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

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Our daughter had two previous episodes of ED first at age 12 then at age 17.  Each episode was precipitated by her getting out of alignment with her set weight due to competitive sports, and growth spurts.  We successfully re-fed her back to her normal BMI.

She is now a graduating college senior, age 22, away at school.  In the early fall she trained for a 1/2 marathon and then began aggressive training program to in part to get "Abs."  She has lost close to 22 pounds and is now exhibiting ED behaviors.  She is adamant that she is expert at healthy eating and exercise but the ED/OCD type behaviors are all too familiar.

She just had a complete physical from a doctor pretty familiar with ED (not an expert) that we coached up with her medical history.  We would like her to get help from an expert nutritionist/sports coach to get he back on track and fortunately we have identified one that is also expert at ED.  

Now that our daughter is a "Young Adult" although very much dependent on her parents, the challenge will be to convince our daughter with the MD's help that she needs help.  Clearly the ED will fight us.  We are seeking advice on strategies, tactics and the right words to use to get our daughter to take help. 

It sounds as if you still have financial leverage, which can be very helpful in getting your d to accept that she needs to work towards weight restoration or treatment.

Have you considered attending the 1-week program at the Center for Balanced Living?  They work with young adults & require a support person (can be a parent, spouse, friend) to attend.   Someone who will help the young adult with support and refeeding.  

Though you have managed before to get your d moving towards health, it may be beneficial to have this 'kickstart' and contract in place moving forward.

Sending warm support,
It is good to not only hope to be successful, but to expect it and accept it--Maya Angelou
When trying to get someone to do something it is often better to get them to think it was all their own idea in the first place. So expressing your concern about her health and things you have observed about her behaviour (not her weight) that make you feel that her ED is strong and that her long term health is at risk from this. Asking for things she is concerned about and how to address them. 

The 1 week course could be  a great kick start but is for those that have support people with them to help eg. living at home or with a partner. 

D diagnosed restrictive AN June 2010 age 13. Mostly recovered 10 years later.  Treatment: multiple hospitalisations and individual and family therapy.
Hi Teresa,
as long as she is dependent from you (money for college, car, phone...) you have some power left to set the rules.
I would tell her that she needs to see the MD because of her weight loss to make sure her body is fit for sports and especially a marathon. If she wants to do that, she can proof that everything is o.k. That might be the start to get her see the GP.

I am not sure wether an expert nutritionist/sports coach can help her. She will need help with refeeding at home. Is she living alone or with a friend/partner?
If not, can you ask her to come home over the summer break and refeed her there?

It will be no easy talk but I fear you must be strict here. If she is not compliant to get help, you cannot help her any more. If she wants you to support her with college, she needs to do something for that (keep herself in a healthy state, eat enough and regain that lost 22 pounds).

Many of us here with adult kids have done a contract. We wrote down what we will do for our d (lots of incentives) and what she must do to get there (monthly weighings, regaining when lost, working on fear food...).

Keep feeding. There is light at the end of the tunnel.
Teresa, first, congratulations on getting her in for a physical and for encouraging your daughter to share the information gained by the doctor with you. Often our adult family members will demand that this kind of information be kept secret. My take is that she knows she needs help or she would not have allowed you to know but is reluctant to let go of what she sees as gains including the training she has done to get ready for the event.

Low weight is frequently seen as a must for runners but in fact, over the long run (pun intended) the runners who are well-nourished keep running and others who don't eat well fall by the wayside or get injured and disappear from the scene for awhile. As we all repeat and repeat, food is medicine.

As was pointed out in replies, sometimes advice for adults needs to come from someone who is respected for their professional knowledge eg a sports nutritionist who can not only put together a food plan but also demonstrate how much better her body will continue to respond to training if it is fed a balance of foods that she likes to eat. Often, too, snacks become equally or even more important to achieve this goal along with the addition, say, of a glass of millk. If she likes chocolate milk, so much the better. I hope the person you have identified will work well with her and and help her bring her weight back up. She will do even better, if she can and that might be the incentive she needs.

Best to you,
I am sadly in this same boat.  D- 20 now living with BF and helping raise two small children.  She's been in relapse for about year, now thinner than at age 14 when first diagnosed. She had a kidney issue eight months ago at which time she cut Dad and I out of her medical info.  We've been encouraging her to seek help and waiting for her to hit bottom ever since.  BF now indicates purging in addition to restricting which prompted us to let her know that to continue driving our car she must see a doc to be medically cleared and share that info with someone.  She's furious- back to the ED rage, blame, deflect, deny and accuse Mom of wanting to control her life.  She is so far refusing treatment- never going to be weighed again or be hospitalized etc. says she can handle it on her own, she knows her own body....  If she refuses to see a doc and or the labs don't indicate immediate danger I don't know what we can do but wait and pray that if she passes out or has a seizure that its not while driving or caring for the kids.  I always told her I'd never give up, never watch her vanish without saying something and offering all I have to help, but if she wont take help, what is my alternative?



So sorry, Sicofed. And all the moms on this thread. My D is 19 and in treatment but it's not a good fit for her and she's not gaining much. She wants to switch to another RTC she was at before - twice. In our mind, if she did it twice and came out immediately relapsing (within hours) than it's not the right program for her. She's refusing to go anywhere else or says she'll just go to college this fall. We've told her we will no longer help with that financially and I just got the ED rage myself. It's so hard.

I've had a hard time holding limits with her. I worry so much about what will happen. But not holding limits hasn't worked either and our sanity is going out the window. Sicofed, what if you did take the car back? Or told her she would need to buy it from you to keep it unless she gets help? 

19 yo D. AN - since about 15 years old. WR quickly - but the last four years have been tough. Since Sept. 2017, two residential stays, now in IOP, fighting a relapse. ED is hanging on, mental state not great, can't get her to remain at a weight long enough or high enough to see mental healing. She's on a gap year that will likely now turn into two.
Sicofed, sorry that you are still struggling with ED. My first thought would be to educate her BF about ED and her illness, and try to get him on side to encourage her into treatment. You can almost never convince someone by pointing out their illness to actively seek treatment but you can give them lots of room to start looking for it for themselves. Her BF needs to know that her illness is serious and life threatening and that she is unlikely so see how seriously ill she is. For her I would start on raising concerns about those actions you can see and observe (not her weight), for example withdrawal, anger, episodes of fainting etc.. You can also have those boundaries around using your vehicle, spending your money whilst you feel that she is not seeking help for those concerns that you can see.There is no doubt it is hard when they are legally an adult to "make them" do anything, but it is not as if you have no influence. 
D diagnosed restrictive AN June 2010 age 13. Mostly recovered 10 years later.  Treatment: multiple hospitalisations and individual and family therapy.