Victoria Justice seems to have it all – youth, beauty, a successful career – but not long ago things weren’t so rosy.
The 22-year-old actress has revealed her struggle against a thyroid autoimmune disorder called Hashimoto’s in a candid new interview with November’s Health magazine.
Victoria said she was diagnosed with the disease a few years ago and that the diagnosis was ‘devastating,’ but that medication and a diet change eventually helped to turn things around.
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Struggle: Victoria Justice has revealed that she was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s – a thyroid autoimmune disorder – a few years ago in a new interview and photo shoot in Health magazine’s November issue
‘A few years ago, I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s, which is a thyroid autoimmune disorder,’ Victoria told Health.
‘This Korean acupuncturist put me on a super-strict diet, where I was a pescatarian…. I also couldn’t eat any sugar, wheat or dairy….
‘They had put me on this thyroid medication, and I think the levels were too high for me because it caused my skin to break out….
‘All my life I’ve always had great skin, so it was really devastating,’ she added.
Side effects: The 22-year-old former Nickelodeon star revealed she had to overcome side effects from the medication including skin break outs, weight loss then weight gain
Picture of Health: Victoria admitted she still has Hashimoto’s but that ‘things have leveled out and I’m back to normal’; the star certainly proved that in this sultry swimsuit shot for the magazine
Victoria described the other side effect of weight gain, which was also difficult.
She told Health: ‘At first, I was losing a lot of weight, then I went on tour and I started gaining weight, and it was the most I’d ever gained in my life. I was, like, 115 pounds.
‘Then when I filmed a movie last summer, I actually went under 100 pounds. It was crazy, but things have leveled out, and I’m back to normal.’
The hardest part was perhaps dealing with public criticism over her weight.
‘It definitely did affect my confidence, and it made me a little bit more self-conscious,’ Victoria told the publication, adding: ‘But at the end of the day, I had the support of my family and friends.
Criticism: Victoria said that the hardest part was dealing with public scrutiny over her weight loss and then her weight gain; she is pictured, left, in 2009 and right, in 2011
Diet: Victoria (pictured on September 17) revealed that she has eliminated sugar, wheat or dairy from her diet
‘I still have Hashimoto’s. But my numbers are back to normal, and I’m not on medication. I feel good,’ Victoria stated.
Besides a healthy diet, Victoria stays fit and positive with exercise that includes the occasional twerking class.
Twerking: The former star of Zoey 101 and Victorious (pictured September 17) said that loves to take twerking classes, adding, ‘It’s actually a really great workout’
‘After 10 minutes of twerking, your thighs and your butt feel it right away. But it’s so much fun. You feel free. It’s like, “Who cares? I’m twerking!”‘
Relaxation through meditation is also doing wonders to her psyche.
‘I try to meditate every day,’ Victoria told Health. ‘It’s important to take that time, even if it’s just 10 minutes, to block everything out and get grounded again.
‘And I love to lie on my hammock and read things that are inspirational and motivational, whether it’s a self-help book or an autobiography.’
Meanwhile, Victoria is keeping busy voicing a part for the animated adventure Get Squirrely, due out later this year.