, gaining weight or losing weight.  Also your daughter's age?


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.
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tina72
Is she restricting special food?
Is she over-exercising?
Does she purge secretly?
Is she underweight?
Where do you live?
Some more informations and we could help you better [wink]
Tina72
Keep feeding. There is light at the end of the tunnel.
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31maunga
Hi ... met you on Friday and wondered if you have googled as I found lots of good articles/stories on children suffering from 'chewing and spitting' eating disorder. Trust this may help you ...
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2018summer
Hi there, will read through material supplied.  Been away for weekend.  Resistance from our daughter has been met already but I am standing my ground.  To answer questions asked:  Yes, she is restricting special food but not-over exercising.  She feels she is not exercising enough though i.e. not "meeting the mark" for her own personal goals.  I don't know if she purges secretly.  She is not under-weight and she still has regular periods too.  We live in Auckland, New Zealand.  Our daughter is 17 and regularly spits chewed food out and she says she binges, especially if she hasn't exercised.  She doesn't seem to fit into any "one category" either as advised by an eating disorder professional.  So we are just at the start of this journey.

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tina72
Hi 2018summer,
so she seems to show some signs of AN although she is not underweight. That makes me think it might be bulemia. It is important that you get to know if she purges secretly because that makes it much more difficult (and has other consequences, for example will destroy her teeth). Ask her to visit the restroom before meals and don´t let her go back at least 1 hour after meals. Ask her not to use the flush. Hang out the door if necessary.
If she is 17, you will not have much time left to get that. When she is legally adult, everything will be much more difficult.
My d was 17 when she was diagnosed last year. We are now 1 year after IP and she is doing much more better. You can get that.
Tina72
Keep feeding. There is light at the end of the tunnel.
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2018summer
Hi there,  Just wanting to know how to deal with a common scenario regarding my daughter and food.  She eats little and often and seems to experiment a lot with food, i.e. mixing flavours (usually sweet and using mostly cocoa and peanut butter) and is quite systematic about preparing something to eat for herself which is quite often stored in the refrigerator to finish later.  She will prepare a mixed flavoured snack in a bowl using fruits, cocoa and peanut butter just before dinner and then say she isn't hungry at dinner time.  If she is home late she will make another flavoured snack which I suppose in her mind equates to "dinner" and will either eat it then and there or store it again in the refrigerator or tip it down the sink.  Whilst I feel we have made progress when I asked her to use one dish (instead of lots of little ones), I would like to address this habit. All questions and suggestions welcome please.
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Foodsupport_AUS
It would seem that she has developed a lot of rituals as part of her eating disorder.  In an ideal world I would suggest initially stopping things cold turkey and insisting on regular meals and snacks of your choosing. Much of the obsession about flavours and tastes seems to be an associate with food restriction. It is common for people with restriction to obsess about certain foods, recipes etc. Making sure she is getting adequate nutrition and interrupting the spitting may help to move things forward. 
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.
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tina72
Hi,
that seem to be typical ED behaviour. Many AN patients prepare and cook and bake food that is never eaten. They seem to get some satisfaction from that and then feel less hungry. They also collect recipes and cooking books with food they will not eat, just to look at it.
So what can you do?
Think about closing food away and give her all she needs in plated dishes (FBT).
Tell her that she can only have one snack in the fridge and she can only add another one if she has eaten the first.
Tell her it is not o.k. to tip food down the sink (it can attrakt rats, it costs money, food is a rare resource in the world....). If she tips food in the sink it must have consequences, as no cellphone for 24 hours or replace money from pocket money or....
Great that you made progress using only one dish!
The problem is they often develop more and more rituals. When you think you eliminated one there are three others popping up. So maybe it is necessary to do "tabula rasa" and try to stop all rituals at once. More easy said than done, I know.
Tina72
Keep feeding. There is light at the end of the tunnel.
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Torie
As FoodSupport said, it is very common for AN sufferers to mix up concoctions that tend to look odd to the outside world.  Just one more symptom, I guess.  Regular, full, adequate meals is the ticket out of this.

Tina: Handy (German) = cellphone (USA) = something else in the UK (mobile phone?).  Please don't take this the wrong way because your English is AMAZING - I hope it's okay to mention that. xx

-Torie
"We are angels of hope, of healing, and of light. Darkness flees from us." -YP 
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tina72
Torie,
I thank you a lot, please feel free to correct me, I am learning every day. [smile]
When I learned English in school, cellphones were not existing (can we imagine that?), so I didn´t think about that it might be another word here. I will correct it asap.
I hope you all correct me if necessary...[comp]
As I said some months ago, if that is the only positive thing with AN in my house, I learned some English and I found some new friends. [wave]

Tina72
Keep feeding. There is light at the end of the tunnel.
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Torie
"Handy" is an interesting word.  In English, it is an informal word for "convenient."  So it is really handy (English) to have a Handy (German).  I wonder if "handy" has a meaning like that as an adjective in German?  Also, a handyman is a kind of Mr. Fix It guy: a Jack of all trades.   I need one badly.  (I don't think you got here in time to read about my difficulties in finding a competent plumber.)

Sorry for the little hijack of your thread, Summer.  Enough of the English lessons for now. xx

-Torie
"We are angels of hope, of healing, and of light. Darkness flees from us." -YP 
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2018summer
Further advice needed here while we wait to see a therapist.  My daughter occasionally cooks a dessert after dinner "for the family"  however there is usually one person (her) that ends up eating most of it (usually after we have all gone to bed or are in another room).  I have started hiding any foods that I think she will binge on.  I am now thinking that I would like to lock the pantry doors overnight with a door handle lock.  However hubby would like me to check with you people on this as he feels that our daughter will feel "controlled" with this action.  Any thoughts?
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mjkz
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I am now thinking that I would like to lock the pantry doors overnight with a door handle lock.  However hubby would like me to check with you people on this as he feels that our daughter will feel "controlled" with this action.  Any thoughts?


Your daughter is already being controlled by her eating disorder and needs help to stop.  She wants to change the behavior as you stated in your first post so as long as she is stuck in this pattern, you need to do something to change it.

My daughter would binge and purge on anything and everything including a box of unsweetened chocolate once.  I made sure she was well fed and left some food out that she could shack on (like some fruit or a bagel) and everything else was locked up at night or when I was out of the kitchen.  It was the only thing that stopped her binging.  I would put a stop to her cooking at all and lock the pantry at night.  My daughter actually thanked me (a lot later of course) because she hated binging yet she couldn't stop herself. She hated it when I first did it but she said that she only sat through the urge to binge and didn't do when she had no other option.  It was only then that she learned that she could sit through the urge and not act on it.  You will get kickback and she will probably try to sneak around what you are trying to do but I think locking the pantry at night is a good way to go. 

Tell her if she wants food, she can come and ask and you will sit with her while she eats. That way she has access to food but also a strong boundary against binging.
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tina72
HI,
please tell hubby that the only "person" that controlls your d is her ED.
She cannot control the binging, so you need to help her with that. She can only get it if she develops a way to stand this if it is not possible for her ED to make her binge.
So WHATEVER you will need to do to stop her binging, it will help her. Locking the pantry is a good idea and I go with mjks, it would be compassioate if you tell her that she can ask you for food and you will give her some if she is hungry.
ED makes us do strange things in the eye of a "normal" parent. But it is needed.
Tina72
Keep feeding. There is light at the end of the tunnel.
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LauraCollins_US
As you learn more about these brain disorders we call eating disorders, I think you will find that your description of your daughter's thoughts and behaviors are quite typical of someone suffering from malnourishment and a brain that is wired to think these things and have these rituals. Malnourishment doesn't require weight loss, or a low weight. The first task of eating disorder treatment is replenishing the body, and brain, with regular eating and enough calories and nutrients. Most sufferers need someone else to "take the wheel" for a while, just as someone who is temporarily blinded or has broken a limb needs splinting. It is not controlling to make sure that is happening for a while, it's providing safety and loving boundaries.
Laura (Collins) Lyster-Mensh
F.E.A.S.T. Executive Director
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demeter2
Hello,
My husband and I have been dealing with our adult daughter's multiple mental health problems for years now and I really feel quite hopeless often. She has been in and out of treatment, can get better for a while, then seems to relapse badly. Over the past year she has gotten solidly into a the pattern described at the head of this post. She eats virtually nothing all day then in the late evening, begins to cook and eat in a more or less continuous cycle. She cooks quick things, like sliced ham, and a bun with loads of butter, then chews it up and spits it out. When she eats food at all, she goes to her own bathroom and purges over and over. I know she wants to get better and she is suffering a lot from this but she can't seem to get any real traction.

Her Dad and I both work fairly long hours and are fairly exhausted. . . we need the money in part for living expenses but also because we support her financially completely, including buying large amounts of pricey food which she will then purge. We also pay for some of her university costs and all the extra expenses her illness requires (a mouth guard to protect her teeth, medication when she fails to renew her pharmacy insurance, her retail therapy).

Really, more than anything, I am just using this post because I have no one else to talk to about how distressed I am.
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scaredmom
demeter2

I am so glad you found this site and yet so sorry that you need to be here. I wanted to welcome you [smile]. I unfortunately have no experience with bingeing and purging. My D has AN. I am sure that there will be someone here soon that has been through what you have been through. May I suggest you start your own new thread to get more responses. Go to NEW TOPIC on the right and tell us your story. 
Where are you from? How old is your D? What therapies have you and D tried? 
I can sense from your post how stressed you are.It is SOOOO HARD!! Everyone here "gets it". Keep asking and posting. 

This is the best place to get support and learn. 
Big hugs! 


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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2018summer
Hi, I haven't posted for a while so here goes.  Our 18 year old daughter discharged herself from ED psychotherapy as it was holding her back from getting a job i.e. the appointment could not be shifted at all and there was no option offered for a replacement appointment at another time.  Also she said she didn't get on with the therapist but did get on with the first therapist she was seeing initially at the same clinic.  She now has a part time job and says she is going to go to a counsellor to "work on herself" next month (October) after trying out the gym for a month.

Since discharging herself I have seen a regression i.e. finding discarded chewed food in the bin again and she has gained 10 kg she says, which I have noticed.  She understandably feels frustrated but if I bring up the subject of her ED it becomes very tense between us.  I have been having counselling myself for support for me and this has helped me understand myself which has helped HUGELY. 

Our daughter does in-store demonstrations for nut butters and has her own supply and this seems to be her "go-to" food. She goes through a jar very easily within a short space of time and some of it ends up in the bin chewed up with something else.

Incidentally I was locking the pantry for a time but she says that didn't help her but made her want to chew and spit even more. 

I am still having to hide food in our bedroom cupboard which I know are triggers for her i.e. honey, cocoa, peanut butter and coconut milk as these items are quickly depleted and I am unable to use them because they've gone before I know it.

I am reminding her once again not to use small dishes to mix food up but to use a normal sized dish i.e. dessert bowl for breakfast rather than a mini plastic lidded bowl. 

How would I sensitively help her to not drift back into the kitchen to binge and spit without micro-managing her and making her feel guilty?  If I make suggestions i.e. go for a run or do something else she feels like I am telling her what to do.  My husband thinks the same too and wants me to back off and says I am controlling her when I do this.  It does help me to remember that her ED is rooted in "not measuring up" and not "feeling healthy" so food is her comfort to make her feel better about herself and this puts it into perspective for me. 

I guess I need to establish whether she still wants us to help her and how can we do this?

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Torie
2018summer wrote:
How would I sensitively help her to not drift back into the kitchen to binge and spit without micro-managing her and making her feel guilty?  If I make suggestions i.e. go for a run or do something else she feels like I am telling her what to do.  My husband thinks the same too and wants me to back off and says I am controlling her when I do this. 


It sounds like your d is not in control of her eating, which is pretty much the definition of having an eating disorder.  So that leaves two options: 1) The eating disorder will be in control of her eating, or 2) You (or someone else) will be in control of her eating.

2018summer wrote:
It does help me to remember that her ED is rooted in "not measuring up" and not "feeling healthy" so food is her comfort to make her feel better about herself and this puts it into perspective for me. 


It is entirely possible your d has issues with "not measuring up" or other poor feelings, but eating disorders are biologically based brain disorders.  It seems that she needs help with the eating disorder as a separate subject from whatever other difficulties she may have.

2018summer wrote:
I guess I need to establish whether she still wants us to help her and how can we do this?


It is usually possible to help a sufferer, whether they want our help or not.  My d, for one, was very clear that she did not want my help.  My feeling is that if you are my d, and especially if I am supporting you, then you will have my help, whether you want it or not.   Of course, this is not easy.  Vanquishing ED is almost always a really tough challenge.  Personally, I would make it clear that I will be helping.  As this may not be a path you want to consider, you may find this a helpful response.

I'm sure others will weigh in soon.

All the best. xx

-Torie
"We are angels of hope, of healing, and of light. Darkness flees from us." -YP 
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Torie
P.S. Not sure if you saw this article on the thread ToothFairy just started: Why Your Teen Probably Won't Want to Do FBT and Why You Should Feel Free To Do It Anyway

https://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/blog/why-your-teen-probably-won%E2%80%99t-want-do-fbt-and-why-you-should-feel-free-do-it-anyway
"We are angels of hope, of healing, and of light. Darkness flees from us." -YP 
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Mamaroo
Hi

I think your d would benefit from a structured mealplan. Something with 3 meals and 3 snacks, put it on the fridge for her to refer to. If you d eats regularly (lots of protein and fat to prevent cravings) and more orderly it will take away a lot of the anxiety around food and meal time. Eating every couply of hours is also good to prevent binging. Stay away from food such as sweets, chips, biscuits and other sugar and refined food as they can trigger binging as well. Include fat and protein at every meal and snack to keep glucose levels steady.

I've attached a sample mealplan for her. You can change it to suit. The ensures are a replacement meal option and would not be applicable to your d.

I still lock the pantry as d's sister tends to binge, but since giving her regular snacks like her sister, that has improved a lot.
D became obsessed with exercise at age 9 and started eating 'healthy' at age 9.5. Restricting couple of months later. IP for 2 weeks at age 10. Slowly refed for months on Ensures alone, followed by swap over with food at a snails pace. WR after a year at age 11 in March 2017. View my recipes on my YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCKLW6A6sDO3ZDq8npNm8_ww
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Foodsupport_AUS
You have received some good advice already. I too would support a regular meal plan that is managed or strongly supported by you. It is not at all unusual for someone with an ED to feel ambivalent about dealing with it. At the moment it appears that you as a family are bearing the brunt of her illness rather than she herself. 

Being firm and insistent on re-engaging with treatment is important. At the same time micro-managing without clear other strategies and goals in place is probably unhelpful. Can you/therapist agree on a contract of eating behaviours -meals, snacks that she needs to adhere to and she will need strategies to help her deal with binge behaviours - deferring, self -compassion etc. 
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.
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2018summer
Hi, it's been a while since I have posted on this website.  Since the last post we implemented a meal plan but lately there has been a lot of chewing and spitting going on as evidenced by what we find in the kitchen rubbish bin. 

Incidentally, my husband saw her doing it one evening and this is a HUGE breakthrough as I feel he finally realises what we are dealing with i.e. the behaviour in action.  Previously we were on "different pages" on how to handle our daughter's eating behaviours.

Tonight I have guided her back to following "the plan" i.e. meal plan on the fridge but she says there's not much tasty food in the house and so she chooses to spit and chew on particular foods that she finds tasty and not say, vegetables or fruit.  For example she often mixes nut butters with other ingredients she finds to make it taste nice but of course some of it ends up in the bin (chewed).  Incidentally she brings home leftover jars of nut butter after her work where she gets them.

I have invited her to purchase her own foods to snack on and to incorporate into a meal but she is on a very limited budget and says she can't afford it.  We are also on a budget and simply can't afford to shop according to one person's requirements.  So in understanding the chewing spitting, she does this with seemingly "tasty" foods only and she has said when she feels full she feels the need to chew and spit, not giving herself permission to swallow it instead.  She says it's not because of calorie restriction but because of the "full feeling".

Moving forward we propose to consistently check that there are her snacks in the fridge and that dinner if not eaten with us as a family will be left for her to have when she gets home.

She is going to an eating disorders counsellor who told her the behaviours would get worse before they got better?

All comments most welcome and apologies if I have repeated myself in this or other posts.... I'm feeling quite drained with it all!

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tina72
If she is still in control of her food intake this nightmare will not end. ED is controlling what she does and she cannot get rid of ED alone.

"She is going to an eating disorders counsellor who told her the behaviours would get worse before they got better?"
This is normal during refeeding at the start of treatment but I do not see that refeeding has already started. Your d is still controlled by her ED.

Is she eating what you cooked at home?

"So in understanding the chewing spitting, she does this with seemingly "tasty" foods only and she has said when she feels full she feels the need to chew and spit, not giving herself permission to swallow it instead.  She says it's not because of calorie restriction but because of the "full feeling"."
She does not allow herself to enjoy tasty food. ED behaviour.
She said it is not calorie restriction but why does it not happen with fruit and vegetables? Is she really "full"? In the end my d felt full after drinking 50 ml water...

Sorry, so many questions....
Tina72
Keep feeding. There is light at the end of the tunnel.
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