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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How bad do you think the media influence on our kids mind? I mean, if the media said that being thin is ugly, do you think they would have the same problems to achieve a different image anyway or not?
I'm asking that because after my d went to the hospital, I got her phone and she had hundreds of pictures of very skinny girls saved on her phone. so I mean, was she trying to lose weight because she really wanted or because she wanted to be like those girls?
Also, it's all very unreal. I just got a copy of a photoshoot she made for a bikini brand and although my d was already underweigh, we can say there is photoshop on those photos. So I can't help thinking that some little girl may get those photos in the future and start to do crazy things to achieve that fake image. I just hate how I had no control over she would or wouldn't do the photoshoot. I would never let her do it for this reason I just said, and also, who wants to have its 12 (Now 13) d wearing a bikini on a magazine?
Hi dave,

My own point of view is that people have
  • a genetic vulnerability to getting an eating disorder and that 
  • combined with negative energy balance (consuming fewer calories than are used)
  • and additonal stressors and less than optimal coping strategies
  • and (often) a flood of teenage hormones
and *bang* before you know it you're consumed by the eating disorder.

Obviously, the negative energy balance can be because of a diet but pretty much every woman and very many men have reduced their calorie consumption at some stage in their lives and yet only a tiny few get an eating disorder. The negative energy balance can come from many things; an increase in sports training without compensatory increase in calories; a period of the blues or depression; a sudden growth spurt; illness; braces. 

Don't forget that although anorexia is probably the most visible eating disorder (because of the skeletal frame) that it is far less common than bulimia or binge eating disorder. These both have just as much, if not more, mental anguish. The both have malnutrition and similar mortality rates but are not as visibly dramatic.

Once the ED sufferer is in the grips of the illness, then the brain no longer functions properly. My son had so little nutrition that he could not make enough melatonin in order to go to sleep. A protein only found in food is the basis for making serotonin which impacts on depression and anxiety among other things. Basically, the whole chemical/electrical/biological basis of the human system no longer has the raw materials and cannot function properly until full nutrition and FULL weight restoration to your INDIVIDUAL genetically programmed weight for MONTHS has repaired the damage (and it does. In very many cases 100% especially when the patient is young and it is treated without delay as in your case)

When the brain is not functioning well it grabs onto the most likely 'cause'; in our society the drive to be thin; for many males the desire to be ripped and have a six pack; in many asian societies the drive to succeed academically and a couple of 100 years ago the desire to be clean, holy and close to God. In many cases the person did not have any desire to be especially thin until the disease had already taken hold or if they did it only then became an obsession. And some, like my son, never have any body image issues, they just can't eat without mental torture.

Here is a link to give some idea of the effects of under nutrition alone; our kids have the psychological side of things too http://eda.org.au/wp-content/uploads/the-effects-of-starvation-and-refeeding.pdf

I do think the body image issues, especially in your daughter's industry, make recovery more challenging. She will have to fight the demon ED and society/works pressures and expectations.

You're doing great so far. Keep it up.

Warm wishes,
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.
Hi Dave

Deenl gives a great description of factors that can contribute to the development of an ED.

I tried talking with my ex wife about her not being there for my d and she started to fight. I tried to explain that maybe M would think she just don't care, and she just said that it was my fault. That M was fine before, but then she started to do that to get my attention. 

NEDA has some literature on their website about how to support a loved one with an eating disorder. An ED is not a way to get attention it is a biologically based brain illness. Nor is it caused by parents. Can you email this to your x and ask her to take a look?


I spoke with one of the doctors and she said she wouldn't be able to share a lot of things with me, cause as being a secret, M will feel safer to share. 

In the US as the parent of a 13 year old, legally the dr. is obligated to answer any questions you may have about your ds state, diagnosis, behavior and her care, privately, when your d. is not there. Since an ED thrives on secrecy it is important to be as well informed as possible as to what is going on. Can you let the dr. know that as your ds main support and her parent you will need to know the big picture of what is going on as well as the details so that you can continue to help and support your d as you move through this process? Knowledge will prepare you to support your d. in the fight against the eating disorder.

You are not part of the problem. You are part of the solution.


Dave , the media hasnt caused the ed but it doesnt help. We are obsessed with how women look, every lump wrinkle is pored over in magazines. Features on whos got fatter and who has gotthinner. Constant talk of diets, fake lips, boobs, bums etc its all so hideously degrading and damaging to young kids. Also facebook/ instagram comments on how you look. Who gives a toss if you are a nice person? Honesty, kindness, loyalty, helpfullness I could go on. So just at the age a kid is changing shape, wanting to fit in, wanting to impress they are swamped with very negative messages that are dressed up to be positive: eat healthy, zero carbs after6, new year new you. Ughh.
The world is a messed up place and its not helping focus on true values alot of the time.
But wome people ignore it and some cant. They diet. Too much and BAM eating disorder strikes when they should be eating in order to grow.
Hooray for people who speak out against this sick world like Demi Lovato and others.
It must be so much worse in LA from what I hear( which may not be true)
I removed awful images from my d phone but she got more. There is no escaping the media and the world today.
Getting her away from the bad influences will certainly help her get better perpective. She is just too young to be sensible at the moment. You have to do it for her as much as possible.
NELLY D 20 bulimic since age 12, diagnosed in 2011. 20 months useless CAMHs,7 months great IP, home March 14..... more useless CAMHs.now an adult & no MH services are involved. I reached the end of my tether, tied a knot in it and am hanging on. ED/Bulimia treatmentis in the dark ages in West Sussex.