Her 40th birthday had been and gone, and all the years spent putting her work first above her health and happiness were taking a heavy toll.
It brought her to a place where, at 43, her confidence and self-esteem were at rock bottom, and she was unhappy with her body shape.
Dawn says feeling this way was holding her back from getting the most out of life and trying new things.
She badly wanted change.
Following TV star Gemma Atkinson’s transformation at Ultimate Performance showed Dawn the transformative power of weight training for women.
But it was not until a year later that Dawn finally took the plunge and started her own transformation journey at Ultimate Performance London City.
Now she is 30kg lighter, she has found a healthy work-life balance and she loves the new-found confidence she’s achieved from being in great shape.
“I feel amazing. I feel like a different person. It’s not just the body image, although I love the new body I’ve got – it’s the confidence that goes with that.
“It means a lot to me to have gotten to this point.”
Her transformation has changed everything, especially helping her prioritise her wellbeing.
“My lifestyle was work, work, work. I was very stressed. It was telling on my body.
“I was really uncomfortable with my body shape. I had really low confidence, low self-esteem and knew I needed to change something.
“I followed Gemma Atkinson on Instagram for some time and I had seen her transformation at U.P. in Manchester.
“I was following and watching for about a year before I plucked up the courage to actually do something about it.”
Dawn had long felt unhappy with her body. Looking back, she can see clearly how this lack of confidence was affecting her life.
“My body image held me back from doing things. I didn’t feel confident to try new things. So it was something that held me back.
“I had turned 40. It was at a stage of my life where I thought if I didn’t do something, I would get to later life and regret it.
“I wanted to be strong, I wanted to improve the way that I thought about my body and how it looked outwardly as well. I don’t know if the confidence thing was a big part of it, but I definitely feel different now to what I did before.”
Starting a transformation at U.P. felt like a huge step into the unknown at the time.
Even meeting her personal trainer for the first time was nerve-wracking.
“I felt terrified on my first day. My trainer, Luiz, walked in and just looked giant and scary.
“The first thing I thought was ‘I can’t do this.’
“Then after the first few sessions, I got the idea that this might be something I could enjoy.
“It was scary to start with, but it’s very enjoyable now.”
Dawn says her trainer was there for her every step of the way. It wasn’t just the hour in the gym; he helped with everything from food and sleep to meditation and affirmations to help her feel more confident and get the best results possible.
She says everything is set up at U.P. to help you succeed.
“The whole atmosphere within the gym is one where you know everyone wants you to do well and achieve your goal.
“Everyone is really friendly. I always get a little boost when I come in here, even if it’s just popping in to collect food.
“The training sessions are hard, but they’re really enjoyable.”
Dawn’s transformation is proof of what is possible when you commit to the program with dedication and consistency.
Losing almost 30kg has been utterly life-changing. Not just for the way she looks, but the way she feels about herself and even the way she lives.
“I’ve learned to put myself ahead of work, even though that’s still challenging.
“Before, I put work above everything – myself, my health, my friends. Everything.
“U.P. and my trainer have helped me actually concentrate on me. If I’m not well and I’m not healthy, then I can’t do the other things. Your health is so important.”
One of the biggest things Dawn has taken from the process is how feeling fit and healthy can impact your happiness.
“I’m so happy with where I am weight-wise, how I am body-wise and it’s more to do with the confidence it gives you.
“I feel more confident at work and able to speak to people which I think was something that was holding me back before.
“I enjoy going out to spin classes and playing netball. It’s much more fun to be fitter and to enjoy those things. I want to try new things all the time.
“The whole process has had a big impact on all parts of my life.”
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DISCLAIMER | Results may vary | Results are based on individual circumstances | Timeframes for results are not guaranteed | Willpower is always required!