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Shawn Johnson Opens Up About Body Image Struggles, Drug Use After 2008 Olympics

Rae Batchelor 30 Jun 2020

Being an OIympian puts a lot of pressure on you. Not only are you representing your country and competing against the world's finest athletes, but even after The Olympics are over you are held to a standard that even other professional athletes are not. Shawn Johnson opens up about this pressure in a new video.

TW: this article contains depictions or discussions of eating disorders and disordered eating behaviours and may be triggering to some readers.

Shawn opened up about how her life after the 2008 Olympics changed in a new vlog.

Instagram | @shawnjohnson

"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," Shawn began explaining, which is already stressful enough for a young girl.

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"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."

Instagram | @shawnjohnson

Shawn also revealed that waking up after her Olympics performance felt like she had "run into a brick wall," saying, "every decision I made in my life up until that moment, for at least 13 of my 16 years, was based on gymnastics. What it would take and what I needed to do to get to the Olympics."

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"What I ate, who I hung out with, how I dressed, literally every decision I made was for The Olympics."

Instagram | @shawnjohnson

"Now that the Olympics were over, I didn't know how to function as a normal human being," Shawn continued. "I started doing any and everything I possibly could to lose the weight and to look like I did at the Olympics," she said, revealing she had started taking several kinds of weight loss pills as well as Adderall and ephedrine.

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"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."

Instagram | @shawnjohnson

"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," Shawn revealed.

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However, Shawn said that when she got pregnant, her entire mindset changed.

"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 in the video. "I could have cared less. It was about protecting my baby. And I was so excited by that."

We're so glad to hear that! You can watch Shawn's emotional video right here.

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