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

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kloos
Hi there,

Reading some of these posts has brought tears to my eyes.  Our 17 year daughter is right at the beginning of the journey and we hope it will be a short one.  She was borderline anorexic about a year ago but we managed to get her to start eating again.  The ironic thing is that she loves food both making it and eating.  She is an extraordinarily good cook.  But she has this voice that tells her that she needs to lose weight.  And the voice is winning again, making her feel guilty whenever she eats.  She has just gone into the "underweight" BMI.  We have an assessment in 3 weeks time.  She is happy because that gives her 3 weeks to lose more weight.  She has started lying to us about her weight but has opened up to her aunty, my sister.  Thankfully my sister is head of student well-being at a University so immediately recognised the signs and called me up.  I am trying to speed up the assessment appointment.  The interesting thing is that my daughter also chased me up to see if I'd called the clinic.  So she seems to want to get better, but wants to get worse.

Opening rant over.  Thank you for listening...
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tina72
Hi and a very warm welcome from Germany. I am so sorry that you need to be here and at the same time glad that you found us.
"The ironic thing is that she loves food both making it and eating.  She is an extraordinarily good cook."
That is totally normal ED behaviour. They all love to cook and bake for others but ED does not allow to touch it or eat it.
My d spend hours with checking recipes in the internet to not feel hungry.
Good news: my d was also 17 at diagnose in 01/2017, we did FBT (start to learn here TODAY) and she is 19,5 now and 90% recovered and at university today. 2,5 years ago she was nearly dying from Anorexia. Recovery is possible, we are all here to help you, you are not alone!

She has 2 persons in her head at the moment:
ED wants to get worse.
Your d inside wants to get better.
Help your d to win that fight. You can do that.
Keep feeding. There is light at the end of the tunnel.
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scaredmom
Welcome Kloos, 
I am glad you found the forum and hope that you find the support and information you need.
Please read the FEAST site  http://FEAst-ed.org as well to find information and even chat with someone!

You state she was "borderline" last year and it is likely she was never in recovery at all.It takes years to really get better. That is what I have seen here over and over.  Most of these kids are obsessed with food and then have to deny themselves the food that they seem to love. It is a very common sign.
How did you treat her last year? I would get on that and start it now. She needs to eat and gain immediately.
I would not wait for the assessment before you intervene.
I am pleased that she reached out to your sister. There is some trust there for sure that can help be very helpful on this journey.
Please do ask all the questions you have. We do understand. 
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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kloos
Hi Tina.  Thanks for the reply.  I didn't know that cooking for others is a normal behaviour.  That helps a great deal in understanding why she does it.  we managed to get some potatoes down her the other day and you could see that she felt better but then she regressed afterwards and cut back even more. 
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scaredmom
Kloos,
The best way to fight this illness is to arm yourself with information. "Knowledge is power"
Here are few resources:
https://www.amazon.com/When-Your-Teen-Eating-Disorder/dp/1684030439
That is a popular book here

Eva Musby's website
https://anorexiafamily.com
Carrie Arnold's Book 
https://www.amazon.ca/s?k=carrie+arnold&gclid=EAIaIQobChMI0PTx3MzP4gIVnkoNCh17aAC3EAAYASAAEgKUqPD_BwE&hvadid=208339006055&hvdev=c&hvlocphy=9001028&hvnetw=g&hvpos=1t1&hvqmt=e&hvrand=12337754759999184908&hvtargid=kwd-309189418476&hydadcr=23342_9622022&tag=googcana-20&ref=pd_sl_47r3als6dp_e

There are so many others as well. 
Your D will feel worse prior to getting better. 
What is she eating- we can help you get more calories into her. 
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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kloos
thank you scaredmom.  I have actually read a few books, accounts of people who have gone through this.  I read them before I knew there was an issue, so when d started to show signs, we jumped in straight away.  Last year we helped initially with lots of love and support.  She wasn't significantly losing back then but was always saying that she looked fat, as she squeezed some skin on her thin leg to show us how "gross" it looked.  She really was eating very well the last year, but we think that she overdid it.  We went away and there was a lot of treats being eaten the the weight gain when she got back really shocked and scared her and she regressed far more than she previously had.  She is essentially now on a liquid only diet consisting of fruit and veg.  She was never that bad before. 

She was seeing someone for other reasons, she had a full on phobia of sick and the therapist has helped with that but it has brought the eating issue back to the top again.  As with all things, it is complicated.  We are trying to support her, but as I am sure you are all aware, it is hard to try and get a 17 year old girl to do anything, especially if she doesn't want to.  She cooks all of her own food so we can't sneak in extra carbs.  All we can really do is be there for her.
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Ellesmum
You'll need to take over the cooking, I assume you pay for the food she cooks?
Ellesmum
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deenl
Hi kloos and welcome,

kloos wrote:
we managed to get some potatoes down her the other day and you could see that she felt better but then she regressed afterwards and cut back even more. 


I am a bit concerned after reading this sentence. Is your daughter eating any significant amounts of food at all? In general, the recommendation is that 48 hours without food means a trip to the ER is indicated. If there are other medical issues regarding your daughter that timeline might be too long. If your daughter has not had decent amounts to drink in 24 hours then, again, off to the ER.

If you daughter is purging or using laxatives there is an increased danger of medical complications. Ideally, your daughter should be monitored by your GP in the coming three weeks and beyond. Here is a copy of the Marzipan guidelines to help you ensure the doctor does the necessary tests. Of particular importance is an orthostatic blood pressure where the BP is taken lying down, then standing. An abnormal reading, together with the rest of the assessment, may indicate issues with heart health and a visit to the Emergency Room.

I hope that I haven't scared you but forewarned is forearmed. And it is better to ensure that your daughter is safe.

I agree with the others that information is by far the most important tool that we have as parents. This is a very difficult phase with a steep learning curve but knowledge is power.

Wishing you continued strength and courage,

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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kloos
Hi Ellesmum.  She pretty much buys a lot of her own food and cooks it.  She eats different times from us.

Hi deenl.  I am ready to be hit with the cold hard truth of what is happening.  My wife is convinced that d will end up in A&E (ER) but I am confident that it won't come to this as d is eating regular meals 3 times a day, but just a small amount of fruit and veg so there is plenty of hydration taking place, probably too much.  This morning she had 2 mugs of smoothie and tried to justify it because there was 1/2 banana in it.  Thankfully she is not purging...yet, but we are monitoring that.
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kloos
Saying that she cooks her own food... if this continues then maybe we need to take over.  That is a battle that I would like to avoid for now as she would not be happy about it.
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kazi67
My d was also 17 when she first became ill with AN
my d was cooking beautiful deserts for all the family although she wasn’t eating any however we didn’t notice that she wasn’t eating (ED’s areVERY sneaky) even our very honest and trustworthy d became very sly even though I didn’t notice that either until she lost A LOT of weight (hiding her weight loss under baggy clothes in winter)

you can do something before the assessment as the treatment will be to get her to eat 3 normal meals and 3 normal snacks a day to get her back to her normal weight
have you had her at a GP? that would be advisable if she will go with you all the better so you can talk to GP and express your concerns 
if you wait too long by the time your d is 18 it will become very tricky as they can refuse for your involvement as my d now has
if you have a specialised ED service I would urge you to get her there ASAP meantime is to get her eating a “normal” plate 3 times a day no cutting carbs, sugars, -  liquid diet is not suitable at all 
if you can call your GP before you go and speak to doctor and tell your concerns so that he/she is “wised” up before you go in as otherwise sometimes they can do more damage than good if they do not understand ED’s
They can seem fine one minute and not the next it’s a very serious life threatening illness and can take hold very quickly 
my d has lost 2 years of her life as she became so ill and it became very entrenched now over the past 2 years
this is why I urge you to take action now 

my d also wanted to get better, she was so confused (as were we) we had no idea what was happening before our eyes 
the ED does not let them get better/eat
you must be stronger than the ED, but compassionate, and loving and get her eating properly 
google Eva Musby videos for meal support 
ideas
read around the site 
your d needs you 
My advise is don’t waste time!!
you will get lots of help here
ask any questions and someone will be here to help
x
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tina72
kloos wrote:
Hi Tina.  Thanks for the reply.  I didn't know that cooking for others is a normal behaviour.  That helps a great deal in understanding why she does it.  we managed to get some potatoes down her the other day and you could see that she felt better but then she regressed afterwards and cut back even more. 


Yeah for the potatoes! Try to plate ready mate plates and ask her to eat it and sit with her. It is normal that she feels very bad and guilty afterwards - distraction helps. We watched a lot of silly TV shows while and after meals...
Keep feeding. There is light at the end of the tunnel.
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tina72
kloos wrote:
Saying that she cooks her own food... if this continues then maybe we need to take over.  That is a battle that I would like to avoid for now as she would not be happy about it.


She (your d inside) will be happy when you stop that ED behaviour but ED will not be happy about it. You cannot leave her in this state and you cannot please her. Think about it if it were drugs she is consuming. She would hate you if you stop her access to heroin but you will do it if needed. It is needed here. No access to the kitchen, no cooking. She is only required to eat what you serve, nothing more. There is a very strict way needed to get rid of that.
Keep feeding. There is light at the end of the tunnel.
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tina72
kloos wrote:
She is essentially now on a liquid only diet consisting of fruit and veg. 


This has to stop asap as this is a direct way to a&e.

kloos wrote:
We are trying to support her, but as I am sure you are all aware, it is hard to try and get a 17 year old girl to do anything, especially if she doesn't want to.  She cooks all of her own food so we can't sneak in extra carbs.  All we can really do is be there for her.


No. You can do much more. I also thought it is not possible to refeed a 17 year old but you are the parents, you are in charge, you earn the money and you set rules. It is that simple. She cannot cook food that she will not eat if she has no access to the kitchen and if you do not buy that food. I suppose it is your money. She cannot cook unhealthy food for herself if you stop that. You cook. She eats. That is the new rule.
It is harder when they are nearly adult but it is possible. Here are a lot of parents that did FBT with a young adult.
Keep feeding. There is light at the end of the tunnel.
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tina72
kloos wrote:
  She pretty much buys a lot of her own food and cooks it.  She eats different times from us.


This needs to stop. Both. You need to organise 24/7 supervision. Someone must be at home and eat with her 3 meals 2-3 snacks. She needs to eat every 3-4 hours and what you did not see going in is normally not eaten.

kloos wrote:
I am ready to be hit with the cold hard truth of what is happening.  My wife is convinced that d will end up in A&E (ER) but I am confident that it won't come to this as d is eating regular meals 3 times a day, but just a small amount of fruit and veg so there is plenty of hydration taking place, probably too much.  This morning she had 2 mugs of smoothie and tried to justify it because there was 1/2 banana in it. 


O.K., lets be blunt: Your wife is totally right, this can lead to A&E soon. She is not able to decide what is a healthy normal meal so you need to take over. She cannot live with only fruit and veggies and she will cut out that soon too. My d refused even to drink water in the last 3 days before she was admitted for emergency case. She said it makes her belly fat. There was no belly any more. She was only bones and skin, like a skelletton. I do not want to scare you, I just want you to see that this is a life threatening disease and she cannot decide any more, her brain is too much damaged at the moment. You need to decide for her until she is able to do that again.
Keep feeding. There is light at the end of the tunnel.
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kloos
Wow lots of really good advice.  I am going to speak to my wife about this later.  We have an appointment at the docs this Thursday morning and I will voice my concerns there.  The clinic don't consider her in enough danger to bring her appointment forward so we will have to wait 3 more weeks to see them.  I fear that we will not be able to insist on us feeding d until after the appointment.  She won't believe us.
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tina72
You will only lose precious time with every day you wait. 3 weeks is a lot of time and she can get into a really dangerous state.
Please take her to A&E if she has not eaten or drunk something for more than 24 hours. Make sure that she does not faint somewhere and you do not know where she is. Check her blood pressure and her heart rate if possible. She might be much more sick than you realise.

I just say that because WE made all these mistakes. We waited to long, we though she is still fine until she was nearly dying directly under our eyes. AN is a very dangerous disease and this disease tricks all around out.

Make sure that the doc on Thursday is informed about your concerns and does know something about EDs. Blood pressure (orthostatic) should be checked, heart and blood results also. Most GPs do not know anything about EDs, ours send us home again and said it is puberty and she will start to eat when she is hungry. What a joke!

She does not need to be compliant, she does not need to believe you. She cannot understand that she is ill. She has anosognosia.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anosognosia
Keep feeding. There is light at the end of the tunnel.
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kloos
tina, that is really good advice.  We have a blood pressure monitor which also takes heart rate.  I will start to use that at home to monitor.  The clinics main point was that because she is keeping herself hydrated, she is not in any danger.  I will defo start to monitor her.
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tina72
Messure the blood pressure lying, then sitting, then standing (orthostatic blood pressure). I think the time in between must be about 3-5 minutes. Please google that again. The results should not be more different than 10. If it is more that shows that she may have serious heart problems and then you should take her to A&E asap. Also if heart rate is below 50. They can develop really serious problems that are life threatenig in really short time.
Keep feeding. There is light at the end of the tunnel.
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deenl
Hi again Kloos,

It is quite possible, even likely, that you will take many steps in the direction that Tina has mentioned. She has had great success at bringing her daughter back to health. And she is very passionate about sharing the secrets to her success! Many on the forum have benefitted from her words.

Our journey was a little different, though. When I think back to the early days, similar to the stage that you are at, I felt overwhelmed by fear and mostly by ignorance of this entity that had taken control of our son. I really didn't know which way was up and that feeling did not ease until I had enough information. Only then, did I feel knowledgeable enough to take the necessary steps, many of which Tina has outlined. There was not a single tiny step that was easy but my son is healthy and happy now.

You, however, have a great advantage over me. You have recognised the danger early and you have already intervened once against ED. Hats off to you. What were the techniques that you used last time? I am guessing that you have tried using them again but without success this time. Family led treatments have a few fundamental aims:- Family are the most motivated, the one's on the ground and the one's who know the patient best. They should be coached to find the best way for them to bring their loved one back to health. (experience has taught me that this is never possible without a huge period of disruption, heartache and stress). So I am wondering if the kernel of your approach is already there in the techniques you used last year. What was the motivator behind what worked? Was it a carrot and/or stick approach? What can you change to give it a bit more omph this time?

Can we help you to brainstorm?

Wishing you continued strength and courage,

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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kloos
Hi deenl,  last time we used the classic of love.  We offered lots and lots of support and hugs and calm conversations with a sprinkling of shock such as her period had stopped and we know that she wants to have kids one day so we used that again the ED.  She is definitely not as strong this time and has regressed a lot quicker and to a much lower point than before.  But she is still drinking and eating 3 meals a day, albeit mostly fruit and veg.  I realise that it is more than most, but don't want it to get lower.  She is also lying this time and she didn't do that last time.  That is why I realise that we can't do this ourselves and we need external help.

I am so grateful to you all for your speedy responses and support and good ideas.   
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tina72
When I understand it correct, the d did not lose weight last year, just showed some strange ED behaviours but did not need to be refed.
Keep feeding. There is light at the end of the tunnel.
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kloos
she was losing weight last year but in a more controlled way and she was still eating a proper diet.  She was cutting back on deserts and breakfast and was very image aware about her body.  She was experiencing a lot of other stress at the time with exams so it all got caught up with that.  No exams this year though...
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sk8r31
Hi and welcome to you kloos.  You have received great advice already from tina and deenl.  I just want to jump in with some urgency and share a piece of our story.  Our d was dx at 14, after a fairly short period of restriction.  Still eating 3 meals daily, but losing weight.  Because of the precipitous weight loss, she ended up in hospital for medical stabilization.  We had gone to Europe for my h's sabbatical and were there for a month.  I came home with d after 3 weeks, and d was admitted to hospital the next day for a week.  She was still within healthy weight/height ratio, but because of the speediness of weight loss, vitals became very unstable.
So if you are able to monitor, or have your GP monitor, orthostatic blood pressure and heart rate that would be best.  Waiting 3 weeks for assessment may be too long, and could put your d's health at great risk.

We all have wondered how to get our strong-willed teens to eat.  It took a lot of trial and error for us, but ultimately great evidence-based support and tools and skills we learned along the way.  Lauren Muhlheim's book When Your Teen Has an Eating Disorder is the one book I wish had been around 10 years ago when we were starting our challenging journey.  I highly recommend it.

Your d will, of course, need your unconditional love and support, but most importantly, she needs your action to help her to move forward.  Agnosognosia can be very strong; your d does not have to want to get better for you to help her achieve recovery.  Therapy can help down the road if needed for body image or other issues, but the most important thing at present is nutritional rehabilitation.  Ask any questions you may have; we can help you brainstorm a way forward.

Sending warm support,
sk8r31
It is good to not only hope to be successful, but to expect it and accept it--Maya Angelou
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tina72
" We offered lots and lots of support and hugs and calm conversations with a sprinkling of shock such as her period had stopped and we know that she wants to have kids one day so we used that again the ED."

Did her periods stopp again? Is she concerned about it?
Try to go back to that calm and offering love support but insist on eating normal meals (not only veggies and fruit, that has no energy). 1/3 carbs, 1/3 meat/fish, 1/3 vegetables. A normal meal plate.

This forum was a lifesaver for my d and saved my own sanity 🙂.
Come back with all your 1 million questions, we are all here to help you, we know what you are talking about. And bring your wife around! It is so helpful to be able to talk to others who have gone through that. We only give back what we recieved from others here.

By the way, I love your picture, I hope it does not show too much similiarities for your d to find out your are posting here 😂...
Keep feeding. There is light at the end of the tunnel.
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