You might know the name Melissa Urban as the founder of the Whole30 diet she created nearly 15 years ago. Her brand is synonymous with healthy living and self-improvement.
Now she’s tackling empowerment in a new way, through her latest book – out today! – called The Book of Boundaries. Already a New York Time best-selling author, this latest offering is a departure from the food world. But, as Melissa says, The Book of Boundaries is deeply-rooted in self-confidence, a topic she has stuck with from the start.
Melissa Urban told The Local Moms Network exactly what prompted the book and shared her best tips for standing your ground in a slew of sticky situations.
- How did you get here? You’re a successful entrepreneur focused on wellness through food, so what prompted the conversation about boundaries?
I’ve been helping people say no to happy hour wine, break room donuts, and birthday party pizza on the Whole30 since 2009. (It’s a 30-day elimination program, so you say “no” a lot.) Once people figured out I was good at that, they started asking me how to say no to their pushy mother-in-law, toxic co-worker, and nosy neighbor. Then during the pandemic, every mom discovered our boundaries needed a serious upgrade, so I started working on the book in earnest.
- Why are boundaries the solution/missing link that we need to focus on?
Boundaries are one sentence, spoken clearly and kindly, that can instantly improve your energy, time, capacity, finances, mental health, and relationships. They’re magic, except no one ever teaches you about them (until now). That’s why I wanted to write a practical guide to boundaries–not just the why and what, but the HOW DO YOU SAY IT part too.
- What are your top tips for creating the boundaries?
- Use stressors or pain points to identify where a boundary is needed. Feeling dread or anxiety about a person, conversation topic, physical location, or time of day is a boundary red flag.
- Decide what boundary would help you feel safe, healthy, or improve the relationship. Maybe it’s not that your in-laws can’t stay for the whole week, but that they can’t blast the news during dinner or pump your kids full of sugar while they’re there.
- Communicate your boundary in clear, kind language (what I call a “Green” boundary). Hinting, eye-rolling, or laughing uncomfortably isn’t setting a boundary–don’t make people guess or read your mind.
- If you receive push-back, escalate your language to Yellow or Red–more firm, perhaps sharing the consequence if your boundary is not respected.
- Remember a boundary doesn’t tell someone else what to do, it tells them what YOU will do to keep yourself safe and healthy. You can make a request, but if they push back, you need to be the one to hold your boundary.
- Remember that your needs are valid and you have every right to ask that your healthy limits are respected–and to take the action you need to keep yourself and your family safe and healthy.