Netball: 'I have been getting help' - Silver Fern Maia Wilson shares struggles with eating disorder

Warning: This article contains information that may be triggering to some readers.

Silver Ferns and Northern Stars shooter Maia Wilson has revealed her struggles with self-image in a social media post.

Wilson, 23, shared a picture on Instagram, comparing her physique during last year's COVID-19 lockdown with a more recent image of herself.

"I created the narrative that the more weight I lost, the fitter I would be," Wilson writes. 

"And for someone who struggled making fitness targets which would lead to non-selection, you best be sure I wanted to be the ‘lightest’ or ‘skinniest’ I could.

"As a result, I became so strict and obsessive with food, getting anxiety if I didn't eat at certain times of the day, feeling guilty if I had one treat during the week etc." 

After last year's lockdown, Wilson was in the physical shape she wanted to be, but her performance as an athlete was affected, even losing her period for four months.

Wilson weighed herself up to six times a day to ensure she didn't put on weight during New Zealand's national lockdownt.

Even though Wilson is now in a healthier shape, the battle with her own self-image hasn't gone away, with the 21-test Silver Fern seeking professional help to get her through the crisis.

"I hate the way I look,” she says. “I constantly feel fat, and even though I know I'm healthier and performance-wise I'm in a better state to do my job, I hate the way I look.

"I know I'm not alone. I'm still coming to terms with feeling comfortable in [my] body. 

"I know I should be so proud of what it does, because [it's] helped me get to where I am. No-one plays the way I do, because there is only one of me and, on the other hand, I can't play like anyone else. 

"Don't worry, whānau, I have been getting help for a wee while, but I know that it's gonna take time to break down my inner demons, but I can't wait till I do."

Wilson isn't the first Silver Fern to go public with mental health struggles, with NZ captain Ameliaranne Ekenasio battling burnout and taking a break from netball, before announcing she's expecting her second child.

Ekenasio has offered her support to Wilson.

"We all grow through our inner demons, proud to see you facing yours head on," she has commented on the post.

World champion rower Zoe McBride retired at the age of 25 earlier this year, after struggling to stay under the 57kg limit to compete as a lightweight.

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