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

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My 15-year-old daughter lost 10lbs within 2 months, (the last 7lbs within 3 weeks). Now we are doing FBT and realized that it is such a bumpy road. She refuses to eat the carb. If she eats the carb, the rice/noodle is all over the table, the bread usually goes to our dog. (We now keep the dog away from the dinner table). She strips the wrapper for spring rolls, wonton, dumplings. The main issue is that she constantly hides her food, I found shumai in her sleeves, bagle in her waistband, and half of the protein bar in the garbage can.  Should I let her shoulder the consequence? For example, should I forbid her from going to her friend's birthday party if I find out she is hiding? Confiscating her phone? 


Any suggestions?

This is a stage in your life, this is NOT your life.
Hi rixi,
sorry that you have to be here. I send you a very warm welcome from Germany.

These problems with refeeding are very common at the start and yes, it must have consequences.
She must eat carbs, that is essentiel for nutrition. So if she throws it or puts it over the table you need to replace it (stay calm if possible and have enough in back to be able to replace it). Sometimes you will need to replace it 3 times. If you are off or she is still refusing she needs to replace it with an ensure.

Hiding food is also very common. Put away everything that can be used to hide food. No napkins, no boxes around, no plants. Dogs out while eating. Some parents needed to prepare a room just for eating with only a table and chairs so nothing can be thrown or used to hurt someone. They can really freak out at the start so be prepared for that. It is in fact a good sign because if you see ED fighting you are doing something RIGHT.

No long sleeves, no pants with bags. If necessary make her eat in a bathsuit. Or ask her to change clothes after EVERY meal. Normally it is enough to announce that she will need to eat in the bathsuit if she hides food again because that is the last thing they want to wear at that state.
I would not forbid going to the birthday party because it is important that they socialise but I would allow her to leave AFTER dinner at home and no overnight stay (or back for breakfast next morning).

Confiscating the phone is another thing that works but use it as leverage. Tell her she can have it back asap after she ate ALL her meal that you have plated.

It is hard to close all those loophole but you need to do that or ED will win that war.

Come back and ask, ask, ask. We can help you a lot. We all have been in your shoes.

Keep feeding. There is light at the end of the tunnel.

Tina72 - Thank you so much for your kind words at such a late hour for you.  I really appreciate it. I will still let her go to her friend's birthday party after she eats a full meal tonight. 

I cannot monitor her lunch at school, and my current job forbids me from going to her school every day to make sure that she finishes the lunch/snack. So I have the doubt in my heart, then she usually says, "It does not matter if I finish my lunch/snack or not, because you don't believe it anyway."

It feels much better that someone out there can listen to me and truly understand. Thanks again. I hope I can have some good news in near future. 


This is a stage in your life, this is NOT your life.
Hello and welcome.  You have gotten good advice already, and I agree that it is great you seem to have caught this quickly.

I realize that you can only do what you can do, but I would encourage you to brainstorm ideas for lunch supervision.  Some people are surprised to find that their work is more understanding / flexible than they had thought.  Others are able to find friends or relatives who can help with lunch supervision.  There is SOME chance the school might be able to help, although it is rare to find professional help that can learn to watch carefully enough.

Is she supervised after school?  It's really important for them to have 2 or 3 snacks in addition to 3 good meals every day.  I wonder if she could go to your work and have her snack there?

It is worth so much to turn this around quickly because when AN gets a firm hold, it tends to turn the world upside down for everyone in the household.  I had no idea how much havoc this vile illness can wreak.

Sorry, I know that sounds very heavy-handed.  But really, when you read about the journeys some of us have taken, you will want to go to great lengths to avoid that.  

Just my opinion.  xx

"We are angels of hope, of healing, and of light. Darkness flees from us." -YP 
Welcome to the forum. This behaviour all sounds very normal and typical. If you haven't read it already have you read - Help your teenager bean an eating disorder and When you teen has an eating disorder?  

As others have said they need to eat a lot more frequently then others do to help them regain the weight. FBT puts all the load on us as parents to make sure that happens, and this includes making sure that lunch and meals and snacks go in. Her need to hide meals sounds great at the moment so that requires creative solutions to get the food in. 

Ideally we use consequences and not punishments for not complying with the requirement to eat. They are not being naughty they are ill with a disease that makes them behave in bizarre ways. So if she is putting things up sleeves no sleeves, no pockets, no napkins etc.. Water or another drink eg. juice (even better) at the end of the meal to wash down food. Remove distractions phones etc.. then return at the end of the meal. Calm but firm consequences. 

The faster her weight goes on the faster she is going to recover, there are many studies that confirm this. 
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.
Hi rixi and welcome to the forum,

You are off to a good start. Our son also hid food. When we found food in the toilet we calmly told him that he needed to eat his full meal but this was obviously very difficult for him but not to worry we would keep him safe. We cleared the space around where he ate and actually frisked him. He was not happy at first (trying to avoid it, cursing etc) but in a surprisingly short time he would simply hold out his arms and let us pat him down without problems. You have had many other ideas already so think about what would best suit your situation.

As the others have said, it is really important to ensure there are no big gaps between meals. This will keep the ED thought patterns active at a time you are trying to switch them off! On a practical level it makes it really difficult to get enough calories into the remaining meals for good weight gain. I realise that your work situation really limits your options but think of all possible options; school nurse, family, your friends, or get her to come to you. The only thing I would not advise is to make any siblings or her friends responsible for making sure she ate. This can destroy very important relationships and managing the illness is a grown ups job.

I would suggest that you discuss the issue of making her eat carbohydrates with the FBT team. If you still need additional ideas for tackling fear foods just type that in to the orange search button on the top left of the computer screen or touch the button with 3 lines on the top right of the phone screen.

Wishing you continued strength and courage,

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.
rixi wrote:
I cannot monitor her lunch at school, and my current job forbids me from going to her school every day to make sure that she finishes the lunch/snack. So I have the doubt in my heart, then she usually says, "It does not matter if I finish my lunch/snack or not, because you don't believe it anyway."

ED will love it when you say "I cannot monitor lunch at school". It is very important that lunch is supervised because when she does not eat it she has a big gap in her food intake and that is not good. AN works a bit like diabetes and it is very important to keep her blood sugar level constant through the day. A rollercoaster with blood sugar up and down is an open door for ED thoughts.

So here are my ideas:
1. Can you get someone from school (a nurse, a teacher) to supervise her lunch and report to you what she has eaten?
2. Do you have a friend/family member that could join her for lunch at school or take her home for lunch? We took our d home and brought her back after lunch in the last 1 1/2 years of school.
3. If both does not work you might think about some time off work to get started. Some eat better at school after a few weeks when they are used to the routine and you could go back then. In some countries there is a possibility for sick leave if you have to care for a family member with a serious illness. AN is as life threatening as childhood cancer so this might match to that.

Even if you would be able to feed her all she needs for the others meals/snacks in case she did not eat lunch it would be very important to close loopholes and to have her fully nurished through the whole day.



Keep feeding. There is light at the end of the tunnel.
Thanks Tina72, I will make sure an adult monitors her lunch at school.
This is a stage in your life, this is NOT your life.