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

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There was a great thread here last year about all these problems ED families have with feasts and holy days and big meals and the gathering there. I cannot find it any more, can someone help with that?
I fear it was from Toothfairy and therefor is deleted now...

Anyway, we need that here so maybe we can start a new one. What do you do with these events?
I remember that we had a very small and reduced Christmas in the first year after refeeding. We had the traditional meal but not many people around (only the grandparents) and I plated all food for all of us. I also remember that we had a reduced number of gifts as my d did not feel comfortable with presents at that time. We ate at the same time as always and tried to keep as much routine as possible through the holy days.

Any more ideas? Tipps?

Here is an article of wonderful Carrie Arnold about what an ED patient thinks about that:
Keep feeding. There is light at the end of the tunnel.
Hey T, I see you changed your name, luckily you didn not change your profile and signature or I might not have recognized you ha ha. Great topic.
I have no tips but would like to see what other people say, since i´m preparing (more like dreading) for this coming christmas, my first since we noticed somehing was wrong with D. She was already eating "healthy" wich of course meant restricting meat, dairy, processed food and god knows what else, but she wasn´t skiping meals until after (and because of) christmas. I believe she started the year as so many others, trying to get back on track after the (perceived or real) overating and weight gain, so I am of course nervous. She has been eating so well and in a good state, she sometimes chooses between 2 or 3 appropiate options, but I´m afraid of christmas trigering her (is already trigering ME). I read Carrie´s post, the thing is where I live is not just a day as she says, it goes on and on with school christmas festivities (actually we have one today already!!!) and extended family reunions, and work celebrations, and the day when we prepare food (2 days actually, one with my H family and one with my mom), and dinner on christmas eve, then christmas, then brunch with my dad on the 26th, and then new year and then we do somethin called the wise men celebration on the 6th of january! with more food and hot chocolate and more gifts, so really it is a big marathon of food and family. I'm not a fan in the best of times, and this year it just feels overwhelming.
Ok end of vent! hope to hear from everyone!
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
We had much reduced Christmases for several years after ED came to town. The first Christmas was touch and go for yet another admission, I think it would have been her fifth, but she was admitted a few days after Christmas. That Christmas I just fed her as much as I could of what she was eating, no family guests, no outings. If out she wouldn't eat at all, and guests didn't help either. 
The second Christmas after ED she was still really struggling with food variety but was eating much better. We didn't try to change the variety that year, she had her usual boring food, but she ate her full meals. At the time she was still self harming regularly and suicidal. We had some close relatives over who were well aware of her illness and knew to say nothing. 
We really tried to keep things low key, for my D anxiety was huge all of the time, she struggled to celebrate anything. 
This year will be our 10th Christmas post ED, we are back to normal celebrations, normal foods - lots of it - and I expect D to eat well. She likes to take charge of dessert and normally comes up with a spectacular new dish. She always does a home made ice cream to go with it as her favourite uncle has a thing for ice cream. 
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.
My tips based on the one disastrous Christmas we have experienced are:
1. Don’t travel to stay with family if your kid is in early refeeding
2. Don’t expect family to understand even if you spend ages beforehand explaining
3. Accept that Christmas can be very stressful and don’t get caught up in emotional expectations/pressures to do family stuff/“normal”Christmas - whether that is pressure from others/pressure from your child or pressure from yourself. Modify your expectations downwards. 
No-one needs extra pressure. Refeeding is stressful enough. 
Courage is not the absence of despair; it is rather the capacity to move ahead in spite of despair
We also had a very reduced Christmas. No event hopping, no family meetings but a small one at our house (that was simple as family has let us down anyway), a reduced meal so that it was a bit a Christmas menue but not totally different from other days. It is like with weekends, changes in routine are a big problem at the beginning.
My d also had big problems with presents and did not want to have any. We decided not to give in to that as it was ED but to give her only one from parents and one from grandparents. That worked well.
We have a lot of special Christmas sweets here in Germany and I remember that we introduced them in small portions with her meal plan and made it part of afternoon snack so she was allowed to eat them (and forced 🙂).
We had no chocolate advent calendar in year 1, but one with small useful things in it that did not look like "presents". Soap and ponytails and such things...
Keep feeding. There is light at the end of the tunnel.
Great ideas @ValentinaGermania!

Christmas should be a time to show family love in many ways. And time to show charity to the disadvantaged. At least that's the official line in NZ, trying to move away from consumerism.

I like your suggestion of Christmas menu but in everyday quantities. We will definitely do that. And the Advent Calendar with little practical gifts.

Christmas with my in-laws has always caused me stress, even pre-children because of all the pressure on food quantities. I fear that some of my anxiety has passed onto my kids. I have not made any comments since the onset of ED.

I don't go to church but have a special outing at Christmas. Here we go to the beach and when in Europe, we go for a romantic walk or play in the snow if lucky to score a White Christmas. 

Think of games to play as a family to reinforce the message of love, and show ED you are the cool guys that your child wants to hang out with. 

My other suggestion is to stay clear of shopping malls and their overwhelming Carols, decorations and other hype, keep any anxiety at bay.  Even if your child stays calm while there, you may pay the price with a tantrum once you get home.

Mum's Kitchen

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