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.

Need to talk with another parent? F.E.A.S.T. parents offer peer support via:

fishy
Hello all,


My daughter is 14 yo, diagnosed with restrictive anorexia in April 2018, we started re-feeding, she went from 86.6 lbs to 108lbs today. Still very depressed and anxious. My husband is concerned I am giving her too much food, that I will make her gain too much weight. She has never lost weight since re-feeding began and has never refused food though she does say she doesn't want to eat and it is too hard, etc, always ends up eating. She has returned to her growth curve, slightly above. My question is, how do I know I am not feeding her too much? All the specialists say - keep feeding her, her body will know what to do. But my husband keeps planting seeds of doubt. I don't want to make her fat, I just want her to get better. I don't care what she looks like. 

My second question is when do I start handing control of food back to her? She seems to want no part in decisions regarding what to eat, when to eat. If I ask she gets so anxious. Her anorexia keeps telling her it would be better never to eat I believe. Again, my husband is pushing to have her start making these decisions. Again therapist says, maybe let her pick between two choices for snack. How long before she can start doing this? Is this a gradual change? What are the signs she is ready? My husband only wants her to get better and is afraid we are stopping that by being in control of the eating. I would love to hear from those of you that have successfully navigated this area. 

Thank you 
 
Quote
Enn

She has only been diagnosed in April right? At only three months you have done so well and great she is at or above her growth curve. My D needed to go way above her growth curve for good brain recovery and that did not happen until 4 months after weight restoration and 6-7 kg more than the first target weight and now at 10 kg more than her first target weight and 10 months after WR she is so much better, and we are only now letting her have some choice. 
Others will be around soon with their experiences. 
You write"All the specialists say - keep feeding her, her body will know what to do. But my husband keeps planting seeds of doubt. I don't want to make her fat, I just want her to get better. I don't care what she looks like.  " YUP I think you know what the answer is. Remember it is not the weight you are concerned about it is the state of her mind. That may take a long time, even years to catch up. I kept up the calories for months after WR she is still at over 3000 cal per day
 You state she is depressed and anxious, so her state is not ready yet to hand over control, I would think. I would still be in charge until her state is better. That took us about one yr. My D now, picks snacks but there are a few to choose from ie clif bar and milk or cookies and milk. So that the choice does not overwhelm her. 

Take your time, it really is  so early still. I know the FBT team may suggest giving her a choice in snacks, they did that with us too ,right around WR. I did not give her choices until about three months later (Xmas holidays, where I was with her all the time to support her) The choices were small, Oreos or choco chip cookies, Reeses peanut butter cup chocolate or smarties. Orange juice or apple juice. Tiny choices helped and I did not do it everyday. 
There is really no rush. Many have given up too much control to ED to early,  then seen relapses. You have time please don't rush.

That is what we have been doing and you may take or leave what you feel may work for you.
XXX

Food+ more food+ time+ love+ good professional help+ ATDT=healing --->recovery(---> life without ED)

 

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)
Quote
Foodsupport_AUS
fishy wrote:
 I don't want to make her fat, I just want her to get better. I don't care what she looks like.  


This is a common point that so many get to. Of course our fear of fat is induced by our reading everywhere about the "obesity epidemic"  and other thin culture issues. Assuming she was not in the "overweight or obese" ranges prior to ED it is very unlikely that she will need to get to those ranges for you to see some improvement. It is normal for our kids to look round in the face and around the middle early on in re-feeding as fat does deposit there first with rapid weight gain prior to redistributing. She also needs to gain the fat first before she starts to rebuild her muscles that she lost as part of the weight loss. 

Your team is giving you great advice (not all of them do) I would go with it. 
D diagnosed restrictive AN June 2010 age 13. Mostly recovered 10 years later.  Treatment: multiple hospitalisations and individual and family therapy.
Quote
Mamaroo
Wow, you've done really great with her weight! I had a quick look a the weight chart and she went form 5% to 50%. Well done!

The organs take a while to heal and the brain even longer. She still needs to grow as well, so i would continue feeding her. My d gained weight around the tummy and face first and it was so hard for her to feel I wasn't making her fat. Her arms and legs were still very skinny, but in a couple of weeks it all redistributed and she started to grow muscles and looking better (skinny not anorexic). Are her periods normal and regular, that is also a good indication that her body is healing. 

As to your second question, I would not hand back control if making choices is hard for her. She is not ready yet. You can ask her to choose between to flavours if the calories are the same as the others have suggested. After a couple of months you can ask her to pick her own snacks and supervise to make sure she chooses enough. Next she may be able to order her own food at a restaurant, but tell her you have the right to veto her choice if she picks a small meal. A couple of months ago my d picked a wrap, while we all had hamburgers and I told her to either pick a hamburger or I'm getting her what my husband was ordering (he order double hamburger with the lot), she was able to choose a burger very quickly!

You are right this is a gradual change and takes a lot of repetition. 
D became obsessed with exercise at age 9 and started eating 'healthy' at age 9.5. Restricting couple of months later. IP for 2 weeks at age 10. Slowly refed for months on Ensures alone, followed by swap over with food at a snails pace. WR after a year at age 11 in March 2017. View my recipes on my YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCKLW6A6sDO3ZDq8npNm8_ww
Quote
Torie
I wonder if your h would read a book or watch some videos.  Reading your post reminds me of my h who tends to think his opinion is as valid as mine in situations where I have read 10 books on the subject and he has read none.  So good luck with that.

Your d is 14.  Even a normal 14 year old doesn't make too many food decisions.  That is much more true in the case of a 14 year old who is recovering from ED - there is really no reason she needs to make ANY food decisions, and much attendant risk.  So please go slowly, as the others say.

Initial choices can be as small as do you want the red plate or the blue plate.  (Decisions of any kind tend to be really hard until their brains start to heal.)  

Another good early step is letting her pour her own milk.  If she doesn't pour enough, "That's okay - I'll top it off and you can try again tomorrow."  Ditto for if she can't pour enough the second day.  If she can't the third day, "That's okay, I guess we're not quite ready for this yet."

Maybe she can serve herself a pre-portioned item, say a muffin or tub of yogurt.

Maybe she can choose between two similar snacks, or maybe that is too advanced for the moment. 

There is no reason to rush.  Actually there is great danger in rushing.  Maybe it would help to tell your h some statistics about relapse to help him understand that the only thing that really matters is that she is in as strong recovery as possible when it is time for her to leave home for university (or whatever).  It takes YEARS to get there.  Slow and steady is your best friend, and relapse your worst nightmare.

You're doing so well!!! Yay, you!  xx

-Torie
"We are angels of hope, of healing, and of light. Darkness flees from us." -YP 
Quote
Foodsupport_AUS
Ronson, someone else has asked about quoting. I will paste a copy of my reply here:

quoting.png 
 
D diagnosed restrictive AN June 2010 age 13. Mostly recovered 10 years later.  Treatment: multiple hospitalisations and individual and family therapy.
Quote
ValentinaGermania
fishy wrote:
Hello all,


My daughter is 14 yo, diagnosed with restrictive anorexia in April 2018, we started re-feeding, she went from 86.6 lbs to 108lbs today. Still very depressed and anxious. My husband is concerned I am giving her too much food, that I will make her gain too much weight. She has never lost weight since re-feeding began and has never refused food though she does say she doesn't want to eat and it is too hard, etc, always ends up eating. She has returned to her growth curve, slightly above. My question is, how do I know I am not feeding her too much? All the specialists say - keep feeding her, her body will know what to do. But my husband keeps planting seeds of doubt. I don't want to make her fat, I just want her to get better. I don't care what she looks like. 


As we always say here, the secret is state, not weight. Keep refeeding until her state and behaviour changes. That might be on a higher level than before and than you expected. But: 1) this will not last forever and her body will find his own comfort zone and 2) IF it would last and she would be a bit more curvy than before (which would be normal with puberty to get a female body) - wouldn´t that be better to have her curvy and happy but thin and depressive and sad???

fishy wrote:
My second question is when do I start handing control of food back to her? She seems to want no part in decisions regarding what to eat, when to eat. If I ask she gets so anxious. Her anorexia keeps telling her it would be better never to eat I believe. Again, my husband is pushing to have her start making these decisions. Again therapist says, maybe let her pick between two choices for snack. How long before she can start doing this? Is this a gradual change? What are the signs she is ready? My husband only wants her to get better and is afraid we are stopping that by being in control of the eating. I would love to hear from those of you that have successfully navigated this area.


Do not give any control back before WR and a change in state and behaviour. Many of us did that too early and had a setback. FBT speaks about giving control back at 95% and that is too early in my experience. We started with choosing the flavour of a yoghurt, then choosing a snack out of two offers, then out off three. Then we allowed to choose a snack on her own, then a second snack, then breakfast. Now 1 year after WR and change in behaviour my d is choosing all her snacks, breakfast and dinner and I am still plating lunch (which is the biggest and the warm meal here in Germany).
As Torie said, there is no need to rush but a danger to rush. It is hard to take control back if it doesn´t work for both of you. So wait until she is in a state that you are sure it will work.

Tina72
Keep feeding. There is light at the end of the tunnel.
Quote
iHateED
A pat on the back to you for getting the weight back on so quickly - job well done.   It's important to remember that a lot of weight in the beginning goes to the stomach area to protect the internal organs and the face to protect the brain.  It's the body's own way of protecting itself.  My D complained I was making her fat because she felt bloated around her stomach and face.  In time, and when her body isn't worried about starvation mode, the weight evens itself out.  That said, Don't back down now!  Keep feeding and try to go higher than her weight at her last appt before she became ill.  You are lucky that you have a few years to get her to full recovery before she becomes a legal adult so keep going.
Quote
tdm13
Hello, Indeed state not weight from our experience as well was key to dictate our behavior instead of a target weight.

After refeeding, D remained around her historical curve (not really higher), and it took over a good year for us to keep supervising her meals, before her state cleared out over a few weeks and we could let go the supervision almost completely and immediately (very little transition). Fast forward 8 months and d today remembers some of her behaviors but can’t remember/understand why she acted this way; she just says “when I was sick” and is rather focused in catching up what she missed out vs her “healthy” friend...
Wishing you courage and abnegation!
tdm13
___________________________.
parents of d who started to restrict food at 11yrs in Aug2015, diagnosed as AN. Hospital resident mid-Dec to mid-Apr2016 under traditional treatment (isolation+weight contract). Total failure made us  switched successfully to FBT at home. WR in Aug 2016. No more symptoms since Jan 2018, follwoing growth & bmi percentile
Quote

        

WTadmin