I Love You, But I Lust Her: My Journey to Health


“I love you, but I lust her.”

I’m so glad he said it on the phone so he couldn’t see my face.

I was stunned. I had finally decided, after five years of his attention, compliments and declaration of love, to step outside the friend zone and explore a relationship.

The week prior, we scheduled a romantic weekend together. We’re busy professionals, so we set a date on the calendar. He said he’d plan something special. He had been asking to take me away somewhere for years. I was excited and hopeful.

Saying yes to him was the first small step of opening my heart after choosing to take a year off from dating or intimacy with anyone. Why? I needed time to reset myself after a three-and-a half-year relationship that was so good, but so wrong.

During that relationship, I gained 30 pounds of sadness and frustration, lost in a co-dependent maze I could not escape. Once I found my way out, I needed a year to cleanse my heart, mind and body before I could be open to love again. I knew dating would only distract me from my journey back to myself.

After 11 months, I had made a great deal of emotional and physical progress, but I was stuck. The only progress I could measure was weight loss, so I obsessed on the scale number.

As I faced losing the last ten pounds, I started to crack from my self-imposed solitary confinement. I thought I was strong enough to stand on my own, and so I once again desired someone to stand by my side. I yearned to once more have a lover and best friend.

I looked for signs from the universe that love was on the horizon. Just a month before, he had come to my home, and, quietly, just the two of us chanted the Shabbat Kiddush blessing over the wine and Eshet Chayil, the ancient poem that a Jewish man sings to his bride to praise her as his woman of valor on Friday nights.

It begins with, “A woman of valor, who can find? Her worth is far beyond that of rubies. Her husband’s heart trusts in her, and lacks no treasures.”

The Eshet Chayil is my love Achilles heel. Hearing him chant it to me, while looking into my eyes, inspired the idea of possible love.

So when he called, I thought it was to plan details around our romantic weekend. Instead, he called to say he was no longer interested. He had learned days before that my slim, sexy friend was suddenly single and he would pursue her instead.

Now they’re dating. They asked and I gave them my blessing. I came to accept that it’s all G-d’s plan. If he and I were meant to be together, something would have transpired to allow that to happen. He did nothing wrong. He spoke his truth.

But it hurt. I thought it would be emotionally safe to open my heart to a man who I knew loved me.

But love is never safe; if you choose to be vulnerable, you risk getting hurt. An important component of our character is how we respond to disappointment.

But love is never safe; if you choose to be vulnerable, you risk getting hurt. An important component of our character is how we respond to disappointment.

So when he chose her over me, I fleetingly thought of ordering a pizza and downing a bottle of Prosecco. But this time, after a year of learning to cope with sadness and stress, I instead embraced it as the kick in the a– to finish my journey to the best version of myself.

With ten pounds to go and a bruised ego to overcome, I shifted gears. First, I amped up my weight loss program and went from the up and down past year of losing two and a half pounds a month, to losing two and a half pounds a week and gaining muscle. (See below for how.)

Now a month later, ten pounds lighter and leaner, I’m on vacation in Hawaii with a girlfriend and I feel healthy, happy and radiant.

But what I also feel is desirable.

Why? Not because I’m the “perfect” weight and shape, but because since I reached my weight loss goal, I’ve given myself permission to turn my sexual energy back on. It’s been off for an entire year.

Maybe the reason he lusted after her and not me was because she feels attractive in her own skin and I didn’t. In terms of the energy I sent out, I wasn’t desirable. You are what you feel. I didn’t yet feel desirable.

Now on holiday on a tropical island that’s vibrant and lush with beauty, I’m pausing to reflect on my past year of journey to health. I want to celebrate and cement the good habits I created to ensure a lifetime of health, passion and joy.

Here are the ten tools that have empowered me to work toward lasting health:

  1. Stress management
    Stress eating had to stop. Daily meditation, prayer, journaling and walking my dogs make every day stress free.
  2. Emotional healing
    Triggering emotional landmines led to binging. After a few powerful energy healing sessions plus a year of therapy and EMDR treatment around specific traumas, my subconscious is calm and clear.
  3. Track all food, drink and exercise
    MyFitnessPal app became the mirror to reflect on all my daily choices of what and how much I ate, drank and exercised. The tracking made me mindful of how much I put in and out of my body.
  4. Move and lift more 
    I had to find the exercise I love and incorporate it into my life. I was most happy when I did daily yoga in the morning and ran or danced on the beach a few times a week. What accelerated the weight loss was weight-lifting a couple of times a week with a trainer.
  5. Intermittent fasting
    I read the book “Fast This Way: How to Lose Weight, Get Smarter, and Live Your Longest, Healthiest Life with the Bulletproof Guide to Fasting” and loved the science about the health benefits of fasting. I now eat daily within eight-hour periods and start my day with bulletproof coffee.
  6. Keto diet
    After research, and trying expensive multi-level marketing powders and bars, I chose instead to follow a low carb, high fat, and moderate ketogenic (keto) diet, which aligns well with intermittent fasting.
  7. Water
    Not until I began to drink 10 to 12 eight ounce glasses of water a day did I see the weight really come off. Simple and powerful!
  8. Sleep
    Only when I bought a Fitbit watch and began to track my sleep was I able to correlate good sleep to weight loss. I created new sleep habits to ensure better sleep: shower before bed, lavender spray, and read from a physical book before turning off the lights. I finally fall asleep by counting daily mitzvot (acts of kindness), thanking G-d for my blessings, saying the Shema prayer, and ending with 4-2-4-2 box breathing.
  9. No alcohol
    I love wine and mojitos. But with the Fitbit sleep analysis I saw how alcohol destroyed my sleep quality. It also made my face and mind puffy. Eliminating alcohol intake is difficult, but I had to cut it out to reclaim my health.
  10. Have an accountability partner or weight loss buddy
    Thank you Tina Bernard! This is the most important element of all. Having one person—not a Facebook support group or a big group text, but one person with whom you are lock-step together—along with you on the journey to health is the lynchpin of success. I didn’t want a health coach; I wanted a friend who also needed a health reboot, and together we created healthy habits for life.

I wish you much success in your journey to health. Embark on it with a partner, and look for the teachings in every stumbling block along the way.

As Tina tells me every day, “You’ve got this!”


Audrey Jacobs is a financial adviser and has three sons. 





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