Suni Lee revealed that she underwent a dramatic weight gain of 45 pounds because of kidney problems. The gymnast said that she couldn't fit into her clothes and her body got swollen so much that she couldn't do a flip. Suni Lee has not specified what illness she had but she's working through her weight gain.
Suni Lee is a record-making artistic gymnast in that she is the first woman of Asian descent and the first Asian-American woman to win the Olympic all-around title. She won the 2020 Olympic all-around Championship and also a bronze medal in uneven bars. She is also the 2019 World Championship silver medalist on the floor and bronze medalist on uneven bars.
In 2021, Suni Lee was named Female Athlete of the Year by Sports Illustrated and Sportswoman of the Year by the Women's Sports Foundation. She also made it to the Time's annual list of the 100 most influential people in the world. She really used to be an unstoppable force if it was not for the weight gain caused by her kidney problems. Now, she thinks she can never be the athlete she once was because of her illness.
Suni Lee's Weight Gain: She Gained 45 Pounds Because of Kidney Problems!
Suni Lee (@sunisalee) went through a significant and scary weight gain of 45 pounds because of unspecified kidney issues.
Suni Lee had a weight gain of 45 pounds because of kidney issues.
Image Source: NPR
On the Universal Studios Lot in Southern California, Lee who is aiming for the 2024 Paris Games looked as she had looked the day she won the gold medal in the individual all-around at the Tokyo Games and nobody could tell that her body had gone through some really harsh and unbearable stuff. But as it turns out, she has not been the same since February. She underwent a sudden weight gain that month.
Nothing made sense to Suni Lee as she woke up one February morning all puffy with swollen ankles. Her entire body had swelled in the next morning and she felt very uncomfortable because it was like she had gained several pounds overnight. As she struggled while training because of the extreme weight gain (she couldn't even do a normal kip cast to headstand on bars because her fingers kept peeling off them), she knew that something was up and consulted her team physician.
The gymnast's doctors first chalked her extreme puffiness to an allergic reaction but the swelling just didn't die down. After she admitted that she had trouble peeing, she was recommended a kidney biopsy and only then, it was revealed that she had kidney problems. She had to end her final NCAA season at Auburn early due to her health problems and the sudden and scary weight gain it caused.
Recalling those hard times, Suni Lee said that she couldn't fit into her clothes and it was so scary as her eyes were swollen shut. Her whole body was affected and she could no longer train as she did normally because of that sudden and drastic weight gain.
I haven’t had a really bad day in a while. But in the beginning it was like I was waking up swollen. My fingers were so swollen they wouldn’t fit into my grips and I couldn’t hold on to the bar. My whole body was swollen because I was retaining water, so I couldn’t do a flip. So it was really different and I had to learn how to work through it.
How is Suni Lee Dealing With Her Weight Gain?
Suni Lee thought that she could never be the athlete she once was because of her health issues.
Image Source: SELF
What Lee went through caused her severe emotional stress as she realized that she could never be the same after that. She admitted in an interview that it made her 'emotional' when she saw the past videos of herself competing because she felt that she could never be the athlete she once was. She had a hard time coping with her weight gain and incurable kidney problems because how come she never had any health issues before she woke up swollen one day only to be stuck with that condition for the rest of her life?
Now, Suni Lee's much better than before as she has learned to work through her issues. She said that she's changed her diet to reduce sodium intake so as to avoid maximum water retention as her weight gain due to kidney problems was mostly water weight.
We’re still working on trying to figure out how to balance all of it because I do have good days and bad days. But with the good days I just take advantage of what I’m able to do, and on the bad days I just do basics and try and stay as safe as possible. I’ve never had health issues before, so waking up one random Tuesday of the week and you just can’t even recognize yourself is so scary.
She returned to the gymnastics in August. She even won bronze on the beam and qualified for the US Championships. She was invited to attend the U.S. team selection camp for the world championships but choosing to focus on her health at the time, she declined. Now, having learned to work through her weight gain, Suni Lee is aiming for the 2024 Paris Games.