Dirk Damonte.jpg(Los Altos, Calif.) – As the minister of music and worship arts at Los Altos United Methodist Church in Los Altos, Calif., Dirk Damonte has dedicated his life to helping others find their way in this world. But it wasn’t so long ago that he needed some help himself.
“I have struggled with food for a long time,” he said. Over the summer, Damonte decided to finally do something about it and started searching the Internet for resources that could help. A Google search led him to what he calls the perfect solution – The COR Retreat Food Recovery Program.
COR Retreat is a five-day, four-night residential program in Wayzata, Minn., a suburb of Minneapolis, that teaches a way to live free from the obsession with food and the excess weight it causes. Burt Nordstand, a Twin Cities businessman who had struggled with food addiction for many years himself, founded the program in 2011.

COR Retreat uses a proven model of behavioral change that has brought relief to compulsive overeaters for decades —the 12 Step recovery approach. “Food addiction is a cunning, baffling, powerful disease and recovery from it is abstinence,” said Nordstrand, who hasn’t touched sugar or white flour for more than 30 years.

At COR Retreat, participants learn how to eliminate these nemeses from their own lives, and before they know it the pounds start to come off.  But diet change isn’t all participants learn at the COR Retreat. 

“I felt like it was one of the most spiritual things I have ever done,” said Damonte. “It aligned with my Christian beliefs, but I think Michelle and Kari did a good job making it something that would be comfortable for people of other faiths too.” Damonte attended the Retreat in Sept. 2012, and says it offered way more than he was expecting. “From the very beginning when the COR Retreat alumni greeted us, it just felt so welcoming, affirming and nurturing,” he said. COR Program Director Michelle Goldberger and Program Coordinator Kari Ealy lead COR Retreats, which are currently offered twice a month.

Goldberger is a food addict with over seven years of stable recovery. She has maintained a 60- pound weight loss for seven years. Ealy is a food addict and COR Retreat alum who has lost 55-pounds since going through the program in October 2011.

“COR has given me the gift of living the life I always dreamed of.  COR gave me the tools to a life that is manageable — a life that is happy, joyous and free,” she said. After finding recovery from compulsive overeating, Ealy became a very active volunteer at subsequent COR Retreats. She was hired on as a staff member in September 2012.

Damonte says he really appreciated the fellowship with Ealy, Goldberger and the 11 other food addicts in his group  who know exactly what he has been going through. “My favorite thing about the Retreat was meeting the people I met, and being able to share our brokenness and journey of recovery together,” he said.  “I highly recommend this program to anyone who is struggling with food.”

To learn more about COR Retreat, log on to www.cormn.org.

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EDITOR’S NOTE: This article is being offered to your publication copyright free and cost free. If you’d prefer to do a story of your own, I’d be happy to arrange an interview with Dirk Damonte for you. COR Retreat founder Burt Nordstrand, program director Michelle Goldberger and program coordinator Kari Ealy are also available for interviews. For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact Rachel M. Anderson, Publicist, at 952-240-2513 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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