The last ten pounds

The last ten pounds are the roughest.

Any fool can get re-feeding started: patients and their families and hospitals do it all the time.

But that last ten pounds? Now that's a challenge. The patient has her spirit back and you won't be able to find any expert or quack to agree that it is an emergency if a meal is skipped or a few pounds are lost. The last ten pounds are when feelings come back like nerves on a burned limb. The last ten pounds are when family is 'over it' and the patient is not visibly ill any more and while the thoughts and feelings are enflamed inside the world outside is withdrawing its sympathy and "trusting" the individual to "use your tools."

The last ten pounds is when new clothes need to be purchased and a growth spurt starts and all the insecurities and losses of life take center stage and start screaming - they'd been on forced retirement.

The last ten pounds are when insurance isn't paying for much at all since they've been bumped off the DSM and the ER is just going to discharge you even if mom brings the patient down there.

The last ten pounds are not even necessary: you are out of "medical danger."

They are the ten pounds that tell your loved one's brain the famine is over, tell the hormones that reproduction is safe again, and tell bones to start re-building.

The last ten pounds is when ED is not just whining he's snarling and he knows no one sees him but the patient. He has promises and plans and he sees daylight and he's going for it.

The last ten pounds is when pressing forward gets hard and families repeatedly give up, give in, and argue with one another.

But the last ten pounds, I want parents to know, are perhaps the most important ones. They are the ones that require the most support from us and the time when real psychological recovery begins. They are the pounds that drag your loved one out of the malnourishment - not the first ten. These are the pounds that matter most, not least. This is the time YOU are needed most, not least.


  1. Always so poignant, Laura. Thank you!

  2. SO true and so often overlooked. Thanks Laura.

  3. Amen, amen and AMEN.

  4. thank you Laura...this is when we do need to continue to be strong and confindent. Just today had teachers/principal saying how great d looked and how she has really recovered nicely and how she could do some sort of sport like golf or yoga and how we have "done" a great job....and I start relaxing like it IS really better and maybe we could let her start back up again....oops! Thanks for the reminder. I KNOW we still have a bit to go...those last few pounds and that big emotional healing part. Thanks

  5. That is absolutely the best written and most true thing I've read about The Last Ten Pounds. Not only in that it isn't something people talk about. But jeeze - you are so very right. :-) As they say: AMEN. Amazing. Thank you.

  6. exactly!

    i just wish it could be worded in a different way than "the last ten pounds" so it could easily represent those outside of the traditional anorexia behaviors. I'm sure anyone who has experienced the re-feeding process can relate to this completely - even if their stage was not in "the last ten pounds". It truly describes so much more than that statement allows.

    the journey to becoming consistently balanced in nutrition is challenging regardless to obvious measurements.

  7. I shared this with my daughter. Awesome!


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