Mark Kenan Bulos overcame being called baboy, malaise, and the struggle that comes with losing weight. Now, he’s in the best shape of his life

By Eric Nicole Salta | Photos courtesy of Mark Kenan Bulos

Thirty-year-old Mark Kenan “Maco” Bulos is a registered nurse working in Saudi Arabia. And while he’s a self-confessed lover of the outdoors and adventures, it didn’t necessarily translate into how he looked. Up until college, Bulos has always been on the heavier side. It wasn’t until a little health scare that prompted him to make some major changes to his life. Cutting off alcohol, ice cream, cakes, and rice was difficult but sustaining his motivation in the gym proved to be a far strenuous ordeal.

Tell us about your weight issues and struggles. When did it become a problem?

As a person who loves to go outside or travel, food definitely played a part in my weight gain. It started back when I was in the Philippines. I’ve always been chubby since college but accompanied with alcohol, I started to gain more weight. I averaged between 187 lbs to 194 lbs but when I decided to work abroad in 2010, things spiraled out of control.

I didn’t take control of my food intake and I was too lazy to exercise. Always had this excuse of being lazy and having no time. I tried to run sometimes but I got tired easily and lost interest. I ate without any control. I reached almost 205 lbs. My friends would tease me baboy but I didn’t care. I went home for a vacation and without any self-control, I had reached between 216 lbs to 220 lbs.

The struggle started when I couldn’t fit in the clothes I wanted to wear. And then I had some medical issues like difficulty in breathing and malaise caused by being so fat. The struggle was real.

What was it like the first time you attempted to lose weight?

I decided to lose weight in August 2015. Did my research about how do go about it, especially with the foods I must eat. I cut my rice intake instantly and replaced it oats, wheat bread, and quinoa. It was really hard since my body was adjusting to the new diet. I felt hungry all the time and craved the food I was eating before. It was hard.

What is the biggest struggle: food, exercise or temptation?

The temptation of eating unhealthy foods. Imagine being in a circle of friends where you are the only fat guy. They’re eating all the food they want. So the struggle again was very real. Aside from that, when I started going to the gym, it was really hard since I was a beginner who doesn’t know the routines. I was also shy because I was fat when I enrolled at the gym. It felt like this was not my environment.

What is your workout regimen like?

I started with cardio. Treadmill and fasted cardio or sprint for 30 minutes. Then bike and ladder for my weight loss program. When I achieved my desired weight of 145 lbs from 218 lbs, my coach decided to try a new program, and I started body building.

Now that you’ve lost a significant amount of weight, how do you plan to keep it off? What are your next goals?

I’m currently at 154 lbs and I managed to maintain it just through clean eating, regular exercises, and supplements. I go to the gym daily as per my schedule. My next goal is to shred. I want to have lean muscles with good cuts but not the bulky type—more of an athletic build.

Were there times when you felt down? What kept you motivated when you were feeling down?

In the middle of my weight loss progress, I felt like giving up, especially when I was  in that plateau stage. I was stuck at 176 lbs and felt like I couldn’t do this anymore or wouldn’t make any more progress. But I didn’t give up and put more commitment, effort, and focus into my program. That was crucial for me.

weight loss after

Aside from your exercise routine, what specific changes to your lifestyle have you made that works for you?

Perhaps my food intake. I cut off my rice and stopped eating a lot of sweets and drinking sodas and commercialized fruit juices. Water therapy helped a lot to regulate my body.

What’s the biggest misconception about people wanting to lose weight?

Most people think losing weight is impossible. Most of us think that dieting and clean eating are boring and that going to the gym will only exhaust you. Yes, it’s hard, but if you put all your dedication, commitment, and self-discipline, you will achieve your goals.