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

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JDH
Its been exactly one year today we found out our D had an ED..
7 months since our D was discharged from IP.. 
She has done very well.
Eats 3 meals & 3 snacks a day with no arguments.. she is 5 kg’s above the weight the ED clinic says her ideal weigh should be.. her mood is much better, sometimes I have a hard time trying to decide if it’s teenage attitude or ED, like when I’m pulling her away from her friends to come have a snack or she has to leave a get together early to come have lunch when none of her friends are eating.. 
My question is she would like to return to dance.. when she was an IP they said she’d never dance again, now 7 months later, they say she’s doing so well she can return to dance.. 
I don’t want to set her up to fail by letting her return to a competitive team.. anyone ever put their child back into competitive sports? 
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deenl
Hi JDH,

It does my heart good to hear a sucess story. Well done to you all.

I have not had to deal with this issue at all but here are a few thoughts for what it's worth.
  • Start slowly. Perhaps a fun class for an hour a week. Non competitive, social based exercise would be where I would start. If you start to notice ED thoughts and behaviours, it is much easier to drop a fun class than to let down partners, teams, coaches, etc
  • What type of dance/team is it? Are they fiercely competitive? Is there a strong focus on how you look and being the correct weight? Do the coaches put health first, even at a cost to the team?
  • According to this blog post by the very well respected Kartini Clinic up to 50% of athletes will relapse when returned to their sport if compulsive exercise has been an element in their illness. Which, of course, means that 50% don't. In weighing up the risks I, personally, compare it to childhood leukemia (EDs have a similar mortality rate) Would I let my kid do something that would give them a 50/50 chance of getting leukemia again? For me, the answer is a clear no. BUT for someone else it might be worth the risk. Only you and your family have all the facts as they relate to your daughter.
  • If she does return to a form of exercise, she MUST be prepared to fuel the additional activity. Not to do so is to invite a slip/relapse. If she refuses to do so, I would take it as a sign that she is not ready to go back.
  • Has she had a period yet? And has it been regular for at least 3 months? These seem to be pretty standard requirements from treatment providers that I have seen over the years.
  • Your daughter is still very, very early in the recovery process. Physiological (the body) recovery happens first with psychological (the mind) recovery following, usually 6-12 months after. I would suspect (although you know your daughter best) that there is quite a big chance that the request to return to dance, especially a competitive team, is driven by ED. I know that my kid's requests sounded so reasonable and normal. It took quite a lot of trial and error (mostly error) for me to be able to figure out when the request was driven by ED compulsions and which were healthy, genuine requests by my son.
You can also use the search tool on the forum to see how other parents have wrestled with this topic in the past.

Warm wishes and well done again on getting so far in recovery,

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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JDH
Thanks for the quick reply... 

She did dance one day a week since May and the deal was she had to eat a snack between the 2 dances..  
She did a 4 day dance camp a few weeks ago, and seemed to be ok.. but her sister was there to make sure she ate.. 
The dance team is not focused on weight, but as any studio there is mirrors everywhere, and people for her to compare herself to.. 

Her period came back fairly quickly and has had 5 regular.. 

She hasn’t exercised since we came home in February.. She stretches her back every morning on a foam roller and does her ankle stretches (she is recovering from an ankle sprain) 

Every few weeks she tell me that she’s not a baby and that when she turns 18 she will pick her own breakfast.. not sure if that is ED or just  because she is 14 and has no choice in any meals. 

As a mom I am paranoid everything will set her back.. I don’t think mentally we as a family can go though it again... 




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deenl
JDH wrote:
As a mom I am paranoid everything will set her back.. I don’t think mentally we as a family can go though it again... 


Oh, I sooo get that. 
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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Foodsupport_AUS
Congratulations on getting your D to a much better place. It is normal to be anxious about going backwards and fearing relapse. It is a place that no one ever wants to go. As has been mentioned already there are risks of relapse when trying to increase activity and return to sport, however there are also risks of relapse at every transition in life. For example heading off to college, changing schools, having a baby. Those risks get less the further into recovery someone is but they never completely go away, after all all the research about this illness indicates that there are very strong biological factors at play which cannot be removed. 

You know your D best and the environment she is going into. I think the most important thing if she is going back is to have clear guidelines in your own mind and with your D as to what is required to continue in dancing. Don't be afraid of pulling things back if things are going badly. 

You mention your D has said she will choose her own breakfast at 18. Given her current age, I would also be encouraging that. If she is going to recover she needs to be able to feed herself and slowly but surely she needs to take back age appropriate self feeding. At 18 I would expect someone to be choosing their own meals appropriately for things like breakfast, preparing their own lunch if going out for the day or feeding themselves appropriately if they have to prepare their own meal. Parents being in charge of meals long term is not the aim of treatment, rather it allows their physical and mental health to recover so they can then take on this normal task themselves. 
D diagnosed restrictive AN June 2010 age 13.5. Weight restored July 2012. Relapse and now clawing our way back. Treatment: multiple hospitalisations and individual and family therapy.
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PurpleRain
Hello and congratulations on your d's recovery. When I'm not sure if it's ED or not, the reacción of my d if I say no, or I'm not sure or we'll see it's the key since I remember how she reacted before ED and even when sometimes it's tricky because she is 13 and it could be teenage attitude, I'm getting better at discerning that from ED, so how does your D reacts if you say "not yet" to going back to dance?
13 yo d started to eat "healthy" september 2018, she had a growth spur a bit later, followed by tummy bug. She started restricitng breakfast and school lunch in january 2019 (that we know). We are refeeding at home (succesfully I think) since the beginning of march.
I have found inner strenght, patience and compassion that i did not know I had. Never retreat, never surrender
Just keep feeding
 
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momon
I feel that if compulsive exercise was part of her illness, I would't do it. Period.  I say that as a parent who, if you read my recent post, had to fight for 6 years  to get full recovery. We let our d play sports but compulsive exercise was never her problem. In fact, she wouldn't do the runs on her own the soccer coach asked them to do and was happy to have long sports breaks. If I had seen the compulsion at all, I"d say no. I think that triggering the compulsion is the risk because you can just insist on calorie make up or they don't participate , which we did all along. And I think your mom spidey sense knows whether you have seen compulsion, if she is one who tries to hide her illness.
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teecee
Fortunately my D did not want to return to performance tennis and competing however 2 years in almost and she has started playing herself after coaching little kids for about a year - she wasn’t sure what she wanted for herself. Now she has a fab coach who knows everything and is so encouraging without any pressure whatsoever. A friend asked her to play competitive doubles in the local county championships this week (1st competition since falling ill) and she loved it. I think it’s important to reintroduce any exercise (especially if this was once used to purge calories) at an incredibly slow pace. 
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tina72
Is it possible to chose anyother dance team that is not going to competitions?
My d is dancing too (latin and standard) and we chose a team that is just meeting for 1,5 hours a week to have fun and dance together without any competition and that worlks well (she went back after WR 2 years ago).
Keep feeding. There is light at the end of the tunnel.
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