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Olympic Gold Medal Gymnast Admits to Struggles With Drugs and Body Image

By    |   Tuesday, 30 June 2020 01:12 PM

Olympic gold medalist Shawn Johnson East has revealed that she was obsessed with body image and even used drugs to help her manage her weight.

The former professional gymnast dedicated most of her life to the sport but after the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, she lost all sense of purpose. That was when she became fixated on her body.

"When I went on 'Dancing with the Stars' and I had my period for the first time, and I had to deal with going through puberty on national television, I hit a very low spot," she was cited saying by People. "I'd gained about 15 lbs. after the Olympics and I thought that that was the worst thing in the entire world — which it wasn't, it was healthy and normal."

Johnson recalled how she spent over 10 years living and breathing gymnastics.

"What it would take and what I needed to do to get to the Olympics. What I ate, who I hung out with, how I dressed," she explained. "Literally every decision I made was for the Olympics. Now that the Olympics were over, I didn't know how to function as a normal human being."

When she retired, Johnson's body transformed from a lean athletic build to a healthier woman's build, but she battled to accept how she looked and turned to drugs to shed the pounds.

"I started doing any and everything I possibly could to lose the weight and to look like I did at the Olympics," the Olympian said, "because in my mind, everybody praised me for what I did at the Olympics, they praised who I was as a human being when I was there. And in my mind if I could look like that — not necessarily compete or do gymnastics — but if I could be that person again, then the world would say that I was 'enough' and I was accepted."

Johnson added: "I went through this dark kind of spiral of a few years on terrible medications and drugs that tried to 'spike my metabolism' and did nothing, I took diuretics, I did every fad diet. I remember I went through a three-week phase where I ate nothing but raw vegetables."

The pivotal point came in 2016, when Johnson married Andrew East and got pregnant the following year. She had a miscarriage and blamed herself for her past habits so, when she got pregnant again last year, the athlete was determined to make a change.

"There was something that switched when I got pregnant, where it was no longer about me or my body or like the vanity or like the calories or what I looked like or what I weighed," she said. "I could have cared less. It was about protecting my baby. And I was so excited by that."

Johnson said she was proud of how far she has come. She stopped taking prescription drugs and managed to overcome her obsessiveness.

"I wouldn't change anything for the world, I love that I went through it, it was very hard and I don't wish that on anyone," she said, "but I've had these tough experiences that make me a stronger mom that will allow me to teach Drew how to be strong as well."

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Olympic gold medalist Shawn Johnson East has revealed that she was obsessed with body image and even used drugs to help her manage her weight.
shawn johnson east
Tuesday, 30 June 2020 01:12 PM
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