“Inspirational cinema from a turnaround man”
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From Foster’s Daily by Jennifer Keefe, Democrat staff writer

Somersworth: Gary Marino calls himself “the typical guy next door” but his accomplishments and the intent behind them over the last few years make him anything but ordinary.

Weighing in at about 397 pounds in 2001, Marino, now in his early 40s, decided it was time to take action and lose wight. Six ears later, he has lost nearly 200 pounds and has decided to share his story with the world in a documentary film called “The Million Calorie March”.

The movie, which will premiere this week at The Works Family Health and Fitness Center, chronicles Marino’s struggles and successes in his weight-loss process and is based largely on April to mid-July 2004 when his set out to walk from Jacksonville, Fla., back to his hometown of Boston, MA. The 1,205-mile walk, on which he was accompanied by a three-person team and sometimes up to 200 others who joined on the way out of interest, led him to not only lose more than 40 pounds, but brought awareness to the world about what he was doing and why he was doing it.

Marino said he is no stranger to how eating habit as a child can shape your eating habits as an adult. Aside from a desire to lose wight, Marino’s walk and his cause became more about reaching out and educating parents, children and the world about healthfulness and eating right.

“Kids really need a healthy home life, ” Marino said. “Home is really ground zero. I wanted to reach out to parents and educate them.”

On his way up the East Coast, Marino and his team stopped at many schools and held programs teaching about food, portion sized and eating right. While many school in the country, including Hilltop Elementary and the High School, have recently brought in healthier foods for school lunches and are making healthy eating a greater focus for the students, Marino said it all really goes back to the home.

“Kids, in a way, are victims of their environment,” he said.

There is a slow but sure hange in the world regarding health and food awareness, and Marino said the movie “Super-Size Me, a documentary realeased in 2004 in which film writer and star Morgan Spurlock ate only fast food for 30 days to see what that diet would do to him, may have started the awareness process. Marino’s movie, however, set him apart from what Spurlock was trying to do, Marino said.

“That was a good film and it makes a good contribution, “he said. “But it was kind of a gimmick. Mine’s a real film with a real personal story.”

Marino’s documentary re-creates scenes througout his child hood of encounters with unhealthy eating and struggles with weight during his life. The footage from the walk was taken during the actual event- Marion said his hardest task was cutting down 40 hours of walking foodtage to include in a 90-minute film- and Marino said everything in the movie “got across what I was trying to do. I lived it. It’s my story.”

And his personal story is one others with simlar struggles acan relate to, including Kay Vasile, aquatics program manager at The Works. Vasile said she lost 105 punds and can identify with Marino that the process is not always easy.

The exercise part wasn’t hard,” she said. “Changing my eating habits was. It’s a whole different mindset.”

Marino said while making an interesting film about obesity was difficult as people don’t normallly put that topic high on a list of movies to watch, he hopes he was able to make it successful by giving it a humorous undercurrent.

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