Gina Rodriguez discusses her struggle with Hashimoto's disease, which can cause weight gain

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Credit: James White

Gina Rodriguez is opening up about her battle with Hashimoto’s disease, an autoimmune disease that can cause an underactive thyroid.

“It’s always been a battle for me with weight,” the Jane the Virgin star, 32, tells Health in its September issue, on stands Friday. “Keeping weight off is very difficult because my metabolism is pretty much shot, which to me felt like a curse when I was 19.”

Rodriguez said her weight battles were even more difficult because of the nature of her job.

“As an actress, I was like, ‘Seriously?! In a world that’s so vain, I have to deal with the disease that makes you not keep weight off?’ ” she says. “But it actually became a blessing because then I got to represent not only women and Latinas, but also women who are dealing with this disease.”

While she has come to terms with having Hashimoto’s disease, there is one aspect she still finds challenging.

“I’m gluten-free, which is the most difficult thing in the world because, like Oprah, I love bread!” says Rodriguez. “I definitely eat gluten-free bread every day.”

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Her dietary restrictions mean she has to avoid the temptations of craft services while on set.

“It’s mind over matter because they put out doughnuts every morning, and they smell divine,” she says. “I have to look at gluten like, ‘Yeah, I want to eat that. Of course I do, but it doesn’t make me feel good. And I want to feel good.’ ”

To keep herself feeling good, Rodriguez tries to be active every day.

“If I can at least walk for 30 minutes a day, it’s extremely helpful for my thyroid gland,” she says. “Running, boxing, jump rope and hitting the heavy bag are my workout constants.”

While she’s busy filming, Rodriguez still squeezes in exercise whenever she can.

“On set, I like to do videos of me dancing,” she says. “And I’ll do squats. I’ll drop into a squat any day of the week, even mid-scene.”