TW: weight, disordered eating, eating disorders
In Rachel’s experience, far too many people with thyroid disease experience body image issues. Eating disorders, disordered eating behaviour, low self-esteem, anxiety and disgust towards their body image are fairly common, as having thyroid conditions such as hypothyroidism and Hashimoto’s really can affect an individual’s weight and mental health.
Rachel herself developed an eating disorder after gaining weight from her thyroid condition and obsessing about losing this weight. As a result, she made herself more unwell, overexercising and under-eating in a bid to lose weight, which made her physical health much worse.
Rachel had to put the disordered eating habits to bed and leave ‘diet culture’ behind in order to improve her mental and thyroid health.
Since this experience, Rachel has moved towards a more ‘body positive’ approach. ‘Body positivity’ promotes the idea that everyone, regardless of body shape, size, race, skin colour, abilities etc. all deserve to feel comfortable in their own skin.
Rachel does not focus on weight and weight loss as a thyroid patient advocate. Instead, she encourages thyroid patients to focus on ‘feeling healthy’ instead of focusing only on their appearance. After all, ‘skinny’ does not automatically equal ‘healthy’.
Rachel promotes the idea that focusing on feeling well by reducing thyroid symptoms and improving quality of life should take importance over obsessive dieting, as cutting calories and forcing extreme exercise often makes thyroid health worse.
Posts in this category explore these themes.