FROM READERS: Anti-MU22, a new campus group, promotes healthy self-image

Wednesday, October 30, 2013 | 6:00 a.m. CDT; updated 12:01 p.m. CDT, Thursday, October 31, 2013

Brittany King is a junior at MU and co-president of Anti-MU22.

When I came to Mizzou, I was ready for a change, although that change didn’t really revolve around my outward appearance; deep down I knew I wouldn’t mind losing a few pounds (and I knew my body would thank me for it in the long run). I remember my first weekend here; my friends and I walked everywhere. With the amount of walking I did, I remember thinking to myself, "How could people come to college and gain weight, this campus is huge!"

Pokey Stix, late night Jingo's runs and 5 months later, I understood how people could gain the "Mizzou 22", the food here is awful! Sure, I had a meal plan, as most freshmen do, but there comes a point when you get sick of waiting in long lines for the same pieces of imitation chicken and cold pasta. So, I’d take what little money I did have and go out to eat with my friends on some weekends, and that turned into every weekend and before I knew it, I was 40 pounds heavier when I went back home for winter break.

I was definitely at an all time low. I did not love what I saw when I looked in the mirror and I decided that I was fed up. I downloaded an app that helped me count my calories, threw out all the terrible candy I had acquired from Christmas (what can I say, I am a total kid at heart), decided to actually use my membership to the gym and started working out.

It’s funny, so many people talk about their weight loss journey and how hard it was to start, but for me, I was so upset with myself and the poor choices I made that starting was easy, continuing, especially as my body got used to the foods I was eating and my workout regime, is what was hard.My two friends, Lisette and Mackenzie, are what kept me going and to this day, still do.

We never set out to start an organization. Even when the idea came to our minds almost a year after we started our weight loss journeys, we never thought it would actually get off the ground. But here we are, two years later, and Anti-MU22 has been more successful than we ever imagined, and very rewarding to run.

Essentially, Anti-MU22 is a MU-recognized organization that promotes living a healthy lifestyle. We realize that the title can be a bit misleading, we want our members to be healthy and that looks different depending on the person. We have members that have reached their goal weight and want to learn how to love their bodies, we have members that want to lose weight and we even have members that want to gain weight. Anyone can join, no experience with counting calories, keeping food journals or working out is required.

Mackenzie, Lisette and I noticed that even though Mizzoudoes a great job at giving its students healthy dining options and an amazing Student Recreational Center, there was not necessarily a platform for students to gain support in their healthy lifestyle endeavors, so we created one.

When it comes to giving advice about weight loss and eating healthy, we always like to tell our members that everyone is different and the first step to weight loss, is loving the skin you’re in. The phrase that we like to say is “External loss, internal gain” because yes, you are changing on the outside and that’s what people will notice first, but the change on the inside is just as important. We like to remind our members that if they cannot love themselves the way they are currently, what makes them think losing a few pounds to impress someone else will do that? You have got to be your number one motivation when it comes to your weight loss journey or it won’t last. It is great to have support from friends, family and significant others, but what really counts is how you feel about yourself.

Currently, our meetings are biweekly and on off-weeks we plan outings such as grabbing a healthy lunch downtown at Main Squeeze, watching documentaries and weight loss shows such as "The Biggest Loser" and going to workout together of course. We also hold office hours every week so that students can come and talk to us outside of meetings about what they may be struggling with. Anyone can join; all they have to do is come to a meeting or message us on Facebook or Twitter if they can’t make it.

For more information, check out Anti-MU22's Facebook page or follow us on Twitter.

This story is part of a section of the Missourian called From Readers, which is dedicated to your voices and your stories. We hope you'll consider sharing. Here's how. Supervising editor is Joy Mayer.

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