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A new place to turn

Alaina Arthurs and Patti Albertson say they started recovery from compulsive overeating when they signed up for a new program called COR.

The five-day, four-night COR program is held once a month at the McIver Center for Spiritual Development at The Retreat in Wayzata, Minn.

The COR residential retreat is designed to provide participants with positive experiences in food management, including selection and portion control, according to its website.

COR is the Latin word for "heart" or "soul."

"It just means the heart or the center," said program director Michelle Goldberg.

She explained, "Basically it's a program for people who have tried everything else."

COR was founded by Burt Nordstrand, who grew up on a farm near Ellsworth and founded SSG Corporation, which owns the Auto Stop stores and many Holiday stations in Wisconsin.

At age 70, Nordstrand wrote his autobiography. In "Living with the Enemy" he tells of his battles with multiple addictions -- compulsive overeating, diet pills, nicotine, caffeine, alcohol, irresponsible sex, gambling and over-exercising.

Now, said Nordstrand, "I'm on a mission to make food addictions part of the national conversation."

Nordstrand, 72, who subsidizes the program and provides scholarships, said he has struggled with food, generally sugar, all his life. "(But) a little program helped me 30 years ago."

That program is the 12 Steps used in Alcoholics Anonymous.

"I'm at a stage in life when I decided I want to give back, and the area I'm most interested in is food addiction," said Nordstrand.

Goldberger said COR attracts people who have spent 20-30 years dieting, only to fall back to overeating.

"Our problem isn't lack of information," said Goldberger, a self-described "food addict" who has maintained a 60-pound weight loss for six years. "It's about a need to have a transformation. It (COR) is a spiritual program."

The cost for the COR program is $650, but will go up to $750 in January, said Goldberger.

Now that COR is up and running, publicity is a goal.

Nordstrand said this month staff will be working with Joan Lunden on a film for National Public Television, Minnesota Public Television and cable TV. COR has scheduled 200 commercial programs on cable television for 2012.

For more information about COR, go to its website: or call Goldberger at 612-669-6110.

Judy Wiff

Judy Wiff has been regional editor for RiverTown’s Wisconsin newspapers since 1996. She holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism and sociology from UW-River Falls. She has worked as a reporter for several weekly newspapers in Wisconsin.