Jennifer Boyle is an author, blogger, and teacher who promotes personal and professional development through self awareness, yoga and meditation.
Through her writing, Jennifer offers provocative insights on mainstream media and popular culture, as they relate to our personal standards, how we feel about ourselves, and how we live our lives.
Jennifer's upcoming first book "The Diet Monster" is a wake-up call from the oppressive and insidious programming of diet culture, and will help to liberate you from the soul-sucking trap of diet mentality.
In my words:
You will often find me with a pug on my lap, or at least somewhere very close to me.
I'm an almost-author (my book is 'coming soon'), planner and journal nerd, over-sharer, Big-picture thinker, heart-on-my-sleeve-recovering-perfectionist, and major, die-hard dog lover.
In addition to being a yoga and meditation teacher since 2005, and owning my own studio for five years in the mix, I'm also a Registered Holistic Nutritionist, and what I refer to as a "positive realist", which I fancy to be a pragmatic take on idealism.
I have a lot to say about the conforms of "healthy eating", dieting, body image, and the effects of popular culture and social conditioning. Much of my insight is from the decade I spent in the consciousness industry, unconsciously promoting an obsession with the perfect body and the perfect yoga posture. The long hard road out of my oppressive tendencies informs my work in a big way.
I still walk that road every single day.
I have completed five x 10-day Vipassana silent meditation courses since 2005, and I do my very best to maintain a daily meditation practice because...integrity. My teaching and writing about mindfulness and meditation is based mostly on my Vipassana training.
I teach, explore, daydream, and write about self awareness, standards, consciousness, and the ongoing challenges of becoming a better human - something I believe we all need to care deeply about if we are to evolve and progress towards a more loving and peaceful existence.
A Bit of Background...
• My first job out of school was selling advertising and commercials for a popular radio station. It was fun! And it was also my first lesson in how companies spend tons of money to construct a need for their product based on fear, scarcity, craving, and aversion. It was kind of a dark perspective on advertising, but on a plus note, I got to meet the Backstreet Boys.
• My advertising career (and general propensity to be super hard on myself) made me anxious and stressed, so my mom (hi Mom!) bought me a pass to Bikram yoga. I fell in love with it, quit radio, went to teacher training (Fall, 2005 in L.A.), and opened my own studio (with the amazing help of my parents) in 2007. The venture was fun and hugely successful...and I also met my husband there. Bonus.
• After I sold my yoga studio in 2012, I did a year of intensive treatment with an eating disorder therapist. All the "clean eating" and lifestyle expectations that came along with the yoga (for me, anyway) had me real messed up around food. I was always thinking about what I was or wasn't eating, and weight loss was constantly on my mind. Despite having a dedicated yoga practice, I did not feel comfortable in my body unless I was under a certain weight, and I knew that as long as I subscribed to this standard, I would never be truly happy. I also knew that if I was going to write about my experiences and help others, which I was hell-bent on doing - I needed to understand my own issues first.
• In 2014, I received my diploma in natural nutrition at The Canadian School of Natural Nutrition, and achieved the designation of "RHN" or Registered Holistic Nutritionist. This is also when I started drafting ideas for my first book, The Diet Monster. Nutrition school taught me a lot, including how much people are obsessed with diets, weight loss, clean eating, and "being healthy"...to the detriment of other areas of their lives and overall happiness. While I was in school, I realized I had no interest in giving people structured meal plans, dietary recommendations, and weight loss programs.* In fact, I was headed in the opposite direction towards teaching people how to unlearn traditional programming around food, dieting, weight loss, and body standards.
• As I was doing research for The Diet Monster book, it dawned on me how the capitalistic nature of radio advertising mirrored the diet industry - corporations spend tons of money to construct a need for their diet products by appealing to fear and vanity. I took all my clever parallels and poetic metaphors, and crafted a sweet-ass book proposal, landed a top agent in New York City, and was back and forth with a major publishing house for the rights to my book when I got really. fucking. sick. I should mention that after the "back and forth", I ended up getting rejected by said major publishing house. It's way too easy to skip over that part.
• In the years - yes years - that I had been writing my book and proposal, my health had been on a downward spiral. My eczema, a skin condition I'd had as a child, had somehow gotten out of control - but like, way out of control. What had started as a small itchy spot on my arm had become crippling full-body flares that almost had me in the hospital. Hot yoga was a distant memory; somehow I found myself at a point where I could barely move at all, let alone exercise.
After the above mentioned blow of rejection, my body snapped. I was red, swollen, and flaking from head to toe, and the only thing that would help me function were the steroid creams that I had become increasingly dependent on. (Spoiler alert) I had no idea that the creams were actually causing the worsening of my eczema. After three years, dozens of specialists and thousands of dollars spent...I had no answers at all and was getting worse every day. In the end, I found the answer on the internet, thanks to an article my sister sent me. Somehow along the way, my body had become addicted to steroid creams (apparently NOT HARD TO DO), and I was suffering from an iatrogenic condition (a condition caused by a medicine) called Red Skin Syndrome, a direct result of the debilitating effects of steroid creams. Who'da thunk?
• I went off the creams in November 2016, and had no idea how brutal the withdrawal would be. As of right now, I've been going through Topical Steroid Withdrawal for 15 months - eight of which I was basically bedridden - and it's been a hell beyond my worst nightmares. It's quite the unique perspective to have experienced such radiant health through yoga and veganism, and now to have known the decrepit and confidence-destroying misery of long-term, face-destroying, severe illness. I'll be writing about it one day, you have my word on that.
• It's been a massive challenge for me to start getting back on my feet and I'm still in the process of doing that. Not being able to work has been one of the hardest things I've ever done. But I do feel that the past few years have taught me things I needed to learn to more effectively help people. So, for that, I hesitate to say this...but I'll take it.
• I designed my free course - How to Be Cool With Food - as a check-point on your relationship with food, your body, and the way you internalize and perceive the constant barrage of "optimized" images we see all day long through media. Wanna see where you sit on the spectrum? Open to some new viewpoints that will help increase your connection to your body, and make you less impressionable to the predatory industries that dominate the airwaves? Check it out!
Thank you so much for reading.