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.

Join these conversations already in progress:
• Road To Recovery - Stories of Hope
• Events for Parents and Caregivers Around the World
• Free F.E.A.S.T Conference Videos

Visit the F.E.A.S.T website for information and support.

If you need help using the forum please reach out to one of the moderators (listed below), or email us at bronwen@feast-ed.org.

Kiwimum03
Hi everyone I am from NZ and I'm following FBT with help from professionals. Our daughter was diagnosed with AN in January this year (2019). She spent 11 weeks in hospital and discharged home almost 4 weeks ago. Our daughter (15 yrs) makes almost all meal times an agony for us all by going overtime and by refusing the supplementary drink. This has got worse since discharge from hospital and I know it's partly because she is nearly at her target weight. The anorexic minx has taken up residence!

Any tips you have to help this would be much appreciated
Quote
workingthrough
My only advice is to not back down. If you give her (or rather, the ED) an inch, it will take a mile. Keep requiring full meals, fear foods, finishing complete plate, etc. Work on things as you can - we included more and more new/fear foods with time, shortened meal times as we went, etc. It’s exhausting but you have to just keep pushing. Try to trade off with your spouse/use any supports you have (cleaning, errands, shopping) to make life as easy on you as you can . . . its a marathon, but the more you can stay consistent, firm and follow through the sooner you’ll be able to make your way out. 

We’re still making our way out - but that ^^ is what we’ve found to be best for s. 

Hugs!! It is SO hard and such a journey. You’re doing great!!! We also met great resistance as weight went up and up. It does get better, you’ll start to see more good than bad days — you will! 
Quote
workingthrough
Just wanted to add -

If she’s not finishing her meals/drinks or keeping rules with times I’d *possibly* push (or threaten) higher level of care. How does your team respond? Does she finish in time? 

Honestly, we just kept seeing if we gave ED a chance to skip even a crumb we were back in . . . we had to stay firm as ever, it is exhausting. 

Do you you have any incentives that work? Friends? School? Technology? We held all of those things until meals were met.
Quote
debra18
Distractions like reading books, watching TV, playing games, art projects. My daughter read books while eating. She didn't even notice that she was eating.
Quote
Kiwimum03
Thanks both of you for your replies we play word games which is working really well. it's easy to let a little bit of food slip (I.e no get eaten) but you have renewed my will to  fight -kia ora/ thank you
Quote
workingthrough
I’m so with you. Add in that it’s nonstop, five/six times a day with meals + snacks, day after day and yesssss . . . 

Keep holding on. 

We sometimes took a meal off hard, hard fear foods as much for our sanity as s’s. We all have days we just have to breathe.

I try to regularly remind myself that the sooner they eat, the sooner we’re hopefully out of all of this + have a better chance at full recovery. 

We’re in a stage where we’ll have a few good days in a string and then all of sudden a certain meal/quantity, last few bites are hard. So badly I want to give in, because overall he’s eaten x, y, and z, but every.single.time I do, I realize it’s still ED and we’re back to climbing out. 

You’re in the thick. Keep doing all you can. You’re doing wonderfully!! 

We did a lot of you tube, TV, etc. also. Keep posting here - we will cheer you on!! 
Quote
Kiwimum03
thanks so much Workingthrough How long has your child had an eating disorder?
Quote
tina72
Hi Kiwimum and a really warm welcome from Germany!
It is normal that it gets harder around WR. We then changed to blind weighing so my d did not know any more how much her weight was and how much she gained otherwise we would never had got her WR because she fought us very hard with these last 3-4 kg. Do you do blind weighing or open weighing?
Did you already set a time limit for meals and offer an incentive if she manages to eat in the time? Something she is really keen on?
What consequences do you have for refusing the supplement? Can you tell us how a normal meal is in your house at the moment and then we could brain storm some ideas what you could try?
I know it is hard but try to get through that. Brain recovery will start after WR + some time x and you need to get there to see progress. It really gets better. My d was diagnosed 2,5 years ago at age 17 and we got her WR 6 months later and brain recovery started about 10 months later. Since then we see progress every week and she is back at her old self now, she finished school and is at University now and doing really well. Recovery is possible. You need to go through that tunnel to see the light at the end.
Ask, ask, ask. We are all here to help you. You are not alone with this.
Keep feeding. There is light at the end of the tunnel.
Quote
deenl
Hi Kiwimum03 and welcome to the forum,

As I was reading your post I wondered if you still had support from the team that was involved in her hospitalisation. The ideal situation is that they are afirming that you are in charge of food and she has to eat what you say. Ideally, you and the team have plans A, B and C to address common difficulties. Often though, lack of resources means that the transition to home is less than ideal.

Opinions differ on leaving the last bite. I think it probably depends on the child. Some parents swear that the fight is won 'in the last bite'. For various reasons, the pros and cons of fighting for the last bite were never worth it for us. An important caveat is that it never changed from just one bite. If he had tried to increase the amount I would have fought. 

Welcome again and please ask any questions you have or just come to vent and get some emotional support.

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.
Quote
Kiwimum03
thanks so much for all your ideas and support 
Quote
Summer18
Hi Fellow Kiwimum, I'm also a Kiwi and have 16yr daughter with AN. It started Oct 2018. Keeping strong and sticking to eating the required number of serves per day is the key.  Whilst really hard sometimes and you have to lay down the law, she will respond because you are standing up to AN for her and removing the stress off her.  

Our ur daughter is not WR yet but her 'State of Mind' has improved immensely since we have ensured she meets her minimum number of serves per day (which the dietician provides). She is smiling again and not isolating herself hence  evidence we are on the track.

Hang in there, read lots and become informed about this brain illness....the more informed we were, the better equipped we were to manage it. AND, given that it's us parents who have to live with it every minute of the day, it is time well spent.
Quote
workingthrough
Kiwimum03 wrote:
thanks so much Workingthrough How long has your child had an eating disorder?


We’ve been on the road of recovery since early Sept. 2018. S started “eating healthy” in July 2018, obsessive exercise began in Aug. It didn’t take long to be in a scary place. 

We keep hitting WR, but as soon as we do he grows another inch or two and we’re back to moving his weight up. 

It gets better. Just keep pushing those full meals. Thinking of you!! 
Quote
Kiwimum03
gosh you are very persistent with your journey well done 
Quote
workingthrough
Kiwimum03 wrote:
gosh you are very persistent with your journey well done 


I wish it had been easier, that I had an easy trick, a clue, to make it better . . . like you, it was miserable, agony.

How is your team? A previous poster mentioned that as well. Our team has been our strength esp. when we’re weak - SO much encouragement and strength. They hold s to the same standards and add support in every way. 

We cut out nearly every non-essential activity and life rotated around those meals. I feel like we’re still processing it all as we make our way out. 

Keep up, keep up - it will get better! Please keep letting us know how she (and you!) are doing. She’s lucky to have you. 
Quote
HopeNZ
A belated warm welcome from me too, Kiwimum03.  We're also in NZ.  I'm so glad you found this forum.  It really has been my 'International Rescue'!

My d was diagnosed with AN in March 2017.  She, too, had a hospital stay, and we've been doing FBT since she came home.  She was wr 18months ago, and although we're working on some issues in Stage 2, she's doing well.  I well remember those awful, agonising mealtimes!  

A few things we found helped when refeeding our then 13-year-old d...

Keeping your d out of the kitchen.  I'm afraid this will likely require a whole different brand of parenting.  If it helps, prepare meals at night when she's sleeping.  No discussion, no compromise.  Her job at the moment is to eat what you provide, and to eat all of it.  

Put your good china away.  Unlike others here, we never managed to curtail the throwing of plates and bowls.  And sometimes it wasn't throwing.  Sometimes my d would hold the plate out in front of her calmly, tip the food off it, and drop it on the floor.  This did, of course, pass with improved nourishment.

Dig out all those old games and play them as a family at mealtimes.  Dominoes, cards, bananagrams... anything to distract your d while she eats. And to lighten the mood for everyone else!

Keep your d with you for an hour after eating.  Not only does this guard against purging, but watching tv etc will drown out the bully in her head giving her a hard time for having eaten.

If her anxiety/anger begins to escalate, quietly lock the front door.  My d would bolt from the house, any time night or day, which led to some horrid spells scouring the street and park in the dark and rain.

Does your d have other siblings?  Our FBT therapist encouraged us to involve our younger non-ED son in helping with distraction at mealtimes, but with hindsight I would do this very differently.  While he did help, the damage done to him and their relationship was not worth it.  If (Heaven forbid) we had to do it again, I would shield him as much as possible from the drama of the ED outbursts.

Have you tried calorie-packed smoothies as part of your meal plan?  This was a game changer for us.  There are threads on here with lots of smoothie recipe ideas.  You can make them delicious and fill them with full fat cream etc.

Don't get sucked into discussions with ED about what to eat/how much/when/how awful you're being/and what do you know anyway?!  Develop a non-committal mantra which acknowledges your d's pain and then move on.  'I'm sorry this is so hard for you, darling.  This is what you need.  Mmmmm.  Next mouthful.'

Another saying here is 'ED lives in the last bite', and a year after WR this is still where he lurks in our house!  Require your d to eat that last mouthful, to drink that last sip.

I found it helpful to try to conjure up a state of sort-of objective observation during mealtimes.  Try to suspend your emotions during the most stressful times, perhaps imagine an invisible shield around your heart so that the arrows ED throws at you will bounce off.  It is the modus operandi of ED to isolate your d by driving a wedge between her and anyone who loves her and can help her in her battle.  That's you!

Take one day, one meal, one mouthful at a time.  Look for small successes.  One mouthful more than ED wants your d to eat is a triumph.  Yet another saying here is 'feedback, not failure'.  If a meal or snack goes badly, think about a plan b for next time.

Sending you hugs.  Please come back and ask lots of questions!

Warmly
Hope
Quote
Kiwimum03
Thanks for all your comments Our d saw the Pediatrician for first outpatient appt 2 days ago and we are trialling one snack at school independently for a week and if that goes well then She will be able to walk to and from bus (we live on a steep hill) So this is exciting. Meals still hard and d not finishing the last bite but I have decided not to fight that Hubbies is more persistent on that than me so it depends who is on duty. I feel good now that we've had an outpatient appointment and hot some professional guidance hugs to you all from NZ
Quote
Foodsupport_AUS
It's great to hear that the paediatrician is happy with how things are going. How will you assess if the snack at school is going well? Weight changes may be subtle initially but if she is not eating her food it will allow for an increase in her ED thinking. Getting your D to independently get her supper under supervision or after school snack under supervision can be a better first line towards independence. Your D shows a lot of meals resistance still so requiring her to initiate a snack time is a big ask for her at present. 
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.
Quote
Ellesmum
Hi there,

I just wanted to caution that although my d is doing well and eats just about anything, I found some hidden food in her room this week, her lunch is supervised at school but even so she’s managed to hide food, I’ve closed that loophole now but it’s been a helpful reminder that ED is still powerful and we need to keep vigilant.  

Best wishes and lots of strength.
Ellesmum
Quote
tina72
I agree with Foodsupport, to ask her to have a snack independently is a big step and a huge ask in this state. It might go well but make sure you realise it quickly if she does not eat it or you will open the door for ED again.
Keep feeding. There is light at the end of the tunnel.
Quote
Kiwimum03
HI all we will check in with her friends to make sure she's eating her snack. The team is a valuable support and mental health and eating disorder teams work well together. I guess the paediatrition chose a school snack as that was what d wanted therefore chose to go with what she was highly motivated by.  I'm hoping that because she is so into her sport that she will be compliant with food so that she can start hockey practice again. It's definitely a risk but my gut/ intuition  tells me to go with this plan.
Quote
Sotired
Hi from a fellow kiwi,
i am going to be the voice of doom and gloom.(best warned in advance).in terms of the friends supervising the snack at school- it almost certainly can’t be done. Not because they are unwilling, but because anorexia is a trickster like no other. I tried this myself- but the friend had no idea what my d was capable of in the grip of anorexia.
my d just slipped the food in her pockets or up her sleeve.her friend didn’t notice because my d could do this like a magic trick.
if you use exercise as a motivator you will most likely have problems quite quickly. There will be weight loss and if your d is a exercise compulsive ( which can and often does go hand in hand with anorexia) , the anorexia will compel your d to do more and more exercise under the guise of “just getting fit for hockey”.
sport and anorexia are linked time and again on the forum. Your d would have to be much much further along in full weight recovery to even consider a return to any sport.the stage she is at is still a very dangerous one.
look into a wish fulfilment that is not exercise based.a brand of make up , a Netflix  subscription...anything that is not based around her losing all the precious weight she has gained.
make sure she is not water loading before appointments.my d would say she needed to go to the toilet at weigh in appointments and then drink water from the tap so she would appear heavier on the scales.
at your ds age purging is also a possibility.they learn many tips and tricks from pro Ana forums.
sorry hon, I really am the voice of doom and gloom, but I don’t want anyone to suffer the way our family has at the hands of anorexia.
kia kaha,
sotired
Sotired42
Quote
HopeNZ
Hey Sotired, I think of you often, how are things? You’re not the voice of doom and gloom, but the wise voice of hard won experience. Thank you 🌺
Quote
Kiwimum03
Hi Sotired thanks for your advice. Today we finally we got to see the outpatient eating disorders person who will work with us all. Seems like we are on the right track but I definitely hear what you say about the eating disorder voice being strong. I think giving D a glimmer of hope by letting her have morning tea with friends has motivated her. Meals have been better over the last week. So many challenges ahead. I guess the real test is whether she can keep gaining weight when she starts doing more activity then maybe in a month she can do one hockey practice a week..Tooth fairy I have ordered the book you recommended thanks everyone, big hugs to you all. We are all on this journey together.
Quote
Kiwimum03
we are struggling with getting our daughter accept that in order to do exercise or even walk home from school she will have to increase her energy intake. ATM we take her to and from school in the car.  We are going to see a  dietician who works with athletes so hopefully d will listen to her. Any other ideas around this as I want to keep the recovery moving forward but cant let d walk to from bus if she doesn't increase her intake or eat more energy dense foods?
Quote
tina72
I see no other way than to introduce this rule and to stick to it until she accepts it. She can walk if she ate an extra snack for that (or drink an extra smoothie or whatever you think is o.k.) and if not she needs to be driven. It is in her hands if she want to listen to AN or if she wants to walk.
We did that here when my d wanted to go to her dancing class again (once a week 1,5 hours) 2 years ago. The rule was to eat that extra snack before dancing class starts or not to go. She tried it once but saw that we will stay strict with that (and she did not go at that day) and she eats that snacks since then 🙂 as she prefers to go.
Keep feeding. There is light at the end of the tunnel.
Quote

        

WTadmin