A girl who was a former bodybuilder took a reverse body transformation from being slim to being plump says she is happier than before.
Body transformations. We hate that we love them. They’re all over social media, and while they seem pretty harmless, they actually work to perpetuate the unrealistic beauty standards that society places on women and girls.
With the Instagram obsession at an all-time high, people with an interest in health and fitness cram their feeds full of ‘inspirational’ images of bodies that, in reality, are pretty hard to achieve if you don’t share the same genetic make-up or dedication to the gym as the person staring back at you on your screen.
So here’s a refreshing change: a reverse transformation. A woman who previously devoted her entire life to bodybuilding, crafting her lean and toned frame to compete against others, ultimately decides that – actually – it wasn’t her thing. Since quitting body building Jolene Jones has gained 25 pounds – almost two stone – she has freed up her social life, and has generally found herself a lot happier.
When 26-year-old Jolene Jones posted a side-by-side photo of herself to Facebook, she knew it wasn’t your “typical transformation” story.
In a photo that’s gone viral on Facebook – having been shared 47,000 times and liked over 140,000 times – Jolene posted a ‘before’ picture of herself at the height of her bodybuilding phase, alongside a photo of her now. Posing in a bikini in both shots, the difference is worlds apart.
“Some people might say this is ‘letting yourself go’ but you can’t put a price tag on happiness,” Jones said besides the image.
The bodybuilding image on the left is the “before,” while the more relaxed image on the right is the “after” of the transformation.
“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 explained on the post.
“A six pack didn’t make me happy,” she wrote. “I was never enough and always needing to improve.”
The “body lover” says she is now able to enjoy social beers and is a much happier person than her former fitness fanatic self.
“Today I went rafting with friends and enjoyed food the old me would have drooled over and wouldn’t have dared to touch.”
“Body building was a large part of my life and something I look back on fondly,” she said. “But I don’t see myself doing it again because I have other passions and don’t want to feel held back.”
Jones said that she realized how important enjoying life was and that people can’t value their self-worth on what the scales read.
While working out at the gym one day, her trainer asked her to shed 28 pounds — and at that point, she asked herself why she was so tied to her obsession with working out.
“I knew I would be miserable trying, I had also developed a new social life and didn’t want to feel held back,” she told Refinery 29.
“I realized it wasn’t my passion anymore when I despised being there and was just going through the motions.”
“It didn’t feed my happiness anymore. I have been on about a 3-month hiatus from the gym and that is the longest break I have had from lifting in 5 years and I am okay with it.”
“Your body is quite literally the only thing that gets you through this life,” Jones added on to her viral post. “Your worth and joy isn’t weighed by what you can lift or what the scale says. My worth is weighed by those I surround myself with and the smile on my face.”
Jones said that she hopes people don’t take her transformation as a message to be unhealthy.
“Since the start of my break from the gym, I have not gained or lost a pound and I think it’s because this is my body’s happy place,” she said.
“I’m right where my body wants to be and that makes me happy! I have absolutely zero regrets stopping. I had a goal, I completed that goal and I have moved on and I feel really good about that.”