By Claire Sheth
In March 2020, I started seeing the signs… a few too many miles run; too many baked goods made, but too few consumed; too many protests of “I’m not hungry”; and, ultimately, too many pounds lost. Between January 2020 and June 2020, my once robust, sparkly, fierce firecracker of a daughter was subsumed by an eating disorder that initially started as a function of Relative Energy Deficit in Sport (RED-S) and ultimately developed into full-blown anorexia nervosa.
The worst part? I was on top of it. My older daughter had a run in with RED-S 2 years prior but we caught it early, mid-course corrected her dietary intake to match her energy output and never looked back. Her sister was not as lucky.
By July 2020 our younger daughter was severely underweight, lying about her consumption, hiding food and telling me how much she hated me for making her eat 3 meals and 3 snacks a day. Our world was turned upside down, so I did the only thing I knew to do: I consulted the oracle of google for support.
- “Hey google, how do you cure anorexia?”
- “Hey google, what foods have the most calories?”
- “Hey google, is hair loss/obsessive gum chewing/isolating a symptom of anorexia?”
- “Hey google, am I going crazy?”
This last question was ultimately answered by F.E.A.S.T– a community of caregivers and loved ones who create a network of mutual aid to assure one another that we aren’t going crazy, that this disorder is real; and most importantly, we aren’t alone.
I am eternally grateful to F.E.A.S.T for providing my husband and me with a shared understanding of eating disorders through the First 30 Days educational series. I will never forget the kindness a parent volunteer extended to me in response to my panicked call to the support line at the start of last summer. I was blessed to have access to the learned wisdom of (entirely too) many parents who were further along on their recovery journey on the Around the Dinner Table Forum. I found peace in the shared vulnerability and compassion of the F.E.A.S.T ATDT Facebook page posts. Through all of these supports, we found the strength, knowledge and encouragement we needed to keep fighting and, ultimately, WIN! After a grueling 12 months, our daughter is now weight restored, back to playing her sport and, above all else, back to the robust, sparkly, fierce firecracker that her dad and I so adore. Thank you, F.E.A.S.T., for arming us so fully against ED and showing us the way through.
Are you thankful to F.E.A.S.T? Please tell us what F.E.A.S.T. means to you! You can reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org. And please don’t forget to donate during our upcoming fundraising campaign between November 10-24. #givethanks2FEAST