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

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strawdog
Hi

My d is now 9 weeks into re-feeding and is approaching the bottom of her ideal height/weight range. Her period has returned and she is saying she has days now when she feels quite good about herself. We still have bad days but these are less common. Our biggest obstacle at the moment is her exams start next week so her anxiety levels are very high from that (she has had bad exam anxiety in the past) so we are getting a lot of bad days just now with lots of "I just want my f@@@n life back" . She hates with a passion that I am always here when she gets back from school to supervise her snack but I'm not ready to trust her fully to eat it all on her own unsupervised. When I look at her picking away at a bread roll rather than just tucking into it or when I don't get nervous about what snack I'm putting in front of here because I know she'll just eat it - that's when I'm ready to start giving her more trust - does this seem fair?

I'm sure the majority of this anxiety is just being fed up with revising all the time and her looming exams rather than her ED but the two seem to forming quite a formidable challenge at the moment. She also talks now about when exams are over wanting to be able to move onto the next stage - making sandwiches and her own breakfast etc. Her therapist told her, when she was on her own with her, that when exams are finished (mid June) she could start getting some control back and , of course, she has taken this to mean more than I think the therapist meant. Again I wish they would talk with us first about these things before talking to them! 

So my question is when have people allowed their kids back in the kitchen and given them more say in what they eat? I've read lots on here about parents giving back control too soon and then their children regress and I'm desperate for that not to happen. 
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Ellesmum
Hi strawdog, 
i was wondering how things are with you, CAMHs therapist?  Right there is why I take issue with their methods, the desire to hurry things along and involve the child too much in decisions.

don’t be in a rush here, I just found school lunches hidden in my daughters room. My device is about to run out of charge, sorry for short answer !
Ellesmum
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Ellesmum
Back on another device.

For me it will be when I see no fear around food, when she consistently eats because she fancies something not because she needs it. I mean that extra roast potato just because they are delicious, the pudding you have but don't really need in a restaurant because you can't resist it, picking at crisps or nuts at a party because they're just there. That kind of thing.  

For my d, she can help herself to extras but it will be a long time before I trust her to make good decisions. Months more if not years. 
Ellesmum
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tina72
We did start it at WR and looking back that was too soon.
I would today wait until she is totally relaxed about eating, all fear food worked down.

What you can try is to give her options between 2 or 3 snacks and see what she choses. If it is the smallest and lowest caloric then it is too early to do that. If she choses a big and caloric one that is a good sign for recovery.
What you also can do is to give her options between same size but different taste (strawberry yoghurt or cherry for example). We did that quite early because of her age and it worked well in most cases. In some situations it was too much even to decide that; when she stood 10 minutes in front of open fridge door I decided for her what taste to chose.

9 weeks is really early days. I would not even think about that at the moment. Get her WR, keep her at that level for some months and then you can slowly start to give freedom back when you see no discussion about food any more, no hiding, no tricks, no lying.
Keep feeding. There is light at the end of the tunnel.
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strawdog
Hi Tina. Hi Ellesmum

Yes the CAMHs therapist does have a tendency to jump the gun and we seem to be the last to hear of it! I wonder if she just meant my d could maybe make a sandwich or her eggs on toast? So we don't give her any choice yet but we let her make some basic lunch food if we get all the ingredients out for her?  I agree with all that you say - sometimes you kinda kid yourself that your d is better because she is apparently eating all the food you give her without any complaining but then when you look at what she is actually eating you realise it is still quite a narrow range of foods. I have a packet of croissants in the kitchen cupboard that I have been too scared to open and give to her as a snack - I know I need to but it never seems like the right time. I'm being positive though and she is eating so much more than she did 9 weeks ago - her progress has been described as 'textbook' by the CAMHs team but it is only when her sister is home from Uni and I see how she eats that I realise how far we have to go still to get back to 'normal' eating. It' fine though - we knew it wasn't going to be a quick fix. She still struggles with not being able to control her exercise compulsions when left alone as well - the other day she was watching an awful exercise video on Youtube the first time she has been left on her own for a while. Earlier this week she had googled something about - do you get more bloated when you don't eat - this was after her snack at home after coming home from school. This set alarm bells ringing - is she restricting at school again 🙁

I think the problem is in her head she thinks she is better because she is no longer underweight. Her mind wont let her see that she is still ill with an ED. She cannot see that a croissant is the same as a teacake is the same as a yoghurt and biscuit etc. And she is a million miles away from having 'extra' food - maybe some popcorn whilst watching a movie at home. No way she says - why would I want 'extra' food!
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tina72
Try to be patient. It is really early days and brain can recover but it takes a lot of time. Months and years. Not weeks.
We let our d take snacks out of the fridge after a while. Chose tastes. Let her prepare a bread but we said what needs to be on the slices. Let her help us to make the meal plan after a while (for example, we have 2 times fish, 2 times meat and 3 times vegetarian food a week and she could decide on which days we will have fish). No chosing of amounts or possiblities to restrict something, but chosing as much as possible. It is a narrow burr between giving too much freedom and make her feel totally controlled. And you will learn that if you reach out one finger to AN it will take the whole hand (I do not know if you have that say in English).

And about that packed croissant: there will never be a perfect time for it to start. Jump into the cold water. Mark a day in your calendar and then do it. She might explode, for sure. But she might also eat it without complaint. In the cases I was afraid a lot it often went better than expected and in other cases I was totally convinced she will do it we had big discussions. So you will know it afterwards if it was a good time or not 🙂.

You cannot do anything "wrong". It is all try and error. Try to let her put the egg on her toast. If it goes well, then do it. If she tries to hide parts of the egg or discuss that the toast is too big for that egg then you will know it is too early. There is no right or wrong. There is only learning by doing.

And there is no need to hurry. You have a lot of time. She does not need to be in state x at date y. You will see progress for a very long time. Week by week. Slowly but steady.
Keep feeding. There is light at the end of the tunnel.
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sandie
Hi sounds like you are doing great and how annoying about therapist.
I am not an expert- about 6 months into refeeding and we are not gold standard in terms of approach. From what I have learnt, i think it is important to keep supervising, esp with the added stress of exams and I would be reluctant to allow D control over breakfast/making sandwich etc. We do give our D some choices over food, as we judged she needed that. This can lead to restriction in variety of what she eats, and lengthy negotiations, and we have found once you give D any control, it is very difficult to take back. So I would be cautious and not in a rush as Ellesmum said. And definitely keep her out of kitchen as long as you can. That is a struggle here. Best of luck with exam season and I hope you can get your D to bed on time which is something we need to work on here. X
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Ellesmum
I think you've answered your own question, if you're too scared to give her a croissant then there's a reason for that fear which tells me it's still early days.
Ellesmum
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krae
Hi strawdog, I agree, give her more time, its still really early days yet. I have allowed my d to help prepare and cook (not advised by professionals) when she wanted. D was extremely ill for months so it wasn't an issue until she started to get better. D is now at the stage of wanting to help prepare dinner, and I let her. Also my d is eating really well, and has been chosing her own food for the last 6 months. Not always fantastic but at other times her choices are magnificent. It really comes down to how well you know your d and only you can make the decision if/when she is capable of making a good choice for a meal. I started slowly, and always gave her a choice of main meal. It has enabled d to feel she has choices in her life but know that there isn't the choice of not eating.
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Kali

Hi Strawdog,

in our case I tried giving back some "control" after 9 months into refeeding and weight restoration and it was too soon. The reason she hates you supervising her snack could very well be that she is approaching her weight range and she doesn't like that.

When a kid without an ed comes home from school and you give them a snack they say thank you and they eat it. They don't think about control or supervision, etc if you are sitting there having a snack with them. They just think you are showing interest in them by sitting and talking and eating with them. But a person who has an ED doesn't think like that and in our case "giving back control" seemed like ED code for "let me lose weight now".

But when you do think she is ready, you would be able to tell if it is too soon because your daughter will lose weight if it is. So at that point continuing regular weigh-ins might be helpful. And then if she loses weight, you take back the control. If she maintains her weight she can have a little control. If she is at the bottom of her weight range that is great progress but continuing weight restoration until she is at the top of her historic range or even more, and then keeping her there, is probably the next challenge.

There is no harm in continuing to supervise. We started out giving back "control" by allowing our daughter to plate her own food and pour her drinks under supervision and if she didn't take enough we had her add to the plate. That was after weight restoring to above her pre ED weight and 3 months of full nutrition. But I was strict about what went on her plate and I used it to make clear to her what correct portions were at mealtime. The other thing we did was to let her choose and take her own snack. But I sat and ate the snack with her. At some point in the future after many months, even years of supervision, these things (plating her own food, taking snack) could be helpful as some sort of exposure therapy and helping her to learn to care for herself. Depending on her age, of course. What might be appropriate for an 18 year old is not for a 13 or 15 year old. I also, after she had been weight restored for awhile, started to allow her to plan the menu with me. So on sundays we would sit down and plan what we were going to eat (together—meals still supervised) and she could choose things she liked as long as they had enough calories and nutrition. Then I posted a menu on the fridge and we followed that. She as 18 at the time, not a child, and it felt as though it was a way to get her buy in and again, start to teach her to care for herself by taking the steps to choose food for herself.

You have gotten some great advice on this thread. 9 weeks is still early days, unfortunately.

Kali

 

 

Food=Love
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Ronson
I agree with all comments - I feel exactly the same as Ellesmum - when d eats like a normal person then I will give more control back.  That said I still think it’s normal to eat breakfast and evening meal together.

D now eats lunch at school unsupervised.  She doesn’t mind if I’m there or not at afternoon snack - I think the fact that your d does mind suggests she has an issue still.  

D is 14 and I expect to be monitoring for a number of years - we have gradually released her - so she will have lunch at school; a meal with friends.  I used to need to see 100% of what she ate - now calorie wise it’s around 75%. 

Our camhs try to push it too early as well - I just quote recovery times to them 
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toothfairy
Hi Strawdog
I just bumped up a stages & timelines post for you.
it is well worth reading through the whole thread including the links.
my S got ill age 13 in 2015, we got him stable quite quickly, we fed through growth for the last nearly 4 years.
He is very well, we are handing back control at the moment as he will be 18 soon, we are nearly 4 years into FBT.
Best Wishes
Food is the medicine. Recovery is possible.
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strawdog
Thanks for all the advice and for the bumped post toothfairy - that was a good read. We always knew these 2 months with her exams and her Prom were going to be very testing. With her pre exisitng anxieties it would have been tough enough for her but with an ED to deal with as well she must be struggling in her mind - I feel so sorry for her. I just want to hug her and tell her it will all be OK but she wont even let me touch her. One day at a time, one foot in front of the other. It is what it is.
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Elibean1
Hi Strawdog, already much wisdom here - just wanted to add, reading  your last post (and remembering the times either of my teens resisted comfort, and how I ached to comfort them!) a big hug for you.

you sound like a lovely mum, and I totally agree about Camhs rushing...budgetary, no  doubt 😐
Elibean
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tina72
Let this exam pass and the prom pass and then you can think about all that again.
And it will get better and she will let you hug her again. Do never forget that.
The problem I see in recovery is that I sometimes think it is so much better than 2 years ago and maybe we should accept the few issues that are left.
But no. We should aim for 100 % recovery and not 90 %. These last 10 % are the open door for ED.
So although it is hard, although it seems to be endless and although the progress is slow, try to be patient and wait until she is there to have more freedom and aim for 100%.
We are here for cheerleading if needed. 🙂
Keep feeding. There is light at the end of the tunnel.
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Mamaroo
strawdog wrote:

So my question is when have people allowed their kids back in the kitchen and given them more say in what they eat? I've read lots on here about parents giving back control too soon and then their children regress and I'm desperate for that not to happen. 


I have given control to my d with regards to snacks very soon after WR. She was allowed to make a choice between different types of snacks which I offered, for example she could choose between a muesli bar or yogurt. Main meals are different because I prepare it and present it to all family member and all I want to hear when I present them with their plate is "Thank  you". The exception being breakfast during the week, where everyone can choose what cereal they want. Up until last week I still plated my d's cereal, but decided this morning she could do it herself and she choose the most delicious option and gave herself enough. My is is now more than 2 years WR, so there is no rush.
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
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strawdog
Elibean1 wrote:
Hi Strawdog, already much wisdom here - just wanted to add, reading  your last post (and remembering the times either of my teens resisted comfort, and how I ached to comfort them!) a big hug for you.

you sound like a lovely mum, and I totally agree about Camhs rushing...budgetary, no  doubt 😐


Thanks Elibean1 - I am a lovely parent but I'm a Dad not a Mum ðŸ˜‰  It's hard for sure being the bad cop - I get cut right out of it and Mum gets all the hugs and walks with the dog and cries for help - I feel I may as well not be there once I've cooked and served the food. I know it's just the ED behaving like that but it's hard not to start thinking my relationship with my daughter will be permanently effected by all this ðŸ˜ž
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tina72
I may have an idea for you, strawdog - worth a try.
Here hubby started to ask our d to help him with some things that only dads do. For example he asked her to help him change the tyre of a bike. To renovate a broken tile in the bathroom. To check things with the car. Such things normally girls do not do daily. He just said "I need your help with that, can you do this or that".  He did not really ask her if she likes to do it but said "I need you for that".
Most stuff was not really needed to do but it had 2 effects: they did something together and d learned some special things no one else in her peer group can do. And she learned that her help is needed and that dad thinks she is a valuable person. And they did something not food related together that she could not do with mum.
Yesterday she said at lunch that she is looking forward to summer break so she can help her dad again. I just remembered that reading your post now.
Keep feeding. There is light at the end of the tunnel.
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strawdog
tina72 wrote:
Let this exam pass and the prom pass and then you can think about all that again.
And it will get better and she will let you hug her again. Do never forget that.
The problem I see in recovery is that I sometimes think it is so much better than 2 years ago and maybe we should accept the few issues that are left.
But no. We should aim for 100 % recovery and not 90 %. These last 10 % are the open door for ED.
So although it is hard, although it seems to be endless and although the progress is slow, try to be patient and wait until she is there to have more freedom and aim for 100%.
We are here for cheerleading if needed. 🙂


Thanks Tina. First exam is tomorrow and she practically refused to even say good morning to me - I pushed her to at least acknowledge me but then I  just got shouted at. I wonder sometimes if I should just pretend not to be here - I only cause myself upset when I try and interact with her. But this is exam anxiety behaviour rather then ED behaviour. That is also very strong though but I believe is 90% driven by the dreaded Prom at the moment. She tried the dress on again with Mum on Saturday morning and I got the call from upstairs to come up! I walked up the stairs in dread but it was good news! The dress fitted still and seemed to do so better than before - so I think her weight is redistributing away from her belly (or she is restricting again at school and has lost weight!). She seemed more content with it - no smiles yet but no melt downs so that was a victory. However the prom is still on her mind and she has been googling - how to get a flat stomach overnight and was watching exercise videos again ðŸ˜ž  So our initial relief has been tainted by her desire to look 'perfect' in this dress and this is keeping ED around more than without this Prom. It is the end of June so I think you're right - we need to get the other side of exams and the Prom and then regather our thoughts and think how best to go forward.
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strawdog
tina72 wrote:
I may have an idea for you, strawdog - worth a try.
Here hubby started to ask our d to help him with some things that only dads do. For example he asked her to help him change the tyre of a bike. To renovate a broken tile in the bathroom. To check things with the car. Such things normally girls do not do daily. He just said "I need your help with that, can you do this or that".  He did not really ask her if she likes to do it but said "I need you for that".
Most stuff was not really needed to do but it had 2 effects: they did something together and d learned some special things no one else in her peer group can do. And she learned that her help is needed and that dad thinks she is a valuable person. And they did something not food related together that she could not do with mum.
Yesterday she said at lunch that she is looking forward to summer break so she can help her dad again. I just remembered that reading your post now.


Thanks Tina - once exams are over I will try some of these things. WE live near the sea so I would like to get a kayak and take her out and go to surfing lessons with her - I need to get my daughter back from ED somehow!
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strawdog
Mamaroo wrote:


I have given control to my d with regards to snacks very soon after WR. She was allowed to make a choice between different types of snacks which I offered, for example she could choose between a muesli bar or yogurt. Main meals are different because I prepare it and present it to all family member and all I want to hear when I present them with their plate is "Thank  you". The exception being breakfast during the week, where everyone can choose what cereal they want. Up until last week I still plated my d's cereal, but decided this morning she could do it herself and she choose the most delicious option and gave herself enough. My is is now more than 2 years WR, so there is no rush.


Thanks Mamroo  - sounds like you've been on a long journey but glad that life seems more positive for you now 🙂
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krae
Strawdog you are doing an amazing job. Your daughter will thank you one day!  I wish that my d's father (we're seperated) cared that much about his daughter. He has no understanding about this illness and hasn't been in contact since she became ill. You are doing a fantastic job (the most important job is cooking and feeding). D is lucky to have you there fighting and also mum there for consolation with this illness.
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tina72
You are my warrior of the day, strawdog, it is so hard to fight for them when you get nothing back.
I am totally convinced that she will see one day what you have done for her and that you will get her back from ED.
It is worth that fight, every single tear, every bad word, every exhausting day we need to survive. I feel I have aged about 10 years in the last 2 but I would do it all again if needed. Try to be patient and wait for the first hug to come. I can promise you that you will NEVER forget that day! It will be best hug you ever recieved in your life!
Keep feeding. There is light at the end of the tunnel.
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sandie
Hi Strawdog, we usually are the opposite way around here with D cuddling with H and me being bad cop and often silo'd. It can be very disheartening but to some extent I haven't minded if H's cuddles make her eat. But it can lead quickly to me becoming the enemy and D refusing food unless H gives it to her and even physical aggression against me. So we are trying to tackle it with H picking her up on behaviour. A family day out this weekend helped so we could all have fun together. I appreciate that is kind of impossible with exams now. When D won't speak to me, i text her to tell her how much i love her and am proud of her (and delete any negative responses). The kayaking sounds like a fantastic idea. Maybe worth sharing that idea with her already.
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strawdog
Thanks guys. Definitely helps to come on here and get some support. I must say it's not easy for Mum either - I know she gets the nice walks and cuddles but she also gets the tears and despair. She is coping well but has her own emotional problems to deal with so I just wish I could step in and help her out with it all. I used to be able to talk to my D more than Mum did but there is just no way in at the moment. I think she's worried I'm going to get all weird with her because since I've had time off work with my own mental health problems I've started reading books such as Erckhart Tolle's The Power of Now - it's an amazing book and has really helped me come to terms with life and I strongly recommend it to anyone. It's not a panacea for dealing with your emotions through something as challenging as EDs but it helps a lot. The problem is D is very much against any talk of the mind and the body and spirituality which is a shame because if they could only just see how their mind has taken control over them they may be able to cope with it better. 
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