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.

Join these conversations already in progress:
• Road To Recovery - Stories of Hope
• Events for Parents and Caregivers Around the World
• Free F.E.A.S.T Conference Videos

Visit the F.E.A.S.T website for information and support.

If you need help using the forum please reach out to one of the moderators (listed below), or email us at bronwen@feast-ed.org.

Need to talk with another parent? F.E.A.S.T. parents offer peer support via:

Thank goodness... You all sound like a friendly bunch and exactly what I need right now!

Our 15yr old s was diagnosed with AN only 3 weeks ago and after a couple of trips to A&E and 5 days on the local children's ward to help start refeeding we are now home and completely bemused by the lack of guidance and direction from CAMHS here in the UK.  

Thankfully found Eva Musbys book which led me to you guys.  Let the journey begin...

Right now just a 'hello' or a word of wisdom to set us on our way would mean the world to me... 


hi Scarlett81,
I welcome you to the forum and hope you get the information and support you need.

There is always someone here who has been where you are right now and our aim is to help with advice from our personal experience.
Please ask all the questions you have. We love questions.
What are you and he struggling with at the moment? Is he  eating well for you? Is there excessive exercise? Is he in school?

I know, so many questions. It helps guide us in what you 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)
Hi Scarlett 81,
a very warm welcome from Germany and so sorry that you need to be here in this club nobody wants to be member of...
I am very pleased that you found us here. This forum saved my ds life and my own sanity.
Please ask all your 1 million question. There are no stupid questions and I am sure someone will be around to help you soon. We are open 24/7 🙂.
CAHMS seems to be a kind of lottery in UK. Some teams are good and some not. But it is also normal that you have not much guidance with FBT as the idea of FBT is that parents find out what works and what not. That is initially a bad idea as some parents that did not find ATDT need to re-invent the wheel but once you have learned how to refeed him and what to say and what to do you are the most powerful enemy that ED can have and that is his best chance for recovery.
The first weeks are the hardest but once you found out how it works it will get better.
My d was nearly dying 2 years ago and is now doing very well, eating everything and with pleasure, having fun and is at university now. We owe that all to the wonderful parents here and I am sure we can help you to get through this hell, too.
Ask, ask, ask. The listen to the old rabbits here that have kids on the other side of the tunnel and chose what you want to try in your family. It is all try and error, some things will work and some not. But you will find out and help him to recover.
Keep feeding. There is light at the end of the tunnel.

Just to say hello Scarlett and sorry you have to be here at all. Warmest welcomes and virtual hugs. Well done finding your way here and also skilling up by getting Eva Musby's book. You are already on the right track. I know other parents will be along soon to offer their support. We've all been there, some of us are still there and so you'll find lots of understanding and kindness no matter how strange or weird the questions....come to rant, ask and share the good and bad moments; we are here for you.

You are not the only one to have found the CAMHS less than helpful. But you will learn by trial and error. Feedback not failure is a common mantra here and that is a good one to remember in the depths of re-feeding or when things don't seem to be going right. Please keep that in mind as you discover what works for your daughter by trial and error. You are doing the work of a hero : ) 

You will be inundated with advice and so I thought I'd just kick off with 2 things that really helped me. However, it is for you to try and see what works best for your d.

1. Take charge early of all food. Present it like it has to be eaten - that there is no discussion/negotiation. Fake confidence: 'I've read this and that and I know what you need'. 3 meals and 3 snacks tend to be a common and good routine. How to get them to actually eat? There are loads of ideas but in general it seems lots of un-blaming persuasion and parental stubbornness has worked for many, like Eva Musby suggests: 'I know it's hard...now take another bite'. For others (like me) the less said the better: 'here's your food, let's watch something on TV.'  She refuses? It is common but it is feedback not failure so try not to take it to heart. You are involved in the most loving, life-saving work and so you will learn to tweak, change but not back down. Come here for support, understanding and ideas.

2. Extra weight on as soon as possible helps the process of recovery so many of us found serving calorie dense food with a small footprint  helpful. That may mean smoothies as an example. CAMHS are generally against adding stuff in to boost calories 'secretly' but for many of us here, including me, that has been 100% necessary at the beginning and a real life-saver. There are many ideas on this forum for creating high calorie snacks and meals. 

Treat yourself as kindly as you can and ask for support. Xx

Hi Scarlett, welcome.

CAMHs, yes, hmmm. I use them for medication and cover with school but that’s about it, I find myself trying to educate them a lot. I hope you get a good team but advise you to tell them not to give your child a copy of the meal plan, their plans in my experience encourage restricting (100ml of this and 40g of that)  

ignore advice to not bump bump up calories discreetly,  do the opposite and get as much extra fat in as possible. 

You are basically expected to get your child well with food, so you have to be in charge, you know your child best.  

Fake confidence, mum knows best.  Stop all exercise, pull from school if necessary and let school know what’s happening.  

Believe this above all else, your child wants and needs to be rescued no matter what comes out of their mouth. 

However long restriction has been going on, all the calories not eaten, whether that’s 2 months or 2 years need to be made up for, so dismiss with a pinch of salt CAMHs ideas of target weights. 

Keep posting, keep asking, keep going and keep your chin up xx

Welcome Scarlett, and though sorry you have a need to be here, very happy that you have found the forum so quickly after your son's dx.  Great that you are using Eva Musby's book & videos too.  It is a steep learning curve for sure, but your s is lucky to have you on his side, and getting up to speed so quickly on ED.

If you haven't found them already, the F.E.A.S.T. Family Guides are useful, easy to read and in downloadable pdf format.  

Wishing you all the best on this journey.  Hope you find the peer support valuable & of comfort.  

It is good to not only hope to be successful, but to expect it and accept it--Maya Angelou
HI Scarlett,

Just chiming in to welcome you as another mother of a son with RAN. Happy to answer any queestions you may have, just holler.

Warm wishes,

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

May 2017 Hovering around WR. Mood great, mostly. Summer 2017 Happy, first trip away in years, food variety, begin socialising. Sept 2017, back to school FT first time in 2 years. 2018 growing so fast hard to keep pace with weight. 2020 Off to university, healthy and happy.
  • 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.
Sorry you have to be here but it is the best place for good advice from a wide breadth of carer real
life at the coal face experience. Good words from everyone so far. Just to add I wish Survive FBT by Maria Ganci had been given to me at the start too. It’s short and sweet but to the point and helpful.

Best Wishes
Wow... thanks everyone!

Ok, well my s was eating 'healthily' for about a year.  He started restricting more around December, and in February this year suddenly went down to about 500 calories a day.  When we finally got assessed he was 75% so he's been off school since then.  H and I both took the last 3 weeks off work to get our heads round it all.  He had become obsessed with exercise, steps, flights of stairs, weights... 

After day 5 of refeeding he seemed to click and when we came home he was eating 6 times a day, around 2000 calories, although still pacing.  Then last week he had his first weigh in, saw he'd put on 1kg, the enormity of it hit him and his mental state has deteriorated since.  He is eating still, but it's as if it is physical torture, and the torment in his head after every meal is so distressing.  Right now he can't see the light at the end of the tunnel, can't imagine that it will ever get better, and the fear of everything is totally overwhelming him.  I can't even tell him how long this bit goes on for... is it linked to weight gain, or is this heightened state normal in the first few weeks?

Thanks so much everyone.  Xxxx
The anxiety is quite normal and distressing. It can help if you distract him.
also some have had their child blind weighed as it can be stressful to have them know their weights.
Good on the 1 kg weight gain. The goal is 0.5 to 1 kg per week.
It is torture for them.
Please read the resources others have posted they are good.
2000 cal is good for now and as a young man and with growth he may need a lot more. My d needed 4000 to 5000 cal per day to gain well and still needs 4000 to maintain.
Your son’ story like many of us here is the same. It is so hard.
How are you doing? Please try to take time for self care. It is a long haul, and it is worth it! 
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)
He cannot see that it will get better until it happens. That is normal.
I would recommed to ask for BLIND weighing: backwards on the scale, nurse with pokerface and you do not tell him anything about his weight or how much he gained. The day we changed to that was a game changer here, we do it for more than 1,5 years now and my d never ever asked anything about her weight again and is very relaxed with weighing. I see you are in the UK and it might need some discussion with CAHMS about that but at least you are the captain of that ship and must live with the consequences when he knows his weight so just ask for that. They often only do open weighings because it is in the treatment manual and have no other reason for it.

Eating is torture for him so the secret is distraction, distraction, distraction. Eat in front of TV, play Ipad games, read a book, do crosswords, whatever he can do.
Keep feeding. There is light at the end of the tunnel.