Here is the scenario; you are sitting at the table with your daughter and she refuses to eat anymore. What is your goal? The goal is for her to take one more bite than she wants to. Not three, five or ten; only one bite more. This may not seem like much of an accomplishment but it is.
When you meet this goal you are communicating to your daughter that you are going to help her get well no matter what. You are saying to the eating disorder that its days are numbered.
Even if she doesn’t say it, your daughter will feel a sense of relief because she realizes that you are strong enough to take on the eating disorder. You are showing her you have the confidence and ability to re-feed her.
What I am about to say is very important. Don’t miss it. You and your spouse absolutely have to be on the same page with this process. If she observes one of you as the weak link, the eating disorder will take advantage of that, slip through the crack and stand in the way of progress.
If you and your spouse are not in agreement, my suggestion is to get help and/or involve another adult she trusts. It is ideal if two parents or adults can work together, but often we don’t have the ideal. You can still use this process if there is only one parent doing the re-feeding, but it is more of a challenge.
In a nutshell, this is the process. You sit down at the table, one parent on each side of your daughter, and you work with her to take one more bite than she wants to. One bite, that’s all. You continue to do this at meal times and you will slowly gain back the ground that the eating disorder has stolen from you and your daughter.
I don’t mean to make it sound that easy, because it isn’t. But you have the ability to re-feed your daughter. You love her the most and know her the best. You can help her one bite at a time.
I strongly encourage you to read more articles, do more research and/or talk to a professional therapist or coach before actually implementing this. Like they say; “Don’t do this at home” without learning more.
It is like anything new you learn. You don’t take your first swimming lesson and then go jump in the deep end. You keep taking lessons until you have the confidence and ability to swim. You are more likely to succeed when you have more information and guidance. This knowledge is a great first step in helping your daughter get well. Now build on it and learn more.