THREE stone down, seven more to go.
Dedicated Mark Bell is well on his way to shedding the weight he pledged to lose in memory of his beloved daughter Becky.
In August, weighing in at 25 and a half stone, the 38-year-old vowed to lose 10 stone in a sponsored weight loss for cancer charity CLIC Sargent.
It’s a charity that means so much to Mark and the rest of his family.
CLIC supported Becky throughout her brave battle with brain cancer which she sadly lost when she tragically passed away in January last year, aged just seven years old.
But Becky’s parents, Mark and Julie, 42, older brother Mark, 13, and sister Vicki, 24, have continued to show their support by raising almost £20,000 for the charity and ward 14 at Newcastle’s Royal Victoria Infirmary where Becky was treated.
And although he is still yet to reach halfway in his ultimate weight loss target, Mark has now hit his first aim - losing three stone by Christmas.
And he’s feeling a lot better for it.
“I know I’ve still got a long way to go but I can already feel the difference,” said the taxi driver.
“I just feel so much better in myself, and there’s no better motivation and inspiration than raising money for CLIC in Becky’s memory.”
Mark has changed his lifestyle in his bid to shed the stones.
His typical daily diet now consists of yoghurt and granola for breakfast, scrambled egg for lunch and chicken and rice for tea.
Although he does still allow himself to enjoy a couple of pints with his mates on a Friday night.
But it’s his training schedule, drawn up and overseen by Jason Bland of Look Great Feel Great Fitness, in the town, which has really aided Mark’s weight loss and fitness improvement.
He now trains at least three days a week at Jason’s gym, in Thomlinson Road.
And Mark’s confidence in his training was boosted when he recently jogged around the course used for Miles for Men, four months after he took part in the event along with hundreds other fundraisers.
On that day he struggled round in one hour and four minutes yet he is now down to 44 minutes and hopes to take another 10 minutes off by the time the event comes around again next year.
His trainer Jason admitted it was tough for Mark early on but said he’s proud of how he’s stuck at it.
Jason, 25, who lives in the Rift House area of town, said: “It was a shock to his system to start with but it didn’t take long for Mark to start to see the improvements and feel the benefits.
“He knows a lot of hard is still to come but he’s done extremely well to hit his first target.”
To support Mark and donate call Julie on 07927 225542.