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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KLB
I found this forum whilst googling eating disorders and it appears to be a wealth of information, if not a bit overwhelming. I don't really know the best place to start reading.

I've recently discovered in the past couple of days that my son has been skipping breakfast and lunch. It appears that the only thing he eats is the dinner I make when I get home from work and a lot of the time that is fish and salad because it's quick and easy.

He does a huge amount of exercise (swimming club, football, trail running, cricket, weight lifting, boxing) which I have always encouraged because it keeps him out of trouble but I always thought he was eating properly to sustain this level of activity. Clearly one meal a day is not enough but I don't know how to approach the situation with him. I'm unsure what this behaviour signifies, whether he is ill or something else.

Is there a resource/thread that anyone could point me to? Or advice/opinions anyone more knowledgeable on this type of behaviour can offer? Should I be worried?

Thankyou in advance.
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Enn

KLB,
I would agree that this is not healthy for him to be doing, eating one meal a day. However, to be sure, you will need to get a proper diagnosis/assessment by a health professional/doctor to see if there is truly an issue. 

Please get some professional advice, it may help to reassure you and/ or steer you towards the help that you/son need. 
All the best.

When within yourself you find the road, the right road will open.  (Dejan Stojanovic)

Food+more food+time+love+good professional help+ATDT+no exercise+ state not just weight+/- the "right" medicine= healing---> recovery(--->life without ED)
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ValentinaGermania
Hi KLB,
the first thing I would try is to see if he can change that easily or not. So take a day off from work and serve breakfast and lunch and eat with him. Then you will see if he will eat normally or refuse to eat or eat very "special" with a lot of crumbling for example or leaving out special things (he thinks they make fat) or cutting food into small pieces.
And I would have an appointment at the pediatritian soon (call it a yearly checkup) to discover his heigh and weight and if it is within his normal range or not. If it is not, get his heart and blood checked and talk to the doctor (best is alone) about your thoughts.
Skipping meals is always a thing to get worried. Boys that grow eat normally all day...
Tina72
Keep feeding. There is light at the end of the tunnel.
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KLB
I guess I'll try to make a GP appointment tomorrow. He hasn't been to the doctor for some time so it's probably time he had a check up anyway. It's not easy for me to take a day off work with short notice, I normally have to give 30 days notice to take leave, but I'll see if it can be arranged. I don't really want to take a sick day if I can help it.

He ate his dinner quickly this evening but I didn't notice any thing untoward. He has developed an odd habit of photographing his meals before he eats them, though I just assumed it was fairly normal behaviour for teenagers these days, recording every inch of their lives on their phones. Perhaps I'm being naive.
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Enn
I support you taking your son to the doctor.You know your child best and please go with your instincts. You are here seeking advice, I think you feel strongly that something is up. Go with your gut. I wish I had earlier than I did.
XXX
When within yourself you find the road, the right road will open.  (Dejan Stojanovic)

Food+more food+time+love+good professional help+ATDT+no exercise+ state not just weight+/- the "right" medicine= healing---> recovery(--->life without ED)
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KLB
The more I'm reading on here the more this feeling in my gut grows. I'm sitting here thinking about all the little nuances he has and wondering if I've just been completely oblivious/clueless not to have been able to add them all up to make a bigger picture.

He's so independent, intelligent and strong, but we have grown apart in the last year due to our busy lives and other family issues. Thinking about his behaviours, those I know of anyway, and adding them all up is a bit of a slap in the face to me. I have been so blind, and my own insecurities have likely encouraged and helped him to develop a problem.
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Enn

Please don't beat yourself up. You are here, you are figuring it out,you will start to get help no matter what it is. Now I need to prepare you, the doctor may not see it your way. So as tina72 said above, talk to the doctor alone to discuss what is going on. Please make sure the doctor does NOT say in front of your child his weight or height and if he is not considered underweight, he should be tracking his own growth curve. He should not be dropping down in percentiles even if they are "normal" they may not be normal for him.
How old is he? 

We are here with you in spirit. You can do this.
Let us know how it goes.
XXX

When within yourself you find the road, the right road will open.  (Dejan Stojanovic)

Food+more food+time+love+good professional help+ATDT+no exercise+ state not just weight+/- the "right" medicine= healing---> recovery(--->life without ED)
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KLB
He's 15.

Last year he was ill several times after doing strenuous exercise, severe headache, dizziness, nausea and vomiting. It took us a little while to figure out it was because he was drinking excessive amounts of water to stay hydrated but not replacing the salts he lost through sweating. We got some powder to mix with his water for his training and, save a couple of blips, he's been much better since then. He does still drink a LOT of water though, 6-8 litres a day. He never sits still. He suffers with insomnia, it's not unusual for him to go out for a run at 4am if he's really restless (I've tried to stop him from doing this before but he sneaks out). He then has swim training for 2 hours before school, another hour of swimming or weight training after school, followed by football, cricket, circuits or boxing in the evenings. He must burn a huge amount of calories and I'm feeding him bloody salad and fish in the evenings because I don't like carbs and don't want to gain weight.

Thankyou for trying to ease my worries by the way. It's such a horrible feeling as the realisation grows on you.
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Enn
I think you are on the right track getting help. This is very concerning. Look around here how to increase calories and stop exercise. He should be eating  a lot for all that activity.  Some of us have had to sleep with our child to get them to stop exercising. Please search how to stop the exercise. We had a lot of standing and it was hard to extinguish but it had to be done for her to get better. 

Keep hope, you are moving forward. I am glad you are here. 
XXX

When within yourself you find the road, the right road will open.  (Dejan Stojanovic)

Food+more food+time+love+good professional help+ATDT+no exercise+ state not just weight+/- the "right" medicine= healing---> recovery(--->life without ED)
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Enn
Sorry just wanted to add, Yes it is a horrible feeling and we are here for you.
XXX
When within yourself you find the road, the right road will open.  (Dejan Stojanovic)

Food+more food+time+love+good professional help+ATDT+no exercise+ state not just weight+/- the "right" medicine= healing---> recovery(--->life without ED)
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Torie
KLB wrote:
 It's such a horrible feeling as the realisation grows on you.


Oh yes, indeed it is.  Such an awful surprise to find out AN has set up shop in your own home - I just had no idea.  Here's the thing, though - there are no tickets back in time to change the things we wish we had noticed.  All we can do is go forward the best way we know how.

Please feel free to ask all the questions you like. xx

-Torie
"We are angels of hope, of healing, and of light. Darkness flees from us." -YP 
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KLB
Thanks for your support and advice.

He is now in a high level swimming programme hence the hours of training. His coaches have already advised that he drop the majority of his evening activities to focus more on his swimming but he seems to think he can do it all. I can't even begin to imagine how I would stop him exercising if I needed to.

I'm torn between having a chat with him before getting a GP appointment or waiting until after. I suppose it depends on when I can get an appointment.
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teecee
Please stop him exercising immediately as I fear he needs to be assessed urgently by a GP. My daughter did performance sports from the age of 6yrs...no longer though. The illness made her very poorly very quickly. We attended A&E twice and their tests did not reveal Anorexia (later diagnosed). Please be prepared that the GP may do general tests and they don’t always know what to check for. Even when our GP knew she had an ED she questioned why CAMHS wanted certain things checking....I felt like I was educating professionals!!
This illness if diagnosed, and I have to say there seems to be evidence of symptoms in what you described, is no one’s fault.
I remember sat in a parent support group with parents who were health professionals in the same boat as us....it’s so easily overlooked and written off as ‘teenage phase’....don’t waste energy looking for why.
Virtual hugs to you. You’ve come to the right place. Xx
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teecee
....oh and my Ds BMI was within range....it’s no indicator at all.
X
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kazi67
Hi KLB
welcome!!
Although none of want to be here
This illness is so sneaky it sneaks up on you and you don’t realise what is happening until you do
Horrible feeling that’s for sure, we all understand
My d was a dancer, it was her passion
Our clueless GP advised her it was ok to continue
My d has now stopped to say this nearly killed her is an understatement
I was confused as I got advise from this forum for her to stop but GP was saying it was ok
Anyway after a year from hell and an 8 week IP stay followed by 8 week day program my d is now home trying to get some kind of life back
So I urge you to stop the exersize iteill he doing so much damage to the body
It really needs to stop
I know this isn’t what you want to hear
My d became depressed, suicidal, and self harmed
BUT I wish we could turn back time and save her the pain this illness has caused her and our family
Like you we can’t turn back time but please read all you can, educate yourself and make the decisions you need to make and be aware that some GP’s are clueless along with dieticians
So unless you can find good eating disorders expert help you will need to do it yourself and the sooner you get him eating the better even before diagnosis you can start
Read up on the forum there is lots of great info here
Food is their medicine
3 meals 3 snacks everyday
slowly unfortunately slowly they will get better
Ask all the questions here
We have all been there
xx
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Foodsupport_AUS
Welcome KLB. It does sound like your son needs assessment. There is an excellent website  Feed Your Instinct which has an assessment tool then gives you a printout to take to your GP. It is Australia based but the symptoms are universal. 
D diagnosed restrictive AN June 2010 age 13.5. Weight restored July 2012. Relapse and now clawing our way back. Treatment: multiple hospitalisations and individual and family therapy.
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Hibiscus
Hi klb, like everyone else I am sorry that you found us. I am in a rush at the moment but wanted to add that the DRs appt needs to be a priority and ask them to take his blood pressure when sitting and then standing. In the info section of feast there should be a section on drs spots and tests that they should do re your sons health. Take this with you and ask the doctor to do the tests.
Take care you are on to this now and can help him
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Kali
Dear KLB,

Welcome to ATDT. Please ask as many questions as you would like. 

I want to attach the AED medical guidelines for eating disorders, for you in case you want to take a look before you take your son to the GP and perhaps have the GP take a look at it as well.

The amount of exercise your son is engaged in at the moment sounds concerning. One of the components of the illness can sometimes be an exercise compulsion. 

You can try to get him to eat more, 3 meals and 2 or 3 snacks a day and see if you meet with resistance. If he resists, you will know there is a problem.

Hoping for the best for your boy,

Kali

Food=Love
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Torie
KLB wrote:
He does a huge amount of exercise (swimming club, football, trail running, cricket, weight lifting, boxing) which I have always encouraged because it keeps him out of trouble but I always thought he was eating properly to sustain this level of activity. Clearly one meal a day is not enough but I don't know how to approach the situation with him.  


It's so overwhelming when trying to sort through all the odd behaviors.  My suggestion as a first step (aside from making a doc appointment) is to require him to eat MUCH more.  A young man engaging in this level of activity would normally eat like a horse.  It is amazing how much food they can pack away.

Personally, I would let him know that a normal breakfast for someone with this activity level is two eggs, 3 bacon, English muffin or some other muffin or 2 pieces of toast, and a large glass milk or juice.  MINIMUM

For lunch, at least one (hearty) sandwich, two handfuls of chips or equivalent, glass of milk/juice, couple of cookies.

Dinner:  Slab of meat the size of his palm, potato or chips or cob of corn or equivalent, 1/2 avocado, good sized dessert, glass of milk / juice.

PLUS several sizeable snacks.

I think that is not enough - more like the amount for normal teen boy without all the exercise.  If you would like correct information about that, I'm sure others with teen boys can chime in.

Anyway, I would tell him he needs to eat enough to fuel the exercise, and start feeding accordingly.  If he has AN, you can expect to see explosions.

Please feel free to ask all the questions you like. xx

-Torie


"We are angels of hope, of healing, and of light. Darkness flees from us." -YP 
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KLB
Thank you for the links and documents. They're very informative. I'm currently trying to get through to the GP surgery but it's always a nightmare, especially when at work trying to multitask. He had already left the house when I woke at 5am today, which likely means he went for a run then started swimming before his training session. I am at work all day so he'll be on his own until I get home now it's the school holidays, which I know is less than ideal.

I was lying in bed thinking last night and I think the thing that concerns me is that he's an intelligent kid, he knows his nutrition needs to be right to enhance his performance, he knows all about healthy eating and using food as fuel, and if he is now ignoring that knowledge or actively fighting against it there really must be a problem. I wonder how long this has been going on under my nose, how much weight he's actually lost, what his performance has been like, how he still seems to have so much energy, how many times he's lied to me........my mind is all over the place. I'm frightened and I don't know what to do.
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KLB
Thankyou. I'm still trying to get through to the GP. There will probably be no emergency appointments left for today now but I'm going to ask anyway.

I've looked at the feed your instinct link. There are questions that I don't know the answers to or only have suspicions so I'm not really sure what answer to put. Would you recommend saying yes to everything I suspect even if I don't actually know?

As for stopping the exercise, I have no idea how I'm going to achieve that. My husband works abroad for 8 weeks at a time, and isn't back for another 3 weeks. So it's just me and my son at home. If I try to stop him world war 3 is going to break out and I'm not sure I have the strength. There's no way I could physically stop him from leaving the house if he wanted to and I'm at work all day. How can I do this? I'm at a complete loss with this.
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Foodsupport_AUS
When you print out the Feed your instinct check list it you can always mark those things that you are not sure of. It also comes with some information for your GP to help them assess things further, along with resources they can go to to investigate things further. 
D diagnosed restrictive AN June 2010 age 13.5. Weight restored July 2012. Relapse and now clawing our way back. Treatment: multiple hospitalisations and individual and family therapy.
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Enn
I hope you get the doctor's appointment today.
Please let us know how it goes.
Take care.
XXX
When within yourself you find the road, the right road will open.  (Dejan Stojanovic)

Food+more food+time+love+good professional help+ATDT+no exercise+ state not just weight+/- the "right" medicine= healing---> recovery(--->life without ED)
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ValentinaGermania
Hi,
all this exercising is part of the illness has to stop asap. I know that you do not know how to do that by now but we will help you with ideas.
And drinking large amounts of water is a symptom, too, so maybe all this is going on for longer than you expected. We all did see too late what is going around under our eyes...
So what I would suggest:
Get him to GP asap.
Then try to get time off from work. You will need to be at home to stop exercising and to start refeeding and that will take all the power you have 24/7. There are possibilities for medical leave in most states, so check that.
At least you will need some help, best from a male. If hubby is out, do you have a cousin, brother or good friend you can ask to come over and live with you at least for some weeks? You will need to stop the exercising physically, that means you will need to make him stay in the house. It might be possible that you need to lock the doors. Some kids tried to escape through the windows. This brain disease is very severe and it makes them do things and say things you never expected before. But you need to do that to help him. Your boy inside does not want to do all that, it is this bad bully ED that makes him do this. He needs you to be able to stop it.
We can help you with all that, so don´t be afraid, you are not alone and we have been in your shoes. This disease is treatable. Recovery is possible. But you will need to throw away all you knew about nutrition and parenting a teenager and you will need to behave like a parent of a toddler. Your boy is playing besides a highway and you need to stop that.
Call his sports teams and tell them that he is seriously sick and that he is not allowed to do any sports for some time. You do not need to mention the name of the disease. Tell them they are in charge to avoid him doing sports there. Same with school, no school sports any more. Nothing which can afford extra power and extra calories. He needs all he can get at the moment.
Get him to eat 3 meals 3 snacks a day. Plate the food and put it in front of him. No chosing, no discussions, all he needs to do is to eat what you serve. Watch Eva Musbys great videos (especially the bungee jump video) how to do that. Eating is not negotiable. Life stops untl he has eaten. When he has finished his breakfast, he can go to school or see his friends. When he has finished dinner, he can watch videos or do computer games. Takes his cellphone or his laptop if necessary. Stop his internet access. Think about all you can use as an incentive. You want to have your cellphone? You can get it back asap after finishing lunch. It sounds hard, but that is really the only thing that is working. It is much easier when they are small, but it also works with young adults. They need to have someone who is guilty for the food intake. Inside they are very hungry but ED does not allow him to eat. When he can blame you for the food intake (my mum requires that from me, I am not guilty), he can eat again.

Ask direct questions what problems you have today and in the next 24 hours. There are always nice parenst around here from all over the world that know what you are talking about.
This disease turned our worlds upside down, but it can get better and you can get your life and your son back. It is a hard fight but it is worth every minute.

Tina72
Keep feeding. There is light at the end of the tunnel.
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KLB
Thankyou so much for the support, guidance and holding my hand here. Its such an overwhelming thing. Ive barely gotton any work done today Ive been worrying so much. 

I finally got through to the GP surgery and the earliest appointment I could get is a week on Thursday. I've said yes to this but the receptionist said I could phone back in the morning to try and get an emergency appointment slot tomorrow and then cancel the other one so I'll be doing that.

I've had a brief chat with my supervisor after she saw that I was upset and she said we can talk more tomorrow. She mentioned I am entitled to up to 5 days of emergency carers leave so I may have to use that.

I have phoned both his swimming and football coaches but haven't been able to get hold of either of them so far. He has both swimming and football this afternoon/evening and if I cant get hold of them I dont think I'm going to be able to stop him. I'll try but its quite a scary thought. I know I need to "man up" a bit here. Can anyone offer any ideas how I should go about it?

I've texted my husband and told him I need to speak to him this evening. I have two brother-in-laws that live not too far a distance away who may be able to help but I would want to speak to hubby first.

I have no idea if he would eat a pizza for dinner. I dont remember the last time we had pizza. I may get some on my way home and try it.

I've bought and downloaded the kindle version of Eva Musby's book so I will get on with reading that tonight. The resources here are fantastic - Ive already learnt so much.

After going through the feed your instinct lists I believe more than ever there is a problem and that Im not just a hysterical mother......
Change in eating patterns, rituals, avoiding meals, finding things wrong with it, last night the coleslaw was "off" so he didn't have any (it wasnt off at all), limiting variety, strict food rules, picky eating, always hovering in the kitchen when I cook, lost weight, excessive exercise, can't sit still, exercising in secret, intense exercise with little pleasure, increased perfectionism, difficulty talking about emotions. The food ones I think are partly my own doing as I've been guillty of a few of those whilst managing my own weight. I hope the GP agrees with me.

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