Sick Celebrities


Nia Vardalos took control of her thyroid disease


Nia Vardalos became an international success when her semi-autobiographical film My Big Fat Greek Wedding became one of the most successful independent films of all time. But behind the scenes, the screenwriter and actress was struggling with less public dilemmas.

“I have thyroid disease, and that coupled with the stress of infertility treatments and years of what I call ‘write a page, eat a snack’ syndrome led to a high blood-sugar problem,” she told Glamour. “So my doctor said, ‘You have two choices: drugs or diabetes. Actually, you have a third choice–you can lose weight’.”

The star claims to have tried every diet under sun, without success.

“Before I was diagnosed with thyroid disease, I didn’t understand why I could hang out with my girlfriends, and just suck on a toothpick all night and gain weight,” she told About.

Vardalos’ doctor told her plainly that she would have to work harder than everyone else and this seemed to be what spurned the actress into taking control.

“My basic philosophy is that it’s not an excuse, it’s not a crutch…it’s a motivator,” she says. “For me, there have been several moments with my doctor that really brought clarity…My feeling is, everybody’s got something. For me, it wasn’t an excuse, it was an explanation.”

Over the course of the next year, Vardalos was able to lose 40 pounds by following a low-glycemic, reduced-calorie diet and taking her dog on long walks. In reality, she claims, it was as simple as “ditching the burrito and going for a walk”.

The 47-year-old is also adamant about the importance of not making weight loss the focus of your life and losing sight of your real ambitions and achievements.

“I don’t want to be lauded and applauded for having lost weight. But I do have control back,” Vardalos tells About. “If any person in the industry is touting their weight loss as an achievement, they are losing sight of the fact that they are an actor or a creator of material first and foremost…For me to have this newfound credibility because I’ve lost weight, is, for me, of all the achievements of my life, the least important. What’s important is that I’ve gotten healthy again.”

Other celebrities who have suffered from thyroid disorders include Kelly Osbourne and Oprah Winfrey.

Image: Wikimedia Commons

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