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.

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gentlesupport
I've read a lot on this site about parents lying to their kids about ingredients in their food and I have to say I really don't agree with this. I've always found the more honest I am with my d or anyone for that matter, she's upset at first but in the long run grateful that I told her and now she always trusts me. 
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Ellesmum
I don’t see it as lying, I am a parent and it’s my job to feed my child.

when she was a baby the doctor would tell me to hide medicine in her milk including potentially life saving antibiotics , any family cookbook will advise how to put hidden veggies in meals for the toddler and any vet will advise hiding the dogs medication  in his food bowl.

our kids are not capable of making good choices in the grip of the illness, therefore I choose to get the medicine (food) in by any means necessary. It’s to save lives not deceive.

If I come to dinner at your place I accept the food you make me and don’t tell you how to make it allergies notwithstanding,  so in my kitchen at home I’ll make food in the way I see best for my poorly child. 
Ellesmum
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Ocras68
I understand what you say, gentlesupport, but I’m afraid I don’t agree.  I agree with Ellesmum - I don’t see it as lying.  I saved my daughter by feeding her high fat, high calorie foods disguised any way possible. Respecting my daughter’s opinion on every morsel that passed her lips wouldn’t have got us anywhere except to death’s door. RAN is a serious and brutal illness, and as it is anosognosic and ego-syntonic those who suffer are unable to make logical decisions when in the grips of the illness.  Food is the medicine, and my daughter trusted me to save her by whatever means. 
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gentlesupport
Yes, but the difference is when you're giving a baby medicine they are just that, a baby. They aren't autonomous and can't think for themselves. It's ok to add fats and high calorie products but if your child asks whats in the food the best thing to do is tell the truth. Because what happens when they find out you haven't been honest? They'll have a worse break down then if you had just told them the truth and they wont trust you. 
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Ellesmum
When they are this I’ll they can’t think for themselves properly, just like that baby.

mine doesn’t really ask what’s in her food, I prepare a bowl of cereal for instance and she thinks that’s all she’s having.

 we promise our babies the moment they’re born we will take care of them and that’s exactly what we do.  
Ellesmum
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debra18
Whenever my daughter asked me, i said "trust me it has what you need"
She leaned to trust me even after a small cut that I know what to do. She trusts me about the weight she needs to be, and what I need to do with school intervention
 Yes, trust is very impirimpo but there are different ways to do it
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Ocras68
It is futile with ED to enter into discussion about the food.  If my daughter ever asked, I simply said, this is what you need, I’m looking after you.  The funny thing is that she now tells me that she knew all along that I was, for example, using whole milk instead of semi-skimmed, but there was a relief in not being told as it meant mum was in charge not the ED.
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Ronson
I don’t see it as lying.  I make the food - I don’t discuss with my d what it is cooked in or what the ingredients are.  It’s what she needs and she now accepts that 
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KLB
That may be the case later on in recovery but when they are very ill it's what they need. 

If my child had another illness I wouldn't sit and give him the breakdown of the lifesaving medication he needed. I'd tell him it was needed to save his life. If a diabetic has low blood sugar and becomes aggressive or agitated and refuses medication medical personnel give it to them anyway because it's to save their life and is in their best interest. 

My son's illness is anorexia nervosa. His medication is calories......food. His illness makes him refuse his medication. So I'm going to get it into him any way I can because I want him to live and I'm acting in his best interest. He does not have the capacity to consent to or withold consent to take his medication when he is very distressed, so I don't give him the option. 

When he is properly weight restored and his brain is on it's way to healing I hope he'll be more able to take his medication of his own accord. Until then, I will do what is necessary to save his life. 
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Oct18
I also don’t see it as anything but getting the “medicine” to be taken with the least possible stress to all concerned. If the exact content of each meal was discussed at this stage then nothing would be eaten.  When my d can make sensible choices for herself that will be a different matter 
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melstevUK
gentlesupport,

I suspect that, as a recovered sufferer from an eating disorder yourself, it must be very difficult for you to see the situation from the sole point of view of getting your child recovered.  You have the knowledge of how exactly how you would have felt had you been in your d's situation and I can imagine that creates huge tension for you.
However, I don't know how long ago it was since you were ill and when you recovered, but knowledge and understanding about eating disorders, and in particular of anorexia nervosa, has developed hugely in the past twenty years, and even moreso in the last ten years.  The notion of 'food is medicine' is useful - because it is now understood that the lack of nutrition and its impact on the brain affects certain individuals who are genetically and biologically susceptible to going down the path of an eating disorder, and that weight loss triggers changes in the brain that cause the illness to develop in the first place.
In the past, psychological interventions were used which looked at 'finding the root cause', persuading the patient to eat and to move away from the illness - and they more often ended in failure rather than success.  It is why the specialist hospitals were set up in the UK around the seventies - because so many patients were dying of these illnesses.
Ultimately all parents who are re-feeding at home have to find whatever works to get their child to eat and put on weight and   - more often that not -  reason and trying to get the child to eat what is required with persuasion simply do not work.  If somehow you have found a way to make eating and weight gain happen with reason and persuasion - maybe because you can share your own experiences that non-sufferers do not have - then that is fantastic.  
So what other parents are saying above is an expression of that - their children will not recover without eating and weight gain and quality nutrients.  I see it perhaps as being economical with the truth, rather than any dishonesty.  In the throes of an eating disorder the child is simply too terrified to make decisions about eating and that task has to be handed over to someone else.  
I hope this helps.  
Believe you can and you're halfway there.
Theodore Roosevelt.
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gentlesupport
[QUOTE username=melstevUK userid=882528 postid=1307588835]gentlesupport,
Actually having suffered an ed I know exactly whats best (most of the time haha I'm not a super mum) I know what worked for me and many ed suffers. I actually regularly conduct seminars about eating disorder recovery so am up to date with the current trends. It's 100% true that starvation exacerbates symptoms hugely BUT they are not the cause of ed's I know exactly what triggered mine and my d can somewhat verbalise hers. Genetics play a big role but there is always an underlying environmental cause and I think it's ignorant to assume it's purely physical (sorry don't mean to sound harsh, I'm sure you're very intelligent!). At the end of the day they are humans, even when their very ill. I was somewhat rational in the depths of my ed and always always appreciated honesty, I felt I trusted my parents more, even when they put more nutritionally dense ingredients into my food I learned to accept that and deal with the emotions that arose from eating them (not without tears of course). Ultimately you will gain a healthier relationship if you're just honest. Thanks for responding and I certainly value your opinion x
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debra18
What does underlying environmental cause mean?
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Anne_D
Gentlesupport, I’m confused.  Your profile says that you are a caregiver, but above you state that you regularly conduct seminars about eating disorder recovery.  Are you a professional here to give advice, or are you seeking support to help a loved recover from ED?  Maybe I’m misreading your posts, but it appears as though you’re aiming to promote a specific treatment approach, rather than seeking support from others.   
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gentlesupport
An outside influence like bullying, abuse, image conscious parents, overally controlling parents 
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Kali
Hi Gentlesupport, 
Please check your email for a note from the moderators.

Thank you,

Kali
Food=Love
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gentlesupport
[QUOTE username=Anne_D userid=6449645 postid=1307591677]
I am certainly not a health professional of any kind! I should've said I talk about my recovery and my d's recovery at seminars. I don't recommend any one treatment approach, more just whatever works for 🙂 
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gentlesupport

I am certainly not a health professional of any kind! I should've said I talk about my recovery and my d's recovery at seminars. I don't recommend any one treatment approach, more just whatever works for you 🙂 
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melstevUK
gentlesupport,

I see where you are coming from but I have to disagree with you.  The 'triggers' which may precipitate weight loss of course play a huge role.  They also play a role in each individual's interpretation and account of why they are doing what they are doing - it is human to try and make sense of what is happening.

BUT -it was an emphasis on each individual's 'story' and looking at 'root causes' which meant that for many years treatment was unsuccessful because there was a lot of patient-blaming and looking at the psychology rather than at what was happening to the brain and the importance of nutrition and weight gain.  Attempts were made to make the patient 'choose' recovery whereas ultimately there is no recovery without weight gain.  It is why the basis of FBT and re-feeding at home is about setting up an environment and circumstances where eating has to take place, whether the patient wants this or not, and in the kindest possible way.

And while you may well know why you became ill - you simply could not have become ill or anorexic because of environmental factors alone - there has to be a heritability for someone to go on this path.  In a million years I could never become anorexic - my physiology would not support it for a start.  I start to feel sick and faint if I go too long without food whereas my own d inherited her father's ability to go without food for hours.  He could have breakfast and make do with coffee until the evening.  So there are lots of factors involved, true, but ultimately weight loss is the main trigger, allowing the brain to 'flip' into an ed mode which weight loss in others would not trigger.  Fifty per cent of children fall into an eating disorder after a childhood illness - there is no attempt to diet, but the weight loss causes anxiety to start and the appetite does not 'kick back in'.  

It is good if you can share your experiences and encourage recovery in sufferers, and model that recovery is possible.  And I am very glad that you and your d have a good enough relationship that you can support her in her recovery too.  
My own d took eleven years to recover because we had no clinicians to support us in the requirement to eat - we had old school psychiatrists that thought the onus should be on my d to choose to gain weight, and she simply could not do it on her own, or even with my support.  But we got there in the end.
Believe you can and you're halfway there.
Theodore Roosevelt.
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debra18
There is not always an underlying environmental cause. That's just simply not true. 
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Francie
Hi Gentlesupport, For a very, very long time I agreed 100% with your opinion of not lying to my d. I also thought it was dishonest and would erode trust. But after so many years of seeing her struggle to feed herself I have recently begun occasionally 'sneaking' ingredients into her food, or rather, I am making more dense food and not revealing all the ingredients. I feel it is necessary at this time if she is to recover because left to her own choices she will continue the cycle of restrict, binge, purge, repeat. I do believe that it is a relief for her to not know everything that's in her food. I think this is a compassionate way to go. Someday, if we are lucky enough that she recovers, I will tell her the truth and apologize for what I did. Right now, though, I am doing what I think is best for her.

But you bring up a very good point about trust in a relationship and I respect that opinion and believe trust to be a necessary foundation for all good, healthy, loving relationships. The way I see it, when my daughter was healthy, she wouldn't ask what was in the food I served, but she had a healthy appetite and would eat anything and everything. Now that she has an ED, she often will ask about ingredients. When she asks, I know I am talking to ED, not her, and I do not trust nor want any relationship with ED.

Francie

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Oct18
Francie, I agree with you wholeheartedly and at the moment I couldn’t discuss food content with my D with any success at all. So I am sticking with my current approach 
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Ocras68
[QUOTE: An outside influence like bullying, abuse, image conscious parents, overally controlling parents]

Gentlesupport, you upset me greatly when you say there is “always” an underlying environmental cause.  This is back to the bad old days of blaming parents.  Thankfully medical knowledge has moved on, and recognises that although there may be environmental triggers, the bulk of the cause for an eating disorder is genetic.  If there is no genetic predisposition then all the bullying in the world won’t prepicitate anorexia or bulimia.  I worry that new parents to this forum will be affected by your outdated point of view.  “Overly controlling parents?”  This is beyond belief!

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KLB
Gentlesupport, I'm glad that you recovered from your eating disorder and glad that your daughter is doing well but I don't feel that you are offering support here. I feel you are offering judgement only. Your posts have been decidedly unhelpful (and at times offensive) to me personally. You say you are up to date with the current literature and evidence base on eating disorders but your posts contradict that statement. If you have, or know of, any evidenced-based resources to quantify your statements I would be interested in reading them. Do you have links, titles etc you can share? I would also be interested in attending one of your seminars. Where and when is the next one please? 
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tina72
Can anyone please inform gentlesupport that AN is a gen defect on gen nr. 12 and that neuroscience knows that since May 2017 and we do not need to discuss underlying issues any more?
This is no "gentle" support, this is no support at all. You join here and question evidence prooved therapy that is gold standard in many countries for decades. I am sick of blaming parents for what they are doing.
Come here again when your d is recovered, you will have a long hard way to go for that, and then, when you are on the other side of this tunnel you can start judging people or therapy that is offered here. Sorry for the rant. I do not want to hear that any more.
Keep feeding. There is light at the end of the tunnel.
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