As well as modeling for magazines and fashion brands, the Arizona native was known for starring in “Man v. Food,” the popular Food Network series featuring Adam Richman.
At one point in her life, she was also very involved in body acceptance advocacy through her work with Project Positive Direction and Bikers Against Bullying.
Speaking with Fox News in light of the National Eating Disorders Association’s National Eating Disorders Awareness Week (which kicked off Oct. 24), Hunter McGrady, who says she will never be able to reach the curvy, athletic figure she was once accustomed to, says she’s able to rely on faith and positive people for strength.
“Society, at the time, would say, ‘If you look like this, you can’t have a soul,’” McGrady said. “It didn’t make me feel any better, I felt trapped in my body, and I was so embarrassed with my size.”
But it wasn’t always that way.
A funny thing happened during puberty: McGrady, now 26, actually gained weight, about 10 pounds, when she was just 14-years-old.
“I would get picky, I started to obsess,” McGrady, who’s modeled for Sports Illustrated, Inc, First Response and swimsuitsforall among others, said. “At that time, I was my size. It was an insecurity, but I knew I was healthy, I just had to grow to it.”
At 18, as soon as she left school and entered the modeling industry, the 5’10” Michigan native felt better about herself.
“I was very confident, but still was unhappy with my body. It didn’t feel good. I knew I wanted to be confident, but I always felt out of place with my new figure.”
Then she started seeing the need for help.
“Mentally, I needed help. I became depressed. I didn’t see how I could change it, but I started to become very open about my body and where I came from.”
Things started to get better as soon as McGrady got treatment.
“The first step was realizing that it’s OK to be your size.”
The second step involved working on creating goals for her body. “I became truly passionate about creating something that will help other girls, and I was able to start taking a step toward that.”
Most recently, McGrady has become active in body positivity advocacy through Project Positive Direction and Bikers Against Bullying and recently joined the sisterhood of Ashley Graham, Gabi Gregg and others on the Riverwalk Fitness Walk in Manhattan, where they walk from Hudson River Park to the end of the Hudson at Joralemon Street.