Kathryn's Recovery Story

I knew I was in trouble when the young man at the ice cream shop said, “See you tomorrow!” as he handed me change for my double-scoop cone purchase. I had been going there on a daily basis after work because I wasn’t allowing myself to keep ice cream in the house. If I did, I would eat the whole pint at once. He didn’t know that I wanted to quit this behavior. I promised myself this would be the last time. His words were spoken with a friendly intent and I took them as an insult.

How did this happen? I considered myself an accomplished person. I had two advanced degrees, a wonderful husband, a great job, and financial security. For the most part, I could focus on a goal and achieve it, but I could not control my food. I was a normal weight when I married my husband and ballooned up to be clinically obese in the decades to follow. I got so big that when I flew, I had to walk down the aisle of the plane sideways because if I walked straight on my hips would bump the sides of the seats.

Before 12 Step Food Addiction Program

Over the years, my strategy was to turn things around with willpower and good discipline. I enrolled in a number of commercial weight loss programs and enjoyed success for about 3-4 months until I allowed myself to eat foods that I craved and the weight all came back plus more. I needed my binge foods to dissolve away the anxiety and emotional discomfort that comes with being human.  My disordered thinking was that I could fix this by myself.

I educated myself on nutrition and learned about eating a rainbow of colors and eating more fruits and vegetables. A typical day would start with oatmeal and blueberries, followed by a grilled salmon on lettuce for lunch and a chicken breast dinner with vegetables and brown rice for dinner. Oh, did I forget to mention the two mid-morning donuts that I would sneak out of the break room? I also forgot to mention the coconut cake that I get at the restaurant next door after sneaking out of the office mid-afternoon. OK, now that I am being honest – I also had a drawer full of fireball candies and chocolates to get me through the day. At night, I would sneak up to my den where I kept binge food hidden from my husband and eat cupcakes to get me through till morning.

A reckoning came four years ago when my job instituted a weight requirement. I was scared and really wondered if I could keep my job. I scoured the internet for the latest diet. I stumbled on a program based on eating no sugar and no flour with weighed and measured portions. After signing up and paying a fee, I dove in. The weight melted away, however at the expense of feeling deprived and ferociously hungry. I met my weight requirement and was able to continue working. The experience taught me that after months of not eating sugar, my cravings subsided...until I took that first bite of binge food, and I did. It didn’t take long until I was back to compulsive overeating.

I retired from my job in September 2019 and made a commitment to myself to address my sugar addiction. I knew the value of support after getting sober 32 years ago with the help of Alcoholics Anonymous. I found a 12-step group in my area called Recovery from Food Addiction and started attending meetings. My first five months were bumpy. Once I put together a few days or weeks of abstinence, I felt I could have a little “treat” because I was being so “good.”  Honestly, the treat turned into a binge. Luckily, I felt a spiritual hand on my back that led me back to the meeting to keep trying. I really wanted to make peace with my food and keep listening to others who were successful in their journey. Finally, in January 2020, I asked someone to be my sponsor and I also looked around for professional treatment options. My internet search led me sign up for a COR Retreat. This decision turned my life around. I have been abstinent ever since.

Successful recovery from food addiction

Prior to arriving at COR Retreat, I was worried that the program might be based on learning how to eat any food in moderation. Nancy, the Program Director, told me prior to arrival that she would not ask me to eat a piece of cake in moderation. What a relief! I also learned that I could stay on my food plan suggested by my home group. A light bulb went off in my head during the retreat. I am not alone with the struggle of a mental obsession and physical craving; there is a solution. No longer was I “weird” weighing and measuring my food because at COR, I was in the company of many like me who were doing the same thing. My COR week was the last in-person retreat prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. After returning home, lockdown gave me the time and space to build good habits to maintain abstinence. The pandemic was a curse for many, but the advent of online meetings turned out to be a blessing and kept me connected to COR alumni meetings as well as my 12-step food recovery meetings.

Let me share with you what life is like now. I have released 52 pounds from my highest weight. The health issues that came with my obesity, i.e., the headaches, hip pain, plantar fasciitis, tendonitis, loose stools, rashes, itchy skin, and heartburn are all gone. Bike riding and hiking are enjoyable again. My husband tells me I look great. Most importantly, I am open to listening to others and connecting to an unseen spiritual force on a daily basis. I still experience squirrely feelings that come with being human, but I don’t inhale cake to feel better. I inhale air, love, faith, and fellowship. 


About COR Retreat
COR Retreat is a residential retreat program that teaches a way to live free from the obsession with food through a 12 step program. COR Retreats are 5-day programs, scheduled each month at the McIver Center in Wayzata, MN.

Learn more about the COR Retreat Experience, and register online to attend an upcoming retreat

The McIver Center

  • The McIver Center, Wayzata, MN
  • The McIver Center, Wayzata, MN
  • The McIver Center, Wayzata, MN
  • The McIver Center, Wayzata, MN
  • The McIver Center, Wayzata, MN

COR Retreat participants spend five days and four nights together at the McIver Center for Spiritual Development at The Retreat in Wayzata, MN. The McIver Center is located just 15 minutes west of Minneapolis, MN.

COR Retreat Philosophy

COR Retreat Experience

COR Retreat Daily Schedule

Stories of Hope

Read Cindy's story about her 90 pound weight loss and the improvement of many health conditions including diabetes after COR Retreat.    Read More »

Read how Chris has lost over 300 pounds since attending COR Retreat, and is now living a life he always wanted.   Read More »

Learn how Elizabeth gained peace and serenity around food while improving her weight and health.    Read More »

See how Jackie greatly improved her health, including sleep apnea, GERD and other health conditions after attending COR Retreat and working the 12 step program.    Read More »

See how Kathryn lost over 50 pounds and resolved numerous health issues after attending COR Retreat and working the 12 step program.    Read More »

Learn how Roger released 150 pounds and freed himself from the bondage of food after attending COR Retreat.    Read More »

Read how Vicki was able to achieve abstinence from both food and alcohol using the 12 step method of recovery taught to her at COR Retreat.    Read More »

Amanda shares her 100+ pound weight loss after gastric sleeve surgery and attending COR Retreat in Minnesota to learn the 12-step method of recovery.    Read More »

Read how Christine found inner peace with food after attending COR Retreat, and has since lost 88 pounds in 11 months.    Read More »

See how Geoffrey was able to gain control of his life and his overeating habits after attending COR Retreat. Watch the Video »

See how Mary was able to gain control of her life, save her marriage and lose 175 pounds after attending COR Retreat and working the 12 steps with her sponsor. Watch the Video »

Hear how Kari achieved an 80 pound weight loss in one year by recovering from food addiction with the help of COR Retreat, changing her lifestyle and working the 12 steps with a sponsor.    Watch the Video »

See how Angel worked the 12 steps to overcome food addiction and see how she lost 100 pounds since attending COR Retreat.    Read More »

See how Mike found abstinence after attending COR Retreat, and achieved happiness in his life by working the 12 steps.    Read More »

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