Deborah Johnson is affectionately called “DJ the Football Mom,” and this busy woman is on a mission. She and son Jay Richardson, defensive end for the Seattle Seahawks, have adopted a healthier lifestyle and are encouraging other families to join them. The duo have taken over for Donovan and Wilma McNabb as the new faces of the Campbell’s Soup “AdDress Your Heart Campaign,” and are promoting smart eating habits and health management.
Johnson lost both of her grandmothers to heart disease and decided to take control of her diet and get in shape when her brother had seven-vessel bypass heart surgery at 55. “He had a heart attack and threw me for loop. My brother and I are very close and only 4 years apart. I just couldn’t believe it,” Johnson shared.
Shortly after her brother’s surgery in early 2010, Johnson and other NFL moms decided it was time they slim down. The women joined forces with The Jay Richardson Foundation and “The Dr. Oz Show” for Dr. Oz’s Ultimate Weight Loss challenge. Johnson was crowned MVP for losing 52 pounds.
“It was just exciting! I said not only am I going to do this, but I am going to do everything in my power to win this competition and get myself in shape,” she shared.
Richardson supported his mom and encouraged her to exercise and eat better. “For me it wasn’t about the amount of weight, it was about getting healthy,” he said.
Like many families, food is still the main ingredient for their gatherings, holidays and celebrations. However, Johnson now swaps out old menu favorites for healthier ones.
“We revamped everything that we did at home. What I found out is that you eat what’s there. If you have healthy stuff in the house, that’s what you eat,” she shared. “We replaced white rice with brown rice, and salt by using Spice or Mrs. Dash.”
Johnson is excited to take her healthy lifestyle to a national level. As the new face of the Campbell’s Soup “AdDress Your Heart Campaign” Johnson incorporates soup meals into her family’s diet.
“My husband is a chef and has been experimenting with wraps and English muffins, things that go great with the soups,” she exclaimed. “One night for dinner after a long day, I put out an array of soups on the table and let everybody pick one. I had salads to go with them or tuna and turkey on whole wheat. Everybody enjoyed it.”
Johnson recalls her days as co-founder of the Ohio State Football Parents Association, where she received a case of Campbell’s Soup as a going away present. Friends shared one day she would be the Campbell’s Soup Mom and four years later their foresight would prove true.
“I am trying to encourage women, women have a ton of the things going on in their lives,” she shared. “This is just another opportunity to help moms and women everywhere to get in shape and address their hearts.”
Watch Deborah Johnson in action: