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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Lildil
Our son was diagnosed in July 2018, we have been to the EDU for 6 weeks, been home now for about 6 months, I have learned a lot in this process, have a lot more to work on and learn. I've been spying on this sit for about a month now trying to get the courage up to share, guess sometimes fear can help us be courageous. Our s is 13 and was trying to be healthy so he would be better at sports, all sports, I have never heard him say that he doesn't like his body or that he is fat, I believe it is just him trying to be healthy, he has a super strong belief that certain foods are good and certain foods are bad, he does not want to gain any more since leaving the hospital yet doesn't want to go back, he is eating 3 meals and 3 snacks not seeing gain just floating, little up and a little down. The hospital scared me into thinking that he will not get better unless we get him to the goal weight, I feel like the only one worried about this, every one else is only worried about his mental well being and think that the weight will come. I have read that we need to sacrifice his happiness right now and get the gain first so that his brain can heal. He does not sleep well because of the anxiety. Would an anti represent help? The psychiatrist at the hospital was also telling us about a psychotic drug that they have been testing for the past two years in a very low dose that has been helping( don't know the name of it) sorry for the book.
That's our story, sucks that we have to meet this way. 
May the Lord bless you all for your help.
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Lildil
Tina72, 
We can rule out purging and he isn't secretly exercising any more BUT we are a very busy family and we allow him some chores. I'm guessing he is only getting about 3000 now. I'm still learning to navigate this but I did delete the other post. Thank you. And thank you for your help. I am open for calorie suggestions it is difficult because he is a very picky eater, has been since he was little. I know there are things that he used to eat though that he claims he doesn't like any more, I continue to put those in front of him, even if he has to boost because of refusal.
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tina72
So for his age this will not be enough to make him gain and grow.
How do you work on that fear food? Is he allowed to refuse it and add a boost/ensure?
Can you tell us what he is eating at the moment so we can give you some ideas where to get more calories in?
Do you already add butter, cream and oil to all he is eating? Can you increase amounts slowly?

My d also was a picky eater her whole life but if there is anything positive about ED (I hardly dare to write that) it is that today she is eating MUCH more variety than ever before in her life.

You deleted the one with my answer so this is a bit funny now 😉. This new look is really a bit tricky...
Keep feeding. There is light at the end of the tunnel.
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Foodsupport_AUS
Welcome to the forum. 
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 Our s is 13 and was trying to be healthy so he would be better at sports, all sports, I have never heard him say that he doesn't like his body or that he is fat, I believe it is just him trying to be healthy, he has a super strong belief that certain foods are good and certain foods are bad, he does not want to gain any more since leaving the hospital yet doesn't want to go back, he is eating 3 meals and 3 snacks not seeing gain just floating, little up and a little down. 


This can be so confusing can't it? Many of our kids went down the rabbit hole of ED without a plan for dieting, losing weight etc. Rather like my D they wanted to be healthy. His anxiety about eating only healthy foods though is part of his illness. If he is going to get better that is going to need to be managed. Many kids manage to get to a place where they can be stable, they don't want to go to hospital, be forced to gain more weight, but they also are too scared to gain the weight that is required to get back to where he should be. 

Alleviating his anxiety by not challenging it, is long term what is going to leave him ill. This is an illness rooted in anxiety. He needs food to get to a healthy weight for him, to heal his body and his brain, and then he needs time +/- other treatments to manage his anxiety. Medications can help as can counselling but none of them really work if there is not enough food to work with. 
D diagnosed restrictive AN June 2010 age 13.5. Weight restored July 2012. Relapse and now clawing our way back. Treatment: multiple hospitalisations and individual and family therapy.
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Lildil
Thank you, we do go to a therapist 1 time a week, he hates going because he doesn't want to miss school, doesn't like the therapist, we live in a very rural area and drive 6 hr round trip to see her. Sounds like the bottom line is more food, more calories.
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scaredmom
Hi Lildil,
I welcome you formally to the forum.
You mentioned he wishes to be good at all sports. So yes he needs more calories and he may likely need less physical activity all around. My d too wanted to be the best runner and soccer player and track star. She did not exercise obsessively but stood all the time. That is part of the ED and we had to stop that to get her better. 
What chores does he have? If they are quite physical they may need to be stopped.
it will make increases in weight more difficult if he is burning those precious calories into the air. They need to stay on his body to heal the brain too.
As Foodsupport so wisely says, many of our kids said they wanted to be healthy then it all broke loose. That was what happened to my d too. Wanted more veggies etc the less food altogether. The more you read here you will see how similar our children’s stories are. It always amazes me, we might as well have borne the same kid.😊
It sounds tough seeing the therapist who is so far away. Are they able to do Skype sessions to ease the traveling on your part?
Just a thought.
Please keep asking questions. We all wish to help
XXX
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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scaredmom
I wish to reframe a bit for you. You are not sacrificing his happiness by stopping certain activities You are ensuring he will be healthy and able and in the best physical and mental  space to enjoy his life fully!
Hope that helps.
XXX
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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sk8r31
Welcome to the forum, though sorry you have a need to be here.  Like scaredmom has said, reframing your son's happiness around sport activities is important.  My d also went 'down the rabbit hole' in an attempt to be a better athlete, and compete at a higher level by 'eating more healthfully' and increasing strength and stamina activities.  We did think at the start of her ED recovery, that the motivation to continue in her sport would be a good thing.  But unfortunately, our d wasn't able to fuel her body for her sport, in addition to regaining weight that was needed for nutritional rehabilitation.  It was very distressing for her not to continue her beloved sport, and therefore highly distressing for us as parents, who wanted to help her achieve her dream.  

However, good health was the priority.  And I did come to the conclusion that if my d continued to 'hate' me for pushing for recovery, but in the end was able to pursue a full life as a healthy adult, that was worthwhile.  We once again have a loving relationship, and d is able to participate in her sport once more, but in a different capacity....as a coach and mentor, and to participate in for enjoyment.

I guess what I want to emphasize is the 'long game'.  Your son will be able to participate fully in life, in whatever ways he chooses, when he is healthy physically and mentally, and no longer tormented by ED.  

Hang in there...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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workingthrough
Your story is so very similar to ours. Our s started by wanting to be healthy and better in his sports as well.

S also struggled quite a bit with sleeping at night as well. For us, it took added calories and weight for his sleep to improve. We did start him on Zoloft, he had anxiety/depression beforehand that probably should have been treated - we, unknowingly, thought it was just teenage behavior. He also took melatonin in the evenings for some time in the beginning. We also purchased a weighted blanket for s that he liked a lot. 

As our S gained weight back, his sleep, mood, anxiety, rigidity, has improved. We still have our days and are making our way through fear foods, but we’re seeing progress.

Therapy, for s, didn’t do much until he had good weight gain. It was beneficial for us as parents, but food and gaining is what helped the very most. We are appreciative of s’s counselors in being another voice and support to s. During weight gain they encouraged and encouraged s on working through finishing meals and eating new/fear foods. I would definitely look into Skype visits, maybe one week in person followed by one or two on Skype? Six hours is so far. You must be exhausted. 

Please share what he eats well and we can brainstorm how to add. S needed huge amounts of calories to gain and still needs quite a lot to maintain/continue with growth. Like pp mentioned as well, ED has/is still alive until they’re back to eating all foods. 

Sending much love. This isn’t an easy road. You’re doing great.
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scaredmom
A note on the antipsychotic med the psychiatrist may be referring to, do you recall if it is olanzapine or also called zyprexa? It has been shown to help kids with AN to help with sleep and intrusive thoughts and one side effect can be weight gain. My d took it a few weeks but alas not helpful. She has been on Zoloft/sertraline now for over a year and half and I am not sure it helps, but don’t think it hurts. With more weight my d’s anxiety and sleeplessness got better. When I look back the sleeplessness and anxiety were really the beginnings of ED, I just did not recognize it then. My d needed 4000 cal per day to gain well age 12 onward and still at 3000-4000 cal per day to maintain at 1 year WR and I still want a bit of gain per year to keep her on her curve.

Please ask all the questions you have.
XXX
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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debra18
Is he home or in school? Do you supervise all of his meals?
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Lildil
In going to try to answer all of your questions, sorry if I miss something,
Chores are feeding 2 horses, sometimes cleaning 4 water tanks for cattle, I allow him to ride horses also, I figure that's therapy. He is in school and I have 4 people there who help him, make his plate up, keep a close eye on him, they are awesome! 
No sports till he is weight restored and can keep it for 2 months, we have even taken him out of PE. He eats a snack and Lunch at school, all others are with family.
Sk8r3
Good to know that some day he will forgive me, to him and ED right now I am the worst person ever, I'm learning to set boundaries and that is helping. He has found out that if he gets too rude or mean to me that he will lose a privilege
Working through
We tried the melatonin, didn't seem to do much for us, Not sure what the psychotic med is called, I want to find out any side effects before we do anything.
He loves bread, fruit, veggies, hot cereal, yogurt, fruit smoothies, crepes, pancakes, French toast. they turned him off on milk shakes at the hospital so still working on that. He likes peanut butter but I can't over due, pasta, hamburger is his least favorite food ,has been since, forever. Sad because we raise BEEF! He will eat fish and roast and chicken. Last ,week he ate a chicken burger and a bunch of fries, we celebrated that. I feel like I'm rambling, thank you each and every one of you for all of the help. I will try to keep on and conquer the beast.
Hugs, high fives, knuckles, you are all awesome!
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tina72
Bread: Buy bread with thicker slices and more calories per serving. Changing brands can give you some +.
Forget fruit and veggies as long as they are not fried 😉.
Hot cereal: I think that might be something like porridge? Do it with cream instead of milk!
Yoghurt: Same, change brands and buy a slightly bigger one - greek yoghurt is often 10% fat so your friend. Stir some cream or canola oil/rapeseed oil into it.
Fruit smoothies: They are your best friend ever! You can add up to 100 ml rapeseed oil into 400-500 g fruit and juice and it disappears in the blender. You can add 1000 calories with two glasses of smoothie this way!
Crepes, pancakes: do them with cream instead of milk.
Pasta: you can add cream and oil to all sauces; buy pasta brand with most calories in your supermarket
Try to re-introduce milk shakes, that will also help a lot.
Does he eat vegetarian patties? You can fry them in a lot of oil and then leave them in the pan and they will suck up all the oil...
Keep feeding. There is light at the end of the tunnel.
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Lildil
Tina 72

Those are some awesome ideas, thank you.
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tina72
I checked different supermarkets and the different brands at the start and just by changing brands you can get easily 300 calories extra. If he asks why you buy this one say the other one was out or this one was in advertisement or you saw it on TV. He will get used to those changes very soon.

French toast: here there are two different toast sizes, normal an sandwich so I buy sandwich for sure. And you buy big L or XL eggs for sure 😉.
Keep feeding. There is light at the end of the tunnel.
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Lildil
I'm actually getting excited about my next trip to town, you are a blessing!
Thank you so much
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tina72
Once I was in the supermarket and I had my cart full of full fat extra cream stuff and crisps and chocolate and behind me were two very thin girls looking very envious into my cart and I just thought "you silly girls, you could easily eat all that and you do not let yourself enjoy that food", what a strange world we are in.
After 2 weeks I knew which were the most caloric items in the supermarket and so will you!
Keep feeding. There is light at the end of the tunnel.
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deenl
Hi Lidlil,

I add a big pat of butter or olive oil to the pasta before I add sauce. After a few minutes it has all soaked into the pasta. Any veg served in our house have butter melted through them or are served with a sauce. I do fruit smoothies with frozen avocado and banana and a generous serving of rapeseed/canola oil which is tasteless. Even the milk carton in the fridge had a quarter of the full fat milk replaced with cream and extra milk powder added! Unless required for serious heart issues for example, no low fat products in the home provides the best support for recovery. 

In the beginning I just added small amounts and over a number of weeks gradually increased the amounts until I reached a stage where it really changed the taste or texture. But I was truly surprised at how much I could squeeze in. Every time I though I couldn't enhance his food any more, I did find some way to. Here is a link to the high calorie thread with lots of suggestions.

Warm wishes,

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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Lildil
Wow! Thank you, you are amazing! this is good for me this will be easier because he likes soup, I can't add cream or milk to anything, he has not been a milk fan ever. Oil will have to do. 
 Thanks again
Lildil
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keeptrukin
You said he likes french toast. When my kiddo had an active ED I made French toast with heavy cream and eggs instead of milk and fried it up in ghee instead of butter. I would say for a normal kid his age 3000 cal is great, but for a kid who has an active ED and may be hypermetabolic it's too low. If he's rejecting certain foods your best bet may be to push quantity. I was amazed with the quantity of food my son (same age as yours when his ED was active) needed to get better. Breakfast might be huge thick slices of french toast with butter and syrup, a small yogurt, a big serving of fruit, a big glass of milk. My husband and I would look on and think that neither of us could eat that much (and my husband can sometimes eat a lot), but he ate it because we insisted and his sleep improved, his thoughts improved, his focus improved, his tummy pains went away,  and his desire to get well for real (not just to avoid treatment) came. It sounds like your S is fairly compliant and I feel confident that you can do this!!!
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snowday
Welcome to this site and I'm so sorry you're going through this too. Our son started last spring at 13 y with the same story - he became fixated on what was healthy and what wasn't, started cutting back on sweets and fats and then cut numerous types of foods out entirely.  He lost weight very quickly and spiraled into full blown ED within a couple months.  He had always been a picky eater before then but the rules and rigidity were very different than he had ever been before - and he didn't seem focused on body image either, just "good/bad" food and food types and calories etc. There are some other families on here struggling with a very similar presentation in boys at the same age, many of whom were always rigid/obsessive before the ED and it seems like anxiety and OCD were probably there for a long time without any of us recognizing it.  We did find that starting Zoloft helped a bit, with sleep and with allowing him to consume more volume and calories.  But it seems like some things are consistent among all these kids - you need to just push through and get calories and fats into them in order for them to improve.  Stay strong and try to sneak as many fats into his 3 meals 3 snacks as you can. 

We also added a daily dessert (cookie, brownie, etc) after lunch or dinner as we have worked through challenge foods, which he must eat and doesn't count as a meal or snack - it adds in a load of calories. A Starbucks chocolate chip cookie is 600 calories for example!  And we have a rule that he must eat at least a snack every 2.5 to 3 hours that he is awake which means that a couple extra clif bars every weekend when he stays up late.  It's the little things that add up, and when he knows there are no options he will usually oblige.

Good luck and keep us all posted, we are in it together.
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Mamaroo
Welcome from me as well.

Here are some food suggestions:
Bake your own bread, it is a lot more dense than store bought bread and you can replace the water with milk and add an egg and some butter as well.
Go for tropical fruit such as bananas and pineapple and buy dried fruit such as figs, dates, apricots etc, they are loaded with calories.
Full fat Greek yogurt has loads of calories, look for flavoured ones or you can add honey to them if he doesn't like the sour taste. I also mix Greek and flavoured yogurt.
You can add milk powder to pancakes, it has extra protein and calcium. You can also use almond meal.
I make french toast with eggs and some cinnamon sugar. I let the bread soak up the eggs for a while before I fry it in butter.
If he likes peanut butter, you can make toasties with peanut butter inside and some normal butter on the outside (I use cashew butter, since d is allergic to peanuts).
Do you serve the chicken with the skin? At the moment he needs all the fat he can get.

Good luck and keep us posted!
D became obsessed with exercise at age 9. Started eating 'healthy' at age 9.5. Restricting couple of months later. IP for 2 weeks at age 10. Slowly refed for months on Ensures alone, followed by swap over with food at a snails pace. WR after a year at age 11 in March 2017. She is back to her old happy self and can eat anything put in front of her.
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Lildil
Thank you,
It is amazing to me how similar our stories are. Thank you
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tina72
This is why this parent to parent help works so good and supports so much.
You do not need to re-invent the wheel, you just try this or that and take what works for your family.
Tell us where you struggle and I can bet there is someone here who has managed exactly that problem...😉
Keep feeding. There is light at the end of the tunnel.
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Lildil
Tina 72,
Yes, that is what is so great, it is amazing, these are real life stories, from real people and families who are in the thick of it.
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