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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Registered: Dec 30, 2012
Posts: 1
Hi, this is my first peek into FEAST as I am flailing, lonely, confused and scared about my daughter's relatively new diagnosis of EDNOS.  My best guess is that is started a few months ago with the beginning of the new school year and all the stress as well as dieting for the homecoming dance.  I guess I should mention that we live on the east coast of the US and my daughter recently turned 16.  She restricted severely and I think we noticed pretty quickly.  She lost 11 pounds off of her relatively small frame and luckily, we caught it before it became a medical emergency.  That's the major plus side.  She is pretty strong into the voice in her head though and uses the fact that her blood work is ok and her heart normal as proof that we are nuts.  

  We live outside DC so there are treatment options.  We go to a group with a nutritionist, Dr., therapist, Psychiatrist,...She HATES it. Hates everyone there.  I know that's the disease talking, but how can they ever get through to her if she is so resistant.  Last week she wouldn't get out of the car at the office and it took us quite a while and the threat of carrying her up to get her out.  Then she just sat in a ball in a catatonic state during the whole session.  She refused to speak. 

Re-feeding is so negative it is killing me.  SHe yells and curses, cries and ignores us.  It took us 2 hours to get some yogurt into her yesterday.  Sometimes I'm afraid she'll get physical with me or hurt herself after a particularly grueling re-feed.  It's inconsistent though.  It seems some days she eats and some it's impossible.  Or she'll eat nothing but then eat potato chips.  

She won't let me in at all.  WHen she is in the throes of it, she HATES me.  Hates!!  SHe does not recognize a problem and does not want help.  SHe is not scared.  When I try to stay calm and keep saying things like you need to eat this, it's not a choice, she just mimics me or mockingly says, "Aren't you such a good and caring mom.  You love me soo much.  Aren't I the luckiest girl in the world, and on and on with the eyes rolling and an occasional FU.  Or she cries, but if I try to touch her she recoils in disgust.  Im denied all physical contact or comforting words.  Im just lift with hostility, disdain and shutting down.

I know with re-feeding I am supposed to make this plate of food that she eats, but what do I do if she eats most of it.  DO I consider that a success or fight for it to all be gone?  Im really floundering here.
Daughter (16) diagnosed with AN at age 12 1/2. She's weight restored and eating freely.

Every worthwhile accomplishment, big or little, has its stages of drudgery and triumph; a beginning, a struggle and a victory. -Gandhi
Welcome Hoco27. Refeeding is really hard and you've come to the right place. You can familiarize yourself with the F.E.A.S.T. site and the resources here by checking through some of the page links on our "getting started" page: http://www.aroundthedinnertable.org/post/Getting-started-here-at-Around-the-Dinner-Table-Forum-5658288

You asked whether it was okay if your daughter eats some of what you serve but not everything. I don't know what works best for every case, but many parents here have had success with Magic Plate. You prepare the food and require your child to eat everything you serve. There is a learning curve to this, but you can do it. Here is a link to more information: http://www.feast-ed.org/Forum/WhatisMagicPlate.aspx

I didn't find out about magic plate until 8 months after my daughter was diagnosed. It really turned things around for her and she got weight restored quickly after that. Getting her to a healthy weight had a huge impact on her mental status and clarity. You are right that this is a long road, but the quicker you get your daughter weight restored and healthy, the greater the chance of full recovery.

Let us know how we can help.

Daughter (16) diagnosed with AN at age 12 1/2. She's weight restored and eating freely.

Every worthwhile accomplishment, big or little, has its stages of drudgery and triumph; a beginning, a struggle and a victory. -Gandhi
Hoco27, welcome to the forum. I'm short on time but just want to agree with what breathingmom has posted above.  As well, take one meal at a time, one bite at a time if that's what it takes. Don't look too far into the future, it will come. The only way out is through. Don't expect your D to buy into treatment or have any insite into the illness. Her brain is starved and her brain needs time and nutrition to heal.  Your D doesn't hate you-ED hates you. She is imprisoned by the illness. 
We sat for hours to make sure all food was eaten. Some parents do it differently. We didn't want ED to think that it had one by leaving food on the plate. 
Magic plate worked for us and it removes the burden of your D having to feed herself. 
Keep asking questions and keep learning. Knowledge is power-it will help you formulate a plan.
Sending strength
5 years in active recovery; With many, many days of full nutrition and closed loopholes, insight, life experiences and brain maturity we are slowly loosening the safety net


We are new at this too!  It is so so so hard.  Our d is resistant to any help when it comes to therapist too. We have taken her to 3 and she refuses to talk.  We have started the re-feeding and I have to say this forum helps me so much. You realize that people are going thru the same thing you are.  We are going to the intensive family week at ucsd at the end on the month. I am hoping this will help us and get us on the right track.  Our d hates us and screams everyday, but right now we are getting about 2200-2300 cal in her. I am hoping to see some results soon.  I am going to start praying for all parents that deal with this. It is an awful, awful disease. Hang in there!

Sherry Savage
Welcome and so sorry you had to find us...

Nothing you're describing is unique to a teenage girl in the throws of an ED. Just remember, this is not your D, it's an evil insidious disease trying to take your D from you. Your D is not in a place where she can fight this alone - that's where you come in. Her food is her medicine - proper nutrition is essential and non-negotiable.

It is not easy - heck, I think most of us would say its the hardest thing we have ever done in our lives - but that's what we do for our children.

So take a deep breath, stay calm, learn all you can, and help your D get back to weight restoration and proper nutrition.

Some good news - attacking this disease shortly after it strikes significantly increases your D's chances for a complete recovery.

Take full advantage of the amazing parents you will meet on this site. You are not alone by any stretch of the imagination. You will see your D through this.

Dad to 24 yr old D - recent relapse but relieved that she reached out for help.
Welcome! I'm rather new to, so we will journey together. When I read your original post, I cried. Although it is good to know you, how I wish it weren't here.

I have been abundantly welcomed here. I hope you are finding that you too have found a place of solace.
Check out the family intensive FBT program at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD).   You can read about it here:  http://eatingdisorders.ucsd.edu/patient/ift.shtml.

True, it's all the way on the other side of the country but it'll go a long way towards flattening out the learning curve for the issues you're struggling with.  I highly recommend it and it's well worth the trip.    We're on the eastern side of the country as well and it was a game changer for us.
A dad.
Welcome. I am new, also. Despite normal test results, being underweight still
made a mess of my daughter's health and behaviour. She's gained nine pounds, probably has 15 to go, and I'm just starting to see my real daughter more than "Ed". I make my daughter eat everything. I aim for high calorie foods so quantities aren't excessive. I spike her food with canola oil, butter, peanut butter and cream.
- three teens and hubby all with special needs; blended family - D18 is Ladybug; fed at home for three months, then inpatient far away for three months. We lost nine family members in that same year including her step-mom,both grandfathers,four uncles - She now insists on living on own - family falling apart.
We Love Magic Plate.

Yes, we do.

Tonight I gave my daughter, Olivia, (who will be 8 very soon!) scalloped potatoes for the first time--they were a favorite of mine when I was a kid, but because my older son couldn't have dairy for so many years I never made them.

I put just one bite on her "magic plate", along with her chicken and roasted broccoli and buttered bread. So, she had to eat it. Meaning she has to try something new (just "one bite" doesn't bug her too much, since she was a pretty adventuresome eater before ED).

When she ate it, she got this blissful look on her face. Then she said, "Mom, I hate that. Do I have to have more?"

I said, "Olivia loves it. Let me get you another spoonful, and it'll be optional."

I put a scoop of the potatoes on her plate. She left them till the very end. Then she ate them.

She got up and left the table and said, "Mom, if you put more of those on my plate I won't eat them". I said, "Okay." I put another scoop on her plate.

She came back in. She said, "Mom, don't look." I said, "Just a minute" and put some cranberry sauce on her plate, too (ED hates cranberry sauce, but Olivia loves it).

Then, I looked away, and she ate it all up.

We have come very far. I attribute it to Magic Plate, absolutely. At this place in Olivia's recovery, as you can see, she does eat what she is required to eat, mostly without a fuss, and she does ask for seconds of some things. But, her way of asking for seconds can be very very odd, like tonight ...

There is hope. It does get better. Magic Plate is a great tool that frees the child from responsibility for eating. By requiring it, the child is let off the hook by the horrible voice that insists s/he not eat. It is very interesting and counterintuitive.

I'm glad you are here--this is a place of help and hope.

"Hope is a wonderful thing ... but hope by itself is not enough. Hope is the reason to take action, to make a plan and then to change the plan when it isn’t working - over and over and over again if necessary." Hannah Joseph (Let's Feast Friday Reflection, "Just Keep Going," Friday, March 3rd, 2015)
Welcome and indeed you will find caring parents here.We do not claim to be professionals but let me tell you the advice on here is the best you can get. And it is because of the expierence and no doctor can love your d more and care more,trust your gut,let her hate you for making her eat because you are saving her life and she will that you for it later.If you needed to give her insulin injections would you let her tell you no? No you would not,you would hold her down if needed.Best of luck and ask many questions,it helps

Hey there Hoco,

I used to say this is a club I never wanted to join but am so glad to be a part of, welcome to you x

I've had a few conversations about this in recent weeks where other parents of children and young adults who are in recovery have said that while ill, their children would rail at every attempt to eat, and have later said how much they really were so wanting that which they were 'saying' they didn't.

The use of Magic Plate is leverage over the demands of the ED. And remember, your beautiful daughter didn't ask for this and you didn't cause it. You are here, you are seeking help and support and that does make you a wonderful mother. She doesn't hate you, more likely she will be secretly mortified at her behaviour caused by her anxiety.

Also, please get used to this illness saying the most horrid things that you never wanted to hear, remember it is the illness, I promise you it is the illness. The calmer you remain the better it will be for her and you. 

My D had BN and at times I was shredded by what she said to me, I can now see it as the anxiety that went with the illness that caused it and now that she is a long way out from her illness she is only now realising just how ill she was. 

This forum helped me no end and I am so grateful for the support. And it is true, there is no way around, the only way is through and in my own experience you don't get much success in negotiating with ED, it is everything on the plate, or ED sees the chink and ramps up the negotiations. But that is just my experience.

Welcome Hoco. Sam Heinous and I are also relatively new here; we caught our daughter's restricting around the first of November and fought like hell to get her to an inpatient unit at the beginning of December. This place is what's giving us the insights and strength we need to help our daughter heal, and I'm sure it will be as helpful for you. It can be done - but as someone said on here (forgive me, I don't remember who), you're in hell, and the only way out is to walk across a bed of hot coals. Whatever you do, don't stop halfway! :-)

Welcome to a wonderful, supportive, and caring place full of people who understand the madness that is an eating disorder, and who are incredibly helpful and always willing to share the knowledge. From my limited experience, your daughter's behavior sounds pretty typical for anorexia (AN) - I'm guessing she got the EDNOS diagnosis because you guys caught the restricting in a hurry, and she's not at a low enough weight for the usual AN diagnosis?

There's a certain kind of encouragement that seems to help somewhat, that is not at all intuitive and has to be learned. (My intuition was telling me to force my daughter to comply - talking calmly and in the right tone to her was one of the harder things I've had to do.) I'm still learning, but I have a great guide in a book that Eva, one of the regulars here on the forum, is writing and posting online. You can find it here.

Welcome to the forum! Ask as many questions as you need; it helps to know what's going on, and this illness is about as counter-intuitive as it gets.
New Mexico USA | Step-Daughter dx. AN on 10th birthday (2012) | Still fighting back

The most beautiful people I've known are those who have known trials, have known struggles, have known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. - Elisabeth Kubler-Ross 

Hoco, early on everything should be about eating. Your d probably can't engage in therapy and nobody should expect her to.The mantra should be that the child's only job is to eat and everything should support that and only that. Distraction and calm requiring and insisting she eats is what she needs. You'll want to comfort her but for now she needs food. We went to therapists, nutritionists and medical drs and each one said the same things over and over again, "Food is medicine". Hang in there you are doing great and keep going, it gets better!
Mom to recovered RAN daughter, now age 18
Hi Hoco from New Zealand. Our D too Hated, and at times still HATES, me. I have been told countless times to "stop pretending you're an expert" "I suppose you leant that from that STUPID forum" and if it could my hair would have curled from all the invective, swearing and toxicity poured my way, not to mention plates of food and glasses of milkshake. She too hated her therapy team until they lost their way and she then liked them. In hindsight this should have been my cue to change teams sooner but that's another story. Whatever, we have had to keep reminding ourselves that this is not our D but AN talking. It is so hard listening to your much loved D treating you as the enemy and saying how much she hates you and are ruining her life. This disease is the most insidious thing but here we all get so much support, so much wisdom and so much hope that it does get better.
Hi Hoco,

I am sorry you have had to find us all.  It's pretty scary in the beginning isn't it.  I remember soooo well how you are feeling at the moment.

Your situation is a mirror image of where we found ourselves last June.  D diagnosed with early onset AN, only lost 11-12lbs, caught it early, thought we could turn this around in a few months!!!!!! D also just turned 16.

Well the good news is D is so much better.  Not recovered but some sense of normality is surfacing again in our household.  But it has been one battle to get to this point.  We had all the hatred, in fact daughter did not talk to us for 4 months. Walls with holes in, spitting, swearing, you name it we saw it!  Now this is my theory, so take it with a pinch of salt if you wish, but I have felt we entered what they call the "Extinction Burst" from day one.  Basically this is what is referred to as the last 10 pounds being the hardest to put on, ED fighting for it's life.  A lot of people on the forum, even after putting a substantial amount of weight on their children, find the last 10 pounds the hardest.  To begin with we found just maintaining her weight was all we could manage  but over time introduced more foods and after 6 months she was weight restored.  D is now 14Lbs heavier than where we started.  We did a combination of meal plan and magic plate.  Breakfast, lunch and snacks were planned in advance so D knew exactly what she was going to eat.  Evening meal was something different everyday, she never knew what she was going to have. I would have preferred to instil magic plate for all meals but D anxiety through the roof and she couldn't cope not knowing what she was going to eat all day.  If you can manage to do "magic plate" from day one I would but if too hard try other ways like we had to.  It's trial and error and as long as you get there in the end that is all that matters.

You can do it and it's great you caught it early.  Expect the journey to be longer than you had hoped and all indications is that your lovely D can make a full recovery.

Hi Hoco, welcome to our forum. I can't really add much more to the excellent posts above except to say that there is light at the end of the tunnel, as we have found. But it can be a long slog to get there. This forum has been a lifeline for my family over the past 2 years and I have made many true friends through it. Whatever stage you are going through you will always find someone else who has been through it, too, and come out the other side. If it will help, my son hated me and said some horrible things to me - as you will see if you check out my threads from 2010 - so similar to your own experience. Now he has almost come through this and we are as close as two peas in a pod. Curiously, so many Good Things have come out of this devastating experience: I am a better person, I have some awesome friends care of this website, and my son and I have a fantastic relationship.

We are all here for you whenever you need us. We aren't clinicians, of course, but what we are is a group of strong parents and carers that have got to know this illness inside out, and the various treatment options available. So please do stay with us on your lovely D's journey to full recovery.

Love Batty xxxx
Bev Mattocks, mother of 24-year old male DX with RAN 2009, now recovered. Joined this forum in 2010 - it was a lifesaver.