Melvin S.

Gordon Family YMCA

Melvin knew he needed a change when his doctor warned him that his weight put him at risk for a number of serious health issues. Melvin had been a casual Y member for eight years, but didn't consider himself to be very active. Melvin needed extra motivation, but he was wary of personal trainers. When he'd worked with trainers in the past, he didn't feel that they had his best interest at heart.

All that changed when one Sunday, Melvin attended a prayer service at the Y. He was impressed by the Y's commitment to spiritual health and he thought that just maybe, the Y could help him with his physical health, too. So, he signed up for a personal training package.

“[My personal trainer,] Eric has worked with me all through this process,” Melvin says. "And he did something no trainer has ever done for me—he texted me the day after my gastric sleeve surgery in August. That was something very special.”

Working with Eric, Melvin lost 97 pounds over five months. Along with his own hard work and dedication, Melvin also credits his progress to staff members like Josh, Zach, and Brianna, who have encouraged him along the way, as well as other members he's met.

“At first, I was very insecure to be here. I was afraid that people would look at me and judge me. But then I realized that they were here for the same reason I was here," Melvin says. "There are people who have seen my journey and compliment me for my progress. Those encouraging words motivate me to come back again and again. I can think to myself, ‘I did it again today.’”

A year ago, Melvin was discouraged and ready to give up on changing his habits and living a healthy lifestyle. Now, he can't wait to come to the Y for his workout. It's changed not just his health and his physical appearance, but also his self-image.

“I think that in life, you go from not liking yourself, to liking yourself, and then you begin to love yourself. That’s what this process and the Y has done for me. Now I’m seeing myself for who I am.”