It may not get you out of a speeding ticket, but if officer John LeClaire pulls you over, try calling him a big loser. He might appreciate the compliment.
The Mechanicville patrolman is the current leader in the “Mechanicville Losers” weight-loss program. In the first six weeks of the competition, LeClaire lost 32 pounds, or 13.3 percent of his starting weight.
“It started off as a competition actually between me and my wife,” LeClaire said. “I knew I had to lose a few pounds.”
The program is being sponsored by the Mechanicville District Public Library. It started last month and will run until the end of April.
Teams weigh in every week at Downtown Health and Fitness Center or Curves in Mechanicville, and results are posted on the library’s Web site, mechanicville.sals.edu.
Although membership in the gym is not required for the participants, Downtown Health and Fitness is offering discounted memberships to the Mechanicville Losers.
The winning team and the winning male and female players will receive prizes at the end of the competition, including gift baskets from Price Chopper and a free six-month gym membership to Downtown Health and Fitness.
Unlike the television show, nobody is voted off the Mechanicville Losers program during the three months, and there’s no $250,000 prize for being the Biggest Loser.
Local restaurants are also offering promotions to the participants, including a salad special at Faldoni’s Deli every Friday and a daily special at Sub King.
The police team includes LeClaire, Chief Joseph Waldron and several other officers.
It is aptly named “LeClaire’s Losers,” and the officers have lost almost 8 percent of their starting weight as of last week.
“In law enforcement, sometimes when you work those shifts it can become stagnant and the next thing you know you find yourself munching all the time,” Waldron said.
“It’s good to have a program like this that will actually get a team effort.”
A total of 145 participants have lost 882 pounds through last week, according to library manager and competition organizer Michelle Duell.
“On an average, everyone has lost at least 5 to 10 pounds so far, which I think is really good,” she said. “We’ve made some leaps and bounds with showing what the library is here for. We’re not just all books and DVDs.”
Waldron said that he has lost 14 pounds since the competition started.
“We deal with people every day that challenge us physically,” he said. “The key here is three months long. It’s hopefully creating a good habit.”
LeClaire said that he has more energy and can stay up later at night now that he’s eating better and exercising regularly.
He said that his typical lunch is now a bowl of soup instead of a burger and fries.
He wants to lose another 14 pounds by the end of next month to get to his goal weight of 195 pounds.
“I’ve known John all his life and I know his family,” Waldron said. “This is important to him and his family, too, to have him come down a little bit.”
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