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

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Hi. I am new to the forum. My 14 year old daughter was diagnosed last April and I have treated her at home with the FBT maudsley model. Like everyone else this has put a huge strain on family life as I also have a 16 year old daughter who has had to go through her GCSEs at the same time and about to do her AS exams. As I am on my own it has been hard to give her the time and support she has needed whilst caring for my younger daughter as I have no family support.

After a year I am still following a strict diet plan and supervising every meal. She has put on 7kilo since we started and looks so much better but the treatment team still want her to put on another 5 kilo.
My real concern is that as time has gone on, some of her obsessions and habits have become so embedded in her routine and are becoming worse every time more is added to her meal plan. . She hides food, squashes food, calculates calories for everything and her OCD in other areas has become worse. She has also become so dependent on me sitting with her that she cannot eat alone or with other people. I really feel that we need to try and break this cycle and was wondering what experiences and thoughts other people may have.

Any help would be greatly appreciated.
Thank you so much for your advice. I have expressed my concerns on numerous occasions to the CAMHS teams and in the early day there was not a dietician available. I feel we could have been a lot further forward with some more help in the early days. Unfortunately the team I have been working with is a new team and we were one of the first cases. Just wish I had found this forum!
I really struggle to add cream etc to cooking as she refuses to eat anything if it is added and is constantly checking what I am putting in food ( despite a rule that she's not allowed in the kitchen) . I have always been encouraged not to secretly add extra things or I will lose her trust. However sometimes I feel that is the only way we can get her weight up.
Just wish I had found this forum!

Well you have now and welcome.  It is a place where people both love and hate to be-hate because it means you have a loved one struggling but love because we get it!!

Go with your gut instincts.  You know what she needs and you've tried it the team's way for a year.  She obviously needs more weight and you can get it on in a couple of ways.
--You can rip up the meal plan and just start giving her what she needs for 3 meals and 3 snacks.  That's how I did it and while the kick back was tremendously hard for the first month (not continuously-that was just the first week or so) it was a life saver for us. 

--Alternatively you could stop using the meal plan for a meal at a time if you need a more gradual plan.  Start going off meal plan for a snack, then a meal, etc. 

--Another option is staying to the meal plan but adding oil and cream to things.  If she is not supposed to be in the kitchen, then enforce that and add stuff to her meals. 

--One thing I used was adding a smoothie to the day.  You can hide a lot of calories in a smoothie and still make it seem (I hate this word but using it anyway) "healthy".  There are some threads here with high calorie snacks and meals that are really helpful.  My daughter is lactose intolerant so we had to do it without any dairy but it can be done.

--Muffins. There is a muffin recipe in the high cal threads that packs anywhere from 900 to 1200 calories in a muffin.  I have a niece visiting right now that I suspect is going down the rabbit hole and she is getting at least two of these a day.
Hi Louise, sorry you needed to join us here.

louises wrote:
My 14 year old daughter

It is great that you have found us while your d is still 14.  Do you think it would work to tell her it is not normal for a 14-year-old to be involved in food planning or preparation and you are going to start acting like a normal family where you are the only one responsible for that, and her only job is to eat what you serve? I learned here that "normal" is a great word to use with our AN kids because they twist "healthy" into meaning "fat," but even AN kids want to be "normal."  If you would like to try something like this, we can help.

Please feel free to ask all the questions you like. xx

"We are angels of hope, of healing, and of light. Darkness flees from us." -YP 
Thank you so much for all your support and sharing your stories and the video. What an amazing bunch of people you are.
You have already spurred me on to take action. Whilst D was out with her Dad I made a big batch of lentil and sweet potato pies with oil, butter and cheese ( shes vegetarian) and angel delight with double cream added. To my surprise she didn't even notice it was different.
Been battling for weeks just to add a juice to her diet plan from the dietician and today managed to add loads more calories without adding additional food to the plan. Thank you so much for giving me the confidence to do it.
I will also try some of the other things you all suggest.
My next question is about the scales. My D is weighed weekly at the moment and whenever she puts on she then tries to restrict the next week. I am wondering if it would be better to weigh fortnightly or monthly if I feel more confident she is getting the calories.
Thank you all for your support. I can't thank you enough. X
My D is weighed weekly at the moment and whenever she puts on she then tries to restrict the next week. I am wondering if it would be better to weigh fortnightly or monthly if I feel more confident she is getting the calories.

What about instead of weighing less often you do blind weights?   It makes no sense for her to know her weight so she ends up restricting to keep it low.  My daughter did the same thing and obsessed on the number.  I started weighing her weekly but not letting her see the weight.  She still doesn't know her weight but more because she knows she will obsess over the number rather than anything else.
Trying to restrict or some other response to weight gain is really common. Depending on her urges to restrict, how much resistance increases would determine for me if I asked for blind weighing. We had self harm, suicide attempts, complete food refusal after weight gain of as little as 50g. As a result of this we spent a long time blind weighing, we then went to up, down, stable and finally now for the last two years open weighing. 
If you really need weight gain, I would be wary of spacing out the weigh-ins, that feedback from weighing is really helpful it tells you what you need to do. The question is, does your D need that information?
D diagnosed restrictive AN June 2010 age 13. Mostly recovered 10 years later.  Treatment: multiple hospitalisations and individual and family therapy.
Hi louises,

This is another family that could not make any progress until we used blind weighing. When s said he needed to know I just told him it was not good for him (very matter of fact tone) and went back to reading my book. Never had any issue since.

Our ED pediatrician says that the kids who are blind weighed progress quicker in her experience.

The psychologist says it is exposure therapy to know the weight. I say it stops him making progress, nutrition is the absolute first priority and he will be able to deal with the exposure better when his brain in properly fuelled. End of discussion. (I have become very straight talking since s got sick)

Warm wishes,

Sorry, forgot to say that I used to have to frisk my s. Literally pat down his sleeves, torso, check pockets etc. I had to search all around where he ate. It actually calmed him as he was not tempted by the thoughts of hiding. He also had OCD stuff going on. We decided they were not a priority for us and did not address them. They have eased significantly in line with weight gain.
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.
Thank you so much everyone. Some really helpful advice on weighing which I will discuss at her next appointment.
Deenl was helpful to hear that you had to literally frisk you s. My d hides food all over her body, especially nuts and like your s, her OCD has become particularly bad.
Mjkz, I have tried to find the muffin recipe but not sure I have the correct one. Do you have a link to it ?
Once again thank you all so much.
I'll do better than that.  Here are two recipes below:



1 stick butter (8 tablespoons)
1.5 cups sugar
2 eggs
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
half teaspoon baking soda
1 cup mashed banana (I use 2 bananas)
half teaspoon vanilla
half cup sour cream
plenty of chopped walnuts or pecans (I don't measure these, but probably put in at least 2 cups)

Mix together the butter and sugar, then the eggs. Mix together the dry ingredients first, then add to the butter/sugar/egg mixture. Next add the banana, sour cream, and vanilla. Last add the nuts.


Bake at 350 until done/moist-Big muffins about 45 minutes.

I put all of this mixture into a non-stick pan that has 4 LARGE muffin tins. Each of these muffins should have about 1000 or more calories. 

Here is one of many variations on the 'Marvelous Muffin' recipe of Laura Collins
1.5 cups flour
1/2 cup cornmeal
2 TBS wheat germ
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter
2 eggs
1 TBS molasses (nutritious and great with cornmeal)
5 ounces sour cream
one cup or so cut up peaches (PEACH season!)
1 cup sliced almonds

Mix up and bake at 350.

We've 'been there...' too... Hiding food, buzzing around the kitchen when I'm cooking like a mosquito plus the fear, as a parent, of 'deceiving' our child by 'sneaking' stuff into the cooking. Been there, hid the evidence in the bins at Sainsbury's, even swapped the contents of milk containers etc etc etc. One day, thankfully after my son had recovered, he discovered I'd done this and accused me of deceiving him. I replied with "I was fighting to save your life. I’d have done anything to save you. Any mother would do it. You’d do it if you were a parent, I guarantee it. You could and can trust me and you know that. But back then, while you were sliding into goodness only knows where, I was terrified the eating disorder would destroy you. I couldn’t just sit back and do nothing". Which, thankfully, he accepted.

My son was also weighed once a week at CAMHS and he wasn't weighed 'blind'. Nor was he checked for hidden stuff on his body (weights, etc) or for having 'waterloaded' up on liquids. As a result our CAMHS sessions were usually spent firefighting any weight gain (no matter how small). He was only happy when he'd lost weight. We wasted such a lot of time this way.

PS: I wonder... did the vegetarianism come before the eating disorder or alongside it? I ask because there are quite a few young people who 'go veggie' as part of the cutting back on food process.
Bev Mattocks, mother of 24-year old male DX with RAN 2009, now recovered. Joined this forum in 2010 - it was a lifesaver.