Atira is in the News…

Friday, December 9, 2005 by Michelle

Atira Women's Resource Society's executive director, Janice Abbott, was recently interviewed by Shared Vision magazine. Here's the link to the article. To learn more about Atira, go to

On Health & Fitness

Friday, December 2, 2005 by Michelle

In mid-June 2005, I realized that "I cannot keep not exercising!" I was not only very unhealthy and overweight, but also had no energy. Since I'm over the scary age of 35, I dutifully went to my doctor to discuss health and fitness. She did some tests and, it turns out, I'm anemic. Not a surprise, but yet another thing to deal with. Sigh.

One of my biggest issues in the past is that I would equate weight with fitness, which is like saying that if you have a high IQ you automatically have common sense (which is so not true). If I weighed myself, I rewarded or punished myself with unhealthy food. This is not only dumb, but makes things worse. The last time I worked out for any length of time, I didn't lose a single pound; although I had more energy, I was nevertheless very discouraged. I decided that this time, I was not going to be weighed.

Off I go to a naturopath, Dr. Grace dela Cruz, who is a wonderful ND whom I warmed up to very quickly ( I thought I'd have to "fight" to not be weighed, but in fact Dr. dela Cruz suggested not weighing me. My focus is health and fitness, not weight loss. Whew, she gets it!! Then she suggested some nutritional supplementation and recommended a personal trainer. "Hmmm, don't only rich people and movie stars have personal trainers?" I ask. Turns out lots of people, even people I know well, go to a fitness trainer. Who'd a thunk it? Where have I been?

With great fear and personal embarrassment, I booked an appointment to see Ted of Ted Loo Fitness ( "Oh great," I think, "probably some jock who just won't get it." To say that I have a lot of negative self-talk regarding fitness is an understatement. By this time, though, I know that trying to get fit on my own just won't work so I decide to give it a try. Turns out, Ted gets it and he too suggests that I not weigh myself because my goals are health and fitness. Whew #2! Where have these two people been all my life?

My first workout was hard and for 48-hours I thought every muscle in my body was going to try to escape to get away from the pain. Walking downstairs was worse than walking upstairs and everything I did caused paroxysms of pain. Thankfully, it turns out that it never gets that bad again. At least it had better not!

Ted then connects me with his trainer Warren, whom I've been working out with since. I was concerned that it would be as bad as junior high school Phys. Ed. with asshole teachers who seem to think that humiliation is the key to fitness. Thankfully, I was proved wrong again. Warren not only "gets it," he's been there himself. And I've never been pushed so hard and encouraged so much in my life. I may scowl and grumble sometimes, but I feel great at the end of each workout (after a bit of a rest!) and I'm finding the energy to walk more and even start jogging (this is a minor miracle, let me tell you). Sometimes, I try to workout on Sunday at the local rec. centre or go for a jog and I do try to push myself, but just can't reach the same level of workout as I do with Warren. Maybe it's the encouragement or perhaps just that someone else is setting the goals for me, I don't know. But it's working.

I have no idea if I'm losing actual pounds and don't really care, but I have gone down a dress size and I have more energy than I've had in years. I'm feeling strong, more flexible and I can't believe the wonderful muscle-tone I've developed. For me, these past 5+ months have given me more confidence and awareness of my physical capabilities than I've ever had. I wouldn't trade that for anything!

Never Underestimate a Woman!

Friday, October 14, 2005 by Michelle

Earlier this summer, my dear husband saw a photo of a 40+ woman with a pretty crazy haircut and colour job. Disliking it, he made the collossal mistake of a lifetime by saying, "Boy, am I ever glad you don't have the guts to do that."
"Pardon me??" says I.
"You don't have the courage to do that," he says, firmly wedging both feet into his mouth.
I told him he had two weeks to recant his questioning my courage over something as silly as hair. It's true, I have never dyed my hair before and I was intending to grow it out, but for goodness sake it's just hair! The gauntlet had been dropped though; recant and my hair stays, or keep up the silly banter and be prepared for a shock.
His response was, I kid you not, "I dare you."

Two weeks later, with much shorter and purple streaked hair, I picked him up at work. He was, rather humourously I would say, dumbfounded, gobsmacked, speechless. I had the hairdresser also style it pretty wild and wooly, so it was unlike anything he'd ever seen on my head.
"Where did my predictable wife go?" he moaned, as he was recovering from shock.
"You never had one of those," was my tart reply.

For the next two weeks, he kept asking if it was going to wash out by the time we visited his parents. "Of course not, dear!" was my rather humoured reply. Sadly, my in-laws weren't nearly so shocked - all that was reserved for my dear husband. I wonder what the next colour will be? I was thinking a lovely shade of blue.

The Christian Paradox

Wednesday, July 27, 2005 by Michelle

Harper's magazine recently had an interesting article entitled "The Christian Paradox." The crux of the article is that "America is simultaneously the most professedly Christian of the developed nations and the least Christian in its behavior." Check it out at