Gregson-Williams Shares How She Exercises a Healthy Lifestyle While Staying ‘Sassy’
Written By: Aubrey Freitas
Photographed By: Charlie Chipman Sassy Gregson-Williams
The life of a dancer is not a simple one. Sassy Gregson-Williams spent most of her young adult life practicing professional ballet, dedicating at least eight hours a day to her training. During these years of practice, performance and competition, she found herself getting injured quite often and needing to find ways to keep her body strong and healthy during her recoveries. This lead her down a path of food education, recipe creation and ballet workout transformation all wrapped up in her successful business: Naturally Sassy.
Gregson-Williams’ background in ballet, combined with her passionate pursuit of health education, has transformed her into a health expert, equipped with a rare perspective and interest in helping women feel confident in their bodies. Gregson-Williams started to take her health into her own hands, ironically, when she was injured from ballet. While she hung up her pointe shoes in 2016, her intuitive drive propelled her into a new spotlight. What many would find to be a major setback, Gregson-Williams saw as an opportunity. She became a food editor at her sister’s magazine, which led to the creation of her blog, publishing a cookbook, making a line of nutrition bars at Whole Foods and her ballet blast global online workout studio.
One of Gregson-Williams’ goals is to help people understand food is a tool for their bodies, and to deter others from believing that words like “calories” and “carbs” are scary. She compared one’s body to being as unique as a fingerprint, no two are exactly the same, which means that no two react the same way to the foods they are given. Gregson-Williams champions for everyone to “never get caught up in someone else’s ‘healthy’” by listening to their own bodies and then taking their individualized steps toward healthier living. Her time as a dancer taught her a lot about how misinformed she was about food and her body’s relationship with food, and now she’s using her wealth of knowledge to help others foster healthier relationships with the food they eat and to make sure they understand that “the way you look is not your worth.”
For Gregson-Williams, sustaining a healthy eating lifestyle begins with meal prepping, and educating ourselves on what we are putting into our bodies. She agrees that often a person’s relationship with food is determined by the amount of time they have and are willing to dedicate to it, which can be made easier by making thoughtful meals ahead of time. Gregson-Williams believes that “one of the biggest misconceptions about health is that it is limited to how you eat and how frequently you work out—a lot of it is about how you feel, and there are a lot of things that connect that.” She believes that ‘health’ is really about “the art of life.” Gregson-Williams’ time training in ballet was one where she had little to no education about the foods she was eating or what she was putting into her body, and one where she felt like she “didn’t have a relationship with food at all,” a sentiment that is the complete opposite for her now.
Gregson-Williams says what catapulted her into being a health pro was that she wasn’t one, and that she feels so adamant about practicing a healthy lifestyle now “because she went through a crazy transformation from then and directly used those tools for other women in a larger picture.” Her journey started from just trying to help herself, to helping small groups of women—including other injured dancers and moms pre- and post-childbirth—to helping thousands through her recipes and workouts on her popular blog and app. Gregson-Williams’ growth in connecting with all of these people was a slow build, but she never stopped dreaming about the impact it could have. She encourages people to “keep the teenage optimism forever, don’t put limitations on what you’re capable of.” For her, her business flourished because she simply didn’t know where or when to stop.
Gregson-Williams and her work are trying to break the traditional idea of “perfection” in order to encourage people to form healthy relationships with food and with their bodies. She’s making health, in both food and physical form, more accessible, and the characteristic of confidence more attainable, simply by starting with education in these areas. It took all the grace and strength of a ballerina to create Naturally Sassy, and now Sassy Gregson-Williams is giving those two traits to all of the people who come in contact with herself, her business, or her food. Confidence, grace, and a healthy plate are enough to change anyone’s life, and Gregson-Williams’ story is a perfect example.
Pas de Prep: Sassy’s Tips for Meal Prepping Like a Pro
- “Spend one day making all of your lunches for the rest of the week, or make an extra serving of whatever meal you’d like each day and save it for the next.”
- Make three salads every week! “Not just leafy, green salads, but real, whole food salads that have a grain as a base, and then keep sides separate to mix up for different combos.”
- “Use a diverse variety of foods to avoid getting bored. With peppers, there are all sorts of kinds to use or test out. It’ll let you try something new and challenge you to be more creative.”
- Think you don’t have enough time? “What do you value more, your time in the hour or the money you’re spending on food during the week eating out? Most people want to save money and do it in less time, which is why meal prep is a great option.”
- “If you just spend three hours on a Sunday, mostly waiting for things to cook, you can have all of your meals done for the rest of the week.”
Trust Your Gut: For Gregson-Williams, being healthy is about feeling healthy: “A lot of it is about how you feel, and there are a lot of things that connect that.