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

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We've come a long way on this journey.  Since diagnosed in Dec 2018 (almost a year ago), D has gained almost 30 lbs.  She's been back on her weight curve since Feb 2019 and we've made sure that she's continues to gain since she is only 13 and still growing.  Her mood, school, and friendships are all going well and she seems to be back to her old self again.  She even got her first period last month, I was crying with joy.  ED behaviors are slowly getting banged out, including standing all day in school, spitting out food, exercising in secret, among many others.  Even through she's been at a healthy weight for almost 9 months, we can't seem to rid of the behaviors.  As soon as we knock one down, a new one pops up a couple weeks later.  I have two questions I'm hoping to get help with.

1. How do we get rid all ED behaviors.  Do we simply continue to knock them down one by one?  Most recently, we caught her spitting out Halloween candy we gave her for dessert, so we took her phone away for a week, and that seemed to stop that behavior, but I'm just waiting for the next one to appear as this seems to be the pattern.  

2. When do we allow her to start eating on her own?  She claims she wouldn't be spitting out candy if she was in charge of her own food and we didn't over-stuff her everyday.  We are still prepping and supervising 5 out of her 6 meals (she only eats lunch on her own at school).  She asked if she could start eating out with friends, making her own food, and getting more independence.  She says she's ready and I'm the one holding her back from getting her life back and getting back to normal.  She's very convincing and I'm almost tempted to let her try being on her own for a week and see how she does.  I'm done babysitting and think it might be a good opportunity for her to prove herself.  How have others dealt with handing control back over to their child and how do you know if and when they are ready?   I'm having a really hard time letting go considering how difficult this journey has been and never wanting to go back to the place we were one year ago.


Hi there and great job! 
1: YES, you work on them as you see them. It is a whack a mole. It really is. Yes you need to be vigilant and watch for the old and new ED tricks and extinguish them .
2: as for letting her eat on her own. You already have  allowed that to some extent with eating at school. You could give her a meal out with her friends. I think that is OK. I am not sure about a week. What do you mean to let her do it for one week? So no supervision at all for all meals in a week? I guess it depends what you mean.
At 2.5 years in we do still monitor most meals. And when she goes out to a friend's home she will eat well now. But we have had a few blips and then we needed to get back on track. 
So you give her a few meals per week on her own and see? I guess that is a way to try. 
Good job so far!!


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)
Thank you Enn for your reply.

1: That's what I figured.  It's been a game of whack a mole, and I'm just waiting for the game to be over after a year of playing and wondering if there was anything I could do to speed it up.

2: I guess what I meant was more independence and flexibility with her eating.  Things like going out to eat with friends, not eating to an exact schedule, allowing her to skip a smoothie here and there, letting her make herself a meal or two, make her own plate, eating more like a regular 13-year old.  My thought was to try it for a week, see how it goes, and if all goes well and she maintains her weight, go another week and so on...  She still eats to a schedule and meals and quantities are determined by me.  She wants to determine what to eat and how much.  She says she knows what she needs now and doesn't want to go down the rabbit hole of losing any weight again.  I believe her to a certain extent, but also don't think she knows what she needs as we've been adding stuff to her food and don't think she has a clue.
From what I have read on forum, the advice seems to be to take it slowly like allow her to eat out with friends and see how it goes. One step at a time. Here I would be fearful of too many changes at once as difficult to take back “control”. Psychologist challenges me about use of that word!!!
Courage is not the absence of despair; it is rather the capacity to move ahead in spite of despair
It might be an interesting exercise to let her plate her own meal or get her own snack and see what she does with portion sizes and if they match up to what they would be if you did it.  The fact that you mention that Ed is still very apparent would make me proceed with caution.
We too are doing well with weight and much more like her old self, but lots of behaviours and little rituals.  we started by getting her to get her own snacks with me checking the amounts were okay and a few times I would need to say, I think you need a bit more and it was added without question & now she probably puts up more than I would.  Then we moved on to breakfast on the weekends and she now prepares her lunch for school too, I still plate up our evening meal as we all eat together.  This was over a period, as we got comfortable with one thing we introduced the next.
Sorry to say that the whack a mole game goes on for quite some time.  Ugh.

Also sorry to say that my vote is always to give back control s-l-o-o-o-o-o-w-l-y.  It is usually kind of a nightmare to rein things back in if it turns out they aren't ready yet, and most are ready really slowly.  One thing I did that my d's friends liked (but D herself did not) was to invite some of her friends to lunch with us.  I would sit at a different table, by myself, strategically seated behind d so that I could see her and she could not see me.  Expensive? Yes. Inconvenient? Yes. Would I do it again? Yes, definitely.  

The classic advice here is to pick one LITTLE tiny step, like pouring her own milk.  If she pours enough, great.  She can keep doing that, and maybe tomorrow she can try serving her own x.  If she doesn't pour enough milk, top it off and let her know that is no problem; she can try again tomorrow.  If still not enough tomorrow; no problem -- she can try again the next day.  If still not enough the third day, no problem, I guess we're not quite ready for this yet.

I can't remember anyone saying they wished they had done these things at a faster clip.  But many have said they really regretted going so quickly.

Keep up the good work!  You're doing great! xx

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

2: I guess what I meant was more independence and flexibility with her eating.  Things like going out to eat with friends, not eating to an exact schedule, allowing her to skip a smoothie here and there, letting her make herself a meal or two, make her own plate, eating more like a regular 13-year old.  My thought was to try it for a week.

These are a lot of experiences for ONE week. Start with ONE of them in the first week and see how that ONE goes. You can for example change the schedule a bit. Here that lead to a meltdown because of low blood sugar and I knew it was too early and started it again a few weeks later.
You can start to allow her to serve herself a snack and see if she makes normal and good decisions. Eating out with friends can come then and start also with a small snack.
All VERY slow and not in one week...it is very difficult to take freedom back once you allowed it again and what can you do if it does NOT work?
Keep feeding. There is light at the end of the tunnel.