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

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Playball40
My 12yo RAN DD has and continues to fight the thoughts and fear foods - she has gained 32 lbs since this started and it is not yet enough.  Continue to chase down growth and slow weight gain.

Anyway, she has a twin brother.  He does not have AN but could possibly have SED or just be a picky eater (much like I am and always have been).  He is normal weight and tends to lean on the side of a little overweight on the 'charts'.  Both kids started middle school this past Fall. 

Although I still have to fight my son to take a 'real' shower - and get rid of ratty clothes he's outgrown, lately he seems concerned that he is 'fat'.  He's always been shy and introverted (unlike his twin who only became that way upon getting sick) but seems to have friends (the boy across the street hangs out with him a lot and he's been invited to his third b-day party this year), so he must be liked.  My DD hasn't been invited to any yet.

His concern of being fat is now manifesting itself into not eating things he usually loves.  We went to brunch on Sunday for his Dad's b-day and he gave away his bacon (this is unheard of).  He refused b-day cake last night (also unheard of).  I found myself telling BOTH of them "you WILL have cake with Daddy!"

The things he said he wanted to 'cut back' on aren't really bad to limit to 'occasional' but given the history with his twin sister, I'm absolutely TERRIFIED of him losing any weight.  He's actually starting to get taller and is growing into his little bit of xtra weight.  The last thing I want for him to do is restrict.

Should I be worried??  He doesn't seem to be a perfectionist like his sister, but he is competitive (just quieter about it) and suffers from a mediocre esteem (he compares himself too often to his twin and his sister that is one year older).  They all three compete constantly!
Caroline
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Colleen
Oh dear, Playball.  What a worry!

I would be concerned in your shoes too.  It's hard not to be extremely sensitive to ED once we've had this experience.

What I would tell you at my kitchen table:
1.  It's not about self esteem
2.  It's not about perfectionism.
3.  It's a biological response to low nutrition and it's highly heritable.  Your s has a much higher chance of developing ED, not because his self esteem is mediocre or because he's competitive (although those can play a role in exacerbating the illness) but because he has a sister with it.  It runs in the family.

You know what to do!  You've been doing it with his sister.  He needs regular nutrition and lots of it.  He's a growing boy, and that takes a lot of energy for a long, long time.  Whether he has ED or not, he's going to need that energy.  Feed him!  Even if you have to insist on it!
Colleen in the great Pacific Northwest, USA

"What some call health, if purchased by perpetual anxiety about diet, isn't much better than tedious disease."
Alexander Pope, 1688-1744
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Playball40
Thank you Colleen.  I really do know that self esteem and perfectionism don't 'cause' ED.  However, they may cause him to think he has to lose weight thus triggering the biological response.   

He certainly (right now) gets proper calories - however, his 'nutrition' may be somewhat lacking in that he avoids fruits and veggies.   Definitely on a multi-vitamin.  Loves chocolate milk, mac n cheese, nuggets, pizza, cereal, toast and most sweets.  He pretty much eats like a 4 year old - or a college student.  [smile]

This is the first time I've ever seen him intentionally restrict/avoid food though.  It was/is so unsettling. 
Caroline
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nvrgvup
Playball, I had a similar experience this weekend. I happened to notice my younger daughter, she doesn't have ed, entering something on her phone after she finished eating. I didn't say anything but alarm bells started to ring in my head. Oh. No don't tell me she has started tracking her food. So the next day we were in the car without my older daughter who has ed, I asked her was she tracking her food. She responded yes. I suggested that it wasn't a great idea as ed can run in families and I would real hate to see her go down that road so could she please stop. She said oh I just want to make sure I am getting the correct nutrients and I wouldn't mind losing 5 pounds. But it is ok mom I will take it off my phone. I said you do not need to lose any weight you are beautiful just the way you are.

In my head I was screaming no flipping way will I ever let you start to restrict. I would not be able to handle two kids in this boat.
So. I agree with you make them eat cake
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mumto3
Well,

I have been handling two kids in the same boat (and maybe a third, but he may just be in response to the other two...).  The faster you catch it, the faster it goes away.  Just be vigilant and you know what to do - feed and feed more and insist on cake on family birthdays.
worried mom
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deenl
nvrgvup wrote:
But it is ok mom I will take it off my phone.


Remember that ED is sneaky [sneaky] So check her phone yourself. I respect my children's right to privacy EXCEPT where ED is involved. Then I absolutely walk all over their privacy (usually when the are in bed), thinking 'Needs must when the devil drives'

Do not give it a chance to take a strong hold. Even if you are not sure work on the basis of it being better safe, than sorry.

Good luck,
D
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.
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Playball40
Thank you all for the responses.  I'm so worried about him.  Last night my husband was eating his Reece's Peanut Butter Cup (shaped like eggs) that he got for his birthday/Easter.  He had one left and offered it to my son (Reece's is his absolutely favorite!).  He first said YES, then suddenly changed his mind and said no, no...he doesn't want it.  He's not hungry. 

My husband and I both looked at each other with that fear/concern.  It's all the goodies he always loved he seems to be avoiding/denying himself.  [frown]
Caroline
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deenl
Caroline,

I can understand your concerns as younger brother (9) to ED son (13) isn't a great eater. Since ED came into our lives I weigh the two brothers regularly and measure their height. I plot the results on mygrowthcharts.com and sure enough little bro was growing and losing weight. He was not refusing any foods but just doesn't seem to have very strong hunger cues. Big bro (15) eats like a horse and grows like a weed, thank God.

When Ed started I knew something was wrong but kept thinking I was making a mountain out of a molehill. Of course, I think if I knew then what I know now ED son wouldn't be so terribly sick.

Well, I do know now and there is no chance that I am going to let anything similar happen to little bro. So, without discussing it with him, I just started making sure that I brought him snacks at the same time as ED son (bonus: helps ED son not to feel so weird) and I upped the calories in them. I also started monitoring more carefully his mealtimes and encouraging him to eat what I thought was necessary. Over the last 3 months he has come back onto his historical curve.

I would suggest
  • put all height/weight info that you have into mygrowthcharts.com; request details from doc etc if necessary
  • weigh and measure height of son, weekly or every 10 days. You don't have to make too big a deal, just say that he is growing and you need to keep an eye on things. If he refuses to be weighed then you know you have a problem or if he has fallen from his historical growth/weight curve
  • keep an eye out for purging, going to the bathroom during, soon after meals, etc
  • keep an eye out for extra exercise, out of breath or red faced coming down from bedroom or from bathroom, extra trips to gym or sport, my son ran to/from school
  • call him on the refusal to eat treats; tell him this is what normal people do 
  • bring him snacks and monitor mealtimes
  • check his computer and phone history for calorie counting apps, search history. I firmly believe in the rights of my kids to privacy EXCEPT when I am checking for clues around a life threatening illness like ED
  • DON'T HESITATE you know the signals, act sooner rather than later. What harm can it do to take a better safe than sorry approach? If it is ED, I think it would likely be easier to treat in the early stages.
Warm wishes,
D
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.
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