Heather Deranja

Dietitian (RDN) & CPT who is passionate about helping women release their limiting beliefs so they can live fit, young, wild and free

Placed 3rd

in the semi-finals

Ms. Health and Fitness and Jared Allen's Homes for Wounded Warriors would like to thank Heather Deranja and her voters for helping us donate to our injured United States military veterans!

What would you recommend to others who want to be fit and healthy?

My motto is "whole body wellness". Your health works from the INSIDE out, not the other way around. Creating true health and wellbeing is about more than just food and exercise, it's about all of the lifestyle factors like stress, sleep, gut health, hydration and mindset. You have to be able to get to the root of the problem to create true behavior change and understand the "why" behind your actions. If you undo the limiting beliefs, you break through what holds you back.

How does fitness positively influence your life?

I was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease at 18 years old, and was told by doctors that I was looking at a kidney transplant or dialysis in the next 5 years. I couldn't get health insurance because it was a pre-existing condition, and I had just given birth to my first daughter. I started researching and implementing healthy lifestyle behaviors and was able to manage my disease without medical intervention. I am now 42 and feel better than I did when I was in my twenties!

If you were the next Ms Health and Fitness, what would you do with $20,000?

One of my dreams is to create a non-profit program to educate young girls to improve their relationship with food and body image. I see too many women later in life who have limiting beliefs and scars around food and body image that were developed at a young age. If we can educate girls on healthy body image, we can help empower them to lead healthier and happier lives free of body shaming and self-doubt.