Saratoga County

Losers win big in weight contest

For Kate Martens, the last three months were about more than a friendly weight-loss competition — th

For Kate Martens, the last three months were about more than a friendly weight-loss competition — they were about changing her life.

Martens was the winner of the female division in the “Mechanicville Losers” weight-loss program, which officially ended last week.

Martens, 28, of Stillwater, lost 16.54 percent of her body weight from February to April.

She said she was in a car accident in December 2007 that made her rethink some of her lifestyle.

“It was a wake-up call,” she said. “It really made me look at a lot of things and it just gave me the time to think about what I needed to do.”

Martens said she now avoids fast food and involves her whole family in exercise and walking. She and 144 other competitors lost a total of 1,055 pounds, according to competition organizer Michelle Duell.

Martens is friends with Laurie LeClaire, the wife of the Mechanicville police officer who won the men’s division of the competition.

John LeClaire started the competition weighing 241 pounds but now weighs 200 pounds, he said.

He also said he spent about three hours in the gym the day of the final weigh-in to make sure he lost a higher percentage of weight than Martens.

“I’m competitive,” he said. “I don’t like to lose.”

He ended the competition with a total percentage of weight loss of 17.07.

It was Martens who got the last laugh, though. Her team, “Mom’s Meltdown,” beat “LeClaire’s Losers” for the highest team percentage of weight loss.

Martens’ team lost a total of 10.78 percent of their body weight, compared to the “LeClarie’s Losers” mark of 10.54 percent.

The other members of “Mom’s Meltdown” were Laurie LeClaire, Tammy Lescault, Stefanie Frucci and Linda Tracy, Duell said.

“I walk anywhere from 5 to 15, sometimes 20 miles day,” Martens said. “Instead of meeting and hanging out and everybody cooking food, we’ll meet up, go to the Y, and exercise or go swimming.”

Before the car accident, Martens taught nursing for the Troy-based Northeast Health network. She said she hopes to return to work later this year.

The team and individual winners of the competition all got prize packages donated from local businesses.

Prizes included gift cards to Old Navy, gift bags from Price Chopper, coupons for free manicures, haircuts and massages, and free six-month memberships to the Downtown Health and Fitness Center in Mechanicville.

Duell said that although the competition was a lot of work to organize, she hopes to do it all again next year. The library is also considering holding a youth version of the event later this year.

“It was great to make some really good friends. I broadened my friendship base,” Duell said. “My clothes fit a little better and that’s really, in the end, that’s what I was aiming for.”

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