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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sunshine1974
My daughter was diagnosed at the age of 10.  She is now 15 and is relapsing.  This relapse seems different.  
In one month things deteriorated really quickly.  We have a lot of experience with FBT.  My other daughter is in recovery (she is 17 and was diagnosed three years ago with anorexia).  In spite of the knowledge and experience we have treating our daughters, I am finding it difficult to get my daughter to take even one bite of her food.  We have been working on re feeding for three weeks now.  I have tried every angle suggested by Eva Musby.  I am trying not to panic.  But last night I found myself breaking down and weeping at the dinner table after sitting there for three hours with my daughter.  I DO NOT want to send her the hospital (for a lot of reasons).  I am feeling tired and losing hope.  We have seen very little if any progress over the past three weeks, if anything things have worsened.  Any advice?
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mamabear

Have you tried using anything possible as leverage? The phone being a big one? Friends? 

i know a woman recently who had someone agree to take their dog if her daughter did not eat. It worked- she ate. 


I know it sounds awful and cruel but we do what we have to do. 

Persistent, consistent vigilance!
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Torie
A couple ideas that work some of the time:

1)  Spoon feed her like you did when she was a baby;
2)  Wake her up at least an hour before normal wake up time with smoothie (or whatever) in hand "Here, drink this and then you can go back to sleep."

So sorry you are saddled with this challenge at this time of extra complications.  

Thinking of you xx

-Torie
"We are angels of hope, of healing, and of light. Darkness flees from us." -YP 
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Foodsupport_AUS
Sorry that things seem to be going backwards. It sounds like you have a ton of experience with re-feeding your two daughters over a number of years. I am sure you have tried all the old tactics as well as some suggested by Eva and many others. 

At the moment what happens if you sit it out?
Is your D motivated by rewards or consequences more?
Given she is 15 what new motivators are there that are different from when she was 10? 

How are you managing things other than with re-feeding. Do you have any other supports, back up? 
D diagnosed restrictive AN June 2010 age 13. Initially weight restored 2012. Relapse and continuously edging towards recovery. Treatment: multiple hospitalisations and individual and family therapy.
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teecee

Hello there I’m sending you virtual hugs and warm wishes. It’s so tough..especially with two sick children 🙁
Have you done LSUYE (life stops until you eat) we did it as a way of aggressively refeeding. It was tough but so worth it to get the weight on quickly. 

 

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sunshine1974
All of these are great! And scary for me. I feel so worn out from the last five years of ED and other huge life challenges.  How do I present these consequences so that they don’t seem like punishments? Motivators or rewards don’t work? Do I sit there ALL day and night? She sometimes refuses the replacement drink as well. 
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teecee
Well LSUYE is a rather horrid version of the current lockdown...you’re effectively saying that she is the priority, nothing else...not the phone, friends, Xbox....etc. Whatever she takes interest in. No 1 priority is the food...everything else second. So I would say...”of course you can use your phone to speak to your friend, AFTER you have this bowl of pasta” 
Its not a punishment however it is a requirement for her to eat the food before the phone (or whatever). Use Netflix or game of cards as distraction. Netflix was always on when we ate...
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needhelp
First - a big hug : )
You might find, as teecee said, using all the things she likes as rewards.  My D would get into a zone with her computer (ironically watching cooking shows) and it made it much easier for her to complete a meal and eat what was necessary. I found distraction to be very helpful.  The only thing she was not allowed to do was drive if she didn't eat - because I told her she did not have the right to endanger anyone else.  Denying is very hard work - but rewarding makes you the GOOD GUY - which is wayyyyy easier - teecee outlined it great with that "of course you can ___ AFTER____."  I know, easier said than done -- but I think we have all experienced it in the way that it is really rough at first, but then that system gets a little easier (and I think always a bit easier with a distraction - and since we are not  TV family with the TV anywhere near the kitchen or dining room - the whole video watching thing was a big switch - but well worth it!).  Here's one more hug for good luck!!
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Foodsupport_AUS
Sometimes yes you do have to just sit it out as teecee has mentioned, all day and sometimes all night. For some kids they have to know just how seriously you are going to address this to be able to eat. My D was a tough case. There were times that nothing was going to make her eat. We could and did sit there for more than 24 hours, she fell asleep where she sat, but she still could not eat. Mine did need numerous hospitalisations with the back of a NG tube to be able to eat. Interestingly she either ate all or not at all. If she said she wasn't eating it, it never went in. I can count on one hand the number of times something changed, she took a mouthful when she said she couldn't. 

Kids with ED do tend to be more sensitive to consequences than rewards, this is part of the neurobiology of eating disorders. She may therefore be more willing to eat to avoid an aversive consequence (not punishment) than work towards a reward. 
D diagnosed restrictive AN June 2010 age 13. Initially weight restored 2012. Relapse and continuously edging towards recovery. Treatment: multiple hospitalisations and individual and family therapy.
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sunshine1974
So I decided to take her phone until she ate. Took her door - no secret exercising. No walks, bike, park - burning extra calories she can’t spare. She’s livid! Declared a hunger strike! Then replaced snack with Boost last night and went to bed after freaking out. This is so hard! I feel mean and she can almost convince me that I am being just terrible and not the ‘mama that she knows’. She is genuinely the kindest , most caring, sweetest, loving person I know WITHOUT the ED. :/
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teecee
Breathe.....you did great. Remember she CAN have her phone, you’re not taking it away, but AFTER she has eaten. And so again at every meal and snack. No food...no phone. You’re the BEST mum because you’re saving her life 😊❤️❤️
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Torie
One of the really terrible things about this vile illness is that we the parents have the be the ones who administer the (oh so bitter) medicine.  If cancer moms were required to be the ones to administer the chemo to their kids or stitch up their lacerations after a bicycle accident, well, being in the bad guy role is always much worse than having the luxury of watching someone else take the heat.

You know this, but perhaps it provides a tiny comfort to see it spelled out:  YOU ARE NOT THE BAD GUY HERE!!!  You are doing hero's work.  

Sometimes it helps (a little) to point out that YOU are not the problem here - AN is the problem.  When I had to enforce a difficult rule, I often said, "I'm so sorry.  It really sucks to have AN."  I think that helped my d see that I was not going to take the blame for the problems caused by ED.  

Hang in there.  Your d is lucky to have you. xx

-Torie
"We are angels of hope, of healing, and of light. Darkness flees from us." -YP 
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MKR
Sending strength to you!!

I agree that at age 15 Rewards and Consequences are different to those at age 10. And you are right in finding the current leverage.

I hope your daughter regains enough weight soon!
Mum's Kitchen

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