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:

Well...we have been at this since the end of March 2016, when our susipicions were confirmed and our son began treatment for AN. I learned about this amazing forum at that time. I remember coming here daily in the early days, when our son seemed to be going through hell, and we were right there with him. I was obsessed with anything eating disorder-related and was on a mission to feed my boy and put pounds on him! This site gave me hope, information and something to do at 1:00 am!!! I am so thankful to you all for your wisdom and courage and I am so so sad that any of us ever had the need for this crash course on EDs. Having said that, now I feel like I want to educate everyone around me on this topic because I am horrified at how little I knew myself!! (And much of what I did know was inaccurate or down-right false!). So...many thanks to you all.
We are fortunate, in that our son has been weight-restored for seven months, however my function and my expectations aren't as clear. As hard as the beginning was, I had an obvious goal. The mental illness part of this is more tricky...will it just go away in a few months on its own because of physical health? Are the bouts of depression and anxiety just normal teenage angst/sadness? Am I over-analyzing? Should we stop going for regular visits with Psychologist because from the moment my son gets in the car to go to the hospital treatment centre, he is an illogical, aggressive and mean boy again until we get back into the car to go home - (like a switch turns on and off)? Do we accept it when he tells us he just isn't hungry or do we force him to eat anyway, right to the last bite? Any good resources you could recommend that may help us to plough ahead and navigate Phase II?
This is my first post, so I'm nervous...here goes...thanks in advance!
Dear nikki540,

One book that I would suggest you read is Throwing Star Fish Across the Sea available from amazon & writen by two mums from this very forum.

Plus the 4 fammily guide booklets from F.E.A.S.T are very good you can get them from the F.E.A.S.T  Learning Centre resources page http://www.feast-ed.org/?page=LearningCenter under "essential reading"

I hope this helps to start with.

Warm & Kind Thoughts to you.
ED Dad
Welcome to the forum. Great job on getting your son weight restored. The after effects of eating disorders can last some months after weight restoration but one thing that may need to be questioned if he is not recovering is whether or not he really is weight restored.

You ask about taking your son to therapy. Him being mean and irritable to me sounds like perhaps he really does need to go. Sometimes when things are being challenged they are more likely to fight back. That being said, really the question is what is your son like most of the time. Does he eat freely, does he resist meals, is he socialising and otherwise coping with school and normal adolescence? These are better indicators of whether more help is needed than anything else.
D diagnosed restrictive AN June 2010 age 13. Initially weight restored 2012. Relapse and continuously edging towards recovery. Treatment: multiple hospitalisations and individual and family therapy.
Just keep going.  It takes a long, long time for most people to reach a place where they are in solid recovery, despite being weight restored.  My DD was in "active" therapy for years (3 to be precise), and only after that magic three year part (the vast majority of it weight restored) did we get to a place where I (and her team) felt she was well enough to stop therapy and move ahead.  And, it's only in the last couple of months where I've noticed normal behavior around food...she will grab things spontaneously, reach for seconds, and NOT ask for these spontaneous things to be "counted" when we got to the next meal or snack.  She eats "just because" she wants something.  She's stopped obsessing about the caloric intake of every single little thing.  

But, it takes persistence over the long haul.  In early days of recovery, they can drop back so fast it's scary.  I never let my D say "no, I'm not hungry." Sorry, you must eat when it is time to eat.  You must finish your food.  Food is their medicine and all doses must be taken.  We wouldn't let a chemo patient decide to take 1/2 their drugs because they felt a little better would we?  Feeling well is important of course, but not the full measure of recovery. 

No specific book recommendation, just a mom's intuition and experience.
D, age 18, first diagnosed March 20, 2013, RAN, at age 13 Hospitalized 3 weeks for medical stability. FBT at home since.  UCSD Multi-family Intensive June 2015. We've arrived on the other side.  :-)  D at college and doing great!
Hi Nikki - Welcome to the forum. 

What we found was that there wasn't much of a difference between Phase I and Phase II, or, rather, that the transition was s-o-o-o-o-o slow that it didn't feel much like a transition at all if that makes sense.

Very, very gradually you can try to see if he can manage any of this himself.  For example, as PsychoMom used to do, you could let him try to pour his own milk.  Not enough? No problem - just top it off and he can try again tomorrow.  Still can't pour quite enough tomorrow either?  Still no problem.  Can try again the next day. If he still can't do it perfectly on the third try, well, no problem - he just isn't ready yet.

If he is able to pour his own milk, he could try another small challenge - perhaps serving his broccoli.  And after that, maybe he can pick one or two things of a snack.

The trick, I think, is to figure out what the next tiny increment of progress would look like.  It seems like it takes forever, but there's no way to rush it.

I'm not sure what to make of the outbursts over seeing his therapist.  Do you think the t is helping?  If so, I'd require him to continue.  If you're not sure, perhaps you could use longer interval between visits as a bargaining chip.  ("If you are able to attend tomorrow's appt without x,y, z (yelling, whatever), we can see about switching from every week to every 10 days.")  Or maybe that's a terrible idea.

The main thing is, as always, that he needs to eat all his meals and snacks - every day, every meal - and it will seem like you are stuck in this forever. But gradually, oh so gradually, you will get your s back.

Please feel free to ask all the questions you like. That's why we're here. xx


P.O. Box 11608 | Milwaukee, WI 53211 USA

"We are angels of hope, of healing, and of light. Darkness flees from us." -YP 
Thank you so much for your kind words and advice!
AUSSIEedfamily - I ordered the book from amazon and have located the family guides!
Foodsupport_AUS - I think you're right that my son's opposition to the sessions at the hospital indicate a need for further exposure although the sessions themselves aren't very helpful because of his resistance.
Oddly enough, within a week of refeeding, our son went from isolated and solemn, not wanting to socialize at all, to having at least one friend with him at home for lunch on the days he made it to school (school is a block away and I took a leave from work to be with him) and many friends over after school......this change was immediate and dramatic, which was great! When they weren't around, he was often aggressively fighting eating, hurting himself and needing constant supervision and a safety plan because of his suicidal ideologies. Much of what they said triggered his insecurities but he was social nonetheless. He has continued to be social since then. He started Prozac in June which helped a great deal with aggression and depression. As a result, he has gone from hating me vehemently for feeding him, to tolerating me, to enjoying some time with me - never affection though - but he is a teenager now, afterall! So strange...wonder if anyone else noticed their child going from perfectionist, nothing out of place, first to hand in homework...to messy room, papers all over the place, barely able to follow an instruction to complete a task. Once again, could just be that in the middle of this ED fiasco, my son has also become a teen.
When I went back to teaching in September, we all thought he was ready to eat lunch on his own. We make his lunch together and he is required to eat it. This went surprisingly well in the beginning to not so good. So we are re evaluating. We will set the refresh button after the holidays. He will have to eat supervised at school if it's too much for him to finish his lunch on his own.
He has eaten most of his fear foods now - still have to introduce things like cake and chocolate bars but he's eaten poutine which was one of his faves before but very scary for him with AN in the picture. He does not eat freely but says he would if he knew that I wasn't going to stuff him with what I already have planned for him to eat. Thanks so much for taking time out for me.
Tooth fairy - you bring up a good point about BMI and whether he's actually weight-restored so my H and I figured it out last night. It's between 20 and 21. I'm thinking this is enough as he doesn't look underweight. Is it possible, he could need more pounds on him?
I will take your advice about every meal, every bite regardless of his pleas - back to LSUYE! Thanks!
MnmomUSA - It's always good to be reminded that food is like medicine. Some of these mantras from months ago have slipped away and I need to re-adopt them. Good to hear your D eats freely....here's to hoping (although 3 years seems like such a long time from now.)
Torie - I had read about the glass of milk idea and used ideas like that to test his readiness. He seemed good to go. It's just that we're experiencing a set-back and it makes me feel sorry for us while instilling a need to bump up supervision and get more help - thus my call for help on this site. I am looking forward to getting my s back - thanks for the tips. :-)
Off to my reading...
Good things to you all and hoping the holidays bring some joy and rest.
nikki540 wrote:
Tooth fairy - you bring up a good point about BMI and whether he's actually weight-restored so my H and I figured it out last night. It's between 20 and 21. I'm thinking this is enough as he doesn't look underweight. Is it possible, he could need more pounds on him?

Yes!  Many here (raises hand) have been surprised to find that our Ed-kids needed to gain more weight than anyone thought. xx

"We are angels of hope, of healing, and of light. Darkness flees from us." -YP