Let’s DO this!

Fat Frank (at age 17) is fourth from right

While flipping through some old photo albums today, I was dismayed to see how lean I was just a few years ago. When I was a teenager, I was obese, but I lost 60 pounds over two summers. It was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done and I’m extraordinarily proud of it.

Over the past few years, however, the weight has been inching back on. I find that I lack the willpower to consume only healthy, non-fattening foods and to force myself to exercise daily as I used to do.

I watch with a growing sense of disempowerment as my waist size steadily expands and my favourite clothing no longer fits well.

You may be wondering why I’m talking about diet and fitness in a teaching blog.

It’s because I can feel myself slipping again, but in another way—this time it’s about education, as I pursue my Masters of Adult Education through St. Francis Xavier University in Antigonish, Nova Scotia.

I returned Wednesday from three weeks of deep self-reflection, intense classroom lessons, and self-regimented theoretical study at the program’s Foundations Institute. Since the Masters is a self-directed one, we all know it’s going to be a tough few years as we maintain the constant discipline required to complete the program. Also, I borrowed four books from the university library that I must return in two weeks. Those are two reasons why I need to get reading right away.

I’ve ordered two Stephen Brookfield books and I’ve written a single self-reflective journal entry since I returned to Ontario four days ago. But that’s about it. I’m starting to feel ashamed and angry, just like I do when I notice my favourite jeans are a little tighter or after scarfing down a chocolate bar that I really didn’t need. After all the excitement during the Foundations Institute, I started to wonder if I have the discipline needed to complete my Masters.

But then I think of myself at the age of 16, of that obese teenager who shed 60 pounds to become a skilled tennis player, windsurfer, marathon runner, and rock climber because he (I) really, really wanted it. When I remember the changes that I forced upon myself all those 26 years ago, I know that If I can do that, I can do this.

And so can you.

We really want this, right? We know we do. So let’s go get it. Let’s go get our Masters of Adult Education.

One hour, one day at a time.

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About teachingteacher

Business communications instructor, journalist, corporate communications writer and media trainer ... and Masters Candidate M.Ad.Ed.
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10 Responses to Let’s DO this!

  1. scott says:

    Frank,
    I find myself reading your post and noticing a tone of trying to convince yourself that you want this. I must admit, you were one of the ones that I found made huge strides in the three weeks in Antigonish. You have all the tools to get after this. There are going to be times where we just have other things that take up our time, but we must stay connected as it’s a way to take us back to Antigonish. Hearing from you, or some of our other classmates takes me out of the busy life I lead in Vancouver to the dopey, slow, reflective time in Antigonish. It’s a way for me to refocus. Anytime you need that, just let me know.

  2. Thanks, Scott. I admit I feel overwhelmed by all the work that lies ahead in my oh-too-busy life. Thanks for the encouragement! My video should be viewable now. For some reason it was marked private.

  3. Rachel Rose says:

    momentum, inertia… perpetual motion… these are the things i need right now as well. perhaps i should have spent a little more time listening in physics class… oh wait i never had to take a physics class. thanks george bush… no child left behind until now… got to figure out how to get the energy going, moving, focused, and going forward. so hard to do right now when i feel so exhausted… i know all of you can relate. when i was a kid an olympic wrestler came to my elementary school and the thing that i always remember was him saying he used to run for miles and miles with weights on his back and the way he got through it was by looking at the power poles… he would just try to get to one, then another and then another. he never thought about the big picture..its like the river story that carole shared. so step one… read one thing and annotate it… right?????

    • Rachel, I love that analogy about the poles. I used to do the same thing when I ran road races. “Just get to the end of the next kilometre…Just get to the top of that hill…” It works. Thanks for the encouragement. Actually, after writing this post, I stayed up late finishing my video of my trip (see my latest blog post) and yesterday I read the first chapter of one of my library books. That’s a start, anyway… 🙂 Thanks for commenting!

  4. Susan Hartwell says:

    Yes, I feel the same! I am trying to create a schedule that involves both exercise and reading but pulling myself out of bed is tough. I actually did some reading this morning and the spark was dim but it returned brighter when I read your blog! We just have to keep encouraging one another and we will make it. Thanks Frank!

    • Susan, I have to admit that I’m still procrastinating and, as a result, I’m feeling a bit down. I was about to recommence reading my first library book this morning when I found something to distract me. Back at it in five minutes, darn it!

      It helps knowing I’m not the only one, though.

      Hey, does Shane have a Twitter account called “CoffeeControl”?

  5. Graham Caverly says:

    I will not leave any kind of inspiration about losing weight or what I myself have been through in the quest that lasts a lifetime in order to consider oneself to be truly healthy, but I will leave words of wisdom that should be passed along to any who desire to hear them. “Do not be afraid of achieving the goals we set for ourselves, know that simply having a goal we aim towards is more than some people have in a lifetime. Be not afraid that perhaps one day we will still be considered unhealthy, be concerned of the life we instead wish to live with the people we love. If I were 80 and regretted every moment of life for what I did not do then in my mind I have failed, yet if at a younger age I have loved and felt it, to what do I owe sorrow?”

  6. Trevor Clements says:

    I’ve also kind of dropped off, but I feel I have a somewhat justifiable excuse. I’m on vacation still. In Canada I’m taking the time to spend with family and friends. I’ve still not turned in my final assignment from the FI even. How’s that. I have all of it done except the annotations though. I will still do it though, even if it’s horrendeously late, regardless of the fact it’s not worth any marks. But I’ll wait till I’m back in Korea and vacation is over. My fear is that I’ll find too many not so justifiable excuses once I get back to not do work. But I’m going to try to do my best once I get back. It was good to hear that other people also have the same fears after leaving Antigonish.

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