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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My daughter was just recently diagnosed with Anorexia Nervosa and recently released from a Intensive inpatient treatment. She has just started with a new outpatient team. She is getting ready to start a IOP on January 10th. I'm steadily pushing forward trying to help her find her way. I need a map cause I'm not sure were to go. Every turn we take I find more questions then answers. I know that she find herself in a place  that is way more terrifying then I. I'm not sure how to help her find her way.
It seems to me that the only thing we can ever offer is unconditional love and support. Everything else has failed..for us anyway...Good Luck on your journey

Tracey Golden
Welcome!  Sorry you have to join our group.  First, know that there is MUCH reason for optimism and hope. Make no mistake.  It will be hard work, but with hard work and perseverance, you can get your daughter back to health.

Second, if you haven't gotten it already, please get (and read) "Help your Teenager Beat an Eating Disorder" by Drs. Locke and LaGrange.  It is the best roadmap I know for how to overcome anorexia.  The simple answer (although it is very hard) is adequate nutrition to get them weight restored ASAP (don't mess around with this part....the sooner you get your child fully weight restored the better), and then sustained nutrition over a long period to get their brain fully healed.  

This site also has a ton of very useful PRACTICAL information about how to get them to eat and how to overcome the obstacles the eating disorder will put in your path.  All the parents here have BTDT with ED, and there is probably nothing that one (or more) of us hasn't seen before.  Check out the Hall of Fame posts (link at the top of the page).  :-)

D, age 18, first diagnosed March 20, 2013, RAN, at age 13 Hospitalized 3 weeks for medical stability. FBT at home since.  UCSD Multi-family Intensive June 2015. We've arrived on the other side.  :-)  D at college and doing great!
Thank you for the replies. Thank you for the recommendation on the book I will get asap
Hi welder,if you have more questions to ask my suggestion is to post on the main forum.you may get a bit deluged with replies but just take on board what is useful to you.this is a hard journey and a long one so have some support systems in place for you and your wife and any other children you have.hopefully you get weight on soon for your d,but that isn't the end of the journey,it's just stage one.good luck,
Hi Welder

I am sorry - I know this point that you are in. I can tell you there is no map. Everybody ends up in a similar mode though, so read this blog.... There is no more comprehensive site.

Hit it now with everything you have, Pray, and love her.

(Been there buddy, It gets rough).

Welcome welder0975.  I'm so sorry about your d.  I remember well that totally confused state, coupled with absolute fear.

There are a lot of good resources on the FEAST site.  In particular, I'd read through the Family Guide Series, starting with Puzzling Symptoms.  You can click on any of these titles to see the entire booklet.  They are quick to read and will give you some good evidence-based information.

An educated parent is the best defense against ED.  Your d will be with you for far far longer than she will ever be in treatment.  If you understand ED and how best to treat it (starting with nutritional rehabilitation), your d will have the best chance at avoiding the treatment center yo-yo and head for a life of full recovery.  It takes a lot of effort and energy...but is 1000x better than the alternative.

I'm sorry you have had to find yourself here, but I want to hold out hope for you.  Treating early and aggressively is the best option.  You sound like a dad who would do anything for his girl.  That bodes well for her future.  Recovery is absolutely possible...and likely....with you in her corner.
Colleen in the great Pacific Northwest, USA

"What some call health, if purchased by perpetual anxiety about diet, isn't much better than tedious disease."
Alexander Pope, 1688-1744
I remember so clearly how confusing it is in the beginning, Welder0975.  I am so sorry that you find yourself here.  But this list serve is also a treasure trove of information and support.  There were times that my d displayed the strangest of behavior, I posted them here, and then heard back that others had seen the same thing. The professionals do not live with our children and there are many things that only other parents can understand.  If nothing else, I hope that coming here makes you fell less alone.

When you have a few minutes, this video is also very helpful, comprehensive, and well-done.  It 40 minutes and definitely worth your time: http://www.parents-to-parents.org
Mom of a younger outpatient
Hi and Welcome,
Good job trying to find out everything you can about this terrible illness and what you can do to help your d. You can do a LOT. 
Basically, your d needs to EAT A TON. And basically, she is TERRIFIED of eating even a little.
So. You can help by preparing high cal meals and snacks (so she doens't have to think about cooking or shopping or meal planning--basically so she has to think about food as little as possible) and by making sure she eats them every 3 hours.

I found that making really calorie-dense foods helped my d, because then she got a lot in, in fewer bites. For example one scrambled egg has 80 cals; one scrambled egg with cream and butter has about 300. Same difficulty to eat (of course, do not say a thing about calories to d; that would make things way harder.) Also smoothies are a godsend. Search on this site for 1200 cal smoothies and lots of recipies. 

Making sure she eats the things you prepare is of course the hard part. You or someone else  will need to be with her during meals, watching that nothing is hidden in a sleeve or under a lettuce leaf or whatever, and stay with her until the meals is completely eaten. And if there is any indication of purging, stay with her for an hour afterwards also. MY d had panic attacks at the start of refeeding,and I needed to sit with her and distract and calm her. It was pretty brutal.

This is hopefully what they do in IOP, and whatever facility she's at should be communicating with you about what they do and how you can coordinate with what they do at home. Because even if she has all meals at IOP, she's going to come home sometime and she'll still need a lot of support.

Feel free to ask lots of questions!

best wishes,
D diagnosed with EDNOS May 2013 at age 15, refed at home Aug 2013, since then symptoms gradually lessened and we retaught her how to feed and care for herself, including individual therapy, family skills DBT class, SSRI medication and relapse-prevention strategies. Anxiety was pre-existing and I believe she was sporadically restricting since about age 9. She now eats and behaves like any normal older teen, and is enjoying school, friends, sports, music and thinking about the future.
Hi Welder

Sorry you have to be here, but welcome from another Dad.   These first few weeks of dealing with ED are pretty crazy.    I remember being completely lost and just wondering how I could get the best treatment for my daughter and what I could do to help her through this process.   I didn't know what to feel or what to expect.    The people here were very helpful.  

A book I liked, that made me feel a lot less alone, was "Brave Girl Eating" by Harriet Brown.    I recommend it.  It also served as a good resource to grandparents and others wondering just what was going on and how this awful disease worked.    

You'll face a lot of ignorance and questioning from those around you.    "Why doesn't she just eat?"    "Just make her eat"   Things like that.     It is hard to be patient with that.   No one would ask 'why don't you just tell those cancer cells to stop multiplying?"!    Nonetheless, try to gently tell people that just isn't how this disease works.  

As Dads we so want to protect our daughters.   That makes this disease especially hard as we can't beat the disease for them.  But that doesn't mean we can't fight for them.   That may look like fighting an insurance company for coverage.   It may mean fighting to get them to cover the best treatment options instead of just those that are "in network".    It may mean fighting a school that doesn't understand, or fighting an employer who doesn't want to give you FMLA to take care of your child (if you're in the States).     It is a different type of battle that we Dad's have to take on.   

But we have to drop the fight and the anger with our daughters.   We just have to love them and encourage them - even if they get nasty with us.   Remember - it is the disease talking, not your precious little girl.   Hate on the disease if you must - but love on your child.    

Above all - learn all you can.   Make phone calls.    Be a pest to providers when they don't want to talk to you.    Be your daughter's advocate.    And hug that girl every night and every morning.  

You may be in for a tough fight (and I really hope I'm completely wrong about that!) ....but we are here and we have your back.   Ask all the questions you want.    
----    "Parenting is not for cowards."
Hello Stubby, You taking the time to reply and reach out to Another Dad in need is awe-inspiring. I had to post on this thread and acknowledge your bravery and the fact that you give back your knowledge, experience and wisdom to other people. God bless you.