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Thin vs. happy: female bodybuilder shows us what REALLY counts in life

We're usually used to before-and-after pictures of people showing how much weight they've lost through lots of exercise and eating well. For the former bodybuilder Jolene Jones, however, it looks very different. Your before-and-after pictures look almost reversed.

Once upon a time, Jolene was obsessed with having the "perfect" body. She followed a strict diet and fitness plan and her entire life was revolved around building more muscle. She was passionate about taking part in bodybuilding competitions, completely limiting herself in all other aspects of her everyday life.

But Jolene realized that this lifestyle no longer fulfilled her, and finally wanted to live happily and freely again. In July 2017, she published this unusual before and after picture with an important message:

From bodybuilder to body lover. This is not your typical before and after photo. I was someone who was controlled by their tough fitness routine, weighing chicken and carrying protein shakes in my purse. Today I am finally enjoying a social life.

Some people would say I "let go" - but that kind of happiness is priceless. I've found myself and realized that I can have more than one passion in life - whether I'm climbing mountains or drinking beer with friends.

A six-pack didn't make me happy. I was never good enough and always had to improve. Today I went rafting with friends and enjoyed food that my old self would only have dreamed of but never touched.

Your body is literally the only thing that gets you through life, and your worth and happiness don't depend on how much weight you can lift or what your scale says. My worth depends on the people I surround myself with and who make me smile.

To date, Jolene's post has been shared more than 50,000 times and thousands of people left the young woman with comments full of praise and encouragement. "You are a great role model for other women," writes one user. "You are most beautiful when you are happy - that's all that matters!" Says another.

Today, Jolene continues to regularly share strong and inspiring messages around self-love and the body positive movement. If you want to see more of her, you can follow her on Instagram or Facebook.

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