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These days Beth Behrs gets giddy with excitement when she spots lemon sparkling water sitting out during an interview.
“It’s replaced my soda addiction. I talk about that in my book,” she tells Yahoo Beauty.
The tome in question is The Total Me-Tox: How to Ditch Your Diet, Move Your Body & Love Your Life, and in it the bubbly, outgoing star of 2 Broke Girls writes very openly about how changing her eating habits overhauled her own life. She went from living off of ramen and funnel cakes to making her own kale and fruit smoothies every morning. And none of this was by choice, or as a result of any pressure to look a certain way for her job.
“I was a nanny sharing a one-bedroom apartment when I got 2 Broke Girls. My go-to breakfast was two sugar doughnuts. I was eating mac and cheese from the box,” she says. “When 2 Broke Girls happened, I was working all day, doing physical comedy. My skin developed this crazy rash all over my body.”
What you put into something is what you get out of it. And Behrs says she was cramming her body full of milkshakes and candy because she loved the sugar rush. At times the inflammation from her rash was so intense that Behrs had to wear full-body makeup just to cover it up.
She knew something had to change.
“My immune system was incredibly compromised. My doctor told me I had to learn how to handle stress and change my diet. It felt so overwhelming. I wasn’t doing any of it,” Behrs says.
Instead of taking eight classes a week at the gym, she did things the slow way. “The first thing I learned was transcendental meditation. Now I do it twice a day. Cooking is the one I’m still on the journey of, because I’m a picky eater. I’m still learning. I’m not Martha yet, but I’m learning to love it,” she says.
She spent four years writing her book and says she still hasn’t found the perfect balance. Behrs, 31, says her ultimate cheat meal is a pizza. And she doesn’t beat herself up when she can’t find time to take a yoga class. But her skin is radiant, and she’s buzzing with energy.
For Behrs, the key was cutting out refined sugar, which was the first thing she did. Now if she loads up on candy buttons, which she loves, at the movie theater, she gets migraines. And she stresses that above all else, she wrote the book to be healthy from the inside, not to fit into size zero sample dress.
“I don’t feel that pressure. I love comedy. I just hope that people love me for that,” says Behrs.
She also constantly reminds herself that the curated feeds of Instagram are not real life. “It’s when I scroll through Instagram and you see a beautiful, filtered photo of someone on a beach in a bikini and, ‘Oh, I don’t look like that right now.’ For me, I take social media breaks. I still post on my own, but I won’t look at Instagram for a while. I’ve learned what it means to be authentic. My parents instilled that in me from a young age.”
Best of all, Behrs says, is never having to repeat a particularly awful fashion moment that resulted from the rash on her legs: “It’s not having to wear a long skirt on the red carpet. That really happened. It was too quick a turnaround, and I couldn’t get everything covered (with makeup). I had to change my outfit. It’s mortifying. We all deal with our own stuff, but this was something I could change.”
She’s engaged to actor Michael Gladis (who co-starred on Mad Men) and says that, for her, inner peace is a work in progress. It’s not about setting unrealistic goals that will only implode. It’s about appreciating where you are and what you have.
“I’m still learning to slow down. There’s something about happiness and slowing down and being in the moment — turning your phone off and stirring your soup — I want you to feel that what you can do is enough,” she says.
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