Weight Loss Success Stories

Real Stories – Real People

We can provide you with data to back up the science behind our weight loss solutions at Cuyuna Regional Medical Center. But we thought you’d rather hear it from people just like you. Real people, who overcame real problems — an inspiration to us all. 

We are profoundly proud to have played a part in these stories. When you’re ready, let’s start writing yours.


“I had GERD really bad, a hysterectomy, and my gallbladder removed. I kept having health problems and it all added up, I just did not feel healthy anymore. I wanted to be able to do things that were a struggle like staying active with my 14- and 9-year-old children and one-year-old niece. I wanted to take the stairs without running out of breath and hurting. Since I’ve started my journey, I’ve lost 123 pounds. I no longer take heartburn medications and my mental health has improved tremendously; I am incredibly happy.”


“I feel amazing, I can do anything and am just enjoying my life,” said 28-year-old Dianne Hamilton of Onamia who underwent bariatric surgery at Cuyuna Regional Medical Center in Crosby this past July. In just six months, she dropped 110 pounds, went from a size of 4X to large, and substantially improved her health and well-being. 

“It’s phenomenal, people notice me and tell me I really look good,” exclaimed the woman with renewed self-confidence whose health continues to improve both physically and mentally.

The Lab Assistant had been a borderline diabetic and was experiencing back and hip pain which is now gone. She says she has not been at the weight she is now since she was in high school.

“It feels so good to not have to wear my ‘big girl’ scrubs, I work three jobs yet I’m never tired.”

Hamilton, who says she has struggled with her weight her entire life, decided to undergo surgery because her size was limiting what she could do, and she had no energy. She knew losing weight would allow her to have children and keep up with her two- and four-year-old nephew and niece.

“I was disappointed how big I got, how I let myself go.” Hamilton gave the example of the 42-pound of dog food she purchases saying she used to carry three of those bags on her body.

With a much more active lifestyle, Hamilton now uses a Fit Bit to track at least 10,000 steps daily. Instead of riding the elevator, she climbs the stairs without panting, works out at a gym, tries to walk her two dogs daily, and has fun playing with her energetic niece and nephew. She even went on a hiking trip in Duluth which she thoroughly enjoyed. The woman is careful about what she eats using only one plate, drinks ample water, and rarely goes out to restaurants.

“I am no longer super self-conscious, embarrassed by myself, nor sad and depressed. My friends say I am more upbeat and have a better attitude and personality.” Hamilton is sure to celebrate her little wins to help keep herself going. “My friends and family encourage me and keep me going every day, they helped me gain a new sense of confidence that I never thought was possible.”

Originally scheduled for the surgery four years earlier, Hamilton delayed undergoing the procedure because it was “super scary,” and she was too nervous. However, with the encouragement and support of her grandma and dad, she followed through. Both stayed with her through surgery, and she recovered at her grandma’s home. “It was pretty good after surgery, grandma helped with food prep and keeping track of what I could and could not eat. She encouraged me about food choices and reminded me to drink water, take vitamins, and walk. Grandma even lost 10 pounds because she wouldn’t eat in front of me.”

Appreciative of the staff who did not give up on her when she first cancelled the surgery and then coached her through the program, Hamilton says she continues to rely on them to help her stick to her changes. At 50 pounds away from her goal, she regularly checks in with the team and participates in a monthly support group.

“The surgeon, anesthesiologist, dietitians, and nurses were amazing,” Hamilton said. “They really prepare you, telling you all about the procedure, recovery, and the diet I would have to follow for life. Thank you so much to all those who participated in my journey, your support truly is the reason I have a better life.”


"I suffered from severe reflux problems and had been taking medications for more than 25 years.  Following a reflux evaluation at CRMC, I was referred to the Bariatric program and underwent surgery.  The surgery took care of all the reflux symptoms, the hiatal hernia, and as a result I have lost an additional 86 pounds (pre-surgery loss 54 pounds). I have more energy, my arthritis is less painful, I feel better overall, and have been able to cut down my blood pressure medications. It is wonderful to be able to eat without feeling awful afterwards."


“I knew I needed to make a change and I made up my mind that I was going to stick to it,” said Gary Erickson of Ironton who markedly improved his health by losing over 100 pounds in Cuyuna Regional Medical Center’s new Medical Weight Management program. With his improved weight, he no longer has heart issues, diabetes, or sleep apnea, and has lower blood pressure and blood sugar levels.

A retired Respiratory Therapist who also worked as a paramedic, throughout his 37-year-career Erickson observed what other overweight people were going through and realized those things were starting to happen to him. He knew his excess weight was putting a strain on his heart and his health in general.

“Multiple times I tried different diets like Mayo, egg and grapefruit, or cabbage; my weight would go down but then back up again like a yo-yo,” Erickson said. Following several cardiologist exams and tests in the summer of 2021, he decided to change his lifestyle.

Weighing more than 300 pounds, Erickson was diagnosed with Atrial fibrillation and because of his irregular heartbeat, he said he could not even walk to his mailbox without becoming short of breath. His Ejection Fraction heart failure measurement was at 32 percent indicating he was at a high risk of developing a dangerous arrythmia or even heart failure. “The cardiologist explained my test results to me,” Erickson stated. “It concerned me, and I knew I needed to make changes.”

Erickson heard about CRMC’s Medical Weight Management from two friends who were enrolled in the program. In September, he made an appointment and began monthly appointments with Bariatrician Dr. Angie Ausban. Through the program, he also had appointments with a registered dietitian who provided meal plans and a physical therapist who recommended appropriate exercises.

“I kept faithful with what was planned for me,” the 67-year-old Erickson said, adding that also at the doctor’s recommendation he stopped drinking alcoholic beverages, eats only sugar-free foods, and limits his bread intake.

Fifteen months later, on Dec. 1, 2022, he reached his goal weight of 195 pounds which he has maintained with the help of daily exercise. Erickson continues to follow his meal plan, weighs all his food, and use a fitness app. He walks his Golden Retriever Maggie along the Cuyuna Country State Recreation Area trails three to four miles daily and in inclement weather goes the same distance on a treadmill. His new daily routine also includes planking and lifting weights to keep his muscles strong.

“I feel 100 percent better and my mind is set not to go back to gaining weight,” exclaimed Erickson who is proud to longer need eight medications and remains alcohol free. With the weight loss, he is no longer diabetic and improved his Ejection Fraction heart failure measurement to 56 percent, which is now normal. He said his both his blood sugar and blood pressure, which were dangerously high, are also now normal. He is also happy that he no longer needs a CPAP machine to help him breath while sleeping and that he no longer snores.

To stay on track, Erickson is continuing to make Medical Weight Management visits every three months.

“The program is what I needed to change my life and get healthy,” Erickson concluded. “I am so grateful to Dr. Ausban and the staff who gave me the support to believe that I could do this.”

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“I was uncomfortable with my weight and decided I was ready to finally take control and make the changes I needed to. I went from having constant body aches and pains, taking multiple medications for reflux, blood pressure, and depression/anxiety, to cutting down almost all medications and being pain free. In nine months, I have lost 75 pounds and feel so much healthier!”

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"I feel better overall. I have more energy, I wake up well rested, and my back doesn't hurt anymore. I've dropped five dress sizes. I have lowered my A-1C, I'm no longer pre diabetic, and my fatty liver disease is gone. In the past, I dreaded walking. I was always tired, and my back and hips hurt after a few minutes. Now I look forward to walking. I have no pain, I don't get winded, and I feel energized. Working with Dr. Ausban and her staff have been a great support. Dr. Ausban listens, is knowledgeable and is non-judgmental. As I enter the maintenance phase of my journey, I am grateful this program offers long-term follow up. It's an extra layer of support that will help me stay accountable, healthy, and free from obesity."

For more information: (218) 545-1048

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