Almost everyone who has ever tried to lose weight knows how hard those first steps are. And almost everyone has wondered about the safest and most effective weight loss methods.

So when Guy Persico walked into the Greene County YMCA 18 months ago, weighing 445 pounds, he had no idea what to expect. What he decided, though, was he’d give exercising a try. His neighbors raved about the Y, so he thought he’d see what all the hype was about. However, he needed guidelines — a number and a goal — to anchor him.IMG_3389

Guy’s 28-Day Commitment

For 28 days, Guy showed up at the Y to workout, first starting on the recumbent bike for 15 minutes each day. “I just kept coming,” Guy said, “and things started to get better.”

He started meeting people with similar goals and realized he wasn’t alone after all.

Then, as the end of his 28-day commitment approached, the Y advertised a new challenge, the Y Challenge. So, with a new anchor, Guy returned to conquer.

The Y challenge was a program that encouraged people to show up to the Y and exercise more. Participants gained set points for taking group exercise classes, personal training sessions and dedicating one day for rest each week.

By the end of the challenge, Guy lost 45 pounds, which earned him a free personal training session.

Meanwhile, in the back of Guy’s mind, his bigger goal lingered. He wanted to qualify for gastric bypass surgery, which required him to lose 15 percent of his body weight.

“Either I was going to go on disability,” Guy said, “or I was going to change my life.”

So, he decided his 15-minute recumbent bike sessions wouldn’t get him to where he needed to be. However, 60-minute cycling classes, he thought, may be the kick his body was looking for.

“People would come out all sweaty and I said, you know something, if I could last an hour on a regular bike, maybe I could do this,” Guy said. “I walked in there […] and the first time I did it [completed a cycling class], I was amazed and I felt really good about myself — it was a high.”

“I remember when I would leave, Jen [the cycling instructor] would always say, are you coming back?” Guy said, “and it meant so much to me.”

When Guy finally qualified for gastric bypass surgery, he knew his life would be changed forever. He once struggled to bend over and touch the ground. Now, he felt he’d never have to struggle like that again.

Now, 18 months later, Guy weighs 275 pounds. “I dropped a whole person,” Guy said. “I don’t carry that on my back anymore.”

Guy’s Lifelong Commitment

What originally started as a blind, 28-day, commitment, spiraled into an amazing weight loss journey and life transformation. Guy said it’s not about staying motivated anymore because as he continues to exercise at the Y, things keep getting better.

“Being here has changed my life,” Guy said. “Because of the Y […] my lifestyle isn’t so uncomfortable today.”

“It’s not about me anymore,” Guy said. “It’s about the Y itself.”

“The friendships I have here are lifelong. I can’t say enough about the place — it’s just amazing.”