PLATTSBURGH — The biggest loser, and several others, turned out a big winner in a local weight-loss contest.Salesman Mike Marti edged out Salesman Glenn Coupal in McBride's Biggest Loser weight-loss contest, which ended March 27.Bill McBride Chevrolet Subaru Owner Brian McBride said the contest started Jan. 2. Sixteen employees took part, working together to lose weight mainly through improved diet and exercise."Every Tuesday morning we weighed in. The overall winner was based on the overall percentage of weight loss," he said.McBride tracked the 13 weekly weigh-ins through a computer spread sheet which showed weight change and the percentage of weight lost.Each week the contestants put $2 into a fund. The biggest loser for each week took half the pot, and the rest went to the overall winner.Some contestants did a lot of carb loading before it started to boost their chances. Later, contestants would even check out what the others were eating, and try to match each others healthy choices.McBride said the contest created some teamwork and took a group of people in the business in a healthy direction."Unfortunately, probably the Burger King next door took a bit of a hit financially," he said with a laugh.In the end, Marti edged Coupal by a fraction of a percent.Marti said he lost 26 pounds. He took part because he hadn't been able to follow through on previous weight-loss efforts.His weight loss was accomplished by cutting out sodas and sweets, combined with 30 minutes of exercise such as sit-ups and push-ups every other day. Martis revealed the effects by displaying his belt, which is now a buckled one notch tighter.Coupal, the runner-up, lost 28 pounds but lost out by an eighth of a percentage point. He credited diet and treadmill work, but also had a wonderful secret weapon."My twins are 13 weeks old. They are up all hours of the night," Coupal said.A former NCAA Division hockey player at RPI, Coupal said he's right around his playing weight.The friendly competition made weight loss easier, Coupal said."When Mike (Marti) was getting down in pounds, the competitor in me has to keep up," he said.McBride said he didn't do so well, but still lost about 3 percent of his body weight. He and some other employees are going to continue with a second round.McBride said there were some remarkable changes in diet at the dealership.Before, doughnuts brought to the dealership every morning would disappear within 15 to 20 minutes. Now, they are thrown out at the end of the day."Sugar consumption dropped to next to nothing. Everybody is hitting the Splenda," McBride said.There was some attrition during the contest, but eight people took part in all 13 weeks. McBride said a total of 144.25 pounds were lost during the contest."We kept it fairly non-competitive. It was more of a team-building exercise," McBride said.Salesman Tim Lemos said he lost 14 pounds. He said good eating, like cutting out the sweets, and exercise — biking, hockey and skiing — were the key.Although the emphasis was on friendly competition, there were a few acts of sabotage. Lemos said he brought in fudge once, and Coupal said he would offer Marti the occasional soda.McBride said the contest was the idea of Assistant Used Car Manager Chip Reynolds, who lost 22 pounds. In addition to organizing the contest, he brought in healthy lunches for everyone two days a week.They were mainly healthy chicken dishes. They tasted great because Reynolds is a professional chef, McBride said.Lemos said pounds aren't the only things that dropped at the dealership."We have a big sale in progress. We dropped weight and prices," he said.
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