Olympic gold medalist Shawn Johnson opened up about her battles with body image in an emotional new video she shared on YouTube Saturday. Johnson said she was on track to make the 2012 Olympic team, but "nothing in my life was healthy" at that time, and Johnson admitted to overdosing on Adderall. She has continued to fight back fears she would relapse, even after welcoming her first child, Drew, last year.
In the new video "body image issues: 110lbs to pregnant," Johnson began by talking about her diet restrictions leading up to the 2008 Olympics, where she won four medals, including gold for the balance beam. She said she kept her diet to just 700 calories each day and would pass out during practice. The Olympian had no energy and could not have her period. "One of the things that was I guess a sacrifice and a cost of the sport was my perfectionism," she said.
After the Olympics, Johnson took part in Dancing With The Stars, winning the show with pro dancer Mark Ballas. She gained weight while not training and thought this was "the worst thing in the entire world," notes E! News. The athlete started taking weight loss pills and Adderall. Johnson said she did whatever she could to lose weight and began to realize she had a body image issue.
Johnson began thinking she had to look just like she did when she competed in Beijing because everyone "praised" her for her success. "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, which didn't make any sense," she said. So, Johnson tried several diets and drugs and struggled with her weight. She also struggled to find a purpose after the Olympics.
Three years after the Olympics, Johnson was injured during a ski trip and suddenly realized the last time she was happy was at the Olympics. Even after working hard to get her "body back," Johnson still struggled. She started "burning out" of gymnastics while trying to make the 2012 team. Johnson took "heavy doses" of Adderall and overdosed on the drug. Afterward, she quit gymnastics for good and weened off Adderall. She hired a therapist and nutritionist, which was a "turning point" in her life.
Another significant moment came in 2016 when she married Andrew East. The struggles were not over, though, as she suffered a miscarriage in 2013. She called that the "lowest point" of her life and worried all the "bad choices" she made during her gymnastics career would make it impossible to have a child. Thankfully, this was not the case. A doctor told her she could have children, and Drew was born in 2019.
Johnson admitted to being afraid she would relapse after Drew was born. However, she is now confident and is not under pressure to work out. Today, all Johnson wants to do is "be a good influence." Despite all the struggles, Johnson said the lessons she learned were valuable. "It was very hard, and I don't wish it on anyone, 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," she said.