Weight Loss & Bariatric Support Group

Join us for a comforting evening with friends who share your struggles and experiences with weight loss and/or bariatric surgery. Each session will feature a special guest speaker with ample time for sharing and discussion afterwards. There is no cost to attend. Registration is not required, but if you choose to register you will receive email reminders before each monthly session.

Wayland Weight Loss & Bariatric Surgery – Second Tuesday of the month / 7-8pm 
Northern Physical Therapy, 709 W. Superior, Wayland
Call 269.792.4440 with questions. Janis Kemper is our group leader and she’s had her own struggles with weight loss. You can read her initial weight loss story here, and the follow up story that we did with her two years later can be found here. Alex Hoffman is our program coordinator. Registration is not required, but if you would like to register here in advance you will receive email reminders before each monthly session.

Grant Weight Loss & Bariatric Surgery – Third Thursday of the month / 6-7pm
Northern Physical Therapy, 17615 W. Moore, Grant
In Grant only, following the meeting there will be an optional water aerobics class from 7-8pm. The cost for the class is $5. Water aerobics is an ideal workout because you experience minimized stress on your joints due to the buoyancy of water. Participants do not have to know how to swim. Call group leader, Dawn Roberts at 616.292.6222 with questions. Registration is not required, but if you would like to register here in advance you will receive email reminders before each monthly session.

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.

Make a Splash with Aquatic Therapy

Aquatic therapy is a type of physical therapy that involves performing exercises in the water. Aquatic therapy is especially beneficial for people who have difficulty with weight bearing activities due to arthritis, recent fractures, sprains, fibromyalgia or their weight.

First, the buoyancy of the water relieves the pressure on weight bearing joints like the spine, knee and hips. This is helpful for those who can’t tolerate exercise on land due to joint pain.

Aquatic therapy can help build strength in weak and injured muscles. Initially, exercises can be performed in the direction of assistance. As the patient’s strength progresses, the exercise can be modified to occur in a non-resistant pattern, and finally against the resistance of the water.

Aquatic therapy also can help promote healing to the site of injury. By exercising in warm water, vasodilatation of the blood vessels occurs. This will increase blood flow to the injury and result in increased oxygen delivery and healing of damaged tissue.

Aquatic Therapy is available at our Sparta and Grant locations. Sparta is where you’ll find a state-of-the-art SwimEx pool, which features a resistant current, treating a wide variety of conditions, from severe arthritis to sports injuries.