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

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My D (15) has been following the same routine of 3 meals and 3 snacks and progressing well. Starting tomorrow she will be on Christmas holiday break from school for two weeks. I’m anxious because I will lost my “private” shopping and food prep time and I’m worried she gets very bored by eating every day at home. We’re not traveling. I discussed with the family that eating will be priority. What do you do to burn time in between meals at home? My hands are tied too because I will need to shop and cook without her around. Since she was diagnosed with ED, she has become very attached to me.  We have been watching Disney movies, almost every night. I hate to make it sound like she will eat and do nothing this holiday, but this is what will happen. Do you have any tips?
Hi @Pandamom,

Are you able to have playdates? This depends on how your daughter behaves around her friends and/or cousins. They could be short dates, like going to the movies. 

Depending on where you live, you can do short outings to a holiday activity like crafts, a kids' show, seeing Christmas lights, visiting relatives, taking donations to charity.

I had a similar situation where my privacy was scarce.  Three suggestions:

1. Cook ahead while your daughter is asleep (it wasn't easy, I was exhausted).

2. Cook ahead and freeze before the two weeks begin.

3. Buy at least part meals for the two weeks.  I had lots of options ready to go with pasta, noodles, rice or couscous, which are all cooked quickly at the last minute. 

Frozen food was also less likely to be taken from the fridge and thrown away during an ED fit (our kitchen is open-plan).

I wish you a nice holiday break 🎄.
Mum's Kitchen

14-y-o "healthy living" led to AN in 2017 and WR at 16. Current muscle dysmorphia.

She’s going to her friends house tomorrow for several hours. Then her friends are going out of town for two weeks. I’m starting to fill up the activities . Smm74, that’s good advice because when she’s idle, her mind goes OCD. 

MKR, I’ll try to meal prep at night. These two weeks will be lots of adjustments. I’m glad she gets a break from school though.

Smm74, I think I will start to do the heavy cream mixing, label stripping in the parking lot too. It feels very weird to do this.

Hi I think the tips above sound great.
I found it useful in early days to try to have a structure to the day when she was not at school. Eg watch Netflix in morning. Go for drive before lunch. 
Do a “project” whatever that may be.

We also visited a cafe for lunch occasionally in a very calm garden centre during early refeeding as a break from house. 

We also brought food to the cinema and ate there. We did quite a few trips to cinema. 

Maybe you could try online shopping to buy you some time. I also invested in readymade meals like cottage pie and lasagna to give me a break from cooking. You can still fortify them. 

I was probably colluding with the eating disorder at beginning for ages by making far too many visits to supermarket to buy food D would eat. I am embarrassed to admit that sometimes I went 4 times a day. I would definitely bulk buy/try online shopping if starting out again. 

My D was also very attached to me and would have outburst if I left her with H. The therapist reckoned it was important for her to get used to doing this and to understand that I also needed to spend time with my other D. I don’t know who else is at home with you but maybe you could try to get her to spend time with another family member. 
Courage is not the absence of despair; it is rather the capacity to move ahead in spite of despair
Great tips @sandie! Especially about the structured days - a lot easier for all. 

I presume you both try to avoid bringing your child along to food shopping. I found pretty soon it was a distressing place for my D while the ED had a ball...
Mum's Kitchen

14-y-o "healthy living" led to AN in 2017 and WR at 16. Current muscle dysmorphia.

Thank you, Sandie. I am home with my D and my 13 yo son. My husband gets three days off around Christmas so it will be mostly me and the kids. I will try to get some routine going, definitely wake her up early enough to get breakfast and morning snacks. My D doesn’t come to the kitchen, and she usually comes to shop with me once a week on Sunday. She used to be very involved in cooking while anorexic, but she has gradually stop watching cooking shows and being in the kitchen after refeeding. The rest of the groceries I shop when she’s at school.

I have been going to grocery almost every other day because of the amount of food she eats. She drinks a gallon of milk every 3-4 days. 

I may try go to movies, trip to a park or museum and pack food. 

thank you you all. Wish you have a wonderful holiday too.

You already got great advice. I can only add what I did here.
I did prepare a lot of meals in the night when she was sleeping. I asked a friend to do some shopping for me and unpack the packages in her home so my d would not see the containers. I asked a friend to come around or a family member to stay with her so I could have some tme for myself or prepare something. I tried to "get rid of her" 🙂 as often as possible.

To avoid boring times I put her in front of TV a lot, I asked friends to come for a playdate (yes, that is true, although my d was 17!), I organised a lot of books and puzzles and handcraft material like when she was a toddler and I needed to keep her busy all day...🙂
Keep feeding. There is light at the end of the tunnel.
The holidays can be very stressful. I really have no extra ideas as per above suggestions.
But there is something you need to know. During this time of year normally teenagers will wish to sleep in late. I would advise against that and to keep the routine of her meals the same as prior to the holidays. When they do sleep in, ED can take it as a way to miss a meal or snack. We had "well I woke up late and don't have time before bed to eat another snack" or "Oh I will make it up tomorrow"(that never happened). Many fed their child at the normal time and then let them go back to bed. 

Also can you ask a friend or family member to make some casseroles for you to put in the freezer? Many people in our lives don't know what we need and to tell them to make something or do something for us allows them to share their kindness with you. I am sure they want to help but just don't know how.

During the holidays when early into ED, please don't get discouraged if things become more difficult. It is hard for them with no school, regular friend time or extra curricular distractions. It may be hard on you as well as you are with the kids all day everyday.
Are you also able to take a break for a few hours for yourself during this time? I highly recommend trying to get some quality time away from ED for you. It helps with perspective and gives you a much needed break from the stress.

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)