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

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We are almost 9 months into this "recovery". My D was diagnosed at 12 she is now 13. She has been at a healthy weight for about 4 months now. Things are absolutely better than they were at the beginning, but this phase (whatever you want to call it) is really hard. For the most part we are still in "control" of everything she eats. We no longer meet her at school for lunches, 1 or 2 times a week we let her buy lunch at school. 2-4 times a month she has lunch or dinner without us if she is at a party. And she has been able to maintain a healthy weight. Of course she wants more control of everything. Her therapist is pushing that she has control of at least one snack. But I am not willing to let her make the choice without running it by my. (Let's just say "I always add to it".) I've come to accept there is no rational thinking with the ED. Therefore, I am unwilling to let her take over and lose weight so she can see what happens. With her in control she will eat but just not enough and she will lose weight. And I don't think she will all of a sudden think rationally "Oh, I lost weight, this must mean I need to eat more, so I will." Anyway, had this experience?

My question: Is time alone really going to help my D recover? 

If she never wanted to leave home we could go on forever in this phase. Physically she's healthy, she's at a good place in school, happy there, playing full time club soccer, goes out with her friends. We just "ignore" the elephant in the room (ED) and work our way around it. Packing extra snacks, eating before or after event. 

I just don't know if we are doing everything we can to actually help her fully "recover". She does see her therapist every other week. Who knows if that is helping? I didn't like taking her to dietician early on, maybe I need to revisit that?

What did you do to help your child recover once they were at a healthy weight?

Thank you for any advice.

Great work, HYS!!!

Stick to your guns if you think others are suggesting things your d isn't ready for yet. There is no reason to rush this, especially with your d still being 13. No reason at all. None. And every reason take a slow, incremental approach.

Will time and adequate supervision / support fix this? Yep. Aside from pre- or co-morbids, which may need separate attention, it seems to take forever, but time is what you need.

So glad to hear how well your d is doing.

Keep up the good work!



"We are angels of hope, of healing, and of light. Darkness flees from us." -YP 
Oh, yeah. Monitor the heck out of that kid.

If she wants to serve herself one sufficient snack, yay! That's awesome. She'll need to SHOW that she can serve herself one sufficient snack. 
For us, this meant that d served, it was too small, I corrected. She tried again, I corrected. If she fussed, argued, negotiated or complained the whole thing was off and I served for her.

And I also felt that it was restful for my d to be served, for a time. To just eat, and not have to think about it.

Our t, who was excellent in many many ways, also seemed to have read the handbook that said "will return to independence in 12 weeks". As you know, your kid is not a handbook! It may take time for your d to relearn how to eat enough. Luckily, you have time.

In the occasional times your d eats without you, do you coach her on it? Early on, when something like a party or independent meal came up, I'd go over with d what made a meal (entree, fruit or veggie, a drink not water, dessert if available). And afterwards we'd talk about it: what went well, what was hard, what would help her eat more next time?

And of course, check weight weekly and if it trends downwards, no more independence for her!

You're doing so well. 

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.
Of course, don't forget about those growth spurts that can throw recovery off track if not handled properly. Not at that stage myself but have read alot about it around the forum.

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

May 2017 Hovering around WR. Mood great, mostly. Summer 2017 Happy, first trip away in years, food variety, begin socialising. Sept 2017, back to school FT first time in 2 years. 2018 growing so fast hard to keep pace with weight. 2020 Off to university, healthy and happy.
  • 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.
9 months in is still in the early days.
The " stage" concept and timelines need to be THROWN OUT in my experience and the vast majority of everyone else I know who has dealt with Ed.

Your daughter is very young still. She is going to grow and keep changing. Does she have her period? Is she growing in height?
It is very very difficult to keep up with all of the needed fuel at 13, especially when competing in a sport that takes a ton of energy. I think that your therapist needs to listen to you.

Baby steps. She shows you her snack pick, you give the yes or no. She plates her dinner and you say ok or she needs more. Do you have a way to check up I what she is or isnt eating at school or when she's not with you?

My daughter got sick at 10.5. It took 3 years to get to full independent eating where she could keep her weight solid. It seems that 3 years is a common time frame for a lot of us.

The most important thing is to keep her weight stable and rising without ups and downs. Keeping the nutrition going in all day every day.

It is not " just time", it is time with persistent, consistent vigilance on our part to follow our gut, close Ed loopholes, ssllloooowwwlllyyy let of the line and pull it back when needed. This is the best way to avoid relapse and have a successful outcome. Too much is expected of these kids too fast by the " professionals" many times. At 9 months in there is no way my daughter would have been able to keep her weight up with added independence. I learned the hard way. My d swore on my life, her baby cousins life etc that she had "no idea why" she was losing weight and "ate everything"... And then I followed the bus to school and saw her dump her 1200 cal thermos of noodles in the garbage.

Playing soccer and giving more independence at this point in time do not work together.

Don't worry about timelines. This does not work that way. It just doesn't. If I ever get to a feast conference this will be my beef with the professionals.

You can do this. Keep going.

Persistent, consistent vigilance!
I think we are at a very similar stage. My son was diagnosed at age 12 last February and is now 13 and 8kg over his weight restoration target. (2kg over the target I thought was reasonable)

We are just starting to give him some choices but very slowly. He is pouring his cereal into his bowl in the morning and can choose his after school snack. He still has ED thinking, needs prompting to properly fill the cereal bowl etc. He does go out with friends at the weekend and buys lunch from subway - we agree beforehand what he will buy and a friend reports back to me what he eats.

When I've asked the psych they always say he just needs more time. He has had therapy as well and is just starting another 6 weeks of play therapy for anxiety.

I felt really impatient a few months ago from lack of progress but now I see him growing and going into puberty it helps to see some results and know that his body is getting so much healthier!
13 yr old son diagnosed April 2015 with Anorexia.
With regard to making choices:
We were advised to let our 15yr-old AN daughter begin making choices in November. She was 94% weight for height, so on the right tracks health-wise (physically at least). At the time I said she wasn't ready, but backed down in case I was being "controlling" or over-protective (it's amazing how anorexia makes you question your parenting).
I wish I had gone with my gut instinct. She lost just over a kilo rather quickly with just limited choices open to her, but it set her back by months in my opinion. It felt like going back to the beginning of refeeding, but this time anorexia was wiser and knew some of my tricks, so it has been harder. It has taken us 3 months to regain that kilo.
What I learned:  ALWAYS trust your instincts - you will know when your child is ready. Don't let anyone make you doubt that.

We are 16 months into this, wr for approximately one year and only now is my daughter having control of supper, that's it.  She has on her own in this time started to have the occasional chocolate or sweet intuitively and will say 'I'm hungry are you making my dinner' and started to suggest different foods she would like.  Initially I pushed a new food every week, but went to every other week and still feel that without introducing new foods (not the few safe foods, same brands etc) that she wouldn't be as able to do this now.  However I think that time is great and with healing comes more confidence for them to test out new foods and begin to want to stay well, good luck.
17 years old, well into recovery and taking full control of food herself and gaining weight, she's loving life at the minute, it does get better!!