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Olympic gymnast Shawn Johnson dishes on upcoming wedding with Andrew East

Johnson, 23, who got engaged to NFL player Andrew East in July, told she's "in full-blown planning mode" for the April wedding in Nashville, where the couple lives.
/ Source: TODAY

Seven years after winning a gold medal at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, gymnast Shawn Johnson has another big event on her mind — her upcoming wedding.

Johnson, 23, who got engaged to NFL player Andrew East in July, told she's "in full-blown planning mode" for the April wedding in Nashville, where the couple lives.

"We have a venue, we sent out save-the-dates, I have my dress designed, he has his suit designed — it's good," said Johnson, who also competed on and won Season 8 of "Dancing With the Stars."

NFL player Andrew East and Olympic gymnast Shawn Johnson in Los Angeles this summer.Getty Images file

She added that the guest list, around 350 people, turned out to be "a lot bigger than we planned."

"We have NFL guys, Olympic gymnasts, athletes, 'Dancing With the Stars' [contestants], actors, kind of everybody!" Johnson said.

"It's kind of every girl's dream to go through all the magazines and look at all the wedding dress books," she said. "It's fun."

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And East has also been involved in the planning process, she added: "He goes to the meetings and the tastings. He did the menu, pretty much."

Shawn Johnson and Mark Ballas won Season 8 of "Dancing With the Stars" in 2009.AP file

One event they haven't been able to plan yet is the honeymoon, as East, currently a free agent in the NFL, has to head to training camp right after the wedding.

Johnson has partnered with WeddingWire for the site's #JustSaidYes campaign, which celebrates couples' engagement stories. Her own story is a sweet one: East proposed over the summer on Chicago's Wrigley Field, surprising the gymnast, who was throwing the first pitch at the Cubs game.

While Johnson has been open in the past about her struggle with eating disorders and body image, she says she's not stressing about slimming down before the big day. It helps that East has always been "so openly in love with who I was, and not the body I was," she said.

"He didn't want anything to change, and he doesn't for the wedding. And I just feel 100 percent comfortable and supported by him," Johnson added.

But as a girl, she fought to transform her muscular body into what was considered "ideal" in gymnastics, she said, forming dangerous habits.

"There's so much pressure in gymnastics to look a certain way," Johnson said. "It's just the way it works — the lighter you are, the higher you flip. And I was always muscular, and a built gymnast. And it wasn't what they wanted. I tried to look more like a graceful athlete, not the powerful athlete I was."

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"I started at [age] 12, and I was really just not eating," she continued. "I would eat some vegetables and eggs and that was it for the day. It was a constant battle."

And later, when Johnson was competing on "Dancing With the Stars," in 2009 and 2012, she had to deal with online bullies who reminded her that she "didn't look like the 6 percent body fat 16-year-old I used to be."

United States' Shawn Johnson stands on the podium after the women's balance beam final of the artistic gymnastics event of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games.AFP- Getty Images file

"I would get on Twitter and read every comment," she said. "Perfectionism took over and I wanted to be acceptable to people so I started kind of crash dieting and losing a lot of weight in a small amount of time."

It's a problem many athletes face, and Johnson has some advice for young gymnasts preparing for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio, for which she'll be working as a correspondent.

"As hard as it is, you're built this way for a reason," she said. "I think the more health and direction and guidance you can have, especially at a young age, the better."

Johnson herself has been studying nutrition and says she's getting better about her eating habits and self-confidence. Still, these aren't issues that clear up overnight, she warns: "It's not like I'm 100 percent healed and good and perfect, and I'll never struggle with this again, but I'm definitely better than I have been."