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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mamabear
Hi all of you beautiful warriors! Popping in here with a post that is seeming to resonate with a lot of people. I’ve talked to several new families lately and just feel the need to post a basic “ outline” of what those of us on the other side can concur on. ( yes every one is different and no path identical but some basic commonalities are there).

1) food and weight gain are the only way out of this. And SCIENCE SHOWS THE FASTER THE BETTER!!!

2) they do not have to acknowledge their illness or “ want” to get better in the beginning or for a long time into the process.

3) FATS FATS FATS FATS there is no recovery without massive FATS

4) FEAR FOODS MUST BE ADDRESSED. Without this they will be stuck with food rules forever. Some rip the bandaid off ( we did- I’m a strong believer in this), some do laddering... but it must happen.

5) separate ED from your loved one. They cannot control it. It controls them. Imagine your loved one at gunpoint by a monster spewing aweful lies. Your real kid is in there and relieved you are kicking EDs ass for them until they are strong enough to.

6) when underweight and struggling stop sports and any unnecessary exertion ( recess, PE). Sometimes this needs to be for a very long time especially for those with exercise/movement compulsion. Also they must be willing to eat additional replacement calories without argument.

7) talk therapy is pretty much useless until further down the road. The brain cannot work correctly when repairing itself from starvation/chemical imbalances.

8)Dieticians who understand ED and FBT are few and far between. Dieticians can often cause more harm than good. Reinforcing ED by focusing on numbers and exchanges. What is “ healthy” for an ED person is VERY different.

9) Weight goals are almost always set TOO LOW. Many of us have found our loved ones need to be at a much higher weight percentage/BMI than pre-ed to get into full recovery.

When you feel “ stuck” try adding another 5-10 pounds. Many people have witnessed dramatic changes.

10) this is not your fault. This is no ones fault. This is a disease of the brain. Don’t look to the past. Focus on now.

11) This takes years. This is a marathon recovery. Simply restoring weight is only the first step, critical, but only the first step.

12) Trust your gut. Don’t negotiate with ED. Stay calm. Brick wall. There is no logic so don’t waste your breath in debates. “ food is your medicine” “ hmm hmmm I’m sorry this is so hard now take another bite.”

13) inpt/residential care does not mean failure. Sometimes it is absolutely essential and life saving BUT they do not come home “ cured” or in remission/recovery. Hard work and many things of the above list still remain the same.

❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️

update on my D: 18.5 years old now! LOVING LIFE! Away (8hours) at college meeting friends, loving the big city, has a girlfriend, playing and recording her music, no ED. ❤️
Persistent, consistent vigilance!
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Ocras68
Thank you Mamabear, useful and true.  And so heartening to know that there is hope on the other side.  Xx
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tina72
Great list, mamabear!

I would like to add to Nr. 4:
Allow no restriction. No low fat, no low sugar, no diet food, no vegan/vegetarian. ANY restriction feeds ED.

And to Nr. 2:
They do not need to want to get better. Get in charge and take over no matter how old they are. They need your help to get better at age 8 and 18.
Keep feeding. There is light at the end of the tunnel.
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Frazzled
Thanks Mamabear! You rock! 
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Lildil
This is great! I'm showing it to my husband.
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US_Mom
That's what I did too!
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Robin1
Thank you mamabear, great list. Has been a really tough few days here and it really helps to hear sound advice from the other side! And to be reminded there is the other side!!

Robin1
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Mamaroo
Thank you so much for posting your tips (and for the update on your d)! 
D became obsessed with exercise at age 9. 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. She is back to her old happy self and can eat anything put in front of her.
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Francie
Thank you, Mamabear! You rock!

Francie

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KLB
Thankyou. Always good to reread these points. Keeps me off the ceiling. 
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deenl
Couldn't agree more. Even though we took a much slower approach than you did for various reasons. Our goal has always been nutritional rehabilitation, build a life worth living, exand to a life with lots of pleasure, fun, laughter, love, quirkiness and resiliance in the face of challenges. There are many nuances to your points above depending on circumstance but they must happen. We must never lose sight of the goal. So glad to hear that your daughter is rocking life.

Warm wishes,

D
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.
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needhelp
YES!! Thank you for putting that together. I would like to add- even after WR and back into the swing of social, school, work, life- keep an eye on and stay in touch. There are still some challenges and it’s important that you are aware of any questionable changes. The changes may not involve eating anymore- but managing challenges without the option of self denying food - your child will still need you available to help over those bumps.

Finally- for yourself- FEAST is such a wealth of valid advice - check in at all levels of your family’s journey- these parents know- and for me have been like a life preserver, a cheerleader, and a wonderful group who are not judgmental and truly understand your highs and lows.
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HopeNZ
Thank you, Mamabear, great list!

I would add to number 8:  Dieticians AND GPs who understand ED and FBT are few and far between!

Wonderful to hear your d is living her life so happily.  And wonderful that you still take time to come back here and support us 😍
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mimi321
Hi Mamabear,

This is a great list. Just wanted to add the importance of re-establishing regular periods. Very important for return to proper brain functioning, bone health, hormone regulation, long-term fertility, etc. For those who seem close to or at weight restoration and still no period, Dr. O'Toole recommends no exercise/activity and likely need to increase calories/weight gain. Her recommendation was three regular periods before resuming sport/activity. Once period does return, it is good to add a little cushion weight-wise to maintain it as well.

Also, it is normal and necessary to have extra "fluff" or insulation around the waist, etc. for up to a year after w/r, but it will redistribute in time. 

Lastly, most caregivers have reported a minimum bmi of 21/22 before they began to see true recovery in their loved one. 

My D has been 4-5 months since reaching a good weight/state. Glad to hear your D is doing great!
Promise me you'll always remember: You're braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think. - A. A. Milne
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US_Mom
tina72 wrote:
Great list, mamabear!

I would like to add to Nr. 4:
Allow no restriction. No low fat, no low sugar, no diet food, no vegan/vegetarian. ANY restriction feeds ED.

And to Nr. 2:
They do not need to want to get better. Get in charge and take over no matter how old they are. They need your help to get better at age 8 and 18.


The addition to #4 scares me. My D became pescatarian (at least eating fish) at 15. At the time, I had no idea it was part of the AN restricting. Had I known, of course, I never would have allowed it. Now she is eating 100% of her food 100% of the time and is WR. If I tell her she is eating meat again, I'm afraid she will stop eating.  Can she recover being pescatarian? 
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Ronson
Laura M - my d is vegetarian - she started that way before anything else and even as a much younger child didn’t like or enjoy meat.  We have refed on a vegetarian diet.  When she went vegetarian I said she had to still eat enough variety and to be fair she did and does again.  The restriction for her was calorie driven.  Much of the vegetarian food she eats is high calorie - Mac and cheese, quorn burgers (surprisingly high calorie) and pastas with rich sauces.  And lots of ice cream and McDonald’s and chips.  I think it depends on whether the change in diet is linked to the Ed and allows increases restriction - in our case it didn’t - so I’m ok with her continuing to be vegetarian as long as she eats a wide diet which has plenty of dairy, fats, proteins and carbs 
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US_Mom
Thanks so much! I needed to hear that. 
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mamabear
My family doesn’t eat red meat- never has. I’ve offtered... we refed my D without any meat from mammals. She is in strong recovery and still doesn’t eat any. I do think it obviously matters if it was PART of the ED or not. 
Persistent, consistent vigilance!
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LaurieW
Great list - that for this post!
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tina72
It really depends on wether the restricting is due to AN or not.
If she ate pescetarian for years before AN moved in that is no ED behaviour. But if she started restricting with the "healthy eating - vegetarian - vegan" down cycle it has to stop in my eyes.
Keep feeding. There is light at the end of the tunnel.
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debra18
Hi Mamabear,

You mentioned on another thread that you refed your daughter 8 years ago only with your husband and a lot has changed for the better sinces than. You said you only used books and this forum.
Do you have suggestions of which resources you would today? My daughter became sick 1 and 1/2 years ago at the age of 11. I don't think things have changed that much. I had to fight against a pediatrician and school that told me my daughter had depression and needed psychotherapy. I used Eva Musby's resources and this forum to refeed my daughter and she is doing well, although I understand it's a long way until recovery. She is above her weight that she should be on her growth curve and I plan on continuing to feed her for a long time. Even if I would find a good FBT therapist, I am terrified of professionals that would have set her target weight too low and would have told me in front of her to cut back on calories. I live in the US , and while there may be progress since your daughter was ill, nobody that I know has heard of FBT. In fact I am a social worker that worked with kids in schools for many years. Trainings for social workers are still teaching old fashion ideas about eating disorders. Before my daughter became sick, I also thought they were caused by underlying issues and treated by psychotherapy and I know people that have suffered from this kind of treatment. I actually even know of an agency that blames parents and takes their kids away. I hope we can all work together and make changes for the better! 
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mamabear

Congratulations on your progress!!! That’s so great! I totally understand and agree with what you are saying. It is VERY hard to find professional help that is up to date with current evidence based medicine in EDs. I live in a rural place where the nearest help is about 8 hours away. 

I dont know that my answer has changed much. Books, this forum, the Facebook groups.... I think are all still the best resources. 

I love Eva Musby’s book and videos. I still love “ Brave Girl Eating” by Harriet Brown and “ Eating with your Anorexic” by Laura Collins. 

I think Lauren Mulheim’s new book is the new Bible for parents. It is simple and easy to read. If you don’t have it yet- please get it. “ When your Teen has an eating disorder: practical strategies to help your teen recover from aroexus, bulimia, and binge eating.” 

 It’s always a good idea to ask here and other places about professionals that people recommend in your area. 

I’m always happy to talk to people. Email me if you would like. 


Persistent, consistent vigilance!
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debra18
Yes I read all of the books .Thanks.
 Two things that have improved for sure in 8 years are more books and more posts on the forum.
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mamabear
Preach 😘
Persistent, consistent vigilance!
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