Monday, October 31, 2011

Building Your Health Team – Where to Go for the Best Advice

Building Your Health Team – Where to Go for the Best Advice

So here you are, a vibrant, active, plus size woman. You are smart, you have the resources to make choices, and you have added healthful activity as part of your life. You are doing all the right things!

But unexpected things interrupt life. Are you ready? What will you do when you encounter pain that just won’t go away?

We talked to two respected and experienced health professionals, both of whom take a holistic approach. This approach is not always common in our tightly segmented healthcare world, so it was inspiring to talk with them both. One is a woman who practices family medicine, and the other a man and doctor of chiropractic medicine. Perhaps not so surprisingly, given their broad views and customer-centric approaches, they had some similar advice.

#1 Top Tip: Be Your Own Advocate
Good people in medical roles ARE NOT afraid of you doing your own research, online or wherever. They invite your participation in your own health and they know that means you will have a better chance of good outcomes because you are invested in the results. HOWEVER, understand their time constraints. Most appointments are scheduled for 20 minutes in an insurance-driven world. Come prepared, come focused. If you get grief for your questions, seek another practitioner. If you later don’t understand something, call back and ask the doctor or the nurse. You deserve to understand completely.

Tip #2: Bring a Second Set of Ears
To get the most out of your appointments, bring along a good listener and note taker. You’ll be amazed how much information you’ll get very fast from your docs. You can’t take notes and listen well at the same time, and if you are in pain you probably won’t be hearing much of anything.

Tip #3: Match Your Need to the Right Specialty
In the past, the family doctor did it all. This is no longer the case. Many specialists receive no training in family medicine. It’s understandable given the high degree of specialty information and technology these specialists need to know. But starting with a top-level specialist may not get you the best result, and may cost you a lot more and take a lot longer. Let’s walk through three pathways to resolving your pain.

Specialist First Pathway
You have a very painful hip that developed as you started a walking program. You might think you should see an orthopedic specialist. But you should know that they do not receive family medicine training to become an orthopedic surgeon. Your sore hip may not need surgery. The Orthopedist will likely reach the correct conclusion after some pretty expensive testing. What then? Probably a referral to Physical Therapy to eliminate the hip pain.

Alternative Treatment Pathway
Because your sore hip is connected to the spine you might consult a Chiropractic doctor as they specialize in back pain relief. A series of treatments may be suggested to bring the pain under control, through adjustments and/or massage. Many chiropractors also bring a sports medicine approach to their practice, working to strengthen the muscles to reduce pain, based on a careful analysis of posture and structure. If your chiropractor tells you that you will need a series of 50 appointments, something is very wrong. This is not the right person for you. Good practitioners will define success as getting you back on your walking program and pain free. If they cannot, they should be referring you to someone who can.

Generalist Pathway
Let’s take a third route. If you had a well-qualified, trusted family practice doctor as your “medical home” it might look a little different. The family practice doctor would consider the possible reasons for your pain with a broader view. Knowing your history, and viewing you as the budding athlete you are, there would likely be less duplicate tests and a quicker assessment of the most likely possibilities causing your pain. Instead of an immediate referral to Physical Therapy she might send you to a sports medicine doctor. (Sports medicine doctors are trained first in family practice, then in sports medicine. You can also approach them directly without referral as they are also primary care doctors.)

The sports medicine doctor would focus on things like gait analysis, orthotic support for your feet, and advice on balancing muscles groups with strengthening to avoid further injury. They may also recommend different shoes, different walking surfaces, walking poles, or other ideas that will support you as an athlete. There may still be a referral to Physical Therapy but it will be more specifically tailored to your injury, for pain elimination and future injury prevention. If the injury is a stubborn one, they may also refer you to alternative therapies such as therapeutic massage, electronic nerve stimulation or acupuncture.

Which Pathway is Best?
All routes correctly diagnosed the problem and all took care of the pain. All were successful in the short term. However, the generalist-to-specialist route in this case would provide you with the most information for your very particular problem, increasing your odds to prevent the pain in the future so you can continue walking. It would also eliminate the most future cost, including doctor visits and time lost, because you would be engaged in finding a permanent solution to your hip pain.

But to follow that path you need to find a great medical home for yourself BEFORE a crisis happens.

Tip #4: Find a Trusted Medical Home
It might take a little work to find a primary care person you click with. But keep trying. Draw up a list of what is important to you. Write it down. It is your list, and nobody else’s. Ask friends and family for doctors that fit your list. When you find a candidate, review their profile on their clinic website. See if their approach matches yours. Then make an appointment. Bring your written questions, and perhaps your “second set of ears.” And if it just doesn’t click – try again. Remember, you are the customer.

Tip #5: Think holistically (and ask your medical providers to do the same.)
There are many health professionals and more specialties every day. Some are inside the traditional western system, some outside. Keep an open mind about what might work for you. If your primary care doctor is open-minded, you should seek their frank advice and let them serve as your health care coordinator. Reports from specialists and alternative therapists should always be sent back to your primary doctor so you have one complete set of records. And you should keep a set of records, too! Always ask for your test results and track them over time. Be involved in your own care, and you’ll get the most for your medical dollar, and feel great to boot!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Great Places to Donate for Breast Cancer

Here are Several Great Places to Donate: Do it today, and then book your next mammogram! Breast Cancer Research Fund

Susan G. Komen for the Cure

American cancer society

Also: Google “breast cancer” and your hometown and you’ll find many local efforts to support women undergoing treatment. If you can’t make a financial donation, there are many ways to support families affected by breast cancer from driving to appointments, providing childcare during treatment, to helping with daily tasks like shopping and laundry.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Love Your Body Today

It seems odd that we, especially us women, need to be reminded to love our bodies. After all, our bodies make everything in our lives possible. If we love someone, our bodies show it, if we enjoy something, it’s because our bodies make that feeling possible, if we feel someone’s pain, well we would not without a body, right?

The problem is this idea of “perfect.” How on earth did we ever buy into that idea? The truth is that there is not much that is perfect in nature. And if everything was “perfect” there would be little variety, and no opportunity for nature to continue to evolve and improve. Imagine a world of “perfect” specimens. Boring!

It is good that we humans strive. We strive to protect ourselves and our families, we strive to innovate to create a better world, we strive to be healthy and live a long life. We also strive to enjoy our lives and looking and feeling good is a part of that.

The most wonderful thing about fashion is the fun and joy of self-expression. Fashion is at its best when we feel free to wear those things that make our hearts sing.

So wear something today that makes you feel wonderful. Something that reminds you how much you truly love and appreciate your unique, special and wonderful body.

Click here to shop Junonia clothing designed to make you feel wonderful!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Breast Cancer Awareness Month - A Letter from Anne

Dear Friends,

I am a breast cancer survivor. I was diagnosed in April 2008. It was early stage and I was very lucky. It was found on a mammogram. I have had the best medical treatment and support possible. I’m doing great. Last time visit my doctor humorously pronounced me TWF for “Totally Without Flaw.” I said with a diagnosis like that I was coming back! I’m doing my best to stay healthy, exercising daily, taking my medicine, and eating much healthier than before. I’m feeling energetic and having a great time.

It has been an amazing and mostly positive ride, but I want as few of you as possible to have to follow in these particular footsteps. So I would like to pass along a few tips that I hope will REDUCE your likelihood of having to deal with this disease:
  1. Women, especially women at and approaching menopause, need to PRIORITIZE themselves. Yes, you! If you have trouble putting yourself first, just think of all the people who depend on you being there for them!
  2. Work with your doctor to assess your risk for breast cancer. If you are overweight you are at higher risk for certain types of breast cancer. The good news is that small weight loss, consistent modest exercise, and eating better food can make a world of difference. You’ll feel better, too. If you have a doctor that minimizes your concerns, find another doctor. This is a fast-changing part of health care, with new research coming out nearly daily. You want a doctor that is up-to-speed on the latest medicine for women. Make your appointment TODAY. I wish I would have done this much earlier! No one will call you to say, “Now’s the time for your peri-menopause workup.” You’ll have to insist on this, and it is very important.
  3. DON’T BE AFRAID. The silliest (and deadliest) thing you can do is to use fear as an excuse to delay mammograms, doctor appointments, or treatments. The people who work in all aspects of breast cancer are uniformly lovely. Some weeks the best part was going in for treatment because of the wonderful people! Treatment sucks. It’s true. But that’s NO reason to avoid detection.
  4. Cancer is sneaky and opportunistic. No one knows the reason it taps certain people on the shoulder. But in retrospect, my body wasn’t in great shape to fight it off. The best thing to fight cancer and lots of other chronic diseases is to be as healthy as you can be. Eat well, sleep well, laugh with your friends, be physical every single day, and find out with your doctor what supplements your unique body needs. (I found out I was way off on Thyroid, Vitamin D and triglycerides, all of which can be adjusted with medicine.) Outsmart cancer, get ahead of it, NOW.
  5. You must be your own advocate. As much as some doctors hate it, there is a lot of good solid information available online. Be organized at your appointments. Write down your questions, but also listen to your doctor. One rule of thumb I’ve developed: If anyone pats you on the hand and says “Don’t worry, dear, we’ll take care of it, ” I say run for the hills! Look for people who say “I understand your concern, now here’s the thinking behind this…. What would you like to do?”
  6. Enjoy your life every moment of every day. Stop right now….take a deep breath all the way down to your toes. Doesn’t that feel nice?

Warmest regards,
Anne Kelly

Friday, October 14, 2011

Starting and Naming Junonia!

How Did You Start Junonia and Where Did the Name Come From?

I’m often asked about how I started Junonia. My background is unconventional for a business person, but I have found over the years, that entrepreneurs who start things from scratch often have unconventional backgrounds. If you are looking to start a business, I say go for it! (I love business start-up stories, so feel free to contact me about your new business venture. Perhaps I can help, or just listen to your story!)

I had spent over a year researching the plus size market, specifically the lack of activewear. Although I majored in music and humanities, and spent time as a city planner and state budgeter, I had always dreamed of starting a business. I carried around a checkbook for my business planning account for years!

I finally had a chance to get serious about business by winning a fellowship from the Bush Foundation (named for an early investor in 3M) to attend a mid-career business school program. While there I took all the entrepreneurial classes I could. When I returned to Minnesota, I created the business plan and sought investors. At that time, they said I was crazy. They said plus size women didn’t want activewear. So I essentially said, “phooey,” and started on a shoestring anyway. That was the start of Junonia. The first catalog (an 8-pager!) of clothing and active accessories was issued in March of 1995. The big lesson from the first catalog, women wanted the activewear!

Since that time Junonia has grown and expanded into both active and casual clothing, as well as other accessory categories. We have become the go-to place for plus size women looking for quality active clothing and the casual clothing that makes them feel great. Over 80% of our customers choose to place their orders online, a big change from the pre-internet days of Junonia!

The Name Junonia

The truth is we have always wanted the name Juno for the company. I remember sitting in the library pre-internet doing the research to find a name. I seem to remember that a big fragrance company had rights to the name Juno at that time. So I steered away from that, but I still loved the story of the goddess, Juno, because it really reflects the mission and values of the company.

The supreme Roman goddess Juno is the protectress of women. She is always depicted in art as a woman of larger than ordinary size--a woman of great beauty, intelligence and power. There is another word to describe such amazing women, Junoesque.

At the time I was looking for a name for the company, I got advice that said “name a company for exactly what it is or what you are selling.” But I wanted to encourage and support women being and becoming active, so a name like “plus size active” didn’t have a lot of inspiration in it. And I liked the idea of a goddess in my corner.

I then found the rare seashell, the Junonia that washes up on the beaches of Florida. Its name comes from the goddess Juno. It had the goddess story plus the lovely image of natural beauty –so that’s how I came to take the name Junonia for the company. I found out years later there is also a Junonia butterfly, but the shell was the original inspiration. I even had a chance to visit Sanibel Island in Florida where, if you find a Junonia shell on the beach, you are an instant celebrity.

NEWS! After years of pursing it, Junonia has now the legal rights to the trademark Juno for women’s clothing. We have begun to use this shorter version of our identity on our clothing. So watch for more use of the goddess story as Junonia moves forward!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Breast Cancer Awareness Month - Did You Know?

Did You Know?

October - Breast Cancer Awareness Month
  • Excluding skin cancer, breast cancer is the most common type of cancer among women in the United States. The National Cancer Institute estimates 230,480 new cases among American females this year, and 2,140 among men in the US, with 39,520 deaths in women and 450 deaths in men.
  • Approximately 1 in 8 American women will have breast cancer in their lifetime.
  • Although there is no cure (yet) breast cancer death rates are declining. Caught early, the cure rate is very high. Even later stages are now seeing dramatic improvements in both lifespan and the ability to live a great life with this chronic condition.
  • Risk factors include aging, weight gain, combined hormone therapy, physical inactivity, consumption of one or more alcoholic beverages per day, a family history, and never having had children or having a first child after age 30.
  • Mammography can often detect breast cancer at an early stage when treatment options are greatest and a cure is possible. 50% of breast cancer is caught by mammography. Although there has been much controversy about the right schedule for mammograms, this is still the vehicle that has been most responsible for reducing the death rate of breast cancer through early detection.
  • Self exams are important, not so much to catch small, slow-growing tumors, but to identify dangerous, fast-growing ones. So the monthly self-exam continues to be an important part of self-care.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Aqua Aerobics with Melissa Taylor Waldron

Melissa Taylor Waldron is one amazing woman. She is truly living her life to the fullest, and is an inspiration to other women, sharing her passion for fitness and health. She is a certified aqua aerobic instructor, and a long-time customer and supporter of Junonia. In fact, at her pool, is written right up on the white board. “I got tired of having to spell it for everyone!” said Melissa. “I wear your suits that don’t have any spandex in them, and they last a very long time.” Check out our AquaSport Collection!

A big girl all her life, Melissa grew up knowing the sting of bullying and discrimination, and the hurt of disappointing a father concerned about her weight. She is a long-time member of NAAFA (National Association to Advance Fat Acceptance) a non-profit civil rights organization dedicated to ending size discrimination. Their tag line is “We come in all sizes.”

Melissa regularly presents movement workshops at national conferences on size acceptance. “I went to my first NAAFA convention in 1996. The moment that really changed my life happened after I came back to my room from a pool party. I looked in the mirror and didn’t recognize myself. I saw an attractive woman. Being around people like me, a room full of large people who love large people, made it possible to see myself this way. And if this story converts one person to see themselves as they really are, it is all worth it!” says Melissa.

“Give or take 20 pounds, I am not any smaller than I was then, but at that point in my life, I was always waiting to lose weight to live my life. That changed. I said to myself, ‘OK, I’m opening myself up to try something new—I’m not going to wait until I lose weight.’ Since then, my life has been a roller coaster ride, including meeting my husband. I went to Kauai, Hawaii last year. I had a fabulous time and we are going back. It’s more than the postcards.”

“There are a lot of large people that do exercise, the media doesn’t see us, but we are there, and it’s great to have Junonia there for us as well, especially up to size 6X.” Click here to see Junonia’s entire collection!

Melissa’s approach to fitness is as commonsense as she is. “It really applies to everyone, no matter what size you are on the spectrum. Every body needs to exercise, and it doesn’t matter if you are small or large. I remind my students that if they are on a diet, NOT to tie diet to exercise. Even if you fall off the diet wagon, it is so important to keep exercising. It is OK to leave class early, or come late—just come!

”I believe that if I had not dieted myself to this size, that if I had been regularly exercising since I was a teenager, I could have avoided some health issues. But because of my genetic makeup, I would still be a large person. Active doesn’t always mean smaller. I’m about the same size I was at 30, but I’m in better shape now at 47! I maintain a good blood sugar, and good blood pressure.”

But making exercise a part of her life took effort and planning. “The way I did it was to make friends. I got to know people and we all keep each other accountable. Now that I’ve been teaching, they come to class, or they know Melissa’s going to be on the phone saying ‘why weren’t you in class?’ I tell women to schedule your exercise, to put in on the calendar. When you get there, say “hi” to people, introduce yourself. That’s how I met my best friend. It is so much more fun and you’ll be a resource to each other.

I didn’t start out thinking I would be an instructor. I signed up for a class at the Woman’s Wellness Center in Baton Rouge in 1995. The director had this idea for a class just for larger women. There was no contract (haven’t we all done that? Paid a lot and never gone?) Then the wonderful teacher left the class and I was asked to step up and teach. I became certified by the American Council on Exercise (ACE) and the Aquatic Exercise Association (AEA), the same organizations that certify the average size instructors!

Other tips from Melissa:
  • Treat exercise as essential to your health—like brushing your teeth.
  • It can’t be a last-minute thought – schedule it as an appointment, that helps!
  • Bring a friend to class, make friends in class, check up on each other.
  • Wear whatever you like to get you into the pool (I tell people to come fully dressed if they like, but to make sure it is snug so it doesn’t fly up in the water.)
  • Wear a rash guard top over your suit from Junonia. It will keep you warm in the water when cool air hits your wet shoulders.
  • Schedule class or workout for the end of the day when the facility is quieter and people feel more relaxed and less self-conscious.
  • Try Crocs with straps as aqua shoes, they work great!
  • Put your swimsuit on at home and wear a robe or coverup home after if you don’t want to change.
  • Use the showers with curtains or the family rooms for changing, if you prefer. Find what makes you comfortable.
  • Don’t worry about what people think—dress for your own comfort. If you feel better in sleeveless tops, wear sleeveless tops! Whose comfort is important? Yours or a strangers?
  • Don’t assume what people may be thinking. If someone is looking at you, it may just be that they think the color suit you are wearing is beautiful, or that you are hot. I know my husband thinks that. I’ve learned we cannot put thoughts in our head about what other people might be thinking.
  • Ask people for advice on doctors, and remember you are the customer. If you are not happy with your doctor, find another.

Melissa’s advice for Junonia?
  • More great colorful prints, especially in swim tops! Loved those olds ones, bring them back. Loved the old zip-front one piece suit, too.
  • I like the tankinis, too. Make sure they don’t ride up for aqua class swimmers.
  • More long-torso styles, especially in that great no-spandex live forever fabric.
  • More swim dresses with skirts that don’t stretch out.
  • Pants in more body styles (they are coming! In the warehouse in October.) Our ActiveLife pants are made for all shapes including: apples, pears, pineapples and hourglass classics!
  • Continue to sell sizes up to 6X. Everyone deserves to exercise. 

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Cozy, Colorful and Carefree Fleece!

Treat yourself to the lightweight wonder of fleece!

Fashionable, Functional, and Fun Fleece
Remember the old days when fall meant pulling out heavy wool sweaters? While much loved, they were often itchy, too warm, required dry cleaning, and took up all the room in the suitcase. Fleece has made all that a distant memory. With the new technical polyester fibers knitted into soft, fluffy, cozy fleece--you’ll never go back! But not all fleece is the same. At Junonia we are picky about our fabrics and we bring you the highest quality functional fleece that feels simply wonderful to wear.

The Many Functions of Fleece.
Fleece can be worn next to the skin like a tee. Non-itchy, try it like a tee for a cooler day. Fleece can layer on fleece for additional warmth and some wind-resistance. Two layers can be greater than one; still light, but amazingly warm.

Fleece can top a wicking shirt for additional warmth. Add a wind blocking third layer and you’ll match the warmth of many winter jackets. This layering system is the way to go for aerobic activities like walking, jogging, and cross country skiing. You easily can shed layers as you get warm. (Remember to avoid water absorbing fabrics like cotton for aerobic activities.)

Fashion. Colorful soft fleece combines with all your casual gear from jeans and flannels to top your yoga gear.

Travel. Nothing travels better than fleece. Wear it onto a plane for warmth, use it as a pillow and you’ll still step off looking fresh and fashionable!

Fast-drying. Washable. Long-lasting. You’ll love All Of Our Fleece!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Knit Pants are Back and Better than Ever!

Our ever popular cotton stretch knit pants from Junonia: NEW and IMPROVED. Designed to fit YOUR body and made in the USA. Click here to see the ActiveLive™ Pant collection. Knit Pants are Back and Better than Ever!

ActiveLife™ knit pants from Junonia have always been winners for our customers; great fabric, great fit, comfy stretch, and long-lasting value. We have recently upgraded our fabric to even higher standards and brought production back to the USA. This has allowed us to bring you more options that fit YOUR body. With faster response, we can keep these hot-selling items in stock, ready for your active life. These pants easily transition from work, to fun, to active.

What is my body type? Pear, Apple, Pineapple or Hourglass?
We’ve got a pant for each of you. Below are the defining characteristics of each type and the styles you’ll want to buy:

Hourglass: If your shape is an hourglass, with curves top and bottom, you’ll really like our Straight Leg Pant. Easy fitting, with a flattering not-to-wide straight leg that works for many, many women.

Pear: About 70% of us are Pear-shaped with fuller hips and thighs, with defined waists. Since this is our most popular pant, we also offer PETITE and TALL in this fit.

Apple: For the woman who is in front, smaller behind and has slimmer legs,the apple fit is a godsend. Soft, roll-able, fabric-only waist design allows for a comfy and perfect fit that can be worn at the waist, or rolled down. Also available in PETITE.

Pineapple: If you have an build that is about equal top,middle and bottom with a not-too-full leg, you’ll love this fit.