One of the best campaigns to rise from social media is the body positivity movement. While social media might have a reputation for warping people’s confidence and self-esteem with unrealistic #Fitspo goals, many are using it to encourage people to love the skin that they are in.
After all, no two bodies are the same, and angles and lighting play a big role in dictating what a person looks like on social media. What’s more is that becoming obsessed with your appearance can come at a price, even if it leaves you with the body and Instagram profile of your dreams.
This is something which 27-year-old Jolene Jones from Kalispell, Montana, learned the hard way when she became a professional bodybuilder. While she was left looking physically immaculate, her mental health and social life suffered as a result of her dedication to the gym.
Her story has opened up a discussion about how working out too much can be bad for you. Check out the video below to learn more:
Jones entered her first bodybuilding competition back in 2015, and she had to lose 21 pounds for the competition, US Weekly reports.
After the competition, she gained 20 pounds, but then her coach encouraged her to lose 30 to make up for it before returning to the bodybuilding stage. Rather than put her body through needless strain again, Jones decided that enough was enough and threw in the towel.
Once Jones traded in her weights for a more healthy and balanced lifestyle, she transformed not only on the outside but on the inside too.
To celebrate her transformation, she posted two side-by-side pictures of herself to show that, for her, it was better being a body lover than a bodybuilder. It didn’t take long for the then 26-year-old’s post to go viral, with people around the world praising her body positivity.
“This isn’t your typical transformation photo,” she wrote in her caption.
The two pictures were taken two years apart, and unlike those pesky #Fitspo pictures which litter Instagram, it shows a weight gain rather than a weight loss. You go, girl! People need to learn that #Fitspo is very much a relative term.
“Some people might say this is ‘letting yourself go,'” Jones continued. “I call this finding myself and realizing I can have more than one passion in life.”
The 27-year-old is now 25 pounds heavier than she was as a bodybuilder, but this weight is not the only thing she has gained – and if her Instagram account is anything to go by she really is – as any true millennial would say – living her best life.
“Today I went rafting with friends and enjoyed food the old me would have drooled over and wouldn’t have dared to touch,” Jones wrote. “Your body is quite LITERALLY the only thing that gets you through this life, your worth and joy aren’t weighed by what you can lift or what the scale says.”
“A six-pack didn’t make me happy,” she wrote in her post. “I was never enough and always needing to improve.”
Unfortunately, abs don’t just appear naturally, and the dedication it takes to achieve them can have a detrimental effect on some people’s mental health as it involves not only regularly working out, but placing stringent controls on their diet too.
“I realize now that was all pressure I was putting on myself, and it wasn’t healthy,” Jolene told Us Weekly. “I feel at peace with the way I look.”
Jones’ story is a testament to the fact that you can be physically fit on the outside, but very unhealthy on the inside. While bodybuilding might give some people more confidence, for others, it’s a less stringent and more relaxed lifestyle that allows them to live their best lives.
You keep doing you, Jolene.