Maritza's Journey: Embracing Self-Love with Hypothyroidism

Despite affecting close to 5% of the US population, hypothyroidism is still greatly misunderstood. Hypothyroidism is often called underactive thyroid, which occurs when the thyroid gland doesn't create or release enough thyroid hormone to support your body's needs. 

Maritza Rebolledo, Allara's Concierge Team Lead, was diagnosed with congenital hypothyroidism when she was just a few days old. While medication helps control some of her symptoms, Maritza's condition still profoundly impacted her childhood, "I often found myself labeled as lazy due to persistent fatigue, criticized for having short and brittle nails, and even received a family nickname based on my weight struggles." 

Here, Maritza details the ways hypothyroidism has impacted her life and how a leg injury finally helped her learn to appreciate her body.

Tell us a bit about your background

Hi, I'm Maritza Rebolledo. I was born and raised in Arizona, but now I call the Netherlands home. Since I was younger, I have had a passion for healthcare, especially aiding women and individuals from diverse backgrounds. I've devoted my personal and professional career to helping women on their hormonal journeys. Luckily, I can do that working at Allara, where I am the Team Lead for the Patient Concierge Team.

Beyond my day-to-day job, I am very interested in understanding the complexities of women's hormones.

Please share more about your hypothyroidism journey

I was diagnosed with congenital hypothyroidism, a condition that runs in my family, shortly after birth. After tests confirmed the condition, I started taking levothyroxine (a synthetic form of the thyroid hormone thyroxine often prescribed to treat thyroid conditions). These unique circumstances shaped my perspective on hypothyroidism. Growing up with the condition, I viewed all my symptoms as commonplace because it was my norm.

How does hypothyroidism impact your life?

From a young age, my experience with hypothyroidism was defined mainly by the daily routine of taking my morning pill and attending more appointments than my peers. For a significant portion of my life, I was unaware of the true impact of this condition on my body and the full range of signs and symptoms of hypothyroidism. 

Looking back now, having hypothyroidism at such a young age was very difficult. I was often labeled as lazy due to persistent fatigue, criticized for having short and brittle nails, and even received a family nickname based on my weight struggles. Many challenges in my life were, in fact, linked to my hypothyroidism, but at the time, I lacked awareness. I believed something was wrong with me rather than recognizing that hypothyroidism was negatively impacting my hormones and my life.

What advice has helped you that you would give to women who struggle with hypothyroidism and body image?

After dealing with hypothyroidism my entire life, I often wonder: is the lack of awareness rooted in the lack of research into women's health or do we, as women, internalize these struggles and choose not to discuss them openly?

Talking with other people who have hypothyroidism and women who understand the intricacies of hormonal fluctuations has been invaluable. Connecting with thorough and empathetic doctors was a turning point in my journey. For instance, before speaking with an Allara physician, I was not aware that my joint pain stemmed from hypothyroidism. For years, I dismissed it as dancer's fatigue, unaware that my levothyroxine dosage needed adjustment.

When it comes to body image, I've come to accept that this is a lifelong struggle for me. Something happened to me last year that drastically shifted my perspective. I fractured my ankle and found myself relying on crutches for two weeks.


It was a wake-up call that prompted me to question why I fixated on how my body looked when, in reality, I should be grateful for its functionality. The ability to navigate from point A to point B without struggle became a more meaningful measure of success.

This realization shaped my mentality over the past year. I stopped emphasizing the appearance of my body; whether my stomach is flat or I have some arm fat doesn't determine my worth or beauty. What matters is that my body is happy and healthy. Embracing the knowledge that not being "thin" doesn't diminish my value is liberating. 

One piece of pivotal advice I received, and now extend to others, is to break the silence. It's easy to normalize symptoms when they've been a constant presence in your life. However, sharing those experiences and seeking professional guidance has been essential in distinguishing between what's normal and not for me. 

Do you want to include any other information about yourself, your journey, your health, or your lifestyle?

Transforming my hormonal journey wasn't a sudden, drastic lifestyle overhaul. It was a series of small habits and achievable goals throughout the past year. This proved to be the most impactful for me. 

One change I made was in my diet. As a Latina who cherishes her tacos and flour tortillas, I reframed my perspective. Instead of denying myself these traditional delights as thyroid foods to avoid, I asked myself, "What can I add to enhance the nutritional value and address my hormonal metabolic issues?"

Another key element was discovering joyful movement, the practice of physical movement that emphasizes joy, intuition and celebration. Whether running, Pilates, yoga, or bicycling, finding a daily activity that doesn't feel like a chore has been monumental. I firmly believe that establishing small, sustainable habits is far more effective than attempting to quit something cold turkey, recognizing that success unfolds gradually over time.