When former bodybuilder Jolene Jones posted two side-by-side photos of herself on Facebook, she was well aware that they weren't your typical "transformation photos," and that some people looking at them might say that she had "let herself go."
But that's exactly why she wanted to post them.
Calling the photos a representation of her journey "from body builder to body lover," she wrote that she wanted to post them to show that "you can't put a price tag on happiness."
"I went from being controlled by my grueling gym regimen and weighing chicken and having protein shakes in my purse to fully enjoying a social life," she wrote. "I call this finding myself and realizing I can have more than one passion in life, whether it's hiking up in Glacier Park or enjoying beers with friends."
Jones went on to explain that while she worked hard to maintain a bodybuilder's build, "a six pack didn't make me happy. I was never enough and always needing to improve."
The photo on the right, she wrote, was from a rafting trip with her friends, where she "enjoyed food the old me would have drooled over and wouldn't have dared to touch."
"Your body is quite LITERALLY the only thing that gets you through this life, your worth and joy isn't weighed by what you can lift or what the scale says," she wrote. "My worth is weighed by those I surround myself with and the smile on my face."
Jones tells Refinery29 that while she was at "a healthy weight" when she began bodybuilding, but was influenced by being around people who had "higher expectations of what a 'healthy' 'good looking' female should be."
"It became a challenge to myself and also my relationship to prove myself and others wrong," she says. "So the gym kind of became an obsession to me but I didn't realize that maybe it was an unhealthy one."
When her bodybuilding coach asked her to lose 30 lbs., she decided to quit.
"I knew I would be miserable trying, I had also developed a new social life and didn't want to feel held back," she says.
Since Jones posted her photos on July 1, they have received over 33,000 shares at the time of writing.
Being a bodybuilder and being someone who loves their body is definitely not mutually exclusive — but for Jones, she's clearly been way happier since she's let go of the restrictions she put herself under, and has begun enjoying life (and food) the way she should.
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