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

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Hi everyone, my daughter is nearly 14 and was diagnosed and hospitalised with anorexia in October last year. She was at goal weight by end of December and her period returned in January. We finished with FBT in early February, at my daughter's insistence saying she would like private counselling. After a few tries, she didn't up having counselling, She is very engaged with her friends and her mood is pretty good. My concern is that she is eating the same foods over and over again, often with little nutrition and having a lot of snacks. She will eat my cooking but likes to prepare her own meals too. She will acknowledge her lunch and dinners are not sustainable and that is why she is constantly snacking (sugar based) but she will rarely budge on what she's eating. She hasn't been weighed for 6-8 weeks and I would not be surprised if she has lost a 1-2kgs. She is refusing to go back and see he ED doctor (we live in Australia) but said she will go to another doctor.I have said she needs to get her iron checked as she refused all red meat, that's how I can get her there. She has begun drinking lots of water again (which was pretty much what she was living on before she got hospitalised). I have the walking on egg shells feeling so I know this is not right. I just don't know where to start....maybe here. I am divorced so she is a week here and a week with her dad. I did the majority of the refeeding and intervention to get her WR. I've had a few conversations with her but she is backing out of the room as fast as she can. Do I weigh her at home or get doctor to do it? I know I need to do something but not sure how to start some intervention. Any suggestions would be appreciated. Thanks. Georgina 

Hi there, 

I wonder how you  feel about going back to the basics and taking control. That way you can ensure she is eating well. It takes a long time and if she has only been WR and having periods since January, it may have been too early to give her any autonomy or choices in her treatment team. I understand  that we want to get back to a more normal inhabitance and allow them some freedom, but it does take time. We are three years in and at one year d was doing so well, at  1.5 yrs to 2 years she started ditching food again and it was back to square one for us for about 6 months and now things are better. 
The water drinking is telling- speaks to me of ED thoughts. 
What do you feel you need to do? I trust your instincts as you are on the ground and know her best.
Sending my 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)

Hello from the UK. At the the age she is I would be taking away any choice for a good while. It’s not normal for a 14yo to be making their own meals. Parents make and serve, requiring them to eat what is served. The one thing I regret is not sticking to my guns and keeping control of mealtimes for much longer. 

Mine is 18 and I still make the evening meal. We had the same issues as Enn with relapses....they happen when control of the ‘medicine’ is given back too quickly. With hindsight I would have just been starting to teach her independent eating (at 17yrs) and not at 16. It was way too soon. 

I hate that treading on egg shells feeling - remember you are mum in your house, you make the rules. Good luck in whatever you choose to do 😊

HI Georgiego,

Personally, I would be digging in my heels about the choice of doctors. Whatever is going on and however you choose to do it, you will need someone in your camp who is knowledgeable about EDs. When we took our son to the GP, he (the GP) said surviving on about 30% of what his brother ate was not too bad and missed the fact that our son had lanugo and didn't even weigh him! In spite of the fact that we were so worried about the severe weight loss that both me and my husband went along for the appointment. Honestly, I don't feel that you need to take the chance of a doctor siding with the ED.

At one stage, my son was too terrified to go to his medical appointment. He simply refused to leave the house. Yeah, what do you do? Well, first I rang our doctor who was experienced with ED. We agreed that we could not let this set a precident and that he needed to go. So she promised that she would squeeze us in whenever we managed to turn up. Very, very good of her. I went back to my son and I told him we had another appointment in the afternoon in a calm and matter of fact voice. I told him that I knew the appointments stressed him and I sympathised but one of the fundamentals of parenting was to ensure his health so I couldn't let it go. If he went that afternoon it was over with for the week but if he did not then there was an appointment the following morning and the following afternoon and so on. We would have to discuss it twice a day, every day until he went to the appointment. Or he could go that afternoon (I repeated the 'carrot' as it were) and it would be over with. Then I left the room. I warned him an hour before we had to leave and 10 minutes before we had to leave, I told him it was time to go. He was very, very slow getting ready but he went. I did not comment at all for fear of triggering a reaction and off we went. It was the only time that he refused to go to the doctor. I think he sensed that I would not budge on it.

Other parents have had another trusted adult join them in order to ensure the patient got in the car and didn't jump out on the way. Others have used access to phones or online time or visits to friends etc. Others just keep repeating a mantra of some sort either to boost their own courage or to show their child that they were not going to compromise on this one.

When I read your post, my mind was screaming that she is trying to avoid the doctor who is most likely to spot a relapse and not believe any ED guff. A doctor who will spot the usual ED tricks of weights in pockets etc. Who will understand that 1/2 kgs is vital. Who will know mum should be in charge again. The ED gremilin thinks it is 50/50 that a new doctor will be naive about EDs.

We all know how hard it is to fight the good fight with our kids and how tempting it is to choose the easier option but please think carefully about the short term and long term consequences of giving in on this. 

Wishing you strength and courage,

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

May 2017 Hovering around WR. Mood great, mostly. Building up hour by hour at school after 18 months at home. Summer 2017 Happy, first trip away in years, food variety, begin socialising. Sept 2017, back to school FT first time in 2 years. [thumb] 2018 growing so fast hard to keep pace with weight
  • 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.
Thanks for your replies. It's given me the confidence to take back the reigns. I talked to D this morning at breakfast and said I was taking back control of her meals. Her reaction wasn't good, there were lots of tears. I know this means I am doing the right thing. I made her a slice of toast to have with her cereal and she stormed out of the room. I gave her 10 mins and said I would then remove all technology until she ate it. Within 3 mins she was back, crying and eating her breakfast. She let me weigh her and she hasn't lost any weight since WR. A relief. I think we are at the beginning of what could turn into a relapse.I will also arrange to get her to ED doctor, kicking and screaming if I have to. I spoke to her father so hopefully he will do some intervention this week at his house. In any case, I have named the elephant in the room so to speak, and I feel like I can breathe again. Funny that, how your instincts start screaming at you. I had this when we didn't know it was anorexia and I was taking her to doctors and a therapist to get some kind of help. I can't ignore it now so thank you for being here and reminding me I am her mother and to trust my gut. 
I feel so good reading this right now! There will be blips in the journey. It is not usually smooth sailing. There will be continued learning on your part and she will test you many more times. She needs you to do this. I can tell this was the right thing because she came back to finish her meal. Well done! It is very amazing that once we make the decision we do feel so relieved. 
Thanks for the update! 
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)
It sounds like you have made the right decision. I agree with you that she is teetering on the brink of a relapse, that is if she had every truly recovered. The time line is very short and it is expected for kids to need ongoing support for sometime with slips and trips along the way. Do you have a good relationship with your ex? It could be good to discuss what you have been observing and what he has been observing with your D to make sure she does not play you off against one another, a common ED ploy. 
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.
Good for you to put your foot down and require that piece of toast!  The tears are hard to see - I remember - but they are ED's tears, and your real d may well be cheering that you are doing this work that is so so hard - much harder than your d can do herself.

It sounds as though your d may need some more weight.  The commonest mistake made by clinicians is setting the target too low - happened to us and many others here.  As some wise soul pointed out to me, another 5 or 10 pounds would not harm my d, while unknowingly staying 5 or 10 pounds too low could do tremendous harm.

Keep up the good work! xx

"We are angels of hope, of healing, and of light. Darkness flees from us." -YP 
This has brightened my day 😊
Thats the right thing to do and you are a great mum!!
when she gets older and you do start to give her independence for snacks etc and she falters you can give her a small window of time to get back on track or risk losing that independence... that approach helped us bounce back from relapses. Xx
From my experience this is not a straight journey. Once they are weight restored that is not the end. I have been feeding my daughter for two years with ups and downs and I continue feeding. My suggestion is to take back control of the feeding and keep feeding! 

Good job mom! 

So at 14 she needs to keep gaining because she still has a ton of growth internally and externally to do to morph into a woman. 

She should not weight the same today as she did 2 months ago. The fact that her behaviors increased shows us clearly that she needs more food and more weight. There really is no “ target weight” at this point. It’s a moving target. 

Giving choices or any independence at all in eating really should not even be attempted until the kid has been easily eating everything put in front of them with zero argument for many months. Even then at this age (14) her caloric needs may not match her hunger cues. Their metabolism doesn’t work correctly for a long time. Do not worry about the timelines or stages. Follow your gut on your own kid. She’s not ready to be feeding herself. And when you start again start very slowly. One thing at a time...,how does that go? If well then add another. I used the word “ normal” a lot. Normal 14 year olds have pizza rolls at 1 am. Normal 14 year olds say “ hey mom what’s for dinner smells good?!” 

I encourage you now that you have taken back full control to keep it this way for a long time. Get her calories increased and her weight up. See how her behaviors improve over time. 

Read my piece “ The Long Game” in the blogs here. 

you are doing this! Keep going! 

Persistent, consistent vigilance!
I just wanted to share with you what my daughter said to me the other day. I come on here and read and read, and sometimes post when I'm feeling low and struggling. My post above was talking about walking on egg shells and feeling a relapse lurking. Since then, D has been to our doctor, who told her it was way too soon to be without professional support (thank you doctor). D refuses counselling but I said I draw the line at that, she has to see ED dietician so that is in progress and we will have our first appointment next week. She is eating, and when the doctor weighed her she had put on a few more kgs since 'weight restoration' in January. I have observed her naturally picking at foods I cook (such a good sign) before the meal is served, and randomly announcing she is hungry and helping herself to a snack. She's starting to become less rigid about eating times and eating food outside of what was a meal plan, it's so encouraging for me. Having said that, we are still working on wanting to eat the same foods over and over, so hopefully that's where the dietician can help us. Anyway, what I wanted to share with you is this, we had just been to the GP and D said to me, "Look I know I am going to regret telling you this, and annoying as are you, you reinforcing me to eat well is really helping me." and I thought, I'll take that. I've had to keep trusting my intuition with her, and although she looks 'fine', I know the ED is still there trying to find its way fully back in. so thanks for your support, we'll keep on keeping on, and I might 'see' some of you at the conference this weekend!

@Georgiego  thank you for sharing. Honestly my eyes welled up to read what your D said. So great to hear her voice acknowledge that that what you are doing is really helping her, and in some way it makes it even better that it was couched with a teenage observation of how annoying you are. I am definitely in the annoying category so today i will try to pretend my D has said that to me too. 

it is great to witness the brain healing as she starts to eat outside the meal-plan etc . love the mantra ”keep on keeping on”. Especially when keeping on is a dynamic keeping on about seeing where your D is at, celebrating the positives, and coming up with a plan to tackle areas that need work and getting the support you need to do that. i think you are doing an amazing job. 
Hopefully “see” you at the conference. Xx

Wow great that she said that to you. Still waiting to hear something like that around here 🙂
13 yo d started to eat "healthy" September 2018, she had a growth spurt a bit later, followed by tummy bug. She started restricting breakfast and school lunch in January 2019 (that we know). We succesfully refed at home.
I have found inner strenght, patience and compassion that I did not know I had.
Never retreat, never surrender
keep feeding