Netball: Silver Ferns shooter Maia Wilson opens up about self-image mental battle
5th July 2021

Silver Ferns shooter Maia Wilson has opened up about her struggle with self-image in an honest and revealing social media post.

The Northern Stars captain posted a photo to her Instagram comparing her body one year apart.

The first image was taken during last year’s Covid-19 lockdown – when she was at her “lightest” and “skinniest” after years of being told she needed to lose weight.

“I had hit what I thought was the jackpot,” she wrote. “… coming out of lockdown I was on a high, got a PB on the yoyo and was playing some good netball.”

A post shared by Maia Wilson (@mamaiskahurangi)

Wilson admitted she weighed herself up to six times a day to ensure she didn’t put any weight back on.

“…But a couple of weeks in I started feeling exhausted after the first quarter and had lost my period for 4 months, I knew something wasn’t right,” she said.

“It was then I was told I needed to put weight on as I was too lean with bugger all body fat. Imagine being advised for 8 years to continually lose weight, to then be told you now need to put on.”

She said although agreeing there was a time she needed to “drop a few kgs,” the mental effects of chasing the “typical netball athlete’s aesthetic” had taken its toll.

“Instead of battling physically, it is a raging storm in my head,” she said. “I hate the way I look, 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. In the left photo, it wasn’t sustainable for health or performance. In the right photo it is.”

She ended the post assuring fans, friends, and family she was getting help but that it was going to take some time for her to breakdown her “inner demons”.

Wilson isn’t the first female athlete to reveal a battle with weight and mental health.

Silver Ferns teammate Ameliaranne Ekenasio recently went public about her struggles with burnout.

Meanwhile, lightweight women’s double world champion Zoë McBride, who was set to compete at the upcoming Olympics before announcing her shock retirement, opened up earlier this year about the challenges meeting the minimum lightweight criteria which saw her develop an eating disorder and an erratic menstrual cycle.

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