The Rare Medical Condition Gigi Hadid Lives With

As one of this generation's most prominent models, Gigi Hadid pays a lot of attention to her body and overall health. But Gigi also has deeper reasons for being health-conscious. The model lived her entire life watching family members struggle with Lyme disease, including her mother Yolanda Hadid and younger siblings, Bella and Anwar. "My mom couldn't drive or get out of bed some days, so I took my brother to school with me, or I made lunch," she told Elle's Nina Garcia in 2019. The experience boosted her independence, which is an asset. But it also came with guilt. "It's hard when your whole family is in pain and you don't know what to do," she added.

Growing up in this background made Gigi appreciate and take care of her health. But that didn't prevent her from falling prey to body-shamers. Early on his career, the model lost some weight, prompting negative comments from naysayers. "I loved my body when I was curvier," Hadid said during a 2018 Vogue panel discussion on modeling and #MeToo. "Then as I lost it people were still mean."

Gigi continued to be body-shamed online as the pounds came off. "People are quick to say, 'I used to love Gigi's body, and now she just gave in,'" she told Harper's Bazaar in 2018. "But I'm not skinny because I gave in to the industry." Gigi's body changed early on in her career because she embarked on a journey to treat a medical condition.

Gigi Hadid suffers from Hashimoto's disease

In February 2014, Gigi Hadid revealed she had been diagnosed with Hashimoto's disease, a thyroid condition, she noted on Twitter. "But [I've] started treatment & will be fine," she told her followers. In 2016, some fans noticed Hadid looked thinner during the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show. Hadid explained that the medication was largely responsible for the weight loss, the model told Elle during a Reebok #PerfectNever panel she hosted. "My metabolism actually changed like crazy this year ... I didn't want to lose any more weight, I just want to have muscles in the right place."

Hashimoto's is an autoimmune disease that leads to improper hormone production by the gland located at the base of the neck, causing the metabolism to slow down, according to Cleveland Clinic. Before she was diagnosed, Hadid struggled with weight fluctuations. Indeed, when she started modeling in 2012, Hadid often heard comments about her body size. "When I started @ 17 I was not yet diagnosed w/Hashimoto's disease; those of u who called me 'too big for the industry' were seeing inflammation & water retention due to that," she tweeted in 2018.

Over the years, Hadid found ways to keep her Hashimoto's disease under control. "I've been properly medicated to help symptoms ... as well as extreme fatigue, metabolism issues, body's ability to retain heat, etc.," she said on Twitter in 2018. "I was also part of a holistic medical trial that helped my thyroid levels balance out."

Gigi Hadid also controls her Hashimoto's with diet

Medication is a key aspect of Gigi Hadid's treatment, but diet and lifestyle are just as important. Because the disease is associated with a slow metabolism, Hadid has to pay a lot of attention to how she nurtures her body. "After discovering that I have Hashimoto's, I needed to eat healthy and work out," she told Harper's Bazaar in 2018. "It was weird as a teenager, dealing with this when all of my friends could eat McDonald's and it wouldn't affect them." 

As she grew older and learned more about her condition, Hadid developed healthier eating habits based on whole foods and avoiding processed products. One of Hadid's favorite items is eggs. "All different ways. I loved baked eggs. I like tomato and bacon. There's a Middle Eastern spice called, zaatar, so I'll do eggs and zaatar. I love eggs!" she told Elle in 2016.

But that's not to say she has completely given up comfort foods. "My personal motto is 'Eat clean to stay fit, have a burger to stay sane,'" she told Harper's Bazaar in 2016. In fact, there's nothing Hadid completely scratches off her menu. Meat accompanied by a salad? That's not her style. "To me, that's boring," she told Elle. As long as it's real food, it's healthy in her book: "I like fresh ingredients ... If I can cook it with ingredients that I know are good, then I'll eat anything. Carbs, or whatever!"