From a stay-at-home mom, Pure Barre studio owner, blogger, and podcaster to a certified Integrative Nutrition Health Coach, Deanna Pizitz is passionate about inspiring women to pursue self-care and self-love at every stage of life. When Deanna started her blog, Well & Worthy Life, she focused on general health and wellness. But then, her personal journey through menopause inspired her to create an online community for women over 40 called ReviveNOW to offer the information, guidance, and support to help women thrive through menopause. We caught up with Deanna to talk all things health, wellness, and menopause, as well as her own sources of joy and inspiration in midlife!
Tell us about your journey to launching Well & Worthy Life. Were nutrition and health always part of your career path?
For much of my life, health was just about exercising. As a teenager, I was a cheerleader and very active. I remember my mother putting me on my first diet around 14 or 15. Looking back, I didn’t need to lose weight, but I am sure I felt fat thanks to the messages that I was being sent through magazines and things like that. This began my on-and-off diet rollercoaster through the years.
For years, I out-exercised my sugar addiction. After I got my divorce, there was some healing, and I didn’t feel the need to eat all the sugar in sight. However, as I was going through perimenopause, I started gaining weight in my belly for the first time. After doing some research and getting certified as a health coach, I realized there is so much to the adage that “food is medicine.” I realized there are so many factors (like mindset, nourishment, movement, stress, sleep, hormones, etc.) that affect us as we go through perimenopause and menopause. This has been my focus for the last seven years.
Shortly after selling my Pure Barre studio, I started a blog about health and wellness called Well and Worthy Life and became a Certified Integrative Nutrition Health Coach. I created a membership for women over 40 going through perimenopause and menopause called Revive NOW. My goal is to help women lose the all-or-nothing mentality and feel their best as they age. We don’t have to settle. There are things we can do to feel our best after 40. We still have a lot of living left to do.
What kinds of challenges do you help your clients overcome?
I help my clients with a variety of issues that many peri- and post-menopausal women struggle with, including the all-or-nothing mentality, belly fat, becoming an advocate for themselves, feeling more confident in their body and mind, and especially helping them realize they are not alone.
Can you give us a few dos and don’ts around nutrition and supplements for women over 40?
Don’t eliminate any one food group. Do eat real, whole foods (meaning they come from the ground or have a mother). Don’t think there is only one way to eat or move. Do explore what works best for you. We are all so different! Don’t just do cardio exercise. Do incorporate resistance training at least two to three times a week. Don’t skip on sleep. Do make sleep a priority. Don’t rule out HRT (hormone replacement therapy). Do seek guidance from a doctor you trust and be your own advocate.
Let’s talk menopause. What inspired you to focus your work on this stage of life?
The reason I focus on menopause is because I wish I would have known what I know now. We don’t reach menopause, and then all of the symptoms go away. It is an ongoing journey that I continue to learn about, and I am passionate about helping other women going through this. We don’t have to dread this stage of our lives. It can be the BEST time of our lives.
What is the most common myth around menopause that you encounter?
That you can’t take HRT if you have breast cancer in your family. I recommend the book Estrogen Matters by Avrum Bluming, MD, and Carol Tavris, PhD, on this topic.
For someone entering perimenopause, what next steps do you recommend so they can start this chapter of life on the right foot?
The best thing they can do is learn from someone who has experienced it and is thriving at this time.
What about exercise? What are a few workout tenets to live by for women in peri- and post-menopause?
My advice is to focus on resistance training over cardio. Prioritize lifting heavy weights two to three times a week. The good news is that you don’t have to spend an hour a day doing it. Also, don’t think the “workout” you do in a day is all the movement you need. You need to keep moving and try to get in at least 7,000 steps a day.
For post-menopausal women wanting to embark on a new journey to a healthier life, what is the first thing they should do?
I would say to first find a group of like-minded women going through this phase of life. Learn from someone who has gone through it. Listen to podcasts, join a group, and read some books. There are so many things you can do to help yourself feel your best.
What are three products you swear by for yourself and your clients?
No products … Just tools! I always encourage my clients to focus on protein and fiber, experiment with intermittent fasting, and prioritize a morning routine to set themselves up for success.
If you could go back and tell your early-40s self one thing to encourage her for the years ahead, what would it be?
I’d tell her, “It is not your fault. Your hormones are shifting, and you need to be an advocate for yourself. Consider HRT (hormone replacement therapy). Nourish your body to feel your best and have the energy you want. Lose the all-or-nothing mindset.”
Who or what is inspiring you right now?
My four-year-old granddaughter, Marlo. She has given me a new purpose and a new “Why.” I don’t want her to ever even think about going on a diet. I also want to have the energy to do all the fun things with her.
What’s the best piece of advice you have ever received?
“Slow down and enjoy the moment.” I have been someone who is ready to move on to the next thing. Slowing down and enjoying the moment has changed my life. I can be more present, and it reduces my stress.
Last delicious local meal: On my birthday, I went with some friends to The Essential and had the five-grain salad with salmon. It was so good.
Last Vacation: Italy and France. I love going to Europe. The food there does not have all of the preservatives we have here in the U.S., so I can indulge a little more and not pay the price. I also end up walking so much more there. It is a way of life.
Your go-to gift to give: My favorite devotional by my friend Carol Bevil, You Are His
Aside from faith, family, and friends, name three things you can’t live without: My hormone replacement, phone, and birthday cake (everything in moderation!)
This article contains product affiliate links. We may receive a commission if you make a purchase after clicking on one of these links.
Meet more dynamic and inspiring Southern women in our FACES archives!