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Around the Dinner Table Forum Recent Threads

constant standingOpen in a New Window

Hi.  Can anyone give me any ideas on how to deal with my daughter's constant standing.  It has become progressively worse over the last two weeks and for the last 3 days, she has stood from 8am until around midnight.  It is taking up to an hour just to get her to sit on her bed at night and the same again to get under the covers. She will no longer have a bath as she will not sit down in it. Car journeys tend to be short due to having to be home for meals/snacks and whilst in the car she will keep her legs raised off the seat.

I have tried incentives, distractions, sanctions - nothing is working.  A few days ago I was able to get her to sit for short periods using a timer while we played games but this is not working anymore.

I feel like I am firefighting all the time and not sure which fire to concentrate on. 

Eating is a lengthy process and causes extreme distress.  She hits herself before, during and after eating and will jump up and down during and after eating.  Added to this is the interminable standing.

What can I do?  The only thing I can think of at the moment is to sit on her or tie her to a chair which is not really an option, is it. I restrain her if she is punching herself too hard or for too long but this increases her distress and then the meal takes even longer.

Which fire to focus on?  Food, self harm or standing?  I have been focussing on food but still prompting for the other ones and restraining when necessary.  There are not enough hours in the day to focus on all 3.

Oh, I don't know - just thought I would put this out there and see if anyone had dealt with similar.


'Around the Dinner Table' Online Forum for Parents and Carers


Resources in SwitzerlandOpen in a New Window

Living in Basel, Switzerland and looking for FBT support.  Any resources in area (would consider Zurich and Bern too).


'Around the Dinner Table' Online Forum for Parents and Carers


Eating disorders and traumaOpen in a New Window

Hi there,

My wife and I have been together for 20 years, married for 13 years.  She's had an ED as long as I've known her.. mostly restricting behavior with compulsive exercising.  It seems like most of the literature geared towards eating disorders is aimed at parents of people with ED's and not the spouses--and often framed as a teenage girl problem.  I think back when I married my wife I thought this was the sort of thing that would be long gone by the time we were in our 30's and having kids, but unfortunately that's not the case.

I think my wife's ED stems from her history of trauma.  She was abused by her father at age 5, and one of the ways he manipulated her into the abuse was using food as a reward for sexual acts.  So that begins her complicated and painful history with food.  To her, eating is one big ugly PTSD trigger and she has never been able to eat in front of me, instead preferring to eat over the sink in the kitchen when other people are in the house eating at the dinner table.  

TO complicate matters, I've been sick for years with mitochondrial disease and am on a feeding tube because my body can't handle food.  We have 2 children (7 years and 11 months) and they need to eat a normal meal around the dinner table, but usually my wife just has our nanny feed them dinner before she gets home from work, and on weekends she just gives them simple stuff like peanut butter toast and leftovers from the freezer.  My mom sometimes comes over to give them dinner which I"m not sure is enabling.  I wish I Could do family dinners but it makes me so sad that their need for companionship at the dinner table isnt being met.  It's just one of those basic things all children are supposed to have.  When I bring this up to my wife, she says she feels like a horrible mom but she just can't eat with them right now.  

She has been hospitalized at 13 for a suicide attempt.  This was a few months before I met her.  at this hospital, she was raped by the therapist, got pregnant, had a miscarriage.  The whole experience of hospitalization was extremely traumatizing.  This was 20 years ago before "trauma informed care" and she said that they treated her like it was her fault for being depressed and not being able to function.  Then later on after we got married she was hospitalized for her ED, but refused to talk about her trauma there because she never trusted the staff.  TO be honest, I can't blame her due to how retraumatizing the whole thing was.  She told me she didn't want me to tell the staff about her trauma, and I did comply with that request, because it's not my story to tell and I think it would have been very violating for me to tell her story to them without her express permission.  Then, they would sit there with her and scrutinize every bite.  They made her rest after eating, and would use a feeding tube if she didn't eat fast enough.  It was horrible.

All behaviors have a purpose, and I don't think her eating disorder would have persisted for so many years if it didn't serve an important purpose for her, and I Think that purpose is reclaiming a sense of control over her body as well as safety.  So what do they do during treatment?  Put her in this retraumatizing scenario where she feels completely out of control and take away any freedom she has over what happens to her body.  

So here we are.  I feel powerless as she is going through another relapse with her anorexia.  She already has a heart condition and this is serious business.  She knows it, but still refuses to get help because she doesn't trust mental health professionals after what she's been through.  She refuses to tell any of them about her trauma because she says it already hurt the first time when she told a nurse on a psych unit that she was being raped and abused on the unit and she wasn't believed.  I am struggling to find a balance between respecting her freedom and bodily autonomy and also encouraging her to eat and steering her towards recovery.  It seems like when I am the "food police" she doesn't respond well and it can make things worse.  But then nothing ever changes.


'Around the Dinner Table' Online Forum for Parents and Carers


Impulsive buying-another symptom?Open in a New Window

Okay, my daughter has a buying problem.  Amazon is at our door on a daily basis and she buys things in multiples of a dozen. I mean who needs 12 copies of a movie??!  I sent them back and more arrives the next day.  Anyone else run into this and how have you gotten a handle on it?  It is her own money that she is spending but it is reaching a ridiculous amount.


'Around the Dinner Table' Online Forum for Parents and Carers


Looking for inspirationOpen in a New Window

Greetings to all you wonderful folk

I'm a regular 'lurker' on this forum who sometimes feels anxious about posting because FBT hasn't seemed to worked for us, but nonetheless takes great reassurance from the wisdom and encouragement from you all. I am looking for some ideas to kickstart momentum in my son's recovery. He has been battling compulsive exercise and disordered eating for 7 years, is now aged 19 and has in some ways learned to manage himself much better than when he was first diagnosed, but is also more entrenched than ever in his ED. He has always appreciated our support as parents, but has missed so much of teenage development that he is now very isolated socially and imprisoned by his rituals and restrictions around food and exercise. We have received good crisis care under CAMHS in UK leading to 3 hospitalisations, but little continuity of care and are not currently under any professional team. We are in E Midlands, can anyone recommend any local experts or ideas for motivating young adults when everyone is exhausted and demoralised by the long fight?

Tough battler


'Around the Dinner Table' Online Forum for Parents and Carers


Researcher looking for young people aged over 16 treated with FBT, in the UK.Open in a New Window

I can't download the whole document (so useless with technology) but here is a message from the clinician in Scotland who has been instrumental in promoting FBT in Scotland.  If any parent feels their child would be willing to be interviewed, please get in touch directly with Karen at the email address given.  The child would need to be 16 or over.  There is no mention if the young person has to be recovered or not.  The important part is that the young person should have been treated using FBT.

"I am undertaking research as part of a clinical doctorate exploring this area and I would like to gather young peoples views on the part their father or step-father did or did not play in their treatment for an eating disorder.


If you are interested in taking part you can email me at and I will arrange to either meet with you in person or speak to you on the telephone.


This meeting or telephone conversation would last around 30-45minutes.


Many thanks for considering taking part in my research."


'Around the Dinner Table' Online Forum for Parents and Carers


Feeling conflicted after meeting with dietitian - would welcome your adviceOpen in a New Window

Brief background- daughter (14)  diagnosed with AN last month - currently doing FBT with CAMHS and have had two appointments to date.

Today I saw the dietitian on my own.  She asked what I had been feeding my daughter and what her weight was/is.  I explained that I had been adding extra egg yolks/butter/ whole milk to semi skimmed milk and swapping hot chocolate brands without my daughter knowing and had been  able to get in extra calories this way.

She said that I need to stop doing this as my daughter will think she is putting on weight based upon what she thinks she is eating and that this is not good. She said that I need to stick to 3 meals/snacks per day and not to offer alternatives ( even after 2 hours which would be snack time anyway) as this will let the eating disorder win i.e.. if the meal is not eaten, it is not replaced and the usual snack should be offered without trying to replace lost calories.  She also said I need to watch that I am not giving my daughter too much fat and to reduce the butter etc I am using.

When I explained that if I were to do this, my daughter would not be putting on weight (only 0.7kg in the last fortnight) she said that if that is the case, anorexia will not be able to hide and it may need to get to this stage for any improvement to happen.

I am sooo confused and conflicted.  I understand what she is saying but it seems counter intuitive not to get as many calories into her as I can, even if the majority of them are hidden.  I keep reading on here about the brain having to heal in order to help recovery and that this can only been done via weight gain.

I now have no clue what to do.


'Around the Dinner Table' Online Forum for Parents and Carers


What next?Open in a New Window

My daughter has just turned 18 and is about to be transferred to adult services. She was diagnosed with anorexia 4.5y ago. She has had a very difficult time, with anxiety and excessive exercise; very low weight up to 30% weight loss; having to stop school for 7 months etc. She was offered inpatient treatment many times but has always refused it. We have managed at home with huge effort and variable support from CAMHS, crisis intervention etc. She has been back in school since September. CBT-E began in January and it has been helpful. Self awareness and skills have developed. Weight has gradually improved and is now around 3-5kg from possible target weight (though this has never been specified). She has confirmed osteoporosis and has never had a period. Severe anxiety around eating, excess exercise, dietary restriction and various rituals continue.
My daughter has worked hard with the CBT-E and engaged with the psychologist. She does not want me to be involved these days but she needs our support very much. The current plan is that she will have 3 more sessions of CBT-E (so a total of around 30 sessions) then a break of 4 weeks and an assessment with adult services. She doesnt want to go to adult services but of course I will attempt to persuade her.
I recognise that my D and family and I have done well in many ways. However, I think she has many entrenched behaviours and thoughts and that she needs significant support. She is not at a stable weight or state. I am frightened that the transfer to adult services will cause a relapse. The adult services have a reasonable reputation I think.
I realise that anorexic behaviours and cognitions take time to improve with weight gain. Should I be patient and see how things go or is the situation urgent? Should I be demanding more CBT-E sessions until my D is stable? I am not sure what my expectations should be or where to turn. All advice appreciated.


'Around the Dinner Table' Online Forum for Parents and Carers


Young daughter with ED - is she now eating too much?Open in a New Window

Hi, never thought I'd write this post......

Our daughter was diagnosed with anorexia around Christmas time, shortly after her 8th birthday. Thankfully we hit it full-on really early, and although refeeding was hideous, with the amazing support from this forum we managed to get her back to a good weight within a couple of months. Since then we've had some ups and downs (which I expected), but the brain healing has followed and she's in a great place now - happy, confident in her body and free of pretty-much all ED/OCD behaviours.

Yesterday, for the first time in many, many months, I REFUSED her the Double Decker choc bar she asked to have for her evening snack. She'd already had one at lunchtime, plus a handful of biscuits and her usual breakfast, lunch and dinner. I offered her fruit instead.

I feel really unsettled. On one hand I felt this should be cause for celebration - I'm setting down boundaries that are normal for an eight year-old with normal eating. On the other hand, I was terrified that I'd done something dangerous in refusing her food, and I had vivid recollections of last time I did (October), when the response was "if I can't have chocolate then I won't have anything".

But, my niggling worry if I'm completely honest is that she is now overeating. Her current weight is 25.5kg, 122cm, wfh just over 105 (it was around 85 at diagnosis). She had been a petite girl, and my husband and myself are slim. She's now bigger than many of her friends. She's been putting on around 100g per week, which is what we were recommended at GOSH once weight restoration had been achieved. But this seems like a lot for someone so little. She's also massively increased her exercise over the last couple of months.

I've looked up previous posts about whether people can go too far the other way once they are weight-restored, and it seems that there are others who've worried about this, although the consensus (which I totally agree with) is that state is the key issue, and far better erring on the side of more weight gain than less.

Has anyone had experience of this situation? Can anyone reassure me/advise me? My inclination is to carry on with 3 meals and 2 snacks (she's skipping the morning snack now), continue to widen her range of foods to include items from all the food groups with less reliance on chocolate/sugary stuff, and keep up the sport/walking/general exercise.

Thanks as always

Meadow x


'Around the Dinner Table' Online Forum for Parents and Carers


General questions and advice / 1st timeOpen in a New Window

Hi- I am thankful to have finally found this site. It has been an extremely difficult year. It has been a year of anxiety, tears, tantrums, meltdowns etc...After reading multiple books on eating disorders and scouring the web for information on boys with eating disorders it is helpful to actually read about others going through similar experiences that can offer real support.

Our background - I noticed my 15 year old son becoming obsessed with eating healthy and exercising about 1 and 1/2 year ago. He was cutting out foods that he used to love and jump roping after all meals, weightlifting in the evenings. We took him first to our pediatrician. He said it appeared that he just wanted to live a healthier lifestyle. About 1 week later he called and said he felt we needed a psychologist. He said this was nothing that he was familiar with but felt we needed to get him some help. We found a local psychologist a few months later and started to see him. Initially, he was treating him for OCD and body dysmorphia (obsession with abs) - using CBT and exposure was able to stop the looking up calories, stop the jump roping 3 x a day, take a day off from workouts every 4th day, and reintroduce a few foods like beans and rice, ground turkey. We don't have any local eating disorder specialists, but psychologist says they are in this case so intertwined and we can treat using CBT and exposures as we have been doing.

He also referred us to a dietician - after a daily food log for 3 days found his calorie intake was about 1200 a day. Height was 5' 4", weight 96, BMI was 16. (That was December)

The dietician and the psychologist helped us with the refeeding with 3 meals, 2 snacks per day . Increasing the calorie amount, adding new safe foods (Greek yogurt, avocados) , and having to eati whatever we made for dinner.

Relieved to say that now 6 months later, weight is 112, BMI OF 19 ... But not at goal weight yet.

Here we are now - still seeing the psychologist and dietician weekly. Working on toast and cheese right now.

Some of my questions are -- Is this slow approach to reintroducing foods ok?

- even though his weight has increased, mentally he is struggling. There is massive anxiety and tears several times a week at dinner time. (This is when he has to eat what I make). Does this ever get easier???

Going out to eat is traumatic .

He was started on low dose of Zoloft (SSRI ) 2 months ago. Do you think this will help. Or is this a beast that needs defeated without medication.?

His brother (14) and sister (12) are starting to resent him because we don't go out to eat so much any more and quite frankly our entire world has been rocked and turned upside down. Any tips?

His initial lab work back in December showed a high cholesterol (300) down to 250 a few months ago - is this normal?

He still exercises. We have been hesitant to cut this off because he is gaining weight and it makes him feel good.

I feel like we have used a different approach to all of this and have read a lot about FBT, but don't know if it would even be helpful at this point or not.

Any advice would help.


'Around the Dinner Table' Online Forum for Parents and Carers


Have you taken the annual F.E.A.S.T. member survey yet?Open in a New Window

You probably know already that this forum is a free service provided by F.E.A.S.T., a global organization supporting parents and families who have been affected by a loved one's eating disorder diagnosis. What you may not know is that we are operated by volunteers around the world giving their time to support other families. In addition to this forum, F.E.A.S.T. has an informational website, puts on educational events, and does advocacy and outreach all over the world to promote eating disorder treatment that involves families and is based on evidence of safety and effectiveness.

Once a year we ask our members to tell us more about what you value, what you want, and what concerns you may have. We want to hear from our members directly and we take your feedback very seriously.

All F.E.A.S.T. members received an email last week with a link to the survey. If you have not responded to that message and filled out the short survey, please do so now? You will be receiving a reminder today by email. If you do not get that email please let me know at and we'll figure out why. And if you are not yet a member, please join today? Donations are optional (but welcomed).

If you are a registered member of this forum then you are a F.E.A.S.T. member.

And if you have any concerns or comments I always welcome your emails and calls!

UK +44 3308280031 / Australia +61 731886675 / Canada +1 647-247-1339 / US +1 855-50-FEAST

Laura Collins Lyster-Mensh

Outreach Director, F.E.A.S.T.

F.E.A.S.T. (Families Empowered and Supporting Treatment of Eating Disorders) |


'Around the Dinner Table' Online Forum for Parents and Carers


Tracking changesOpen in a New Window

Hi everyone,

As we all know progress in eating disorders is SSLLOOWWW, painfully slow. It can be very hard to keep perspective, especially in the beginning when all is chaos.

I used a habit tracker to visually and, more importantly, quickly keep track of where we were. Just google it and you will find multiple free examples to print out. Here is a link to some examples =journal%7Ctyped&term_meta[]=tracker%7Ctyped&add_refine=habit%7Cguide%7Cword%7C1

I kept track of all 3 meals and 3 snacks. I coloured the box if the meal was eaten, put an X for a refusal, a O if we had an outing and missed a snack, a V if he varied from his routine food and a D if I was away from home for a snack (unavoidable occasionally) 

I also kept track of digestive issues; pain, discomfort or nausea. As well as emotional melt downs, violence and self harm.

I also kept track of happier things such as socialising and outings.

And sure enough it was possible to see at a glace that there were fewer refusals over the weeks. And the first time I realised that there hadn't been a meltdown for a month, well, lets just say that I was a very happy mom.

It was also very helpful to quickly show doctors, therapists how we were getting along.

Hope this little tip is of some use, especially to those deep, deep in the trenches.

Warm wishes,



'Around the Dinner Table' Online Forum for Parents and Carers


Any helpful suggestions? Words of wisdom?Open in a New Window

Having recently been diagnosed, we have started FBT and at the moment are trying to do 3 meals/snacks per day.  Snacks are just not being eaten at the moment and lunch is also the hardest battle.  Breakfast is met with a little less resistance and tea is fairly hard going.

Yesterday, I gave her an apple and a relatively small amount of yoghurt for a snack.  She refused to come down from her room to eat it so I took it upstairs.  I'm not sure if I am doing this right and I am at the end of my tether.  I start off trying to do the compassionate approach and making sure I am calm and faking confidence like you wouldn't believe.  Offering distractions and incentives to go out somewhere and do something.  
After 20 minutes of complete silence, I told her that she had to give me her phone/ipad until the snack was eaten.  Still complete silence from her.  I settled down on the floor by her bedroom door and she started shouting that she needed to be left alone.  Anyway, to cut a long story short, I followed her around the house with the snack repeating ad infinitum that I needed her to eat this.  The only responses from her were to tell me to leave her alone and later on, banging her head repeatedly against doors and walls and throwing herself to the floor.  I managed to stay calm although I really just wanted to join her and bang my head off walls and throw myself to the floor.

Everything I am reading seems to say to persevere but how long do you give it?  I waited an hour and a half but by this point it was lunch time which I knew would take up to 2 hours so I said I would just have to give her extra for lunch (the extra was a hot chocolate which had more calories than the sodding apple and yoghurt!)

Should I wait it out for her to eat the snack or should I cut my losses and try and get some lunch in her?  
Do you put a time limit on meals or sit it out at the expense of getting potential more calories in her from the next meal?
If a meal is completely refused do you replace it  with something that will have more chance of being eaten or stick to your guns?  At the moment every little calorie is a tiny baby step.


'Around the Dinner Table' Online Forum for Parents and Carers


Help. Need Advice. I am so confused.Open in a New Window

My d was diagnosed in Feb with anorexia.  She was admitted to hospital then and after a month we decided to take her home and continue re feeding and attending weekly outpatient appointments.  She started to slide backwards slowly (as I was listening to advice from other sources and not recognizing that the eating disorder was gaining more control).  This is all prior to finding this wonderful place.
She was close to hospitalization a couple of weeks ago but after finding Eva Musby's book, site and the advice here,  things started to turn around and I felt we were on the right track.  Finally!
This past weekend d decided to stop eating.  She had been working hard the last two weeks and showing love, compassion, support at the dinner table was working.  Telling her to trust me etc was working.
Now its not.  She is flat out refusing to eat that 'disgusting' food that I make her.
Tonight I broke down. I am so worn out.  I feel that she did what it took to stay out of hospital but is now listening to the eating disorder only.  She would rather drink boost than eat. She obsessed all day today about the size of her thighs and the pants she was wearing. She didn't want to go out in public.
I know I need to be strong and selfless and all of those things but I feel like I am losing it. I am starting to hate myself.  I'm feeling fat.  I don't want to eat.  The last thing I want to talk about or look at or put in my mouth is food.
I feel so inadequate.
Anyway, I immediately thought, 'I should have just put in her the hospital two weeks ago'.  The Dr had suggested it then because it would not interfer with her school year.  There are only 7 kids on the floor and she would get lots of attention.  
I don't know what to do at this point.
I am sorry if I sound heartless and uncompassionate.  My heart is breaking seeing my daughter under such torture.  I want what is best for her but I don't know if I can adequately give it to her.
Both my parents and my husband agree that if I can't help her maybe she needs to be in the hands of the professionals.


'Around the Dinner Table' Online Forum for Parents and Carers


Recovery, what then?Open in a New Window

Just thought I'd post an update about our d and share some thoughts/questions about recovery.

It's been about 2 years since d was WR, and she moved out for college/uni in Jan 2016.  Her weight has continued to go up, and we recently relaxed our requirement for regular weigh-ins (with results directly emailed to us).  

She looks great, her weight is good, her grades are wonderful, her life is sweet.  We feel so proud, relieved and vindicated.  She has everything we wanted for her, and our relationship is heart-warming.  

Our only concern?  She's vegetarian/vegan from what we see.  Her B vitamins were low and her Dr has her on supplements.

We hope that as the years go on she has more variety in her diet. Does anyone else have similar experience?

So, just an honest post to let you know that as the years go on our kids DO recover and enjoy their lives.  Our worries are little ones, and I do believe they will fade over time.

Keep feeding, keep up that protein, and keep hope.



'Around the Dinner Table' Online Forum for Parents and Carers

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F.E.A.S.T. (FAMILIES EMPOWERED AND SUPPORTING TREATMENT OF EATING DISORDERS) | US +1 855-50-FEAST | Canada +1 647-247-1339 | Australia +61 731886675 | UK +44 3308280031

F.E.A.S.T. is registered as a nonprofit organization under section 501(c)(3) of the United States Internal Revenue Code. Information on this site is meant to support, not replace, professional consultation. Unless otherwise noted, content is edited by F.E.A.S.T. volunteers with assistance from our Professional Advisory Panel.

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