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

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whenwillthisbeover
Prior to D's illness, she was a strong athlete and did several sports.  This obviously was part of the reason that led us to serious weight loss and ED.  She stopped all sports for several months during refeeding until she was within her target range and we've slowly let her ease back into one team sport.  She's doing much better overall and most recently eliminated some of the weird eating behaviors.  Now we are making sure that she continues to gain as she gets older and continues to have a variety of foods.  We have a contract in place where she needs to be a minimum weight and not do any weird food behaviors in order to play her sport.  So far it's been working. 

She used to do many sports and now is primarily focused on one and is starting to really excel.  She's interested in doing some camps this summer and talking about playing in college, which is still over 4 years away as since still in middle school.  I realize this is very risky, but I was wondering if anyone has a success stories where their son or daughter recovered from ED and went onto successfully play their sport competitively in HS and then in college?  Or am I being a complete fool for thinking this is even possible?
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MKR
Hi @whenwillthisbeover,

It is soooooo good to hear all your systems are working well. Especially when tackling ED behaviours. 

I would wait and see. By the time your daughter is in high school, her interests might change. Then you will be able to see which sports were ED-driven and which she genuinely loved. But in general, I would stay well away from endurance sports, because as you probably know, with ED kids they induce the feel-good hormone rather than feeling of fatigue. I have seen runners with ED go through cycles of relapses.

Well done and all the best, 
Mum's Kitchen

14-y-o "healthy living" led to AN in 2017 and WR at 16. Current muscle dysmorphia.
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whenwillthisbeover
Thank you MKR.  That is good advise.  I will add by saying that prior to ED she was doing gymnastics, track, and tennis.  Now I know better!  Track and gymnastics are highly susceptible to ED!  She is now focused on lacrosse and loves it (team sport!) and plays tennis more recreationally.
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MKR
Sounds great! And making friends at the same time!!
Mum's Kitchen

14-y-o "healthy living" led to AN in 2017 and WR at 16. Current muscle dysmorphia.
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ValentinaGermania
Invite the tennis team to have pizza together afterwards. If that is no problem, it is your d that wants to play tennis. If that IS a problem, it is ED that wants to play tennis.
I cannot help with a success story, I do not know any recovered patient that went back to a lot of sport. Most of them cannot eat enough to burn more calories than they already do. My d goes dancing once a week only 1,5 hours and needs to have a double snack before that (600 instead of 300) to be able to do that.
Keep feeding. There is light at the end of the tunnel.
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KLB
I have researched this a fair bit as my son was an elite level athlete (swimmer) prior to diagnosis and we are slowly reintroducing his training. He was diagnosed late August 2018 and is just about weight restored now (18 months after diagnosis). 

There is a very, very high relapse rate for athletes with previous ED. More than 50% will relapse. I do think I recall reading on here (might have been somewhere else though) of a couple of cases where the kid recovered and went on to continue in their sport, which gives me a little hope, but it’s rare I think. I can’t tell you how much I fear for his future, nor how guilty I will feel if (when) he does relapse. I remain hopeful that I can catch him before he spirals too far downwards. His weight restoration is fragile. I think our saving grace is his ED came about due to RED-S (relative energy deficiency in sport) due to a combination of overtraining and diet restriction. He then just spiralled, we didn’t notice and it grew into full blown AN. His motivation, therefore, is somewhat different to others and we’ve used that to aid his recovery. 

I think with an athlete you need to plan for relapse prevention. So for us, we still weigh him weekly and this will continue for a very long time. We have a contract in place. If he falls below a certain weight all training is stopped. He has to continuing gaining to add more training sessions. He’s realising that it’s hard for him to gain weight to add more sessions, which has helped us be able to add extra calories. He’s been aiming for an additional training session for weeks now but still hasn’t made the agreed weight. To be able to train other activity is restricted. It’s been a real slog and will continue to be for a long time. You also need to maintain an open dialogue on food as fuel. No fuel = no training. Fuel = training = enhanced performance. I watch him like a hawk. I plate all his food still. “Feed, Plan, Prepare and Prevent” is my motto at the moment. 
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PurpleRain
Look for trusttheprocessUSA posts. His son returned to play soccer successfully if I remember correctly.
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
 
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blondie
I've no personal experience of this but remember reading about a young lady called Eloise who was a very promising lacrosse player until she developed anorexia - but recovered and has since become a top level athlete - I found her blog here which explains a bit morehttps://eloisedulu.wordpress.com/2015/09/29/from-black-to-gold-my-journey-from-the-dark-side-of-anorexia-to-claiming-the-podium/
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Hope42019
Our D is 15 and in high school. Sports have always been a part of her life. She wasn’t compulsive about exercise but she is competitive. She developed anorexia after a mission to eat “healthy” which did not include enough calories for her to do sports and thus had to drop out. After brief acute hospitalization, FBT at home, and when she was at a safe weight our psychologist agreed it was safe to let her ease into sports again as long as she was continuing to gain weight. The sports honestly pulled her out of the severe depression. She requires more calories to do sports but it has been worth it to us to see her happy again after 8 months of depression. I know it would be easier to manage the food and calories if she wasn’t doing sports but it has motivated her to eat. We too made a contract that if she didn’t eat x amount of calories or lost weight no practice/game. She knew we weren’t kidding and she kept her end of the bargain with a lot of push on our end as ED was fierce at the beginning. She even gained 3 more lbs the last 3 months while playing ball.  I know sports can be frowned upon in ED recovery but for us it has helped bring our daughter back. We have a ways to go (Fear foods, ED behaviors) but at least the deep depression and self harm are gone. That has been our experience so far. 
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KLB
Same with us. Allowing him to return to swimming actually helped us manage his exercise compulsion, and his mood and motivation to fight against the ED was improved. It means a much slower journey to weight restoration and recovery but that’s the payoff I guess. 
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kkhrd
I don't have as much relatable experience since my D wasn't doing an extreme sport, at least not her team anyhow, but My D is a cheerleader, and there are a TON of pitfalls with cheer and anorexia, similarly to gymnastics, and competition cheer can be extremely dangerous for anorexics.  Her coach has said some terrible things to the girls about being too fat to fly, stuff like that.  Anyhow, my D is in recovery and she managed to return to the sport even with all the pitfalls in place.  She knew that in order to cheer she had to add additional food on days that she had practice.  She also knew that cheer was out if she couldn't continue to gain weight.  I knew that she was doing better because she went from never wanting to miss a single practice, to being a normal teen who didn't feel like going because Coach was going to make them run today.  She plans on cheering in college and I'm not going to lie...  It terrifies me.  On one hand I want her to have that community, that support of friends while she's away at school, but I do worry about the level of intensity that she may encounter on a college varsity team.  We still have the same rules in place about having to maintain her weight in order to cheer, but with her being away I worry that it can unravel quickly.  I am sure others worry about this with or without a sport in college however.  I think that because your D is a younger age, you do have time to fully watch over and make sure things are not going awry.  You will know if that starts to happen, and you can step in.  I don't think you are a fool for thinking your D can play a HS sport if she truly loves it for the sport.  More often than not, the love of a sport can provide added motivation to get better and stay better.  Good luck and do keep us posted.
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deenl
I am sure that all of you experienced mamas know this already but it bears repeating, especially for people reading along. The minimum weight for a teen or young adult should be increasing over time, even when they have stopped growing. If they are not gaining weight then it has the same effect on their bodies and the illness as losing weight.

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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kkhrd
Deenl I'm not sure if that was directed at me because I said maintain instead of gain.  If so I stand corrected... of course she is still changing and growing, and continuing to gain throughout college is of utmost importance, and our complete focus for her.
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deenl
It was not directed at anyone! More for the people who read along and don't post. It's one of the things that can't really be said enough when dealing with teens and young adults, I think. Love that you are looking out for your daughter so well.

Hugs,

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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MKR
Yesterday at a kids' camp weekend I watched teens and pre-teens line up for lunch and dinner twice, or even three times. The younger boys were shovelling the roast, veggies etc and I stood bewildered, Where does it all go? 😀 Keep going, kids!
Mum's Kitchen

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

Thank you all for your responses. D continues to do well with the contract we have in place in order for her to participate in sports. It really has been a motivator for her and has been the key leverage for us. 

Now I’m finding that I’m the one that is easily triggered by ED. If there’s something she doesn’t want to eat one day or doesn’t finish a bite or two, I turn into this crazy person I don’t even recognize and start my yelling and screaming for her to finish and eat ever last single bite on her plate. How do you know when to start being more flexible with how much and what she eats? I’ve been the one in charge for so long, it’s been really hard to let go. I’m in therapy now and will likely be going on meds. It’s just crazy that I used to be so relaxed and now the smallest things will set me off, especially if it’s related to food. How long does it take for the primary care giver to recover and go back to being a normal person?

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Enn

 How long does it take for the primary care giver to recover and go back to being a normal person?



I will let you know when it happens here. It has been three years but things are better. We will be ever watchful, but the anxiety will lessen over time. Watching to see her make good choices, not losing weight  and gaining appropriately step by step. We are three years now and d makes good choices. I watch to ensure she is eating well for herself and not scared of food and eating a variety. We are still at 3 meals and 3 snacks (2 snacks on weekends). 
It will come. Hold on.
Big hug
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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MKR
How do you know when to start being more flexible with how much and what she eats? ... How long does it take for the primary care giver to recover and go back to being a normal person?


I think so long as you do all the preparing and serving the meals/snacks - and your daughter's only job is eating, you should be fine. In other words, your daughter will find it easier to cope when she doesn't have to make decisions about the meals (what and how much).  If she eats without a fuss, you can relax. But if she does, however start commenting on the ingredients, it's a sign you should insist all is eaten.

By the way, you are doing really great, finding motivation for both of you!
Mum's Kitchen

14-y-o "healthy living" led to AN in 2017 and WR at 16. Current muscle dysmorphia.
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ValentinaGermania
Now I’m finding that I’m the one that is easily triggered by ED. If there’s something she doesn’t want to eat one day or doesn’t finish a bite or two, I turn into this crazy person I don’t even recognize and start my yelling and screaming for her to finish and eat ever last single bite on her plate. How do you know when to start being more flexible with how much and what she eats? I’ve been the one in charge for so long, it’s been really hard to let go. I’m in therapy now and will likely be going on meds. It’s just crazy that I used to be so relaxed and now the smallest things will set me off, especially if it’s related to food. How long does it take for the primary care giver to recover and go back to being a normal person?


Haha, same here!
One day I bought by incident a "light" salat sauce. My d saw it and said to me: "If I had bought that by incident, you would not believe me it was "by incident"." And I must say she was right...🙂

How do you know when to start to be more flexibel? You learn to trust her by time. In year one you do not trust her at all. In year 2 you start to trust some days. In year 3 you learn that you can trust her again and that she can do that. It takes time to get back to that "normal person" but you can. I am quite relaxed today for an AN mum I think 😁...
Keep feeding. There is light at the end of the tunnel.
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kkhrd
I'm still working on that too.  My D was caught throwing her food away a year ago, after I was sure that we were in a good place of trust, and to be honest it changed everything for me.  I try to trust in small increments, but I'm still wary of her, and it is really hard.  I think this becomes a learned response for both sides.  Something I recently read about AN was that they need the practice and repetition to get comfortable with eating and learning through practice that doing so is SAFE.  I feel the same goes for the carer.  As I trust and continue to see improvements and changes for the better in her behavior, I relax a bit more, but it is a slow process.  Unfortunately we are only one misstep back to the beginning and I think that is where it can be so hard on the carer.  Once you are in a place of trust things feel normal again, but just like the disease it can change on a dime, so we as carers need to be ever vigilant.  That being said I think it does happen in time.  I often look to Tina, and other seasoned carers for hope.  If I look back on my own experience I see major improvements in not only her behavior, but my own.  I still watch her pour her juice, but I don't have to do it for her anymore.  I trust that she's eating when she goes out with her friends or eats school lunch, but I still portion her dinner plate and serve her ice cream.  Its a balance, at least for now, and I'm learning slowly to give up some control, but it is the hardest piece for me, because as carers, all the hard work that we have put towards getting our child back to health could be quickly undone if we aren't watchful, but the freedom, I can imagine, when that happens is going to be glorious.  Keep at it and don't be so hard on yourself.  It will get easier with time and practice.
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evamusby_UK

I'm not aware of any good research on going back to one's intensive sport. So the stories told here are useful.

Another story, for those checking out personal experiences, is this one. I find it useful because in this case, the son's competitive diving turned out to be holding him back:

https://themighty.com/2018/02/no-sports-eating-disorder-recovery-parent/
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Eva Musby, mother, author, produces lots of resources for parents at https://anorexiafamily.com and on YouTube https://www.youtube.com/user/EvaMusby/playlists
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