PLATTSBURGH - After four months of diet and exercise, contestants of the North Country Biggest Loser can say they collectively lost 314.9 pounds, rendering it a success.
"I thought it went really well," said the program's trainer, Mary Duprey. "Most of the people had success."
Although a couple contestants did not complete the session, those who did were still able to meet the goal of an overall 300 pounds lost.
"They were pretty excited," Duprey said of the contestants when they passed their goal. "I know the last couple of weeks they were really pushing."
Duprey herself was also challenged during the program.
"I've never done anything like that before," she said.
Hoping to have a second session beginning in the fall, Duprey has already thought about what she'd like to change.
"It's hard to do group things when you have such a diverse group," she explained. "I think that's what I would focus on next time. Trying to get the same skill level together."
Steve Peters, superintendent of the city's recreation department, is currently working with city council members to expand the program for its next "season," including more trainers and 40 contestants.
Contestant Jim Snook is already looking to be a part of the support group for the next session, as he found North Country Biggest Loser made a "huge impact" on his life.
"I think I started the program at 324 [pounds]," Snook said. "My last weigh-in was 264."
By reducing his caloric intake to about 1,200 calories a day, Snook not only lost 60 pounds, but several inches around his waist.
"I probably was wearing a 46. I probably should have been at a 48," he said. "I am floating around right now and am more-than-comfortable in a 40."
Overall, the whole experience of North Country Biggest Loser was "incredible" for Snook.
"Being overweight is lonely," he said. "You're fighting with yourself. You feel like you're by yourself. But, when I got into this program, I was immediately embraced by people that were just like me."
Through the program, Snook was also able to run a 5-kilometer race July 11, during the North Country Biggest Loser 5K walk/run at the PARC Oval.
"It's better than anything I've ever done before," he said of the race. "I've never ran in a 5K."
Although Snook has yet to take a stress test, he is also certain he will be coming off his blood pressure medication.
For Snook though, the experience of the program not only affected him, but his family as well.
"My wife has lost almost 25 pounds," he said. "We eat healthier at home."
Snook is also working to help his mother and sister lose weight, through support and helping them to count calories. His personal goal is to lose 60 more pounds.