Dawn’s Weight Loss Story

Weight loss is something many people struggle with and turning your life around isn’t always easy, but it is worth it. Dawn Roberts is a long time friend of Northern’s and you may recognize her from leading our water aerobics classes and weight loss support group in Grant. Her story is an inspiration and we’re happy to be able to share it with you.

“Up, down, up, down, up, down… No, I’m not talking about kneeling and praying, although I have done a lot of that along the way! I’m referring to the long-time up and down cycles of my weight, something I’ve struggled with my entire life. Some may call me the Queen of Diets – I’ve done them all. When my mind was made up, I could diet with the best of them but back and forth or “yo-yo” dieting was my specialty. After those unsuccessful, short-lived diets I started to beat myself up. What was wrong with me? I’m very successful in all other aspects of my life, why can’t I stick to a healthy eating plan? The truth is, even after all these years I still don’t have that answer.

In a span of just a few years I lost both my best friend and cousin to complications that took place during a weight loss surgery. Those incredible losses left me feeling unsure where to turn, but weight loss surgery wasn’t something I wanted to participate in. Fast forward to New Years, 4 years ago. I ran into Lisa, a friend I hadn’t seen in a while. After losing over 100 pounds, she looked absolutely stunning! As we started talking, she told me about her vertical gastric sleeve surgery. At Life Without Limits in Muskegon, Dr. Gluck and his team don’t just perform the surgery; they make you sign a contract stating you will attend all classes prior to and a year after the surgery. I was at the heaviest point in my life, desperate for a change. After extensive research and learning the differences between this surgery and what my friend and cousin had experienced, I decided to move forward with the vertical gastric sleeve option.


Dawn, before she began her weight loss journey

July 31st, 2013 was the first day of my new life. A gastric sleeve surgery is a laparoscopic surgery where a large portion of your stomach is taken away, leaving a smaller, sleeve-looking portion. Nothing is added to the stomach and there is no rerouting of the intestines. Your stomach becomes significantly smaller, meaning your food portions need to become smaller as well.

Exercise was the other staple of the program – exercise was my worst enemy and I hated every second of it. But I remembered that I signed a contract. That’s when I discovered Northern Physical Therapy and all the fitness options they had to offer. I signed up for their water aerobics class and did some walking on my “off” days. After 8 months of continuously attending classes at Northern, I stepped into the water aerobics leader position. Now, I teach seven classes a week and absolutely love it! This is something I never expected of myself just a few short years ago. Knowing that I had a story to share and the desire to help others who struggle with weight, I started the Bariatric/weight loss support group at Northern PT. The amazing group of people and the team at Northern keep me accountable for my health. After all, how can I lead it if I don’t live it? I’ve reclaimed my life through fitness and support, and I will never go back to my old ways.


Dawn looks and feels great after continuing her exercise program

I always welcome the opportunity to talk to others who are struggling with their weight. And I encourage people to join my water aerobics classes or attend the weight loss support group. There is never any judgment, only support. Together we encourage each other to look ahead, make the right choices, and say goodbye to old habits.” Dawn Roberts, Northern Physical Therapy water aerobics instructor and weight loss support group leader

Our co-owner Janis Kemper has struggled with weight loss herself. She shared her story, along with a follow up two years later. Read her inspirational take on the life changes she’s made here.

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