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

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All you wonderful people who know the story. She's been at dads and still is. Today was nice outside so she came over for a social distanced dinner in the driveway....such strange times!

She ate ok...one piece of pizza, small italian salad and an ice cream cone. I would've pushed for another piece of pizza but I'm trying to step back a bit. She did ask me on her own if she ate enough and I encouraged a little more which she did (very small amount more of pizza). 

One thing is she still bounces when she eats. Her legs just bounce basically the whole time. I know we are only 8 months into this but I was hoping to see that fade away. It's only when eating and otherwise she is quite still. She hates exercise to no issues there so far. Also she has her hand on her stomach almost the whole time she eats. Just placed there, a little into her pants. 

Does this fade over time? I can just see how much she hates eating...this hate for food is not new...she has had ARFID since probably 10. 
Hi @Scaredmom2019,

(I had a reply ages ago but got interrupted and lost the draft)

Nice to see that your daughter is keeping in touch and enjoyed the meal with you.  Even nicer that she checks for quantities with you. You are so lucky, most of us face fierce resistance.

Since there is no compulsive exercise, I wonder if the jittery legs are just from anxiety. She might not even be aware her legs are bouncing. OCD is usually best tackled by gently interrupting the movement. Not commenting, just suggesting she resit in a different position or similar. 

Keeping a hand pressed against the stomach is unusual, as if she is trying to limit its volume. You said she feels discomfort after meals. Could that be the reason?
Mum's Kitchen

14-y-o "healthy living" led to AN in 2017 and WR at 16. Current muscle dysmorphia.
Hi Scaredmom2019,

In our journey, I have focused on behaviours that impact on eating to help me prioritise and/or to let things go. For example, my son ate looking at the iPad for years. Not something that is usually allowed in our house but it helped with eating so I let it go. Eventually, it did fade with time and without pressure. It really is whack-a-mole with EDs, no sooner does one thing fade than another pops up. So even now, I try to focus on what is really important and what is transient or minor.

I think that we all have habits that are soothing to us. I fall asleep with my hand tucked into the waistband of my pjs. That habit started when I had some miscarriages and was pregnant again as a way to soothe my worries. But it became a habit and still proves soothing to me now even though the original situation no longer exists. Because I have the same habit as your daughter, I am obviously biased but I tend towards thinking that tucking her hand into her waistband is not doing much harm and may soothe her. 

Ditto the bouncing of the legs; as long as there is no exercise compulsion, I am guessing that it is an expression of her anxiety and would probably stop in time. But I imagine that it is distracting/irritating to those eating with her! I wonder if asking her with genuine curiosity if she notices it; if it bothers her or helps her; if she can stop it while eating with friends for example would help her to become aware of it and maybe pay attention to it. Sometimes focusing on our kids point of view can help communication. They don't know that it is upsetting to us becausue we see these habits as signs of the eating disorder, nor should they, they have enough of their own trials and tribulations with the ED. But understanding where they are coming from can never be a bad thing, right?

I am also reminded of a story my mum tells. She was at the dentist with my little sister and asked if she should stop her sucking her thumb in order to avoid later dental issues. Our dentist knew that we had a very stressful home situation and replied "Here's how I see it, you can take her to the orthodontist later or to a psychologist" I always thought it pretty wise of her to know which to prioritise. Btw, my sister is now in her 40s and still sucks her thumb when anxious but only at home. She never had problems with her teeth or jaw. 

It does take much longer than we would like to rewire the brain so that the new message that food is necessary and safe overwhelms the old message of food=fear. The only way to do it is to keep practicing and to keep the eating experience as calm as possible (calm being relative to the situation!) once the initial refeeding horrors are past.

Warm wishes,

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.
We do all pick up some weird habits from time to time. Hand up as a compulsive leg jiggler. I have always done it at times, for many years, and stop myself when I catch myself doing it. My D developed her leg jiggle with AN so not sure if it was the AN or the fact that I am a jiggler. She really struggled to steady things when ill, and I think the more anxious she is the more she does it. Myself I think it is half boredom. The real test is what happens when she is asked to stop. I get it, it is really annoying to watch and if things shake it can really get you on edge. If it is not ED she should be able to stop as soon as asked for a time. 
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.
My non-ED d claims there is a leg jiggling gene in many species even including fruit flies.  I do not have this gene, but my h seems to, as do at last most of our kids.  I think they tend to jiggle more during stressful times. 

"She ate ok...one piece of pizza, small italian salad and an ice cream cone. I would've pushed for another piece of pizza but I'm trying to step back a bit. She did ask me on her own if she ate enough and I encouraged a little more which she did (very small amount more of pizza). "

It is great that she asked if she should have more!  Really awesome!  I wonder why you are trying to step back a bit. xx

"We are angels of hope, of healing, and of light. Darkness flees from us." -YP 
Thanks all! I appreciate your feedback, all of which makes total sense. She told me that on social media lots of teens are doing a lot of exercise so they can return to school looking better than ever... ugh . She told me she tried an exercise one day and quit after 10 minutes and has no desire. Phew!

Im guessing you are all correct that her leg jiggling and stomach holding is a comfort for her anxiety. I will just continue to monitor. 

@Torie - I've been "forced" to step back a bit as shes with her dad all time now. She has told me she has high anxiety about returning to my home because of so much trauma here AND my food pushing. Ugh! She looks lighter to me. Hasn't been weighed in many weeks. Her dad is going to get a scale and weigh her, then keep it in his car. 
Great idea about the scales kept in the car! Peace of mind for the parents, peace of mind (out of sight, out of mind) for the child!

Best of all, the father is on the team. He will see the challenges, less need to explain, less pressure on you (so you can recover and recharge). You have done the lion's share - or shall we say lioness's share 😀 - and deserve a bit of break. I know you will never take those ED/ARFID glasses off.
Mum's Kitchen

14-y-o "healthy living" led to AN in 2017 and WR at 16. Current muscle dysmorphia.
My husband is a leg jiggler, it drives me crazy, he doesn't notice until I put my hand on his leg, he would stop for a minute or 2 sand then start again arrggh. My D wasn't but started with ED, she doesn't have s problem with excercise so I guess it's either anxiety or her dad's genes. She would stop if I ask her or out my hand on her leg, so I don't sweat it, bit it really annoys me.
Good to hear you had a nice time with you D!
13 yo d started to eat "healthy" September 2018, she had a growth spurt a bit later, followed by tummy bug. She started restricting breakfast and school lunch in January 2019 (that we know). We succesfully refed at home.
I have found inner strenght, patience and compassion that I did not know I had.
Never retreat, never surrender
keep feeding
As usual your words bring comfort and hope!

She's back! She came home today to hang out and asked to stay the night. I said of course! We talked with her therapist through telehealth and we acknowledged that we both trigger anxiety in each other! She said since leaving my house she hasn't thrown up once! She told me I have to back off on controlling her food and that she can take some ownership. 

So lunch came and she struggled with me being there. I backed off. She didn't eat but half though she then had many snacks after until dinner. Dinner she ate well and I didn't watch or harp. After dinner she wanted cotton candy ice cream so off we went and she ate a whole medium!
She told me I need to trust her that she will eat and she can track food for me but that despite all the distractions I've tried... I make her anxious because I'm SO anxious about food (all true!). Holding on to hope that our new approach will be a successful one! She looks good and state is good!
Well that is a few gold ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ for sure!!
lovely lovely news!
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)
So she's been with me for 4 days now. First couple days were tough but it seems to be better. I've taken her lead and backed off on my food hounding. 

In turn, I've seen her eat much more freely and even intuitively! Yesterday she asked for a ice cream flurry after dinner and polished it off. Then late last night she was downstairs making herself chips and cheese! She said she felt a little "guilty" because it's "not good " to eat so late but I assured her it was fine and good and was proud of her. 

Maybe we are turning a corner. She told me she feels it's getting easier to eat with anxiety at my house. 

I had to stop the full blown FBT approach and so far it is going well. Wow. I'm just gonna stay the course !
Sounds good @Scaredmom2019, and it sounds like what ypu have been telling your daughter all this recovery time has sunk in. 😀
Mum's Kitchen

14-y-o "healthy living" led to AN in 2017 and WR at 16. Current muscle dysmorphia.