McGaw YMCA Member’s Transformation and Celebration


Two months ago, Susan treated herself to something special: a visit to a spa, complete with massage, to celebrate a milestone that she wouldn’t have thought possible a few years ago.

November 2014 marked her one-year anniversary of maintaining the loss of 85 pounds, thanks to her determination and her membership at the McGaw YMCA.

“It turns out that keeping the weight off was more significant than losing it,” Susan said. “The Y is an integral part of my success. It’s a very supportive environment.”

A new perspective

In 2012, after a doctor warned her about the health risks of remaining overweight, Susan was able to lose about 30 pounds by tracking her food intake. But, in order to reach her goal of losing 40 more pounds, Susan knew she also needed to exercise, so she kicked off 2013 with a visit to the McGaw YMCA.

Susan joined McGaw’s 10-week wellness program called G.E.T. Fit (formerly known as Move It To Lose It). At first, she confessed, “I hated it.” But halfway through the sessions, something clicked.

A self-described “novice exerciser,” Susan’s confidence soared as the instructor guided her through a mix of workouts that included cardio and light weights. G.E.T. Fit – which stands for Guided Education and Training – introduces participants to everything the Y has to offer, from treadmills to medicine balls, from the elliptical machines to the weight room.

“This class changed my complete perspective on exercise,” she said.

G.E.T. Fit focuses on creating – and sustaining – a healthy lifestyle, not just an exercise routine. Susan said she learned helpful tips about her diet, such as avoiding processed food by shopping at the perimeter of the grocery store.

Susan felt accountable to her instructor to continue making healthier choices. She appreciated the encouragement from her fellow participants, not to mention the support from many McGaw YMCA staff.

McGaw is community

After two full sessions, Susan had outgrown the G.E.T. Fit program. But the tools and knowledge she learned remain with her today. She walks any chance she can – to and from the train, on her lunch break, all over Evanston – and she works out at the McGaw YMCA three times a week.

The McGaw YMCA is non-threatening, Susan said. It’s a community where she feels welcome, even by those she doesn’t know well.

“Last summer, I was away and didn’t come to the Y for a few weeks. One woman I’d never talked to, but worked out at the same time as I did, said ‘Well, I’m glad you’re back!’”

Susan is happy to share her story because she understands, from her own experience, how inspirational weight-loss success stories can be.

“Now I look strong and thin, which are two words you never would have used to describe me before,” she said. “I wanted people to know that if I can do it, anyone can do it.”

And the McGaw YMCA will be there to help. 

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Just one week left to take advantage of McGaw YMCA's $0 joiner's fee! Visit www.mcgawymca/join, or call 847.475.7400. 

For more information on G.E.T. Fit, visit

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