Obesity wasn’t a life sentence for Joseph Marro.
Though the Patchogue music teacher had been overweight his entire life, he remained confident that he didn’t have to stay that way. So three years ago, Marro, then 32, drew a line in the sand.
“I felt like I needed to make a change because I didn’t want to be in my mid-40s on a respirator,” said Marro, who at the time was tipping the scales at just shy of 300 pounds.
At risk for diabetes and coping with low vitamin levels, shortness of breath and minimal stamina, Marro began a weight loss journey by exercising regularly (including group fitness classes) and cooking his own food.
“I had a very rewarding career as a music teacher, and I wanted to continue to inspire students and I wanted to make sure I have the best chance of living the longest life that I could,” said Marro, who received strong support from friends and family, as well as his students.
Within a year, he had dropped 55 pounds.
However, after the first year of his journey, Marro, who is originally from West Islip and now lives in Patchogue, said his effort to lose weight grew harder and he faced many setbacks — going through a cycle of losing weight and gaining it all back.
In December 2019, he was ill for several days and felt that if he were healthier he would be able to bounce back quicker. This sparked a drive in him to get past this roadblock.
“I made a goal for 2020 that no matter what I had going on in my life, I’m going to exercise and make myself a priority,” Marro said.
He promised himself to work out five days a week and follow a meal plan, which he says was “the key” to his success. And he prioritized doing exercises that he actually enjoyed and eating food he actually liked to eat.
Even when the COVID-19 pandemic hit and gyms shut down, Marro said he used quarantine time to his advantage — cooking himself healthy meals at home, working out at home and walking 10,000 steps a day.
Now weighing 167 pounds and living a healthy lifestyle, Marro said he is more comfortable with sharing his story and inspiring others through his Instagram account, which counts more than 14,000 followers.
“My story has inspired so many people to make changes in their lives,” Marro said. “So many people have reached out to me asking for advice and I never thought I’d be a source of inspiration for people, but I have been and it’s been really exciting for me to be able to help people.”
The unexpected attention Marro received from social media motivated him to get his certification in nutrition and personal training so he can further help the people reaching out to him.
But his own journey isn’t quite done yet. Marro says that his goals now are to build more muscle, maintain a sustainable healthy lifestyle, and live his best.
“My advice would be to stick with your plan, create a regular routine and establish healthy habits for yourself,” Marro said.