Like many young girls, Maddie Garrick battled with anorexia while growing up.
Now, the 25-year-old WNBL(Women's National Basketball League) star/Melbourne Boomers player is happier than ever, and #KillingIt in the sport that she loves.
We got to chat with her about the journey she's been on, to get where she is today...
At what age did you start experiencing your eating disorder?
"I was around 15 years old."
What do you think triggered it?
"Although this period occurred around the time that body image for young women becomes a big issue, my main motivation behind becoming strict with what I ate was due to the desire to be better and to be the best basketball player, after I returned home from a basketball tournament.
Was sport your saving grace? How did that come about?
"Sport was almost a blessing and a curse at the same time. It gave me something to focus on and work hard at but it was also what was causing me the most trouble too. I trained and worked out all the time, but I obviously wasn't providing my body with the energy it needed to actually help me get better.
"As I began to lose weight, which wasn't my actual intention, it didn't allow me to be able to do the things in basketball that I was capable of doing because I would get bumped and knocked so easily. However, that made me think that I had to workout more and get fitter and stronger, which was the curse of the downward spiral.
Did you realise yourself that you needed to get better, or was it others who told you?
My parents knew I was getting progressively worse and they tried not to make a big deal about things, but they did constantly remind me how thin I was and how it wasn’t good for me.
"The issue with eating disorders is that your mindset and views become so distorted that what you perceive yourself to look like is completely opposite to reality...so I hated when they told me how skinny I was."
"They threatened to pull me out of basketball (for my own health) and began monitoring my weight (my Dad is a paediatrician and mum is a nurse/midwife - so they obviously know what they are talking about). But the defining moment was when I was sitting in out rumpus room, after I had worked out. It was a moment where I realised I was so exhausted of constantly feeling the way I did (depressed, angry, exhausted, etc.), that a 'switch flicked' and I knew I needed to help to get me out the state I was in."
Has your body changed physically since?
Absolutely! I have always had the lean body type but for the career I wanted in basketball I needed to 'bulk up' and stay strong to really become the best version of myself both on and off the floor. Playing at the level I do today, you need to be able to play against physically strong, athletic women.
"I'm always trying to give my body the correct nutrition and recovery (and respect) that it needs for me to be able to perform at my best."
How has your mind changed mentally since?
"I think firstly, the clarity of perception and knowledge of my body and what it needs has been the biggest change. It's incredible to think how far I have come and how powerful the mind can be. Everything from that period is so far removed that it’s like it never happened."
What can you tell young girls/boys who are suffering from an eating disorder?
"Try to be open to the advice of others... it will be hard to understand how they can't see it from your viewpoint but it is important to try and to focus on keeping your mind and thoughts healthy."
How does it feel to have overcome something so huge to now be playing at an elite level?
"I am a great believer in everything happening for reason. Although it was a tough time in my life and I would think I had hit rock bottom at a young age, it certainly taught me a lot about myself and created a strong work ethic in a lot areas that has continued over my career so far.
"Sometimes you don't know how strong you can be until you have a moment weakness or adversity and I certainly appreciate things in life a lot more now."
Finally, do you have any advice for people who want to get into sport but don’t think they’ve got what it takes?
"If you have a love and passion for the sport and are willing to work hard, then you already have part of what it takes as talent will only get you so far. On the other side, sport is a fantastic way to express yourself and connect with others, while living a healthy lifestyle!"
FOX SPORTS will show every 3pm Saturday game on channel 503.
If you or someone you know needs help, you can speak confidentially to a trained counsellor 24 hours a day at headspace.org.au or Kids Helpline: 1800 55 1800.