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Shawn Johnson details ‘darkish spiral’ of pill utilization, body image struggles

Former Gymnast Shawn Johnson says she went by a “darkish variety of spiral” after the 2008 Olympics, dabbling with weight-loss medicine and battling an consuming dysfunction.

“As quickly because the Olympics have been over, and I didn’t have gymnastics, and I didn’t have the Olympics to work for, I shortly realized I had a self-confidence and self-image points of, if I couldn’t keep perfection, I might go to any and all value to realize it,” the 28-year-old mentioned Saturday in a video posted to her YouTube channel.

Johnson, who received the gold medal for her efficiency on the steadiness beam, along with a silver medal for her ground program on the Beijing video games, mentioned she hit a “low spot” whereas adjusting to her post-Olympic life within the limelight.

“I had the highlight placed on me as a result of of ‘Dancing with the Stars,’” Johnson mentioned of her 2009 run on the ABC competitors collection.

“And through this time, I needed to cope with not being an elite athlete, not coaching 50 hours per week, consuming greater than 700 energy a day, which naturally would let my body alter and acquire weight, which was wholesome on the time, however I didn’t know the best way to deal with it,” she continued.

Johnson — who was 16 when she competed within the Olympics — added she shortly gained about 15 kilos, which she thought of “the worst factor in all the world” on the time.

“Once I went on ‘Dancing with the Stars,’ I had my interval for the primary time, I needed to cope with going by puberty on nationwide tv, I hit a really low spot,” she defined. “I began taking weight-loss tablets, I began taking ephedrine, I began taking Adderall. I began doing something and every part that I probably might to reduce weight and to seem like I did on the Olympics.”

Shawn Johnson in 2008 (left) and 2018 (right)
Shawn Johnson in 2008 (left) and 2018 (proper)Getty Pictures

The 4-foot-11 athlete then “went by this darkish variety of spiral of a couple of years on horrible medicines and medicines that attempted to spike [her] metabolism.” She recalled taking diuretics, trying fad diets, and consuming uncooked greens for 3 weeks straight. Johnson attributed her low level to a scarcity of function.

“Now that the Olympics have been over, I didn’t know the best way to operate as a traditional human being,” Johnson mentioned. “I didn’t know the best way to get on a straight path and have a function and a purpose outdoors of the Olympics.”

Three years after the Olympics, Johnson hit one other low level and determined to return into coaching, falling again into the unhealthy habits that got here with it.

“I used to be on the monitor to make the 2012 Olympic crew, and I began simply variety of burning out of my sport,” Johnson recalled, main her to start out taking “heavy doses of Adderall.”

“I continued to compete into 2012, the place I simply began to get depressed, I feel as a consequence and a aspect impact of Adderall,” she shared.

At one level, Johnson mentioned there was “nothing in [her] life that was wholesome,” as she continued to argue with family members and was “overdosing” on Adderall. Previous to the 2012 Olympics in London, Johnson determined to name it a profession.

“I bear in mind going into follow sooner or later and I used to be like, I can’t do that anymore,” Johnson mentioned.

Shawn Johnson and Andrew East
Shawn Johnson and Andrew EastGetty Pictures

In 2015, Johnson opened up about her struggles with an consuming dysfunction, the identical 12 months she obtained engaged to Andrew East, an NFL lengthy snapper. A 12 months after they tied the knot, Johnson revealed in 2017 that she had miscarried, which she thought was a consequence of her previous conduct.

“Once I miscarried, I had this gut-wrenching feeling that it was as a result of of my previous,” she mentioned. “I believed it was as a result of of all these unhealthy selections that I made that had precipitated me to miscarry and that will doubtlessly trigger me to not have a child.”

In April of final 12 months, Johnson introduced she was pregnant once more. And whereas she feared previous insecurities, the previous gymnast mentioned life was all about “defending” her unborn youngster.

“There was one thing that switched once I obtained pregnant, the place it was now not about me or my body or the self-importance or the energy, or what I appeared favored or what I weighed. I might’ve cared much less, it was about defending my child,” Johnson mentioned.

Johnson and East welcomed daughter Drew within the fall of 2019.

“Now with Drew, all I need to do is be a very good affect,” Johnson mentioned. “I’ve had these powerful experiences that make me a stronger mother, that may permit me to show Drew the best way to be sturdy as nicely.”

About the author

Tina Sanders

Tina Sanders

Tina is the mind behind Gruntstuff.com, and she ideated it when she was working for an online magazine company where she used to cover US-based headlines news. She holds a degree in journalism and has more than 4.5 years of experience in an online magazine company. She had the idea while working there but when she was quite sure about starting something on her own, she took the risk and left the job to start Gruntstuff. Since then she added a few team members, and along with them, she creates General US news content on the site.

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