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

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I am here for some guidance on how to handle my D and her obsession with needing to diet. She is 12 yrs old, with an athletic build (VERY good soccer player), very smart perfectionist type of person. Last year she got her period and things have gotten funky ever since. She saw her growth chart and saw that she is in the 92% for height and weight. What I didn’t know was that she has been bothered  by this ever since. About 6mths ago she started restricting. She never eats breakfast and I kind of let go of that last year not knowing what was coming. This year she started not eating lunch. I would check her lunch account and she would eat maybe once a week. Dinners were starting to get hard and she was very temperamental. I asked her one day why she was so upset and she shouted because I need to lose weight. I told her that in my opinion she didn’t need to lose any weight but we can make an appointment with her Dr and let the expert decide. I thought maybe putting it on the DR would be smart?

We met with her DR and she had lost 7lbs which didn’t seem bad but she shouldn’t be losing anything. Her DR told her she was concerned due to her perfectionism that this could become a real issue and she doesn’t want her dieting. She told her that she is still growing and if she is dieting she will not grow any taller. This is a real incentive for her because she wants to be taller. What I didn’t realize is she wants to be taller so her weight is better. Should’ve thought about that. 

Fast forward 6mths things have been better. She had a little “boyfriend”, basically her best friend told her he likes her. Nothing more. It’s been a wonderful distraction. I thought this was all better because it seemed all better. Then all of a sudden last week she started saying she is not hungry for meals again. I am making her eat when she says that. Then her anger has come back too. I asked her last night why she is so angry and she said it’s because she hasn’t grown at all and she needs to start dieting again. Me telling her she doesn’t just doesn’t seem to work. I did tell her that obsession of her weight will screw up soccer for her. Then I went back in her room and she was crying in bed saying she can’t be in the 92% for weight and that she needs to get better at this. She is pure muscle. She is healthy as can be. I asked her if she just can’t stop thinking about her weight and she admitted that yes it’s all she can think about. I’m so sad. Now I have to do more than did last time, I know now. 

What steps should I take now?
Hi worriedmom_3, & welcome to the forum.  You are right to be concerned; your d is at high risk of developing an eating disorder, and I might say, based on what you describe, it's possible she is already starting down that path.
One resource that you might find useful is Feed Your Instinct.  It is an interactive tool to help determine whether your kid has an unhealthy relationship with food, weight or their body.  It will create a checklist that you can then print out and take with you to a medical provider. 
It's important that your d not diet or restrict, and it sounds as though your MD was helpful in giving your d that message.  Sounds like it's time for another visit, and perhaps a referral.  Jumping on this sooner rather than later is a good strategy.  Get your medical provider involved as soon as possible.

Sending warm support,
It is good to not only hope to be successful, but to expect it and accept it--Maya Angelou
Welcome, I’m sorry you had to find your way here.  
I’m of the opinion that generally by the time a parent even suspects an ED the sufferer is already firmly in its grip so I think you need to seek help right away. 

While you you wait for a referral it would be helpful to you to learn all you can about the illness and how to help your daughter.  Kids need to eat regardless of an ED, they need lots of calories to grow into adulthood and as our lovely Tina here says the trick is to make it harder not to eat than the ED makes it harder to eat. 

This is a helpful video.  

Hello and welcome,
I am glad you found the forum and with your concerns, a proper diagnosis and assessment needs to be made.
I would suggest you make an urgent appointment with your MD to get a proper referral organised. But until that time I would suggest you make sure she cannot restrict her food intake at all.

The Feed your Instinct package is a great tool.
Welcome again and I hope you find the support you need here.
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 and a very warm welcome from Germany and I am so sorry that you need to be here but also glad that you found us here.

Your concerns are totally right and your d is on best way to develop an ED (sounds very much like AN restrictive type). This is very concerning and early intervention is the key. First step ist to get her diagnosed and find an ED specialist (prefer someone who offers FBT family based treatment). And to tell her that all dieting has to stop today and she is required to eat 3 meals and 2 snacks and have a regular intake.
You might need to take her out of soccer as she might lose to much energy with that without eating enough. Ans you might need to take her out of school for some time x to supervise her meals as normally unsupervised meals are not eaten (like the lunch at school).
No school and no leaving of the house without proper breakfast. You will need to set a lot of rules for eating now and change your parenting style for that. Not eating must be not possible in your home now.

Come here to ask all your 1 million questions, we are here 24/7 and we have been in your shoes. Here are a lot of very nice parents from all over the world that know what you are talking about.
Keep feeding. There is light at the end of the tunnel.
Hello from a mom who walked in your shoes 9 years ago. 
First of all know that this can be beaten but you must act NOW. My d was diagnosed at 10.5 and is now almost 19 and in full recovery 8 hours away at college loving her ED free life! 

My d also started her decent by thinking she needed to exercise more and stop eating junk food. She wanted to be “ in shape”. Unlike your D mine wasn’t weight focused ( at first) but that doesn’t matter. 

I irge you to begin “ magic plate” today. She eats 3 meals and 2-3 snacks and her ONLY job is to eat. You buy food, cook, and plate it. She gets no discussion or input. She is 12. Most normal 12 year olds eat what the parents give them. LOTS OF FATS! I cannot stress this enough. It’s the only way to turn her brain around to stop the obsession. You may find that in doing this she WILL grow rapidly. Her weight is a MOVING TARGET and will be for the next decade plus. 

Shes going to argue and cry. That is par for the course. Imagine a black mass behind her whispering lies to her. Kill that thing. Just tell her a million times over that food is her medicine. That’s it. No negotiating with a terrorist. 

I would pull her from all sports until she us compliant snd weight is up. Call it an incentive- if she really wants to play then she eats. Period. End of story. 

Buy Lauren Mulheim’s new book- it is simple and a great play book for what needs to be done. I was actually interviewed for her book- justctellung you this so you know I’m not full of it! 

Act NOW. Kids like her can go downhill fast. You do not want to get to that point. 

And it does not  matter what your doctor says. The majority of docs don’t understand ED or know what to do or how severe they are. Kids should never lose weight. 
Persistent, consistent vigilance!
Thanks so much for the replies!  It is greatly appreciated. I am going to stay strong about the meal skipping and demand that she eat each meal. On Monday I hope to make an appointment for a psychologist and I will also call her Dr. Thanks so much for listening to me!
Do not only demand it, WATCH her eating. All food you have not personally seen being thrown down is probably not eaten. They can be very tricky in hiding food.
No thanks needed, we are here because we have been there (this is the motto of feast webside and I love it). 2 years ago I was in your shoes and got help from the old rabbits here and I am sure you will do the same when on the other side of that tunnel.

Make sure the psychologist is up to date and doing FBT and supports you with refeeding and is not an old fashioned one that searchs for underlying issues and family problems. See him before you go there with your d ALONE and check him up. Also the family doc. Tell him before you go there with your d about your concerns and what she is doing and speak him alone. Docs and therapist can make things worse by saying bad things (mostly because they do not know anything about EDs). When I took my d to the pediatrician after losing more than 10 kg she said to my d that this is puberty problems and to me that she will eat when she gets hungry. You can imagine that AN had a party after that appointment and my d just told me "I am not hungry at the moment, you heard what the doctor said".
What a joke! 3 months later she was fighting for her life in A&E.
Keep feeding. There is light at the end of the tunnel.