Victoria Justice Describes Thyroid Battle, How She Stays Healthy — What Is Hashimoto’s Disease?

Victoria Justice does everything she can to stay healthy. Vitamins, a special Greg Louganis-inspired health shake, meditation, and twerking for exercise.

For Justice, these healthy habits aren’t just a way to keep herself in good shape for TV and movies, they keep a diagnosis of Hashimoto’s disease, a thyroid autoimmune disorder that affects metabolism, at bay.

In an interview with Health Magazine, Victoria opened up about her diagnosis a few years ago and how she dealt with the initial onslaught of symptoms. The disease, which can cause an underactive thyroid and can wreak havoc on the sufferer’s weight, caused serious fluctuations in the 22-year-old.

And for someone who’s only five-foot-five, those changes were extreme, People added.

“Also, 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.”

To combat the disorder, Victoria said she was put on medication that didn’t cooperate with her body and caused her to break out. The weight gain, and then loss, and acne problems were a tough battle to fight in the public eye. The problems with her skin, in particular, affected her confidence and made her self-conscious. As a result, Justice said she sympathizes with anyone who struggles with acne.

“All my life I’ve always had great skin, so it was really devastating,” Justice said.

And no matter how she was criticized by the public, Victoria said she could always rely on family and friends for support, the Daily Mail added.

Hashimoto’s disease also led Justice to try natural solutions to combat her symptoms. She visited a Korean acupuncturist who prescribed a very “intense” pescatarian diet (Victoria could eat fish, but no meat) that prohibited sugar, wheat, or dairy. The diet did help, and now, Justice said she has gotten the disease under control.

“It was crazy, but things have leveled out. I’m not on medication. I feel good.”

So what exactly is Hashimoto’s disease? According to the Mayo Clinic, the disease causes the immune system to attack the thyroid, causing it to under-perform. It progresses slowly and can cause chronic thyroid damage.

Victoria only discussed the effect Hashimoto’s had on her weight and skin, but the symptoms are varied: fatigue and sluggishness, cold sensitivity, a puffy face and hoarse voice, weight gain, muscle aches, pain or stiffness in joints, muscle weakness, depression, and difficult menstruation.

Justice seems to be doing the right thing. She described her health routine to the magazine — a combination of exercise, natural supplements, and meditation.

“To be honest, I used to hate working out, but as I’ve gotten older, I’ve realized that it gives me so much more energy, and it just makes me feel so much better.”

A trainer puts Victoria through the gauntlet — push-ups, squats (her least favorite), crunches, lifting free weights, jumping rope. Her secret is twerking for a few minutes, an exercise that is good for the tush and thighs, but also makes her feel free, she said.

She rounds that out with a 10-minute round of meditation every day — “to block everything out and get grounded again” — plenty of water, fish oil, vitamin D, magnesium, B complex, vitamin C, and stinky wheatgrass shots.

And the secret to Justice’s success may be sealed in one daily habit that she’s had since childhood, when her stepdad met the coach of Olympic diver Greg Louganis. He introduced him to a shake that Victoria’s mom, sister, and Victoria herself have been drinking every morning for 15 years: rice milk, bananas, Udo’s oil, and protein powder.

Add in a dose of positive thinking and Justice has gotten her health back on track.

[Photo Courtesy Jason Kempin / Getty Images]