A former female bodybuilder has taken to social media to share side-by-side photos of her transformation, but they aren’t your typical “before and after” pictures. Jolene Nicole Jones is causing viewers to look twice when they notice one detail about her snapshots.
According to Jones, the photographs detail her transformation from “bodybuilder to body lover.” On the left is a picture of the way she used to look and, on the right, one of the way she appears now. However, they do not depict a woman who has lost several dress sizes in her quest to achieve the body that society says is most attractive, but rather, a woman who has gained weight and is now happier because of it.
“This isn’t your typical transformation photo,” Jones captioned the side-by-side shots, which were shared on the Love What Matters Facebook page. “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.”
“Some people might say this is ‘letting yourself go’ but you can’t put a price on happiness,” she continued. “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,” she added.
“A six-pack didn’t make me happy,” admitted Jones. “I was never enough and always needing to improve. Today I went rafting with friends and enjoyed food the old me would have drooled over and wouldn’t have dared touch,” she recalled.
“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 concluded. “My worth is weighed by those I surround myself with and the smile on my face.”
Viewers seemed to agree that Jones’ new body is much better than her old one. “Speaking as a man, I am much, much more attracted to how this lady looks now,” commented Facebook user Tom Bulpit. “It’s not about what dress size someone is or what magazines say you ‘should’ look like. It’s about being healthy and happy with yourself. She’s hot!”
“Many of us, myself included, needed to read this when it comes to having a positive body image,” wrote someone else. “In my opinion- her photo on the right is an improvement! She looks happier and healthier.”
“Not that my opinion (nor anyone else’s) should matter, but you look much more attractive now than before,” commented yet another viewer. “But besides that, what matters is that you are LIVING life and loving yourself, rather than being a slave to an image. I’m very happy for you.”
We’ve all heard the phrase “everything in moderation.” Weighing every piece of chicken you eat and carrying protein shakes in your purse is no way to live.
While it’s definitely important to live a healthy lifestyle, there’s more to this life than the so-called “perfect” tanned and toned physique. Achieving a pencil-thin frame without an ounce of fat was quite literally ruining Jones’ life. She had no time to spend with her friends because she was always exercising and counting calories.
“Wow. My post has been shared 3,000 times and liked over 8,000 times,” Jones wrote in a follow-up Facebook post after her transformation photos went viral. “The response I have received has been completely overwhelming, I never thought I could inspire self-love to that many people with a simple photo; which is something I’ve always wanted to do because self-love is hard sometimes dammit. The messages and comments have literally brought me to tears, I never knew so many people felt the way I did.”
Most people wouldn’t have the guts to share a photo of themselves with the world that showcase the extra weight they’ve gained, especially right next to the “perfect” body they used to have, but Jones did, and her confidence should be applauded. There are others out there who need to hear this message, especially with magazines and television commercials telling us that the only acceptable body is a size 2, so please share Jones’ inspiring story!