Obesity was not a life sentence for Joseph Marro.

Despite being overweight all his life, the Patchogue music teacher remained confident that he didn’t have to stay that way. So Marro, then 32, drew a line in the sand three years ago.

“I felt like I had to change something because I didn’t want to be in my forties and not wear a ventilator,” said Marro, who weighed just under 300 pounds at the time.

At risk of diabetes and low vitamin levels, shortness of breath, and minimal stamina, Marro began weight loss by exercising regularly (including group fitness classes) and cooking his own food.

“I’ve had a very rewarding career as a music teacher, and I wanted to keep inspiring students and making sure I had the best chance of living the longest possible,” said Marro, who received strong support from friends and family as well as his students.

Within a year he had lost 55 pounds.

However, after the first year of his trip, Marro, who is originally from West Islip and now lives in Patchogue, said that his effort to lose weight had become increasingly difficult and he experienced many setbacks – going through a cycle of weight loss and all weight back on.

In December 2019, he was sick for several days and felt that he could recover faster if he were healthier. This made him want to break the roadblock.

“My goal for 2020 is that no matter what was going on in my life, I will exercise and make myself a priority,” said Marro.

He promised himself that he would exercise five days a week and follow a nutritional plan that he believed was “the key” to his success. And he made a point of doing exercises that he really enjoyed and eating food that he really enjoyed eating.

Even as the COVID-19 pandemic broke out and gyms closed, Marro said he was using the quarantine period to his advantage – cooking healthy meals at home, exercising at home, and walking 10,000 steps a day.

Now he weighs 167 pounds and lives a healthy lifestyle. Marro said he was more comfortable sharing his story and inspiring others through his own Instagram Account that has more than 14,000 followers.

“My story has inspired so many people to change their lives,” said Marro. “So many people have asked me for advice and I never thought I would be a source of inspiration for people, but I was and it was really exciting for me to be able to help people.”

The unexpected attention Marro received from social media motivated him to earn his nutrition and personal training certification so that he can continue to help the people who contact him.

But his own journey is not quite finished yet. Marro says his goals now are to build more muscle, maintain a sustainable, healthy lifestyle, and do his best.

“My advice would be to stick with your plan, create a regular routine and establish healthy habits for yourself,” said Marro.