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

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Hi Everyone,

I haven't visited the forum as frequently as when my d was first diagnosed two years ago so I thought I'd provide an update on our progress.  For those new to the forum, my d was diagnosed with restricting AN in December 2015 at age 12.  She was very ill but never hospitalized, though I suspect we were rapidly approaching a hospitalization.  We managed to catch it early and re-fed her at home quite aggressively with help from a local FBT trained nutritional therapist and several other health professionals throughout our journey. It was brutal.  A truly life changing experience.  I am a different person having gone through it.  She has grown several inches and nearly doubled her weight over the past two years.  

I am so happy to share that she is doing really well.  Eating is almost normal at this point.  I still plate breakfast on most weekdays but she eats lunch at school independently.  She recently started her freshman year at a new high school and has reported that the food in the cafeteria is excellent!  Most dinners eaten at home are also still plated by me, but when she eats out with friends she eats what I would consider normal teen meals.  She has no food fears.  She looks forward to mealtimes and she snacks quite freely.  In fact, she doesn't seem to worry about food at all. 

The challenge we seem to face now is keeping her to a schedule.  She is now a typical teenager.  How wonderful it is to say that!  She sleeps in on weekends, stays up late, has sleepovers, etc.  This makes it difficult to stick to regular mealtimes.  She tends to make up for any missed calories in the evenings.  Luckily thus far it is not the binge-type night eating that can sometimes occur during recovery from AN, but I keep a close eye on things just the same. 

A few other noteworthy measures of success:

- Her exercise compulsion is gone completely.  When she was ill she would exercise in her bedroom in the middle of the night.  Now I can barely get her off the sofa!
- Where she was painfully and sadly socially isolated during the worst phase of her illness, she now prefers to spend her free time with friends.  She goes to parties and she easily connects with new people.  She has come a long way in overcoming her social anxiety.  I am truly amazed.
- Her general anxiety levels have decreased dramatically although she has flare ups from time to time triggered by school, boys, and other stressors that affect most teens.  She is still working on emotional regulation and distress management strategies and is making progress.  The tantrums and angry outbursts which were once a daily occurrence are now few and far between and never relate to food.   
- She still takes medication for lingering depression.  We recently increased the dose just slightly during the winter months and it has made a noticeable difference in her mood.  I am hopeful that with time and additional brain healing we can reduce the dosage, but I also accept the fact that she may always need / benefit from medication to help her brain function as best it can.  
- In terms of body image, where she once wore baggy clothes to hide her body, she now flaunts all of her new curves.  This is of course a challenge for me to accept, but I am rolling with it as best I can.   

In terms of therapy, we found a new therapist to help her with non-ED related issues like building self-esteem, practicing mindfulness, etc.  So far it is going well.  Although we "graduated" from seeing her FBT nutritionist last year, we continue to have monthly check-in's with the outpatient eating disorders team and with her medication provider.  It is comforting to know that we have supports in place should ED decide to rear its ugly head again in the future.  

As for me, I have had to learn to let go of my tendency to over-protect and grant her the independence she craves now that she is (mostly) well.  It has not been easy.  She seems to be speeding through puberty making up for lost time and suddenly wants to be on the fast track to adulthood.  My first inclination is to protect her from anything that could trigger a relapse.  This is of course impossible.  Lots of learning experiences for the both of us in this space. And lots more gray hair for me!

I do try to check in on our wonderful forum each week.  When I a see a new member post a heartbreaking plea for help it brings back all of the memories of the early stages of my d's illness.  My sincere hope is that all of you who are just joining this fight can look at the progress we have made and know that it is possible for your child to recover and thrive.  Do not ever give up.  Trust your instincts.  Question professionals that don't provide evidence based treatment.  Try everything and anything that you think may work.  Don't be afraid to break some rules along the way.  Food is medicine.  

Peace and love to you all. 

"Lineage, personality and environment may shape you, but they do not define your full potential."    Mollie Marti  


15 yr old d diagnosed with AN late December 2015 at the age of 12 after a 23 lb weight loss during prior 3 months. Started FBT/Maudsley at home on Christmas Eve with support from amazing local nutritionist specializing in ED and trained in FBT. WR Feb 2016 and pushing our way through puberty and rapid growth.
Hello ed_newbie
Thanks for sharing you are proof that hope of full recovery is possible
Congratulations on getting your beautiful daughter back!!!
I know your post gives everyone new here hope that their kids can get a full recovery
My wish is that everyone who is unfortunate enough to develop this awfull illness regardless of age was able to get such good treatment services/support and that there was no wait lists
I totally get the overprotecting thing that’s me and my D is 19
Happy days! Great job xx
So great to read about how well all is going for your d and your family!  Truly it is wonderful to hear, and it certainly does give hope to those families just beginning, or smack in the middle of, this journey.

For me, several years out, there is still the urge to protect d from difficult situations or to problem solve for her.  However, especially as she is a young adult, the best option is to be more of a sounding board for her to work through problems for herself.

Your d is in that challenging adolescent time of life where there is pushback and a drive for independence.  Just keep an eye out for any concerning behaviors.  Ultimately, we cannot protect our kids from the life challenges they will face at school, in jobs or in social situations, but we can provide tools and support to help them weather the storms.

You deserve kudos for all you've done for your d to move her forward into recovery, and those on the forum appreciate the hero parenting you have done!


It is good to not only hope to be successful, but to expect it and accept it--Maya Angelou
Thank you so much for sharing. My D is 12, we are 8 months in but making good progress. It really lifts the spirits to hear from parents such as yourself that there can be really good outcomes for our kids. And also to be able to relate to the various challenges they face on their recovery journeys... my spirits are lifted by your post. Rose xxxx
Ed_Newbie , your story sounds like ours. Horrific, and a few years later blessed normality (knock on wood)! With some anxiety issues that remain, but therapy for helping to learn to handle it.

So important for all the true "newbies" out there to see that there is lots of hope, and that feeding and eating are the way through this awful illness.