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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tombolino
Hello All.  This is my first post.  My daughter was diagnosed with AN 7 months ago.  She has gained steadily, and still has 5 pounds to go to be "weight restored".  I put that in quotes because I'm skeptical of what that actually means, having read various opinions on weight restoration goals.  Anyway, I feel like we are close.  My daughter is generally happier.  Last night, however, she binged for the first time.  I saw her peel a carrot after her evening snack and take it up to her room.  My husband saw her take a granola bar up after that.  We were excited, because it seemed like she was letting go of some rigidity about food rules. This morning, however, I woke her up and found new cut marks on her arm.  She has not cut herself since March, and that phase was short lived.  The new cuts totally shocked me.  I then found an ice cream bar wrapper in her room.  So it seems she binged a lot, felt guilty, and cut herself.  I'm just so confused about how to handle binging.  Do we encourage it a little?  Do we stop it completely?  It seems like it is a part of intuitive eating, but I don't want her to binge so bad that she ends up cutting herself.  How do parents handle this situation?  And is binging at this point in recovery normal?  Thanks for your advice.  
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Kali
Hi Tombolino,

Welcome to ATDT. I'm so sorry you have had to find your way here however I hope you will find support. Please read around in the Learning Center if you would like:

https://www.feast-ed.org/page/LearningCenter?

Also you can search for self harm and see what other parents have done in a similar situation to yours, and what suggestions they received from others.

I am not sure that a carrot, a granola bar and an ice cream truly constitute a binge... and it is of concern that she has cut herself. It would indicate that she should not be alone. Do you know what she used to cut herself with? Can you go through the house and take any sharps away or keep them under lock and key? Can you ask her to eat in the kitchen or family room or TV room, not in her room, and then remain with a family member (watch tv or do an activity) for awhile after eating? Some parents have found sleeping with their children while they were at risk for self harm helpful.

How old is your daughter and what sort of professional help do you have?

warmly,

Kali



Food=Love
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Mamaroo
tombolino wrote:
Hello All.  This is my first post.  My daughter was diagnosed with AN 7 months ago.  She has gained steadily, and still has 5 pounds to go to be "weight restored".  I put that in quotes because I'm skeptical of what that actually means, having read various opinions on weight restoration goals.  Anyway, I feel like we are close.  My daughter is generally happier.
 
Well done for getting the weight on. You are doing a great and heroic job! And welcome to this forum.


tombolino wrote:
Last night, however, she binged for the first time.  I saw her peel a carrot after her evening snack and take it up to her room.  My husband saw her take a granola bar up after that.  We were excited, because it seemed like she was letting go of some rigidity about food rules. This morning, however, I woke her up and found new cut marks on her arm.  She has not cut herself since March, and that phase was short lived.  The new cuts totally shocked me.  I then found an ice cream bar wrapper in her room.  So it seems she binged a lot, felt guilty, and cut herself.  


You are right, she probably felt miserable for binging. It is very common for people who were starved to overeat when presented with food. It happened to the men in the Minnesota semi starvation experiment. (http://www.apa.org/monitor/2013/10/hunger.aspx and http://www.rebeccashouse.org/articles/why-diets-or-restricting-food-results-eating-disorders-keys-semi-starvation-experiment-1950)

tombolino wrote:
I'm just so confused about how to handle binging.  Do we encourage it a little?  Do we stop it completely?  It seems like it is a part of intuitive eating, but I don't want her to binge so bad that she ends up cutting herself.  How do parents handle this situation?  And is binging at this point in recovery normal?  Thanks for your advice.  


I've attached a page from Julie O'Toole's book: "Give food a chance" about binging. We followed her advice and still control my d's meal and snack sizes (since my d overate since she was a baby). We give my d choice in snacks to encourage intuitive eating, but always make sure she's having enough (and not too much). During refeeding we hid the muesli bars in the home office. Now we put a lock on the pantry and lock it during the night. Your d would probably benefit from you stepping in and giving her boundaries on snacks. Increasing the fat content of her meals may help her feeling full and not so hungry that she binges. 

So sorry you have to go through this, but know that this is a great place for advice and a sympathetic ear.
Sending you lots of hugs!!!!
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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teecee
Welcome tombolino

This was something we were concerned about during refeeding however it did subside.

We were told that the body ‘craves’ what it needs at this time and therefore not to stop our D snacking in between snacks/meals. We followed this advice and once we had a meal plan, which mainly included the nutrients in the meals, then this vanished.

It’s only now as she is WR and trusted to help herself to meals that we are able to see and encouraging true intuitive eating.
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tombolino
Thank you all so much for your suggestions!  This is such a struggle, with a step back for every 2 steps forward it seems.  I do feel like we're inching towards our goal and I'm happy to hear that the binging is common with re-feeding.  I forgot to mention that my D is 15.  She was diagnosed at 14.  She works part time and eats snacks and lunch at work on those days (3 days a week).  She has a very supportive boss, but they have been busy, so her boss doesn't always watch while she eats. My feeling has been that she is restricting during the day and binging at night.  Her weight has not dropped, so I know she is getting the calories in, however, not in the ideal way.  When she is home, we watch her closely when she eats.  I don't want to keep her from working, because she loves it and it builds her confidence.  Fighting this disease is such a delicate balance, and it is hard to know what is the right thing to do!  Thanks again for your helpful advice!
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EDAction
Hi tombolino,

It sounds like your daughter ate more than usual that night, but it doesn't sound extreme - especially when she is still working towards WR.  I think you want her to eat more if she's hungry.  It's good that she listened to her hunger.

It doesn't sound like the problem is that she ate more; the problem is that she felt upset by it and cut herself.  Is she seeing a therapist who could help her work through this?

I recommend Tabitha Farrar's "Eating Disorders Recovery Podcast".  In several podcasts she talks about the extreme hunger she felt as she worked towards WR and what it was like to allow herself to eat what and how much her body desired. 

Thinking of you and your D.
DD diagnosed with anorexia at 14; FBT at home with the help of psychologist and medical dr; 3+ years later and doing well (knock on wood)
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Torie
Hi Tombolino,

I basically agree with EDAction: This is not necessarily a binge, and her body is very likely sending strong (and healthy!) signals to pack in some more food.

I wonder if there is a way to join your d for lunch.  It sounds like she would benefit from more supervision and support during the day.  In general, making sure she has 3 meals and at least one snack every day, and making sure each meal / snack includes a good mix of protein, fat, carbs can help them feel more satisfied and reduce the impulse to do something that looks like a binge.

Even if she DOES binge (now or in the future), I don't think the bingeing is likely to be a problem as long as what happens AFTER the binge is healthy.  (No purging, no self-harm). So it can help to stay with them after to offer distraction and support.

Please keep us posted. xx

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