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

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Hi. I have a 14 year old D, 1 year into this. Some gains but generally loses those pretty fast. We see a therapist but otherwise its just me trying home based therapy. I'm really struggling to get enough into her. She feels so full after did, well, during. I don't give large potions at all. She is eating and has mod morning and afternoon snacks but I'm concerned she can't weight recover all the time she's convinced she's feeling full. 
I have told her this will pass and I do try to encourage her to finish her meal but frequently she looks like she is almost in pain.
I guess it's hard on her system plus mentally a challenge too. 
Some days are awful. She seems to want to gain but some days she wants to give up bc it's 'so hard'.
Any advice about the physical sensation?
Many thanks
Sorry it's a long post. Plus my first. 
We struggle with that. Distractions have been key. Any kind of distraction you can come up with while eating. 
Also, you could try smaller portions more frequently...for now. 
We use heat packs for stomach discomfort when eating as well. Telling her over and over that you know it is hard but she can do it. One bite at a time. Encourage. Tell her that fullness feeling will pass. Tell her to trust you that you know how much she should eat at her age etc..
Any incentives that might help? If she can finish the meals she can have/do X, Y or Z.

Im sorry. This has been an ongoing struggle with us. We also have tried to do really high calorie/fat meals so the portions could be a little smaller.
Welcome to the forum. Sorry that you have had to find your way here. 

What you are experiencing sounds very common and very normal. The body adapts to restriction by shrinking the stomach and reducing the muscle fibres within the bowel making starting to eat again difficult. Further many of our children tend to be those with sensitive stomachs- they tend to be very aware of many of the activities of their bodies and find them uncomfortable rather than back ground. Even 10 years in my D is still this way. 
The anxiety about eating and weight gain just makes it even harder. 

Small frequent meals is useful. If she is taking a long time to eat she may be exacerbating that sense of fullness. Liquids can go in better than solids at times. 
Using heat packs can help stomach aches and pains. 
Distractions when meals are completed - board games, TV, other activities can be used to help distract from the discomfort. 
This is one time high fibre diets are unhelpful - they may increase a sense of bloating and fullness. 

Please feel free to ask lots of questions. 
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.
Hello and welcome.  I agree with the others - the difficulties you are facing really suck, but are typical for AN sufferers.  Unfortunately, the only way out is for her to eat more than she is comfortable with - WAY more.

She will need to tolerate her distress and push through that, and you will need to tolerate her distress, too. When eating is so difficult, it makes sense to make every bite count with as many calories as possible.  I was surprised to learn that canola oil (rapeseed in UK) disappears without changing the flavor or texture if you stir it in briskly and don't add too too much.  (You can add a surprising amount though - and you can gradually increase the amount.)  Yogurt, rice. soups, sauces, smoothies are all good candidates.

Beverages should always contribute to caloric intake so she doesn't fill up on things like water or diet soda.  Full fat milk is great, and grape juice has the most calories among the common juices.

Most find it best to keep her out of the kitchen during meal preparation and decline to answer questions about ingredients, calories, etc.  

Please feel free to ask all the questions you like.  We are here for you. xx

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

Good morning from Canada,
I am sorry you needed to find yourself here and that there are issues feeding your child at one year in. 
Her sensations of her feeling full are normal and expected. 
What Foodsupport states is so true. She has not used those muscles for a long time. They shrink and have to relearn what normal is. Keep feeding her. The sensation of fullness will not hurt her. She needs to go through it. I know it is hard to think she may having significant discomfort, but it has to happen to get to the other side. Also she may be saying she is full and that is ED's voice ensuring that she does not gain weight. 
What exactly is she eating? If you give us her menu, we could help get the calories in. Torie has given some very helpful hints on how to bump up the calories to get the weight up.

How are you coping? What can we help you with? 

We all wish to help and support, just ask away.

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)

I am reaching out, just to let you know I am thinking about you and hope you are ok.
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)
Hello everyone and thank you for your help. 

I think the ideas and experiences you have offered have been helpful. I guess the main point here is that the sensation is something that needs to be gone through. Pushing her to discomfort in small doses sounds like the way to go.
I have tried listening to her, before Christmas for months I thought, well, at least she's eating, albeit smaller quantities. Then, I know now how this happens, the almost inevitable 'slip' backwards. Smaller and smaller amounts. All based on how she feels, not outright defiance. Gosh I really feel for her. BUT, that was not an effective strategy. I took control from the new year onwards. It's been a learning curve and at times pretty horrid.
I'm trying a mixture of your advice, more frequent snacks, pushing through, in small increments, the discomfort. She's stabilised for now, no school helps in some ways! But then in other ways we've lost the distraction of school.
By the way by daughter has a lot of food allergies and that doesn't help! Apparently it can make you much more susceptible to ED.

Thank you once again. 

Good the hear that you have a sure hold and are moving forward.
Keep us in the loop. 


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)
Hi determined2help,

I have to second Torie. We had to make each and every mouthful as calorific as possible so that he did not need to eat super big helpings. This meant replacing, for example, milk with cream in recipies. Even milk to drink was 1/3 cream and 2/3 milk. I added rapeseed oil or butter to almost everything. I began slowly with these changes, first adding a teaspoon and a few days later two teaspoons and so on. The normal rules about how much fats to have in the diet (about 30%) do not apply to our kids who need as much as possible.

Our son was not allowed in the kitchen when I was cooking and I did not discuss ingredients with him. In the beginning he did ask a bit but I only said that I would not discuss it with him as it was not helpful or that he could trust me as I knew what he needed.

Wishing you strength and courage,

2015 12yo son restricting but no body image issues, no fat phobia; lost weight IP! Oct 2015 home, stable but no progress. Medical hosp to kick start recovery Feb 2016. Slowly and cautiously gaining weight at home and seeing signs of our real kid.

May 2017 Hovering around WR. Mood great, mostly. Building up hour by hour at school after 18 months at home. Summer 2017 Happy, first trip away in years, food variety, begin socialising. Sept 2017, back to school FT first time in 2 years. [thumb] 2018 growing so fast hard to keep pace with weight
  • Swedish proverb: Love me when I least deserve it because that's when I need it most.
  • We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence Recovery, then, is not an act but a habit. Aristotle.
  • If the plan doesn't work, change the plan but never the goal.
  • We cannot control the wind but we can direct the sail.

My daughter also complains that she is full and feels sick.  My husband is quick to buy into her complaints of discomfort and reduce what she needs to eat or delay it.  I do not buy into the complaints. I know that this is the eating disorder talking.  My daughter has also acknowledged that she knows that there is a mental component to feeling full and sick.  My suggestion is that you continue onward. Acknowledge her feelings/statements and that it is difficult for her and continue to encourage her to eat her meals.  I have found it helpful to make affirmative statements and have my daughter repeat them, eg.  "It is healthy to eat a snack" "Lot's of people eat snacks" "I am eating a cheese stick and pretzels and grapes" etc....  Of course she does not always want to engage. I have also at times not pushed things if my daughter is upset/agitated and instead simply say "Here is your meal" "Eat your breakfast etc...." 
Thanks that's nice to hear, it's easy to feel guilty at their protests. I have to admit the other day I did lose patience and just said, 'oh just eat your food' and I felt so bad afterwards but you know, the unexpected happened, she cried and protested but to my surprise there were no tears. I realised, it was an act.. To a point anyway. The next day she ate more, I was amazed. She told me that it was very uncomfortable but she knew she had to do it. She told me it was a really hard day etc. I just reassured her that she had done really well and the more she does that, the sooner this will end. She also had 2 homemade cookies and felt enormously guilty. She couldn't justify it you see. It was a mini breakthrough I must say.
We are going to see the therapist later. It has been 4 weeks which is far too long but with our semi lockdown scenario it hasn't been so easy. 
I will keep going ng... That's all we can do.
Thanks so much everyone. 
Woohoo, yay for cookies!

You are exactly right in requiring her to eat enough.  That is tremendously helpful to her.  Keep up the good work!  xx

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