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

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I know this is a bit premature, but my D is getting very anxious about Christmas and food. She did have a tendency to binge and purge before we began treatment and we obviously don't want this to continue. As I have posted previously, we are still in the early stages of recovery and she is not gaining weight. Has anyone had experience of this and support for how we get through the Christmas period? We have three other children, so it will be difficult to not have extra food in the house.
Thank you
Hello Yellowcaty,
this is a good question and last year christmas was horrible for us so here are my thoughts:
It is normal that she is anxious about it (ED is anxious about it). So if you had no other children I would suggest to eat at christmas as on a normal day. But your other kids deserve to have the complete programm. So maybe it would be an idea to serve your ED d a normal not fear-food and the other family members are having the christmas dinner. As christmas is a very stressy time I would think it will be the best just to calm her down by serving something which is o.k. for her and get back on path for recovery and serving fear food after christmas. It is no harm if you get one step back until she is eating the amount she needs. Maybe this way you could have some nice family time.
Depending on the age of your other children and their wisdom about AN I would suggest if you talk to them and tell them that christmas dinner will be frightened for your d and what they can do to distract her a bit.
This year my d says she just wants to have all the normal christmas programm and she wants to eat everything. She is too a bit anxious about it but I told her I will serve her the normal portion she is always eating and it will be just a different meal on the plate. I think about taking the big plates again so it will look smaller and not so frightened. To give you some hope, she was snacking christmas cookies plus to her normal snack yesterday.
Try to get some nice days although you have Ed in the house.
Keep feeding. There is light at the end of the tunnel.
Did you see Toothfairys post about Thanksgiving?
I think the main problems are quite the same...
Keep feeding. There is light at the end of the tunnel.
Agree that TF's post on Thanksgiving can be applicable to any holiday event that revolves around food.

I think 'prepping' the extended family if you are going to a big event can be helpful.  I did provide a list of 'dos and don'ts' around what to say for our family, and I think it helped them to know how to behave and respond appropriately.  Not that everyone did...but at least it helped.

Sometimes, arriving after a meal can work, so that your d can eat as she normally would at home, but still enjoy seeing family, opening presents etc.

Basically, I think making the holiday time as stress-free as possible is the best solution.  Whatever that might mean for you and your family.  

Sending warm support,
It is good to not only hope to be successful, but to expect it and accept it--Maya Angelou
I want to add to the good advice above: If it's too much stress for you and too hard for your d, you can also curtail Xmas and make it much smaller. You can have a normal nuclear-family dinner. You can have normal breakfast/lunch/dinner, without big brunches. 

Sad as it is, it might be that your other kids do not get the full Xmas this year. I think you should let go of some of the guilt if this is what happens. If any of the other kids were sick (God forbid), and you had to curtail Xmas because of a hospitalization or whatever, everyone would pitch in, accept, and do what is needed. Here is where big gift/bribes might be nice for the other kids--they get something big or some money, and that's just how it is this year. It's about getting your d back to health. 
Hello Yellowcaty

I think the benefits you, your d and your family would get from some happy, close, family time probably justify compromising a little on what you hope to get your d to eat on this one day.

My d is very keen on traditions, especially around Christmas time (with my new knowledge, I'm guessing lots of our lovely ED kids, who are prone to rigid thinking, might be similar).  Would changing your traditional routines around food this Christmas Day ease the pressure a bit, and take the focus off how ED is making this Christmas difficult?  Perhaps a picnic at a local beauty spot, with ham and turkey rolls etc, instead of the usual sit-down meal?  You could still do crackers, party games etc, but in a different location.  Could you explain to your other children that they could help make the day easier for your d if they help come up with similar ideas they'd also be happy with?  Could each child prepare a salon game (charades, 20 questions etc) to help with distracting your ED d?  You might discover fun, new alternative 'traditions'!

We're delaying flights to visit family until the day after, to avoid the whole minefield of feasting with extended family, and my d quietly thanked me for it last night.

Just think, this time next year, your d will be in a much better place [smile]