For most of his life, London-based IT specialist Mark Bush found his greatest comfort in food.” In my 20s, I got into the habit of relying on food to make me feel better about life,” he says.” Eating seemed to help me deal with any negative emotions.” But that comfort was short-lived. At a family gathering on Christmas Day 2015, when Bush was 30, he stepped on the scale and was shocked to find that he weighed 266 pounds.
“I immediately realized how lucky I was that I hadn’t yet developed diabetes or heart disease, both of which are prevalent in my family,” Bush said. He vowed at that moment to change his life, thinking, “If I lose just one pound in the next year, that’s a step in the right direction.”
He began his journey by downloading the MyFitnessPal app and logging everything he ate and all his workouts, down to the smallest snack and effort. The simple gesture of logging forced him to pay attention to what he was eating. He says, “When I started making better choices, the weight started coming off. It wasn’t linear, but my mindset had changed and I knew there was no going back.”
By July 2017, Mark had lost 140 pounds and was solidly in the middle of his healthy weight range. He was lean, but he didn’t feel fit. Although his main sport had always been walking, one day he decided to buy himself some cheap running shoes.” I’ve never been a runner. In fact, I’ve never understood why anyone likes to run,” Bush said. However, he realized that he had never tried the sport, so he wanted to at least give it a chance and started dressing up.” If I put on clothes that I can run in, then I can…. . if I like it.”
Going from his daily walk to a jog is a small improvement. Within minutes of picking up his pace, he saw his reflection in a store window and shed tears of hope. He knew he’d found his next challenge, and he set a goal to run the 10K by January 2018, just five short months away.
“I signed up before I gave myself the chance to think too much and back out,” He said. With an eye on the prize money, Bush trained regularly and ran a little farther each week. During the work week, he did some shorter training runs, but he really fell in love with the steady long runs on Sunday mornings.” It was during these long runs that I found the peace of mind that I had been trying to find in food for years,” he says.” I wish I’d known earlier how good running was for my soul.”
The race turned out to be everything he imagined it would be and more, so he signed up for all the 10Ks he could find afterward. He loved the excitement of race day, especially the exhilarating atmosphere he felt. Then it occurred to him that he could – and wanted to – run even longer. In May of that year, he signed up for the Hackney Half Marathon, just a few months away.
“As my training progressed, I became more and more confident that I could not only finish the race,” he says, “but that I might even be able to do it in a good time.” He was right. One hour and 45 minutes after the race gun went off, Bush crossed the finish line. He called it the proudest moment of his life.
Now, he’s training for the full 26.2-mile marathon. As further motivation, he is raising money for a cause that is close to his heart. He’s raising money for cancer research in honor of his grandfather, a cancer survivor, and he’s running the Berlin Marathon to benefit WaterAid, a global nonprofit whose mission is to provide clean water to communities that don’t have access to this vital resource.” The idealist in me has never gone away, and I do want us to live in a world where everyone has a fair and equal opportunity to live a happy and healthy life,” said Bush.” Unfortunately, there are still parts of the world where newborns are dying every minute from infections caused by a lack of clean water.”
Bush’s advice to others struggling for health and wellness?” It’s not a short-term fix,” he says.” You’re buying into a lifestyle that will totally reward you physically and mentally in the long run. It’s purely about consistency and patience. You don’t have to limit yourself completely in order to lose weight, and that can lead to constant cravings. Enjoy the process and celebrate every little victory – don’t dwell on the setbacks.”
If all else fails, Bush’s philosophy is a pretty good fallback position.” Better great is good, than good is great.”