Melissa Urban

Whole30 co-founder and CEO, recovered addict, New York Times best-selling author, mother, podcast host, nature churchgoer, and “That Boundary Lady on Instagram.”

You may have followed me here from the Whole30, The Book of Boundaries, or my Instagram feed, but we’re about to get to know each other much better and real close-up. I want to talk about things I’ve never shared, answer your questions from my own experience, and connect with you in a deeper and more meaningful way. I’ve spent the last 13 years building a world-renowned community, and THIS is the next phase.

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Who is this lady?

“The founder of Whole30 and a multiple-bestselling author, Melissa Urban has a razor-sharp knack for delivering what our tired culture always seems to need.” -The Times UK

I wasn’t always the “healthy person” you see on Instagram. For many years, I was a drug addict (no drug of choice, I did them all). After my second stint in rehab, I knew I had to change everything about my life to maintain my recovery. That brought to the gym, healthy eating, and regular therapy sessions. In 2009, I began a 2-person dietary experiment that would permanently transform my health, and my relationship with food and my body—what is now known as the Whole30.

For the last 13 years, I’ve helped millions of people create lasting, sustainable habits and change their lives through the Whole30; writing eight books about the program (including the #1 bestseller The Whole30). My work there has always included helping people set boundaries around food, drink, and “diet talk,” something I discovered people really struggled with, especially in social situations.

Once people found out I was really good at helping them say no to the glass of wine at happy hour or pizza at the birthday party, they started asking me for advice around their pushy mother-in-law, gossipping co-worker, and energy vampire friend. In 2022, I wrote the New York Times bestseller The Book of Boundaries, featuring more than 130 real-life scripts to set and hold boundaries in all of your relationships.

Over the years, I’ve also branched out into talking about topics that are important to me and tangential to your health commitments on social media and here in my newsletter, XO, MU. It’s part of my value system to show up exactly as I am and be willing to talk about the hard stuff first. I’ve shared about my addiction and recovery, divorce and re-marriage, solo parenting, fitness practices, self-care, journey with post-concussion syndrome, therapy sessions, and that one time I got chlamydia.

I’m deeply committed to brutal self-assessment, not afraid to change my mind when presented with new information, am intimately familiar with f*cking up and apologizing well, and fiercely loyal to my community. And I’m grateful that you’re here, because every good idea I’ve ever had—including this space—came from you.

What do I get here?

Subscriptions to XO, MU range from totally free to $6 a month or $66 annually (get a month free).

Free subscribers

  • Monday’s XO, MU newsletter

  • Free previews of all subscriber posts

  • The occasional extra freebie

Paid subscribers

  • Monday’s XO, MU newsletter

  • The ability to leave comments on all posts

  • Access to the full XO, MU archive

  • My new Thursday advice column, WWMUD, where I answer your questions about life, boundaries, relationships, health, and more.

  • The ability to submit questions for WWMUD

  • Bonus newsletters featuring topics I’m not ready to talk about on Instagram

  • Audio narration of all articles (like mini-podcast episodes)

  • Exclusive book and product reviews

  • “Favorite things” round-ups (think hiking trails, winter gear, and restaurants in different cities)

  • Special guest interviews with some of your favorite thought leaders

  • Community chats, where you can connect with me and offer each other support, encouragement, and advice.

This is a new space for me, so I’ll be looking to built it out with you. Subscribe today and tell me what you’d like to see.

Subscribe to XO, MU by Melissa Urban

Helping you navigate life with firm boundaries, a kind heart, and a just the right amount of f***s.


Melissa Urban is the co-founder and CEO of Whole30, a seven-time New York Times bestselling author (including the instant bestseller The Book of Boundaries); and an authority on helping people create lifelong healthy habits.