Anna Gragert
July 07, 2016 11:04 am
Steve Zak Photography/FilmMagic

The American Thyroid Association reports that about 20 million Americans are coping with some form of thyroid disease. This especially affects women, who are five to eight times more likely to deal with such problems when compared to men. One such woman who understands this statistic is Jane the Virgin actress Gina Rodriguez, who has dealt with a thyroid disorder since she was 19 years old.

I realized keeping my weight down was going to be much more difficult,” Rodriguez told People. “It was difficult for me to stay in the comfortable zone of my weight. I was very tired. My fatigue was through the roof. When everyone else was cold, I was sweating bullets.

Gina was specifically diagnosed with Hashimoto’s disease (an autoimmune disease that causes the body’s immune system to attack the thyroid gland). This then led Rodriguez to develop hypothyroidism, an underactive thyroid gland that results in weight gain, muscle weakness, heavier or irregular menstrual periods, and tiredness.

In addition to dealing with her disease’s symptoms, Gina has also been plagued by body image struggles. 

I was like, ‘Okay I want to be an actor. I want to be a leading lady.’ But now I am being told there is no way I can because they are way skinnier, which was very destructive to me because I felt like I was getting curvy,” said Rodriguez, who soon made the decision to embrace her body and work to change the conversation surrounding women’s bodies in Hollywood.

Overall, Gina finds it unfair that certain people are able to be successful because of how their body looks. Yet, the actress wants to turn all these negatives into positives and she’s begun doing so by working to combat the self-loathing voice in her head:

Why do we allow that voice that we get inside when we look in the mirror? ‘Oh you look fat. Oh God, the pimple! Oh my God that skin. Oh my God no one is going to love me.’ Who is that voice?” Gina asked. “I started to realize that little demon that was inside of me, and I was going to find my unicorn and I was going to let them have a conversation because that unicorn was the one that was like, ‘No, no, no. It’s just a freaking pimple. It’s just five pimples. They will go away eventually. It’s okay. Look at that smile though. Alright, so you’re curvier today. Yeah let’s work those curves.‘”

12 years after her Hashimoto diagnosis, Gina is able to look back on her own journey, learn valuable lessons, and share what she’s learned with others who may be confronting similar problems. Mainly, the actress wants fellow women to address the voices in their heads, the ones that tell them they aren’t good enough.

You know what? You are the most beautiful human being on this planet. Compared to no one. You hear what I’m saying? You are the most beautiful you. You are the best version of yourself,” Gina asserted. “And when that demon comes in and says your thighs are thick, you say, ‘You know what demon? Yes they are and I am going to work them. I am going to rock the s–t out of my thick thighs and I am rocking this whole damn city with my thick thighs loving them.’

We’d now like to print off the above quotes and attach them to all the mirrors in the world.

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