AUGUSTA — A group of four women, including two teachers, spent their summer vacation not on the beach but on treadmills and mats at the Kennebec Valley YMCA.

The group ended up winning the 10-week Lose It With The Y challenge, similar to the TV program The Biggest Loser, by losing a combined 117.3 pounds, doubling the previous record in the program.

The women — Amanda Sergent, a fifth grade teacher at River View Community School in Gardiner; Dotty Hinckley, an administrative assistant at T.C. Hamlin School in Randolph; Vicky Grimaldi, a special education teacher at Gardiner Regional Middle, and Marie Moore, who works in patient registration for MaineGeneral’s Harold Alfond Center for Cancer Care — said they plan to do the program again in the next session.

“It was pretty awesome to see when they started gaining abilities, like being able to run up a hill,” said their trainer, Kimberly Gagne. “That was never even a thought for them before.”

Hinckley said they fed off each other’s energy and kept pushing each other to do more.

“You didn’t want to let the team down, so you kept the pace up,” she said.

Sergent said she felt like she had more energy when she returned to the classroom last week.

“It felt really good to come (to the YMCA) after to get the frustration of the day out,” she said. “Instead of just going home and sitting there and saying,’ Oh that was a rough day,’ just coming here and taking it out on the treadmill or whatever we were doing.”

Sergent said she liked that the program didn’t encourage them to diet but instead to try to make healthy choices when they can.

“It’s a lifestyle change in a way, but it’s not to a point that it’s impossible,” she said. “It’s doable.”

Gagne said she encouraged the women to take small steps like starting with substituting water for one can of soda each day.

Moore said the group members would talk during the program about how they couldn’t wait for it to be over and to be able to eat whatever they want. But after the program, she said they didn’t even want what they were craving.

“After two days, I was like, ‘I don’t want to be that couch potato again,’” Moore said. “I got up, put my sneakers on and out I went.”

Paul Koenig — 621-5663
pkoenig@mainetoday.com