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

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My S has been away at college for 3 months total now. I would say he is doing “ok”. He was hovering just at WR with a college contract in place when he went. 
The good - he has maintained good grades., he has joined some social clubs and enjoys going to football games, he is not doing any compulsive exercise (as far as I know) , he struggled and survived the official long distance girlfriend breakup.  
He has lost a total of 3 pounds - but is still above the “yellow zone” weight in his contract by 2 pounds. 
My concerns: he has said it is very hard to even maintain that weight as he still requires a lot of calories. I also think he may be restricting -eating just enough (but no more) to hold himself there. Technically, he should still be gaining, as he just turned 18 a few months ago. He definitely does not eat the variety and challenges he did at home. And even though things seem ok, I just know he has a lot of work to do to really reach a full recovery.
So any tips or advice. Do I just keep nudging, encouraging, supporting him ,? How do I motivate him to keep pushing through.?
Hi there. Are you able to go there regularly and buy food and have a bit of a menu organized?
that way there is no thinking on his part. I have seen some creative ways to pack snacks. Like different containers labelled ‘small snacks’ take two, medium snack, and larger snacks.
They would be portioned out so no stressing over choices.
how about FaceTiming during certain times of the day that may be particularly difficult for him?
reminding him about the contract may help his motivation as well. My d is still quite young and I know others with college aged kids who are away from home will be best suited to answer this than I.
When within yourself you find the road, the right road will open.  (Dejan Stojanovic)

Food+more food+time+love+good professional help+ATDT+no exercise+ state not just weight+/- the "right" medicine= healing---> recovery(--->life without ED)
Kali, Foodsupport_AUS, And sk8r31 all have children who are away from home at university.  They may be able to help you trouble shoot as well.
When within yourself you find the road, the right road will open.  (Dejan Stojanovic)

Food+more food+time+love+good professional help+ATDT+no exercise+ state not just weight+/- the "right" medicine= healing---> recovery(--->life without ED)

Hi Jcutch,

It sounds as though there are many positives in your son's situation right now.
Is he seeing a therapist or a team while at school? 
College is a big adjustment and involves some anxiety; new people, hard classes, the stressors of living away from home for the first time. 
But of course any weight loss at all, even 3lbs is worrying.

Our daughter has been back at college and I have handled her weight fluctuations in a couple of different ways. It has not been a straight line. Here is a list of some of the things I've done at different times depending on how dire things were:

• Taking some time to go up and eat with her. Cooking meals and leaving them in her freezer to defrost.
• Tapping into her motivation to stay in school as a way to get her to stay recovery minded.
• Going to visit her often and taking her food shopping and discussing meal planning.
• Eyes on visits at least once a month sometimes more than that.
• Setting up a food delivery online account with the local supermarket so that food can be delivered if she is very busy with finals or projects and doesn't take the time to go shopping.
• Having her come home and doing some refeeding between semesters to keep her weight up. 
• Meeting with her and her team and letting her know that if her weight didn't come up she would be coming home. 
• We required that she sign release forms for all providers so that we could be informed of any problems and speak with them if necessary.
• Reminding her that her weight is not where it should be and that I want her to be successful and discussing what can help her move forward in recovery.
•  Keeping in close contact and speaking/texting frequently.
•  Sending "care packages" with some high calorie snacks.

There are many options....you know your son best and what might be helpful to him. 

wishing him continued success at school, and peace of mind for you.



How far is he away from home? Can you encourage him to come home at the weekends to eat there with you? Can you visit him weekly or beweekly and take him out to a restaurant? Can you cook him meals for the fridge and microwave there (if he has that)?

Is he eating at the cafeteria every day? That is part of our contract here and that works very well.

Mine is in year 3 of recovery now and I think she would not eat enough beeing at University the whole week...It is very hard to keep a routine of 3 meals 2 snacks there.
Keep feeding. There is light at the end of the tunnel.
Kali has given a great 'checklist' to help with meal support while your s is away.  We employed many of the same strategies during my d's first years away at university.  I truly believe that a strong 'scaffolding' should be in place for any kid away at college or university, even if they have had 6-12 months of being nutritionally rehabilitated under their belt.
Managing rigorous coursework, along with social interactions while away at university is taxing for ANY kid, let alone one who has been dealing with an ED.  We owe it to our kids to give them their best shot at success, and that does mean having a support system in place.  Are there any ideas on Kali's list that resonate with you, and which you think you could implement?
It is good to not only hope to be successful, but to expect it and accept it--Maya Angelou
jcutch wrote:
He has lost a total of 3 pounds - but is still above the “yellow zone” weight in his contract by 2 pounds.

Sorry, but I have to ask how sure you are about that weight.  Who is in charge of the weighings?

When my d went off to college, I made sure to see her often.  And when I saw her, I made sure to watch her eat challenging foods like pizza.  I decided that the most important thing was keeping a keen eye on her so I would know if and when I needed to take some kind of action.

Best of luck to you both and please keep us posted. xx

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

I totally understand what it is like to send your "recovered" child back to school.  We followed some ideas that we learned from this site:
She had a weekly counselor she needed to check in with- this was the best suggestion we followed - it provided a sense of calm for all of us.
We face timed weekly (so we could see her) - of course we also trolled her social media!
We saw her once a month
She was able to participate in all her physical activities (she is competitive in that area- so for her she knew she needed to fuel her body appropriately -- she was pretty humiliated when she saw old videos of herself when she was denying herself her food)
She had just gotten an apartment with friends - and was pretty proud of her cooking - so she often sent pix of her eating eggs, chicken, etc. We were excited that going out to eat with friends began to take on a social component again.
Happy to say that on the ED front - things worked out well with these guidelines.  I was really thankful for the suggestions from this site - they helped us sit down before she went back to school and have a set framework of what was expected.  I think she liked the idea of having someone to check in with - I was really glad we made those arrangements ahead of time - so that it was just part of the return to the program.  For us - that was important.  Every family/situation is different - that method just worked well for us.
Your university might have counselors on campus with whom your son could check in.  Typically, they only take on a "regular" for a semester, so we later had to find someone off campus.  
Despite how positive this sounds - make no doubt - it's scary! She was very afraid when I left her at school.  I told her I knew she could do this, and that I would not leave her there if I didn't believe in her.  That seemed to help her (then I got in the car and cried during the four hour drive home).  There is nothing easy about this - but trust your instincts, and trust these Mamas - they have a lot of great ideas to offer - and some of them, or adaptations of some of them, might prove very beneficial for your and your son.
Wishing you and your son a successful semester : )
As I write this, my d (22) is in a hospital near her school because, with some weight loss, she became significantly orthostatic. She’s at a very competitive school where anxiety is a constant struggle and keeping herself sufficiently fed has often been tricky. She’s a junior now and I guess I thought that two years of managing successfully meant we maybe had the school thing figured out, but she very gradually slipped in weight as the fall progressed (even while being monitored once or twice a week) and things started to get hairy. She has the experience with the disease and the presence of mind to want to fight the thing (hasn’t always been the case, to be sure), but getting back on track is proving fairly hard. She is trying very hard to eat enough, but bringing the weight back up has been a struggle (and she has actually been eating...she’s in the hospital for one thing, but also I went out there to help her keep herself honest). 

Anyway, my point I guess is that college is extremely challenging for ED kids, even when they are well into recovery. If you see signs of difficulty (such as rationalizing weight loss by saying it’s still above the minimal recovery weight, I’d be trying to get eyes on for as long a period as I could manage to visit and talking very specifically about how the eating is going (and I’m assuming that there’s a team on the ground there — a doctor, a therapist, whatever you’ve put together). If you can get your kid to react before they slip so much that their thinking is impaired, then you’re far more likely to be able to work constructively with them to set up whatever they need to get themselves back on track (and being able to work _with_ them is critical once they’re young adults rather than kids). 

I wish you the very best of luck with your son. Fingers crossed for me and my d, too. This can take a long time and the road is seldom straight. 
thank you for sharing your story. It is so helpful to know from those on the front line. I will pocket this lesson and come to it frequently when It is  time for my d to go to university.  
I am sorry your d is in hospital and hope her recovery is swift. You are right, the road is not at all linear. 
Sending my best.
When within yourself you find the road, the right road will open.  (Dejan Stojanovic)

Food+more food+time+love+good professional help+ATDT+no exercise+ state not just weight+/- the "right" medicine= healing---> recovery(--->life without ED)