Women In Wellness: Katy Whalen of Joi Women’s Wellness On The Five Lifestyle Tweaks That Will Help Support People’s Journey Towards Better Wellbeing
Go easy on yourself. Forgive and look forward. And certainly give up on any notion that perfectionism is attainable. Besides, people find the imperfections endearing anyway.
As a part of my series about women in wellness, I had the pleasure of interviewing Katy Whalen.
Katy Whalen is the CEO and Co-Founder of Joi Women’s Wellness, a new telehealth platform that provides a goals-based, customizable experience to help women own their health journey and manage the hormone and age–related changes to their bodies. Katy and her husband Josh started Joi after experiencing the life-changing effects of hormone optimization and peptide therapies themselves. They developed Joi alongside top medical experts specializing in anti-aging and regenerative medicine to help women look and feel their best from the inside out.
Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Our readers would love to “get to know you” better. Can you share your “backstory” with us?
I’ve always been interested in health and wellness. When I was single and in my early 30’s most of my time was spent on all things self-care. I didn’t realize how good I had it! I had the time, the resources and the best gang of girlfriends by my side. I would juice fresh vegetables to last the week, be first in line to the latest fitness class and scoop up Groupons for float tanks and himalayan salt spas. I looked great and more importantly, I felt great.
Fast forward to meeting and marrying my husband at the age of 35. We wanted to start a family right away. We were so excited (and naive) right out of the gates to be pregnant. The shock of it ending early in heartbreak really shook us to our core. It was a defining moment that catapulted me into warrior woman mode. My focus was on nothing else but building the family I desired. My self-care and sanity went out the window. 6 years, 4 miscarriages, 3 IVF retrievals and loads of fertility drugs later, I had my 2 babies, but staring back at me in the mirror was a new person that I didn’t recognize. I didn’t look good and I certainly didn’t feel good. I could barely add 2 plus 3 through the brain fog. I knew I had a choice, accept the ‘new me’ or put in the hard work and find myself again. I am grateful I chose the latter.
However, trying to turn things around at 41, now with two small humans in tow is a totally different scenario than my younger and dependant-less years. Trying to do it all myself felt daunting. I dug in and put one foot in front of the other, but as soon as I saw and felt the extra “umph” from getting hormone help and using peptide therapy, I knew I had something too good not to share. Instead of feeling like pushing a boulder up a mountain, I felt like I was gently giving my body the tools it needed to help it work the way it should. I knew other women needed more access to these therapies, in fact, I was perplexed as to why the gap existed in the first place?
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career? What were the main lessons or takeaways from that story?
I went into a rabbit hole of research on hormone therapy for women and was absolutely shocked to learn that an extremely flawed and debunked study that came out decades ago (2002) is still scaring us and blocking access to therapies that not only drastically improve our quality of life, but actually extend it by several years. The deeper I dig and the more suffering I hear of, I am appalled that this menopause care movement has not come sooner. The takeaway? We must use our voices to speak up and demand to be heard. We must demand better care. At 44 I’m just hitting my stride and I know I’m not alone in wanting a life that continues to get better and better instead of feeling like the highlight reel is behind me.
It has been said that our mistakes can be our greatest teachers. Can you share a story about a mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
When we started this business, I was in a newborn stage with my last born and was a little too laissez faire about the details of the day in and day out of the business. We had hired someone who we thought was very capable and let her do a lot of the heavy lifting. When we realized she wasn’t the right fit, I discovered then that as a founder there is really no skating by. You have to be there to build all the systems and understand all the processes, even those that you don’t have experience in. While building a solid team is essential, no one is going to care as much about the business as you do.
Let’s jump to our main focus. When it comes to health and wellness, how is the work you are doing helping to make a bigger impact in the world?
I strongly believe that women step into their power with each decade they survive. By the time we enter our late 30’s and 40’s, environmental factors have taken a toll on both our physical and mental health. That, coupled with the hormonal shifts in our 40’s and 50’s, can be earth-shattering.
Joi is here to support women on their journey to thrive. Instead of ignoring symptoms that can later turn into life-altering issues, we want to help support women’s biology so they can perform and feel their best. Joi is filling a major gap in women’s healthcare addressing the hormonal and age-related changes to our bodies.
Can you share your top five “lifestyle tweaks” that you believe will help support people’s journey towards better wellbeing? Please give an example or story for each.
- Prioritize your self-care. As women, as partners, and as mothers, we have been conditioned to put others’ masks on first, but that order of things will leave us feeling drained and burnt out.
- Listen to your gut. Don’t ignore the small symptoms. I wish for women to know how good they can feel and not to accept symptoms of aging as the ‘new normal.’ Rather, as a signal telling you to pay attention and make a change.
- Always evolve. Keep moving, learning and growing.
- Surround yourself with people you admire because it all rubs off!
- Go easy on yourself. Forgive and look forward. And certainly give up on any notion that perfectionism is attainable. Besides, people find the imperfections endearing anyway.
If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of wellness to the most amount of people, what would that be?
I would flip our food system upside down. No more chemicals, heavily processed foods or massive food corporations lobbying our government and deciding how we eat.
What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started” and why?
- Know all the ins and outs of your business. While it’s important to have a good team and to trust them to do their job, as the founder it’s important to be able to step in at any time.
- Invest in the right technology. It can make or break the whole thing.
- There is enough time. You are making progress even if you don’t check everything off the daily to-do list.
- It’s going to take longer and be harder than you think.
- You are going to have to get out of your comfort zone, but don’t panic, it’s a good thing.
Sustainability, veganism, mental health, and environmental changes are big topics at the moment. Which one of these causes is dearest to you, and why?
Mental health! The last few years have been very heavy on all of us. That coupled with our ‘plugged in’ way of life can leave us feeling completely overwhelmed. We weren’t meant to constantly be stressed with all the bad things happening around the world. We weren’t meant to compare our lives to thousands of beautiful pictures posted by strangers. It’s important now, more than ever, to slow down, unplug and focus on what we can control within our smaller community.
What is the best way for our readers to further follow your work online?
Thank you for these fantastic insights! We wish you continued success and good health.