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Goodbye Diets, Hello Mindfulness | Dawn’s Story

Dawn Battles, regional lab supervisor with Altru Clinic in Crookston, shed nearly 60 pounds in the last seven months.

For 20 years, Dawn wrestled with her weight, trying every diet possible. She lost a few pounds here and there, gaining it all back (and then some).

“This time is different,” explains Dawn. “They’ve made it feel effortless.”

They, being the experts within Altru’s Weight Management Program.

“This isn’t a diet. It’s a complete lifestyle change. They’ve given me a toolkit to use—for life.”

The Dawn of Transformation

In February of 2017, Dawn knew she had to make a change.

Extreme fatigue, blood pressure issues, diabetes on the horizon—combined with hospitalization for an asthma flare-up—were just a few of the battles Dawn was facing.

“I stopped traveling because the seats were uncomfortable. I couldn’t sleep well, and I couldn’t be on my feet for long,” Dawn admits. “My quality of life just wasn’t there anymore.”

Weighing in at 305, Dawn launched her journey with Altru’s Weight Management Program.

“Part of the journey for me was to eliminate the shame and to get real with myself,” shares Dawn. “One day, I saw a photo of me in a swimsuit. I was mortified and embarrassed. Today, that photo reminds me of how far I’ve come.”

“It started with a comprehensive physical,” explains Dawn. “They made it clear—this wasn’t just another diet or exercise program. I was impressed right away.”

Dawn met weekly with members of the team, weighing in, discussing food choices and emotional health, and discovering new ways to stay active.

“Every personality was great,” smiles Dawn. “Rachel Aure is hysterical—she pushes you to exercise, and laugh while doing it. Jennifer Haugen was instrumental in helping me meal plan and make healthier choices. And Janet S. is always so encouraging during weekly weigh-ins.”

While Dawn got to know the trusted experts, they also got to know her.

“It’s all so individualized,” raves Dawn. “They get to know you—on a personal level—and provide the exact guidance you need to make good decisions.”

Digging Deeper

To create long-term change, Dawn needed to take a deeper look inside and understand what caused her to gain the weight.

“I realized my weight gain had started about twenty years ago,” shares Dawn. “Stress, parenting, working, and going to school—I didn’t know how to slow down.”

Increased awareness of her emotional eating habits helps Dawn hit the pause button in the chaos of daily life.

“My schedule is bananas,” chuckles Dawn. “They’ve given me the tools to overcome anything. When I feel extra busy, I keep going back to mindfulness. Getting enough sleep, turning my phone off, having boundaries. Altru’s Weight Management Program has given me a different perspective on life. Not everything has to happen RIGHT NOW.”

“Unlike anything else I’ve tried, Altru’s Weight Management Program experts actually understand obesity as a disease. Their level of education is unparalleled. They see the whole picture, and they continually set me up for success.”

Halfway There

Dawn has lost 57 pounds, and she aspires to lose another 50 by spring of 2018.

While nursing an injury, Dawn has had to pause her regular exercise routine. Her goal during this time is to maintain.

“The team is helping me through this minor setback,” shares Dawn. “Life happens; we need to overcome the challenges. Things are a lot easier when you surround yourself with positive people with the same goals.”

Reflecting on her success thus far, Dawn shares, “I’m more energized. I’m sleeping well. My health has improved, and my life is better.”

Dawn would encourage anyone else struggling with his or her weight to give Altru’s Weight Management Program a try. “All you have to do is show up! Really. Open yourself up to change. They will coach you to succeed. I see it as an incredible gift.”

Ready to make a lasting change? Think through these questions to understand your readiness for Altru’s Weight Management Program. Contact us at or 701.780.6729, or make an appointment via MyChart.