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They ate and ate and ate, then they took steps

Alaina Arthurs (left) and Patti Albertson say the COR retreat program changed their lives and now they're inviting others with eating problems to Overeaters Anonymous meetings that will soon start in Pierce County. -- Photo by Judy Wiff

RIVER FALLS--One night on her way home from work, she stopped for an ice cream and ate it in the car.

Three stops and three ice cream treats later, Patti Albertson, rural River Falls, was home and sick from eating, but she couldn't stop.

She said she never ate at work, never let her co-workers see her eat, but another evening she carried out a dozen left-over donuts and ate them all in the car.

Alaina Arthurs understands. She has made pasta for herself and her daughter, telling herself she'd cook twice as much as they needed and save half for another meal--knowing all along she'd eat the whole batch in one sitting.

Both women purchased and stored food in ways they now call compulsive.

"I bought so much food for other people in case they came. They never came," said Albertson. So she ate it. She bought mix for cookies she never baked and instead ate the dry mix.

Her problems with food started at an early age, said Arthurs, who now lives in River Falls. She would sneak food. She would hide food.

Albertson said she was heavy as a child and heavy as an adult, but still friends would comment in wonder they had never seen her eat.

It was about the control, the strategy and the planning for her next binge, she said.

"Eating made me hungry," said Albertson, explaining there are foods, like ice cream, she just can't get enough of.

Afraid of hunger

Arthurs understands.

"I have a fear of hunger--super strong," she said, trying to explain her compulsion to hoard. She added, "But it's not about hunger. Food is on my mind 24 seven."

For more please read the Dec. 7 print version of the Herald.

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.