A fitness journey – looking in the mirror through Denise Gregg’s eyes – “I live in the energy of ROAR every day!”
I met Denise Gregg over 10 years ago when she was searching and dissatisfied with life, but I always saw her flame. Since then I’ve been following her travels and fitness transformation. She is a VP of Operations for a firm in Toronto who can teach us all a bit about planning and execution. Her lifestyle changes include traveling the world, inspiring others and fitness – and she has chosen the most personal of these topics for this interview.
Tell us a bit about yourself and your lifestyle.
My name is Denise Gregg and I am from Toronto, Canada. My current lifestyle revolves around what I call ‘excitements’…travel, inspiring others, and health & fitness. Nine years ago I decided to completely change my lifestyle by working towards becoming physically healthier and fit. I weighed close to 250 pounds and I ended up losing 110 pounds in the process. More importantly, I’ve kept it off.
Currently I exercise six days a week with a combination of weights, cardio and Muay Thai. I always take one day off to rest. I try to only eat fresh food including lean protein with lots of fruits and vegetables.
As for a lifestyle name? I would call it KICKASS!
What was life like before?
Before I changed my life I was truly unhappy. Outwardly I appeared confident and positive but inwardly I hated looking at myself in the mirror. I limited my life because of this.
My issues revolved around my weight and body image and I had dealt with these things my entire life. After getting married and reaching about 250 pounds I quietly made a final decision. I had a husband that adored me, loving friends and family, a great job and life. However, I was still unhappy. So I decided to either give up the self-torture and either be ‘heavy and HAPPY’ or change my life and body. And if I was going to change – it would have to be all out. One last time. This was in November of 2005. So, on January 1st 2006 (haha yes cliché) I changed my eating, lifestyle and started exercising.
Tell us about your fitness journey and any setbacks.
I went all out. No moderation. This is who I am, when I truly decide to do something I am unstoppable. It’s the only way I know how to accomplish a goal.
There have been many setbacks. I went through a weight loss plateau that lasted ONE YEAR. Imagine doing all the right things and working so hard and not being able to budge the scale at all. Psychologically that was brutal. But I just kept going. Never give up. I wouldn’t let it break me.
What has been the hardest part?
My journey is hard every single day. I think the 110 lb loss is significant – however the bigger part is keeping it off for 9 years. Losing weight is not the truly hard part….it’s the consistency of being totally committed. Every day, at every meal I have to make a choice. And this journey will never end if I want to stay at my fitness level.
Also as I approach 50 I am battling age, and a slow metabolism! But I have to say, no matter how difficult the journey is to stay committed, I know 100% that I am happiest this way. So it’s worth the fight.
What are some of the things you learned?
I have learned so much about nutrition, exercise and commitment…and how mentally strong I am. I have also learned more about myself – my patterns and conditioning. And I challenge myself through this process every day.
What surprised you?
I am surprised at how my actions affect other people both positively and negatively. I do this for myself only. If it inspires someone in a positive way I am thrilled. That’s an added bonus. However some people do respond negatively. Somehow what I am doing makes them feel bad about themselves. I try not to be affected by their energy.
Did you meet any new people?
I met my trainer because of this change in lifestyle. Together we have worked and continue to work towards bigger and better goals. She is not only my trainer but is now one of my closest friends.
Also, I started a private group on Facebook last year called Squat Club which now has 51 global members. This is an awesome group of women, mainly friends, co-workers and friends of friends, who help to support and empower each other. (Read the article in the Huffington Post written by Jennifer Pellegrini)
How has this change affected you overall?
I call this LIFE 2! I am now living in my true power and am happy. If I wasn’t doing this I believe I would be living a very dull, unhappy and small life. And that’s not who I am.
What advice would you give to someone else considering a new or similar lifestyle?
I know everyone has heard the saying ‘life is short’ but it truly is. Don’t waste one more day not living the lifestyle you want. Make the decision.
What’s next for you?
I am currently training for a new body goal which is to enter a body building competition. At this point I am not sure if I will, but my diet and training plan is structured towards this goal.
On every birthday I work on my ‘life list’ goals in the areas of travel, fitness and other bucket list items. I will be starting ballroom dancing soon! Then every year I raise the bar by adding new activities and goals.
If you were an animal, what would you be and let’s hear your primal sound.
Anyone who knows me knows that I am a Leo! I live in the energy of ROAR every day.