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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wolfmama

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Reply with quote  #1 
UGH! So very hard.  Our daughter has gained 18lbs in 2 months and is 5 lbs away from her healthy BMI and is so distraught and hating how her body looks.  Wondering if anyone has any words, thoughts on how to comfort her?  Any workbooks helpful?  Would appreciate anyones suggestions, we are all pretty exhausted by the intensity of re-feeding, working through so much emotion and trying to stay positive.
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wolfmama
mimi321

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Reply with quote  #2 
The best advice I got when my daughter went through this phase was to recognize that this was ED talking and that not much you can say will give them comfort in the moment, it is just a distress that has to kind of be endured. If you want to validate her anxiety you could reply "hmmm" sympathetically or say something like, "I'm sorry you are feeling so distressed right now." Just listening, and nodding, and letting her get it off her chest seems to be the way I found it best to endure. Any extended conversation or focus on her distress or offering any reassurances never really seem to help much in my experience.

You're doing great to have gotten this far. This last bit is often the hardest. If you look up extinction burst you will see it is common for there to be heightened stress just before they are wr, and then it calms down again once they get there. Once wr, her state of mind should show improvement. Hang in there, it is tough, I know!

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Promise me you'll always remember: You're braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think. - A. A. Milne
LaurieW

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Reply with quote  #3 
Hi Wolfmama,

It is hard, And you are doing an amazing job. 18 pounds in two months is awesome!  

What helped for us (your results may vary) was reminding our daughter that she is ill, and that eating is the treatment. We encouraged her to focus on things like lowering her heart rate (super high ), improving lab values, and managing her orthostatic bp.  She, as a science gal, likes a measurable goal that wasn't weight.

She was first diagnosed 7 years ago, at at 14. At that time, we found that the programs focused too much on the psychological aspect ("she has to WANT to eat," "Don't be a food Nazi, you will make her too dependent") at the expense of the physical/medical parts of recovery. Eating has to be non-negotiable. She was really floundering until she had treatment that made eating and weight restoration the focus.

We have also talked about treatments of other illnesses that have undesirable side effects - hair loss from chemo, for example.  No one wants them  - but they are necessary for recovery from an illness. Body changes from ED recovery are similar.

Best to you,

LW



Torie

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Reply with quote  #4 

Most seem to find that the less said about size/shape/weight etc. the better.  Often it is best to briefly acknowledge and then change the subject.  Something along the lines of, "It sounds like you're really having a hard time today.  Do you know where I left my keys?"

It really is exhausting for everyone, but it does get better.

Keep swimming. xx

-Torie


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Mamaroo

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Reply with quote  #5 
Hi Wolfmama

It's just awful what this illness is doing to our children :-(

I told my d that ED is making her believe there is something wrong with how she looked and for us she looked fine/normal/(still like a skeleton - if she is still underweight). She liked to look at books about optical illusions, which showed her that she couldn't trust her eyes. There are also plenty of Youtube videos on optical illusions. Like the others said, just acknowledge her distress and move on with distractions.

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D became obsessed with exercise at age 9. 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. She is back to her old happy self and can eat anything put in front of her. Now working on intuitive eating.
Ronson

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Reply with quote  #6 
Hi

My d distress did get a lot worse before wr - endless conversations about thigh gaps, flat stomachs which we tried to avoid but it wasn’t easy. We focussed on the - I’m sorry you feel that way, you don’t see yourself in the way that others do which is a symptom of this horrible illness, and we then just kept to facts - you need your body to be strong enough to do the things you want to do. She is still in sport for social aspect as there is no compulsion and she has now acknowledged that this is easier and more fun when fully nourished and strong. Unfortunately I don’t think that there is anything we can say which will help our beautiful children see themselves as we do - and it would just be pointless to say it as my d would just then say - but you would say that you are my mum you have to say I look good etc - to which there was really no answer. We have now been wr for a food couple months and pushing for more weight - d certainly doesn’t love her body but the level of distress is significantly reduced and she has started on occasion to wear jeans and once a cropped top again. My advice would be to keep going, try to avoid the conversation, perhaps buy nice make up etc so she can focus on another area. My d has also benefitted from fluoxetine - however i realise this is not for everyone. Thinking of you - the distress over their appearance is so hard to deal with x
cm72

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Reply with quote  #7 
I just was coming on here to post something similar. My D has a two hour breakdown last night begging me to tell her what the dietician said is her goal weight. She seems to be stuck on not hitting the 100’s. (Her goal weight is 105-110). I refused to tell her but she still freaked out and kept saying she’s fat. This is truly hard and exhausting. But we all just have to keep moving forward. Prayers for us all.
mimi321

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Reply with quote  #8 
I remember that exact conversation, cm72, even when unbeknownst to her she had passed 100 lbs. A few lbs after that she stopped asking numbers altogether. In a month or so you will hopefully be looking back at this stage and it will be behind you.
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Promise me you'll always remember: You're braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think. - A. A. Milne
scaredmom

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Reply with quote  #9 
Remember this is ED talk. Some gentle reassurance and noncommittal answers work best. As Torie says the less the better,is true. And if she is upset , I wonder if she needs even more weight. I would pretend I did not know her weight target at all, that way she could not ask. I wonder if you state that the number does not matter it is her total health that is important. Hard I know, to not respond, but it does get better.
Keep feeding!
XXX

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Food+more food+time+love+good professional help+ATDT+no exercise+ state not just weight+/- the "right" medicine= healing---> recovery(--->life without ED)
scaredmom

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Reply with quote  #10 
Oh regarding the “healthy” BMI remember many set the targets too low. It is about state not just weight.
XXX

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Food+more food+time+love+good professional help+ATDT+no exercise+ state not just weight+/- the "right" medicine= healing---> recovery(--->life without ED)
Torie

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Reply with quote  #11 
Quote:
Originally Posted by scaredmom
I would pretend I did not know her weight target at all, that way she could not ask.


That makes sense for those who can credibly make that claim.

I told my d there is no way to know in advance how much weight will be enough.  "I will only know how much is enough when you are there and you are acting more like your normal self again."  And still she insisted insisted insisted on hearing a number.  Eventually, I said that we can hope x pounds will be enough while again stressing that it takes whatever it takes for her to feel like her normal self again.  ("Normal" is such a great word.)

I thought there was some small (read: minuscule) chance that that would provide a bit of motivation for her to TRY to reduce the ED behaviors.

I learned here to be sure to remind her that she would need to continue to gain a little each year through the young adult years as that is normal and expected as bones get denser and organs mature.  TBH, I was scared to tell her that, but I'm glad I did.

Keep swimming.  xx

-Torie

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"We are angels of hope, of healing, and of light. Darkness flees from us." -YP 
debra18

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Reply with quote  #12 
I told my daughter that she doesn't need to worry about her weight. She should just trust me.
tina72

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Reply with quote  #13 
Quote:
Originally Posted by wolfmama
UGH! So very hard.  Our daughter has gained 18lbs in 2 months and is 5 lbs away from her healthy BMI and is so distraught and hating how her body looks.  Wondering if anyone has any words, thoughts on how to comfort her?  Any workbooks helpful?  Would appreciate anyones suggestions, we are all pretty exhausted by the intensity of re-feeding, working through so much emotion and trying to stay positive.


You have really done a GREAT job! Nothing you can say will comfort her. Time and brain recovery will do their job. You "just" need patience. Nothing I said, no workbook, no information or science did help. So I started to say just "mmmh" and change the subject. "I am sorry you feel that way. Can you please help me in the garden?" Something like that. After some time she recognized that she will not get an answer from me on that subject and she stopped asking "am I fat?".
Tina72

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d off to University now 2 years after diagnose, still doing FBT and relapse prevention 
mjkz

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Reply with quote  #14 
One little blip of reality here.  The body she has now is not the body she will have in six months or even a year from now.  The weight gained goes to the abdomen and then redistributes over time so body image and what she sees now is not what she will see in a couple of months.  This is just the physical reality of what happens.  In a year she will also have some amount of brain healing too so how she experiences her body will be different.

As others have said, I found just not engaging in those conversations is the best way to go.  A simple uh-huh or sorry this is so hard and then move onto something else.  Distraction is the key because you will never make her feel better about her body.  That comes with time and weight redistribution and healing.
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