“Healthy choices don’t happen in a vacuum.”
Like many other women today, I strive for balance in a complex world. Just read the bio of my site. Living in New York City can be completely overwhelming and seeking that balance amongst all the madness can seem, well, next to impossible.
In general, it can be more than daunting to think about living a “healthier” life (what does “healthy” even mean?) The reality is that life is busy and stressful, and despite our best intentions, sometimes a little “healthy hedonism” is what it takes to keep the balance.
In her book The Wellness Project: A Hedonist’s Guide To Making Healthier Choices, Phoebe Lapine spends a year learning how to tune into her body by making various lifestyle changes. After being diagnosed with an autoimmune disease in her early 20s, she tried every fad diet on the market in her attempt to get well, only to experience a life of deprivation that seemed unsustainable and left her feeling even more off balance.
The Wellness Project tells the story of Phoebe’s yearlong journey through 12 of her own wellness endeavors, including eliminating sugar, stressing the importance of sleep, sustaining a work-life balance, saying goodbye to birth control and embracing her natural cycle, and altogether focusing on happiness.
While reading this, I felt as though I had a best friend in my pocket (or, in this case, my Kindle). Phoebe’s approach to life is so refreshing, constantly reminding me that no matter how busy I am, it’s okay to take a breath, ask myself what I need, and then give myself that nourishment—whether that’s a Reese’s Cup, a bubble bath, or simply getting up from my desk for two minutes.
Phoebe’s voice isn’t preachy (unlike other wellness books that I’ve picked up and put right back down after a few chapters). She does not manipulate nor dictate what’s “right” or “wrong.” Instead, her words feel like a conversation with a best friend, taking a “do what works for you” approach that allows readers to make well-informed decisions for themselves. This book is not a guide to wellness. It’s Phoebe’s personal story, and she was brave enough to share it all—from painful menstrual cramps and GI issues to her first SoulCycle experience and the struggles of sharing a bed with her beau—from a humorous, incredibly relatable perspective.
Although the book is given its pulse through Phoebe’s journey with Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, it is truly written for everyone. The Wellness Project breaks through the cultural perception that taking Barry’s Bootcamp every day and only eating kale is the only way to achieve “balance.” It emphasizes that personal sweet spot between what is healthy for the soul and what is healthy for the body.
Sure, your body will thank you for starting your day with a flaxseed smoothie and saying “No, thanks” to a third margarita. But Phoebe illustrates that our wellness is made up of so much more. And sometimes, it’s okay to say “Yes, please!” to that third, fourth, or fifth margarita. Because, you know what? It’s good for the soul.
Phoebe, you nailed it.
Everyone else, GO BUY THIS BOOK.
“Because if there’s one diet rule I’ve already learned the hard way, it’s that if you’re obsessing over what you’re eating all the time, no amount of kale salad can make you healthy.”