Monday, 21 February 2011


I took Waif to the orthodontist today.   Her teeth are as crooked as a sevenpenny piece and she has a horrendous bite.  I had told her that there was no way she could havebraces until she was a proper weight.  Her current target (95% of her recommended weight for age/height) is 51.5kg.  At her last weigh-in she was 47kg on the nose.

Anyway, she has been eating brilliantly for the last day or two.  She made me proud yesterday by having GRAVY on her roast potatoes which is something she has not done for 2 years.  Her older sister said, not unreasonably as Waif has spent 2 years saying so,  "I thought you didn't like gravy" and Waif flatly retorted that she did, like it was a known world fact.

Anyway, I had told Waif last week that she needed to be 47.5kg for today's appointment but didn't push the point, and although I asked her a couple of times if she had weighed herself and if she was 47.5kg, she chose not to give me a straight answer and I still took her to the appointment thinking that this was not the final crunch point.  But the upshot is that I have coughed up a few thousand pounds and the braces are due to be put on on 31 March.

Waif looks well now: although still thin, her skin is glowing and she has a liveliness and spirit back.  The psych was immensely reassured that Waif's periods have started and is now much more relaxed which has rubbed off onto me a little. big dilemma is whether I stick to demanding 51.5kg by 31st March (which seems a very tall order and one that could cause conflict) or settle for continued slow weight gain, and I won't even cross the bridge of her simply maintaining 47kg as that is not in any of my acceptable world views.  My inclination is to be happy with normal, varied eating and a steady gain even if she doesn't make the 51.5kg figure but I do want to lay down a marker in the sand right NOW so that I can forewarn Waif and also make myself stick to it by reading back this post.  Perhaps 48.5kg??

Meantime, I am training hard for the London Marathon but weigh more than I have ever weighed really......I am 10lbs (4kg) heavier than pre-Maudsley and this is not good for a fast time!!!  In my ideal world I would do sub 4 hours but at current weight, I reckon it will be closer to 4h25.   Basically, I am secretly aiming to get DOWN to 51kg whilst I want Waif to get UP to it.  I am 4cm smaller than her so it would not be too thin for me, but just right.  However, I am not sure if I should be open about this and explain that I am NOT having pudding because I am trying to LOSE weight but that waif MUST have pudding because she needs to GAIN weight, or whether that would be a trigger for her.  Obviously, her health comes first but I can't stop my own life impinging a little (I am not perfect).

In all this, I can't keep from feeling such utter relief that my current dilemmas are not of the same order of magnitude or worry as those of a year ago.  We are lucky.

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Flying Solo

With such a long gap until Waif's next appointment at the Maudsley,  everyday eating is like cycling without stabilisers for the first time.  You know that feeling you get the first time you go on a Motorway after passing your driving test?  Despite the fact you felt confident approaching the slip road, somehow once on the road it feels scary - there is no escape and HOW fast exactly is that lorry coming up behind you going?  It takes grit not to panic.

I took Waif to the gym yesterday, as is our wont on Mondays.  I settled for a swim as I had run 13 miles on Sunday so was having a rest day.  She set off for the running machine at 5.30pm.  "See you about 6 here in the changing rooms" was my parting comment.

At 6, I got out of the sauna (honestly, I had swum first) and headed for the showers.  No Waif.  Ho hum, she will be here soon.  6.05  no Waif.  6.10  no Waif and I had nearly finished drying my hair.  6.15 no Waif....oh well, she had some earphones to buy first so perhaps she had a delayed start, or maybe she has bumped into a friend.  At 6.20, just as I was considering heading up to the weights area to look for her, she finally appeared, looking exhausted.  She told me that she had gone for a long session on the running machine "because we haven't been to the gym recently."    Hmmm.......   she was then too full to finish her plate of supper noodles and/or to eat pudding, and refused a bed time snack because we had run out of cheddar cheese.  It occurred to me that I also didn't know if she had eaten an after school snack as she had gone straight from school to her art lesson before I picked her up for the gym.

I try not to worry on the basis of one day, after all a run once a week is healthy and as far as I know she ate a good breakfast and a reasonable lunch but it does feel odd and scary allowing her so much control of her own and seeing her missing food on her menu.  I have suggested to her that she ought to weigh herself weekly to check that she is still putting on weight and on track for her current target of 51.5kg which is, after all, 4kg more than where she is now.  I am reluctant to intervene or try to wrest back too much control as I know that when she is 15 or 16 years old that will not be possible and she has to learn to eat sensibly on her own.  It feels like the first day I let her walk to school alone across the park (aged 8, with her older sister, aged 10, in charge).

Meanwhile, whilst tidying her room, I came across an old diary from when she was 12, with a list of calorie and weight loss goals  :-(    She had made herself a star chart grid.  She was aiming at being only 36kg  :-(  I wonder if I should talk to her about that, or keep it, or bin it.

Friday, 4 February 2011

Maudsley visit 47kg

Well, that went well  :-)

Waif has put on 0.9kg in a fortnight.  The psych is pleased that Waif has hit puberty and said that was a very good sign.  She said that 47kg is a magical figure at which periods start and that Waif must indeed be naturally a very slim build as her hormones kicked in below that.  She said that, in view of the fact that Waif is naturally skinny (like the rest of the family) she would be content to see Waif at 95% of her healthy weight.  I have mixed emotions about this ...partly, I am grateful as I don't think Waif would be happy to be 100% and would consider herself chubby and that could trigger renewed dieting, but partly I am worried as all I have read indicates that the goal weight achieved and aimed at is very important to long term recovery as the sufferer tends to see it as a MAXIMUM never to be exceeded rather than a median point to oscillate around.

So, we asked the obvious question as to what 95% weight for age/height would be for Waif.  We were told that, very roughly, you take 110 off someone's height in cm, and that gives you their ideal weight in kg.  So, Waif is 165cm which gives about 55kg.  Of course, her target figure is actually a bit less as she is only 14 and we are not going for 100%   In fact her 95% goal turns out to be 51.5kg, rising to 54.2kg if she grows another 3 cm.

The psych is keen to discharge Waif within 6 months (with follow ups thereafter) and our next appointment is not to be for another 8 weeks.  Bliss.

Ok, confession:  Waif and I were each asked to fill in a questionnaire.  We both did so and I asked Waif whether she wanted to take them back to reception.  She said she wanted me to do that.  Reader, I am only human and sneaked a quick look at Waif's answers.  She had put that generally the psych understood her and asked the right questions and that she never felt inhibited by having her parents in attendance.  I hope she is being honest as that is good news,but you never can tell with Waif as she always wants to please and could well have answered "as expected" rather than truthfully.

On balance, Waif appears to be enjoying life and all it has to offer.  She is also eating regularly and sufficiently.  I couldn't be happier if I had won the lottery.