The combination of her new life in the spotlight and her unhealthy eating habits soon got the best of her, and Behrs, 31, broke out in a full-body stress rash.
“I was eating funnel cakes and doughnuts every day and not working out, and I ended up getting a stress virus rash that covered my whole body,” Behrs tells PEOPLE. “I had to cover it up on the red carpet. I realized I need to make a real change so that I could perform at my best level and also have a great life.”
Behrs began making small changes to take control of her health.
“It’s definitely a process,” she says. “It didn’t happen overnight, [and that’s reflected] in the book. It’s very all in moderation. It’s what’s worked for me and how I’ve become happier personally.”
The actress was inspired to write her book The Total Me-Tox: How to Ditch Your Diet, Move Your Body & Love Your Life — which will be released in May 2017 — after getting positive feedback on social media from her fans whenever she posted about parts of her wellness routine.
“When I’d post a photo of a smoothie or a workout or meditating, people are like, ‘What do you do?’ ‘What’s in that?’ ” says Behrs. “They seemed really curious. That made me want to help, and since you can’t respond to everyone personally, it was my way of reaching my fans on a more personal level than you can acting, and sharing my story about being a junk food-obsessed, stressed out, virus-all-over-my-body human to a more a grounded and healthy eater with an overall improved quality of life.”
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Because she was a novice when she got into her own wellness routine, Behrs wrote her book for anyone who wants to be healthy but is far from an expert on how to get there.
“This is for people who don’t even know what kale is or what it tastes like, and who have never heard of SoulCycle,” she says. “It’s a very not intimidating way to jumpstart a better quality of life.”
One of the most important elements for Behrs personally in her wellness journey has been transcendental meditation.
“It has changed my life,” she says. “I’m a very go, go, go person. If I’m not doing anything, if I’m not busy, I tend to freak out. The main gift that meditation has given me is that time to completely slow down. I also suffered from panic attacks for a long time, and it really helped for me that way. But even my acting, my day-to-day interactions with people, through meditation I don’t get so stressed out from those little things that come up.”
Whether it’s learning how to meditate, finding a good healthy recipe, or learning a new workout, Behrs hopes that her readers can find something in her book that resonates with them.
“I hope every person who reads it just gets one tip — that’s my ultimate goal — if it’s a Bachelor band workout you do in your living room or a cold remedy or a tip for buying kale at the supermarket,” she says. “The whole point of the book from the beginning was to help my fans and followers. Hopefully it’s helpful and inspiring.”