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.

Join these conversations already in progress:
• Road To Recovery - Stories of Hope
• Events for Parents and Caregivers Around the World
• Free F.E.A.S.T Conference Videos

Visit the F.E.A.S.T website for information and support.

If you need help using the forum please reach out to one of the moderators (listed below), or email us at bronwen@feast-ed.org.

Need to talk with another parent? F.E.A.S.T. parents offer peer support via:

cm72
Hello all. I have some questions as we progress along our path.
It's now a year and 4 months that we've been battling. She lost some weight last month (I think her body is now catching up and metabolism is going crazy). We are working on getting it back on and she is eating. But she still gears towards "healthy foods". Like when she eats cauliflower or green beans she acts like it's the best food ever. Yet when I make her eat ice cream, chocolate or anything else like that, she acts like i'm poisoning her-yet she still eats it. Does it take a long time for all food to be okay to eat?
Also, how should I respond to this text she just sent (which is a example of a very common battle in our house).

Her: What's for dinner?
Me:  (names place). We are going to get the chicken, pasta, salad and bread for take out.
Her: Can I just have the chicken and salad? Or we can go to Starbucks for a snack so I can get the passion fruit drink (NOTE: This is a new place/drink she offered to have yet as usual, it's something with like ZERO calories).
Me: We all need to have a little bit of each item. It will be delicious.
Her: No it won't mom. I'm choosing what I want. It's my food.

At this point she changed the subject and i'm ignoring what she stated. 
Did I respond correctly? Will this battle back and forth ever end or does it just take a loooooooooooong time? Thank goodness she's young so hopefully we can be back to somewhat normal by the time she leaves for college (in 7 or 8 years). 
Thanks for your help (as usual). 
Quote
Torie
Hi cm72 - In general, when they are well and truly weight restored, we see teeny tiny bits of progress each month or few months.  Actually, no, we likely don't SEE that progress because it is like watching the grass grow, which makes it hard to notice.  But those who keep a journal or diary report that it is possible to notice it that way.

If there is a tiny amount of progress each month (or few months), that is usually the best we can hope for.  I can't tell if that's where you are right now or not.  (Not enough information to guess, which is fine - I just don't know is all.)

It feels like it takes forever, when actually, it "only" takes years.  (Sorry.)

I'm not sure what you meant when you said, "We all need to have a little bit of each item."  Do you serve your d, or is she allowed to serve herself?  Will you require a full serving of the bread and pasta?

WHen you asked, "Did I respond correctly?" what I wondered was if your d is currently regaining the weight she has lost.  If so, what you are doing is apparently working.  If not, perhaps you need to be a bit more un-diplomatic about her meals.

Nice to hear from you!  Thanks for posting. xx

-Torie
"We are angels of hope, of healing, and of light. Darkness flees from us." -YP 
Quote
cm72
When I told her that we need to have a little bit of each item, what I meant is that I will be serving her some of everything i'm ordering. So she can't just have chicken and salad. It will need to be pasta, chicken, salad and bread. I make sure it's a full serving (honestly, more than my husband sometimes).
I need to get her weighed again. I've really upped the calories so i'm sure she's gaining but I do need to take her into the doctor to make sure. We've always gone off the doctor's scale. I don't keep one in the house because I don't want to deal with the possibility she would find it.
Thanks Torie!
Quote
Foodsupport_AUS
It will get better with time, as Torie has said it is so slow. It seems to take for ever. Some you can see progress over weeks and months others its more like months to years. 
Do you have any idea why she lost weight? Generally metabolism doesn't increase well into re-feeding. I would be much more looking for an ED loophole - meals skipped, food tossed. Her interactions suggest ED is well and truly in the house still. 

So how to respond to the text, for sure tell her what is for dinner. When she queries it I would offer something like : You know the rules, you need to have some of everything. I wouldn't bother trying to convince her it will taste good. For her right now it probably doesn't. She is clearly not well enough to choose correctly for herself -  her last line is right out of ED's playbook. 
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.
Quote
Barberton
cm72 I think you handled the text really well. Foodsupport_AUS is spot on that what your d wrote is out of the ED playbook. Stay grounded in your approach. That is what your d wants and needs despite claiming she wants to choose herself. She needs your rules about having a serve of everything, etc. Eventually, her questions and attempts to manipulate the menu will go. It just takes a long time to 'rewire' the brain.
D fell down the rabbit hole of AN at age 11 after difficulty swallowing followed by rapid weight loss. Progressing well through recovery, but still climbing our way out of the hole.
Quote
workingthrough

No real advice, but just wanted to tell you that we’re in a very, very similar place. Very similar timetable as well. 

No answers, but thank you for posting. Sometimes I wonder if we’ll ever be out of this all. Keep holding on in every way 💗

Quote
ValentinaGermania
cm72 wrote:

Does it take a long time for all food to be okay to eat?


Hi cm72, so nice to hear from you again!
It takes long. Every time she eats fear food again and survives that her brain learns that it is safe again. Serve it again and again and try to ignore all her words around it. I think it was about a year after finishing our fear food list I did not hear such complains any more.

cm72 wrote:
Did I respond correctly? Will this battle back and forth ever end or does it just take a loooooooooooong time? 


You responded perfectly I think. You did not give in, you said that it is not going to happen that she can eat only chicken and salat, what could you have done more?
If she grows now and her metabolims increases I would also add more calories now. She might need more now to get ED voice calm down than before. She needs to grow and develop and gain up to her 20s. In that case (ED) it is a blessing when they are grown out and can maintain their weight...
You will get there!
Keep feeding. There is light at the end of the tunnel.
Quote
teecee
Yes it does happen and you are well along the road 😊 
My D used to ask everyday what was for tea but only occasionally now. I’m hoping even that will soon be gone. We are 2 years in. 
Quote
MKR
Hi @cm72,

My response to attempts to pick and choose was very similar to yours: "This is what's for dinner, so this is what you'll eat".

The trouble is, they will not have hunger cues for some time to come.  They almost need to TELL themselves to eat some of everything for a complete meal. At this stage it is hard for them to switch the thinking. 

How I wish my child could rest from those food thoughts and food worries. Hopefully one day!

"Like when she eats cauliflower or green beans she acts like it's the best food ever." - this is so revealing!  With us it was aubergines and chick peas. And that was before she even tried aubergines...!! "Oh they are so good for you." etc.

But it does go away over time and the text messages are less about food nowadays.

Under your care your daughter will be well recovered and ready by the time she goes to college. 

Mum's Kitchen

14-y-o "healthy living" led to AN in 2017 and WR at 16. Current muscle dysmorphia.
Quote
cm72
Thanks all of you. As usual, great group of support here. 
Quote

        

WTadmin