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.

Join these conversations already in progress:
• Road To Recovery - Stories of Hope
• Events for Parents and Caregivers Around the World
• Free F.E.A.S.T Conference Videos

Visit the F.E.A.S.T website for information and support.

If you need help using the forum please reach out to one of the moderators (listed below), or email us at bronwen@feast-ed.org.

Need to talk with another parent? F.E.A.S.T. parents offer peer support via:

Salee

All along our journey so far Ed d has been obsessed with comparing herself to her younger sister.
The long and short of it is if sister doesn’t eat Ed d won’t eat. Ed d will wait and watch what sister has for all meals then eat hers after, only if her sister has eaten more than she will be having. 

Main meals are usually ok. It’s the snacks that is a big issue, even if sister has eaten lots more than Ed d has in between meals if sister doesn’t have something when it’s her snack time she refuses.
It isn’t fair for my 12 year old to be responsible for her sister eating, she gets fed up with being watched, asked to eat when she’s not hungry and is eating so much ‘crap’ I’m worried about her health!
Anyone else dealt with this or has any advice. 

Thanks 

Quote
LaraB

Hi this is really difficult. My D’s sibling felt huge pressure to eat to encourage D to eat, and really struggled with their inability to fix things. 

This and the stress of ED on family-life has had a huge impact on mental health of the sibling and if I were starting again, I would do more to protect the sibling, including letting them eat at different times; in a different room,  eat at a friend’s house, with the other parent.

I brought the sibling to a family therapy session so the family therapist could emphasise that it was really important they did not feel they had to eat to support the sister. 

Maybe this could be incorporated into your D’s plan ie specifically told that her sister is not going to follow the same meal plan. 

Some people are able to emphasise from the outset that everyone has different needs. We were not great with this approach. 

Quote
hbeatsaUSA
Hi, I haven't posted in quite awhile, but I saw this title and it made me perk my ears. 
My d (who is doing GREAT) had a friend who struggled with this exact issue, except it was a twin sibling. Over time, the non ED sibling started to worry about her food intake as well because she heard her sister fretting about it so much. She never developed ED, but she started to ask her parents if twin sister was so obsessed with her eating because she "thought she was fat."
They had to separate them at meal times for several months, IIRC. One child would go to a park or the car to eat with a parent, and the other would stay home and eat at the table with the other parent. Non-ED sister would leave for school early with dad and eat in the car, for example. At the beginning, they made it clear that they were getting very different meals so there was no way to realistically compare them. Over time, they started to eat the same things in separate places. After a few months of this, they started by giving them an identical snack and requiring ED d to eat at the same time as her sister. In your case, perhaps eventually working towards your ED daughter having to take the last bite before sister could be a good long term goal. 
This method required the non ED twin to make a lot of sacrifices to her normal way of life, but it worked. Last I heard, they were both in college now (2 different colleges) and don't have any sort of resentment towards each other. 
D- 21 w long history of RAN (that seems to be in remission, thankfully)
Me- Stephanie
Quote
Frazzled
Hi Salee, 
Your post brings back memories. My daughter did the same thing. She would mirror her older brother bite for bite for meals and snacks. He would eat more even when he wasn’t hungry so she would eat. He ended up gaining weight and I remember that time being so confusing and depressing. I was at a total loss on what was going on and what to do until I found feast and magic plate. Plating all of my daughters meals and snacks and separating the two of them for meals is what finally broke it. 
Quote
kay113
Hello, 
My d(16) has started to compare what she has eaten vs what her sister(19) has eaten.  Challenging because sister often sleeps in while we wake earlier to start 
feeding schedule. Honestly,  I've just started lying, saying sister has eaten and will leave plates in sisters room for show.  I also let her know that sister often eats and snacks when she is not around. I found that meals together were helping, but it is slowly morphing to not. 
Quote
MKR
Hi @Salee,

Food is medicine. The ED person needs their own food to recover.

LaraB wrote:
This and the stress of ED on family-life has had a huge impact on mental health of the sibling and if I were starting again, I would do more to protect the sibling, including letting them eat at different times; in a different room, eat at a friend’s house, with the other parent.


I, too wish the sibling had the meals separately until there was some recovery. While I shut down all comparing of meals physical activities and body shapes (all ED talking), there would have been less stress on everyone if we had protected the sibling from being a constant target.

Try to have separate meals and eating together again can be the goal, once all you serve is eaten without complaint for a good stretch.
Mum's Kitchen

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

There is a saying, "Comparison is the thief of joy." This is so true.

We all want our children to eat intuitively. So it is tricky how to handle this when the needs are so different and all the while you are just trying to be as relaxed and calm about eating as possible! Maybe eating apart for a while gives everyone the break they need to move to the next point in recovery?
D fell down the rabbit hole of AN at age 11 after difficulty swallowing followed by rapid weight loss. Progressing well through recovery, but still climbing our way out of the hole.
Quote
kkhrd
Salee, I can relate to this, as my daughter who is turning 18 in July and has been discharged from medical services for recovery still does this to some degree.  I know that she is in recovery, but I am always watchful.  She has always compared us, size, height, even shoe size.  I am for some reason a trigger for her.  She does better with her own friends, but when we eat together she always wants to make sure that we eat similar portions, she is always done after me.  During the major recovery times I was her sole caregiver and I felt a responsibility to eat more so that she could gain.  I still take more than I need when we eat together to ensure she is comfortable.  I am keenly aware that this is not ideal, but I try to stagger our eating times now that we are quarantined together or eat different foods if possible.  I think with repetition it can be overcome.  For example she can eat her snack alone without myself or someone else eating alongside.  It may be difficult, but separating them at mealtimes might be your first line of action.  Good luck!
Quote
Alethea
15 year old ED d did same to 13 year old sister. We battled as a family for 7 years. I wish I had protected the younger sister. Her mental health suffered so much and she is EDisordered and has so many issues. Better to give siblings as normal a life as possible or send them to stay with family. No child can cope with the rages and trauma without fall out later. I was too preoccupied to even think about her as she was well! I regret that.
Quote
MKR
Hi @Alethea,

Thank you for sharing this.  A powerful warning!

We are now keeping a keen eye on our other child and hoping she will go through her teenage years soundly.
Mum's Kitchen

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

        

WTadmin