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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It seems so obvious when I have to put it into words.

My precious girl is 14... she is 5 foot 9... long-legged and slender. She wasn't always super slender but never overweight. Since January she has lost about 25 pounds....from about 145 to about 120ish I'm guessing. Last time I saw her weight it was 124.

We've always been health focused in our family so I was delighted that she started to care about things like sugar intake and junk food binges. I thought I was doing things right all these years by discussing healthy choices and staying active with my kids.

I even said encouraging things and "celebrated" with her when she was happy about slimming down. It makes tears pour down my face as I realize the damage I must have done. I just.... I had no idea.

I have become increasingly concerned in the last month when her weight-loss has accelerated. It seems that the triumph of seeing the scale drop has fueled her desire for more reaults? She carefully monitors what goes into her mouth and I have realized that some days she is eating as little as 800 calories.

My hubby and I have brought this to her attention and have had some conversations about it with her. Most discussions are not heated, though one or two have been arguments. I have told her that I want to let her have continued independence in this area, but if she can't take care of herself properly, I, as her mother, will have to step in. I asked her to research, find out what her young body needs, and show me she can be responsible. Nada. However, I have been so intensely worried that arguing with her will produce a "control issue" over food, that I tend to hover silently, add extra food/calories where I can, and pick my battles.

*Side note: We have had unbelievable conflict in the last year over other, heart-breaking, teen-type issues...thus my battle-picking tendencies.

"I AM EATING, MOM! Three meals a day like I'm supposed to" (insert thoroughly exasperated eye roll).

Yeah, three miniscule meals.

I have told my husband that, if this continues, we could be heading for an eating disorder. But now I have to ask you.... have we already arrived??

Thank you in advance.
My heart is breaking.
Firstly welcome from the north of England but sorry you find yourself here.
No one invites ED into their home...very sadly this vile illness arrives without warning and literally makes itself at home so our job as parents is to make sure we show it the door in it’s entirety.
One thing for sure this is not your fault. I repeat THIS IS NOT YOUR FAULT. Initially we go through a whole host of feelings that I’ve recenlty likened the initial crisis and subsequent recovery as being almost grief like. If you can get past this and focus on what you need to do immediately that will help your D so much and it’s crucial.
We are not medically able to say if she has/hasn’t an ED However it’s possible that she could be certainly on the fringes of developing one if not already. I would seek a diagnosis in the first instance alongside making sure you insist on full nutrition by requiring 3 meals and 3 snacks so breakfast, am snack, lunch, pm snack, tea and supper.
Do get her blood pressure (standing and sitting) done as well as bloods (CAMHS have certain bloods they test for in addition to what a GP would request). Please understand that often GPS are not well educated on EDs and so will request bloods but not understand the importance of the extra bloods required for sufferers of ED. My Ds ED was not picked up by the GP and A&E docs initially (3rd visit successful).
Others will be around to offer practical help and support but in the meantime ask as many questions as you need to.
Advice - ED will split family and friend relationships so ensure you pull together to fight it out if your house if indeed you do get a diagnosis. I really hope that is not the case.
Virtual hugs to you. Xx
Hi Incredulous, and welcome.

We're not doctors here, and we can't diagnose, but gosh, your post sets off alarm bells in a big way.

As the mom of a tall girl myself, I will tell you something I learned here that I now know to be true, but I would not otherwise have heard.  The BMI charts, while a blunt and imperfect instrument for all, are particularly flawed for those toward the poles of the height scale.  The flawed "mathematics" of BMI makes tall people appear to be a good weight when actually they are too thin.  Another way to say this is that if you look at people of varied height but identical BMI, the taller they get, the thinner they are at any given BMI.

I will go look up a few websites that explain this, but in the meantime, I want to put this out there to say hello.

Please feel free to ask all the questions you like xx

"We are angels of hope, of healing, and of light. Darkness flees from us." -YP 
Welcome Incredulous to this forum. You'll get lots of information and support here.

It is a concern that your d lost some weight. A child should never lose weight. Your d is indeed tall, over the 95% for height and when she weighed 145lb, she was around the 90% percentile curve. At 120lb, she has dropped to below the 75% curve. I can understand your concern.

Don't feel bad about encouraging her 'healthy' eating habits, we were all there.

To help your d you need to take full control of her meals and snacks. She should be having 3 meals and 3 snacks everyday with you picking her meals and snacks, plating all her meals and supervising them. Include plenty of fat and protein. When restricting the body first uses up its fat reserve and then start to burn muscle. All the organs, including the heart abnd brain shrink, so it's very important to get the weight back on as soon as possible.

There is no point in talking to her to convince her to eat better. I spend hours talking to my d, even drawing diagrams to show her why she needs to eat more. Logic has left the building and anxiety is running the show now.

Below is an excellent video from Eva Musby, she also has a great book:

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
Here's one that does a decent job explaining the flawed mathematics of BMI:

Sorry to keep hammering on this, but many here were told by their doctors that everything is fine, when actually the correct advice is to get started refeeding immediately.  The risk of this error is higher with taller kids.

There is very broad agreement that teens should not diet and should not lose weight.  I strongly encourage you to make sure your d regains the weight she has lost - all of it - and then make sure she gains at least a little each year through the teen and young adult years as this is what is normal and healthy.

I don't mean to make this sound easy, not by any stretch of the imagination.  But you have come to the right place for information and support to do that. xx

"We are angels of hope, of healing, and of light. Darkness flees from us." -YP 
Welcome to the forum, and hope that you'll find the information and peer support that can help.

As others have said, we cannot diagnose but can say that the behaviours you mention do point in the direction of an ED.

TF has provided you with a very good tool, the link to Feed Your Instinct, which will generate a print out that you can take with you to discuss with a GP.  It is important to get medical testing done to determine heart rate and orthostatic blood pressure readings, in addition to blood work.

As a mom who also had a teen who wanted to 'eat more healthfully' and become a more focused athlete, I can relate to your feelings of 'did I cause this?'.  I can say emphatically no.  This is not your fault, nor is it your daughter's. 

Wishing you all the best, as you determine next steps. 

Sending warm support,
It is good to not only hope to be successful, but to expect it and accept it--Maya Angelou
Welcome to the forum. We cannot diagnose but there are many red flags suggesting that your D may already have an eating disorder. 

I would encourage you to read widely around the forum in particular have a look at the FEAST family guides available on the main website. Use the Feedyourinstinct website tool. 

Unfortunately you may be in for a light more conflict than last year, and independence on eating is something that those with ED's really struggle with. It is normal for someone with an ED to deny its existence or the severity of the illness. Teenagers should not lose weight, they should be growing. Please get your D assessed as soon as possible. 
D diagnosed restrictive AN June 2010 age 13. Mostly recovered 10 years later.  Treatment: multiple hospitalisations and individual and family therapy.