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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Bobs
Hi everyone, we received our daughter’s diagnosis of Anorexia today. We will be following a meal plan and wonder how others deal with your child socialising without you being there to supervise meals and snacks. Do we only let her socialise outside of meal and snack times or give her a little leeway? 
15 year old D. Started to feel low summer 2019. Fall out with friends October 2019. Depressed, self-harming and suicidal from January 2020. Diagnosed with AN July 2020. Slowly coming out of it and feeling hopeful for the future.
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Hendrixt
Hi Bobs. Like you our D was only diagnosed recently (2 months ago) so there are others on this website who are much more experienced and who I’m sure will give you much better advice than me. 

All I can say from my limited knowledge is that the meal plan must come first above everything else including socialising. Not one single meal can be missed as you urgently need to restore any weight that has been lost and that this will be an enormous task. 

In the first few weeks I cannot imagine how
our D would have been able to engage in any social activity. If we had left her to eat unsupervised she just would simply not have eaten, even then, a lot of meals were still not eaten or left unfinished. Every meal, including snacks and main meals was a battle. Getting her to eat some meals took hours and one meal would roll into the next meal. Our lives were just taken over by the task of getting through the emotional roller coaster of getting from one meal to the next. 

Our D was not in a fit state, emotionally, to even want to socialise and, if she had been, we still would not have allowed her time away from us unless this could have been done between meals. 

I would definitely agree with your question and only allow social activities to take place between meal times, including snacks. Our 13yrs old D is now very close to the weight she was when she first started restricting in January so we are starting to experiment with allowing this. For example, yesterday she spent the afternoon with some school friends around the park outside our house. I gave her her lunch around 1.15 and she went out, but only on the condition that she returned by 4pm for her snack.

Later next month she wants to go to the gay pride march with her friends, an all day event. We have said we will allow this but that we will be in the area. She will have her breakfast at 8.30 supervised by us, then a snack around 10:45 (these meals will be loaded with a few extra calories in case there are any mishaps later in the day). After morning snack we will drive her to the city centre and she will meet her friends. Around 1pm she will break off from her friends and meet us for her lunch and then return to her friends. If she doesn’t complete the meal she knows we will take her straight home. The same will happen for her snack at 4pm. During both meetings we can check her physical condition. She is not happy with it but she knows we will not allow her to go unless she agrees to this. 

This may sound excessive but when you have gone through the nightmare of refeeding you will understand. 

My advice is, at this very early stage, you need to supervise every single meal and you need to watch her like a hawk, before, during, and after the meal to support her through her anxiety and to prevent any purging. 

I really do wish you the best of luck. 
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ValentinaGermania
To be honest, there will not be much socialising in the first weeks of refeeding. With 3 meals 3 snacks there is not much time in between and most need more than an hour for eating so again less time for other things. Most of the dark days are filled with eating, eating and eating.
And in addition most patients do not want to eat with others at the start.

No meals/snacks without supervision at the beginning. What you did not see going in is normally not eaten. Do not trust any friend that will swear she has eaten in his company.

If she is used to the 3 meals and 3 snacks rule and can eat in a normal time she can meet friends in between meals. Best is to invite them to your home so you can avoid that they go to the gym or run through the park. Some eat better with witnesses so if she is o.k. with having friends around for meals that can be a good think too. But only if the friend are o.k. with eating with her together and no other thin girls eating only salad around.

Socialising will get better when you are in FBT for some time and after she is WR she can slowly learn to eat out with friends again. But not in the early days.
Keep feeding. There is light at the end of the tunnel.
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debra18
At the beginning my daughter used going to friend's houses as an excuse to not eat so I had to put that on hold. She went only to school where she was supervised and home where I supervised her.
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Enn
Hello and welcome,
This forum is so full of helpful advice from those with lived experience!
Please  ask all the questions you have. You say your d was only just diagnosed today, so the  first thing is to get going on regular meals and snacks. We did, and still do, 3 meals and 2-3 snacks. That would be my priority before considering socializing. 
How is she eating for you now? 
Please read around the forum and read all you can about EDs. The more informed you are, the better armed you will be. I did find at the beginning I was so overwhelmed that I could only read about refeeding and the issues involved with that, then  over time when I was just in a better state myself, I was able to read more.
i know so many others will be around soon to welcome and support you!
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)
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Enn
Also if you wish to share her age, we can be more specific with age appropriate advice.
Are you with a specialized ED team and doing FBT? 
Welcome again,
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)
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Bobs
Thanks everyone for taking the time to reply and give good advice. 
She is 15 and has been restricting her eating since January. She has also self harmed, had low mood and suicidal thoughts. These have seemingly gone now but the restricted eating has taken more of a hold. She has been attending ED clinic weekly for about 6 weeks and got her diagnosis and eating plan yesterday.
15 year old D. Started to feel low summer 2019. Fall out with friends October 2019. Depressed, self-harming and suicidal from January 2020. Diagnosed with AN July 2020. Slowly coming out of it and feeling hopeful for the future.
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sk8r31
Another warm welcome to you Bobs, though sorry you have a need to be here.
As others have mentioned, full focus on nutritional rehabilitation is key; all meals and snacks should be supervised as your d has just been diagnosed.  Allowing your d to socialize between meals & snacks is great. We also had friends come to the house in the early days, and d could have her snack with friends.  This may or may not work for you.  For some, it would be too much stress at the beginning to have others around for meals and snacks.  Our d tended to eat fairly well with an 'audience', but this is not always the case for others.
Ask all your questions, and read up as much as you can.  Knowledge is power, and can give you confidence to push ahead on this challenging journey.
Sending warm support,
sk8r31
It is good to not only hope to be successful, but to expect it and accept it--Maya Angelou
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Kali

Welcome, Bobs!

Your instincts are right, letting her socialize outside of mealtimes is the best way to go right now. 
We had a lot of "I ate with my friend" or "I had dinner at my friends house" which I did not realize at the time were lies; our daughter later admitted it to us.

How many calories a day is the meal plan? In our case the meal plan was adjusted to add more calories as refeeding and weight gain got underways. 

There is an excellent thread with high calorie meal suggestions here if you would like to take a look:

https://www.aroundthedinnertable.org/post/high-calorie-suggestions-696425

warmly,

Kali

 

Food=Love
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teecee
A warm welcome from the north of England. 
My D was also 15 when diagnosed with RAN and had suicidal ideation. She did not want to socialise readily during refeeding but did want independence. This was a motivator for her as we did Life Stops Until You Eat approach...supervising her 24/7 as we had a safety plan in place due to low mood/suicidal thoughts. 
She mostly complied because she hated not being able to do anything without us giving it the ok. 
I welcomed her seeing friends but she was too exhausted mostly. It only happened in between meals and snacks though. 
Food is the priority in the early days to WR. 
Virtual hugs. Keep swimming
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Mamaroo
I would use socialising as an incentive, say something like: "you can visist your friends AFTER you've eaten". This has helped my d to finish a snack quickly. Can you invite the friend over and give them both snacks. I've done this often and just kept an eye on them to ensure the dog wasn't fed.
D became obsessed with exercise at age 9 and started eating 'healthy' at age 9.5. Restricting couple of months later. IP for 2 weeks at age 10. Slowly refed for months on Ensures alone, followed by swap over with food at a snails pace. WR after a year at age 11 in March 2017. View my recipes on my YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCKLW6A6sDO3ZDq8npNm8_ww
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Bobs
Thanks again everybody for replying. She had a pre-arranged (before diagnosis and meal plan introduction on Friday)invite from a school friend on Saturday. We let her go as she has previously been very socially isolated. 
Yesterday was our first proper day of FBT (getting used to abbreviations!) and we survived...just! Very upset/cross by how much food was expected to be eaten. 
Day 2 today and just about to begin. 
I’m hoping to continue working as it is part-time and I have support from husband and mum. I work as a librarian in a public library so can bring her with me and my line manager and staff are very understanding.
Thanks again everyone, it is good to not feel alone in this process. 
15 year old D. Started to feel low summer 2019. Fall out with friends October 2019. Depressed, self-harming and suicidal from January 2020. Diagnosed with AN July 2020. Slowly coming out of it and feeling hopeful for the future.
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