Covid-19 Compliant Studio
Expand search form

Our Blog

Nutrition & Fitness Tips

Success: 30 lbs in 4 months

“Kelly is so encouraging and makes it fun and interesting. So many different things. You never do the same thing…Who knew this little bit of guidance could be so effective in my life!”

Gilreath. Is that Irish?

Scottish, I think.

Where are you from?

I grew up in South Holland, IL, which is a suburb of Chicago.

What brought to Nashville?

My husband is from New Orleans. We had thought about moving to Atlanta, but met somebody who was from Nashville. My husband helped him with his first record. So, when we came to visit, we fell in love with it, and thought we wanted to live here. How long ago was that? 25 years ago in June.

What do you do outside of Franklin Wheelhouse?

I work at Grassland Middle School as a teacher’s assistant for special education.


I have a wonderful husband of 30 years, named Steve. I have three kids, Graham, 25, who lives in Chicago working at a video game development company, daughter Alex, 22, just graduated from Auburn, and working at J.Crew, and last is Hayden, 21. He’s a junior at UT Knoxville majoring in Marketing and Business Analytics.

Tell me a bit about your fitness journey?

I was a PE major in college at Eastern Illinois University. Taught Driver’s Ed and a little PE right out of school for 10 years at Lake Forest High School. I coached there when everyone was doing aerobics, so I warmed the kids up with aerobics. And, I taught aerobics at my church. So, I was pretty fit through that time. Then, I was pregnant with my first, and we moved down here. I was no longer working outside of the home, and became Mom and Homemaker. All that activity went to the wayside, except chasing around kids. I was thinking today…about 13 years ago I thought, “I have to get something going.” So, I bought “Body for Life.”

Oh, great book!

Yes. I was working out with weights, exercise and diet. I lost a lot and got into better shape. That only lasts awhile, and then, I put all my energy into being Mom and caring about everybody but myself. You think you have all this free time, but it just went away. Just before Hayden went to college, I was taking a walk and praying, “Where will you have me?” The position at Grassland opened up. I threw together a resume and got the job. I’ve loved working with those kids. It’s been a blessing to me. I saw the Form Fitness article about Patty Norem. She sent it to everybody at school. I thought, “Wow that’s great. I need to look into this.” I work with Julee Pousson too, so I asked them about it and signed up. I came in that first day and weighed myself—I’d had an old scale at home that kept staying at the same weight, so I thought I could eat what I wanted, but…! I was like, “That is more than I ever weighed when i was pregnant! What an awakening! I quickly determined the program at Form was what I needed. Then I talked to Kelly, and she explained the nutrition component. I thought, “I’m in!”

SO, then what happened…

I dove in headfirst and haven’t missed a class, except when I had to be out of town or a work commitment. I’ve been very, very serious about sticking to the diet. Kelly is so encouraging and makes it fun and interesting. So many different things. You never do the same thing.

How much have you lost so far?

30. It’s been 90 days.

Wow! How does that feel?

FABULOUS! I get chills coming to Franklin Wheelhouse and weigh in. I think, “Really?” It just encourages me to continue. My family has been really supportive. My oldest has been on his own diet and exercise journey. 50 pounds. My husband and daughter are self-sufficient, so I haven’t had to worry about cooking for them – that really allows me to focus on me.

Have they adopted any eating changes?

My daughter loves everything I buy because she’s already been eating healthy, so now she has everything on hand. And, my husband tells me, “Well, I didn’t want to start when you did, because I didn’t want you to be jealous about how much I would lose.” She laughs. But it’s true, when he puts his mind to it, he really does lose weight. I’ve been eating a lot of salmon, and he didn’t want anything to do with it. He went on business in Seattle, tried salmon, and loved it.

So is he eating salmon now?

Oh, yeah. He used to always make burgers. But, he made salmon for some friends and we all loved it! He has definitely been inspired, and is trying to change how he eats too. He has started to exercise some and has been losing weight.

I noticed how much you concentrate on form. Is that your PE background?

Yes, and I used to lead aerobics. So, I do what Kelly says to do!

How does your fit life ripple into other areas of your life?

It probably helps my confidence. You even said I walk differently. People notice that I look different. My pants are falling off of me, but I don’t dare go shopping because I continue to lose!

Do you have a goal?

You know, I don’t have a number. I’m just really excited about what’s happening, so I’m going to keep on, and see what happens.

Was there a moment when your transformation took a turn or overcame an obstacle?

I think for the last five years I really haven’t felt great about where I was – I kind of felt stuck. My daughter has been encouraging me to walk. I had already started drinking water at school. But, I think just seeing Patty and Julee’s excitement about this place drew me in. Then the whole shock of the weight loss, I’m like, “O.K.! It’s on!” Who knew this little bit of guidance could be so effective in my life.

How has the Nutritional Coaching impacted you?

I went to the initial Nutritional meeting and started on the food plan immediately. Kelly called me later to say she felt bad she hadn’t checked in, and I said, “It’ O.K.! I’m doing fine. I’m serious about it.” People say to me, “When are you going to have a drink? When are you going to have a dessert?” I say, “Not right now. I don’t feel the need.” I haven’t missed anything. When I go to a restaurant, I try to pick the healthiest thing on the menu. I knew I could do it when my husband took me to a Red Robin, and I learned they have unlimited steamed broccoli like their fries. So, I ordered a turkey patty, broccoli, and a grilled romaine salad.

Oh, grilled romaine is good!

Yes, and Steve said, “If you can find something at Red Robin and make it work, you can do it anywhere.”

Three words about how you think of yourself now?

Encouraged Empowered What’s another good “E” word? Elated! It’s very comfortable. Everyone is very welcoming and helpful. Just because of the people, it makes you want to be here. You don’t want to NOT come. Accountability, i guess. It’s kind of fun to suffer through the workouts together. Oh, and sweet potatoes…

Sweet potatoes?

Somebody in our neighborhood has a relation who grows sweet potatoes in Tennessee. So, I bought a case. That has been one of my carbs per day, and it feels like I’m eating candy. I have one every night, and I eat carrots in the afternoon. I feel like I might be turning orange! It’s just a plus not adding sauces to everything and appreciating the taste. And that’s not the end, my neighbor thought that I hadn’t gotten my first case. So, she dropped off another. I called her and said, “If that’s extra, I’ll take it!” I have two 40 lbs cases in my garage that’ll last until May. So, by May I won’t have to sit in the sun because I’ll be as orange as can be!

Trainer Thoughts: Kelly Kanski

I am so thankful Denise has joined our Small Group Training program! She is a positive force and so inspiring to the rest of our class. Denise has taken ownership of her lifestyle. She has put herself in charge of her own success. You don’t need to radically change everything to make an impact. For Denise, it’s simple things. She shows up – every class. She follows her food plan – every day. It’s the small changes, the day-by-day, that over time, result in HUGE TRANSFORMATION! One that amounts to 30 pounds…18 inches…and some sexy leather pants. And just to show off a little, here’s a before and after photo of Denise in her leather pants – pants she bought 15 years ago. They’ve never looked better!

You might be interested in …