'Body builder to body lover' hopes to inspire others

KALISPELL, Montana -- An incredible story of body positivity has been shared more than 100,000 times on Facebook. A former body builder revealed how not obsessing over her six pack made her so much happier.

Body builder to body lover is how Jolene Jones, 26, began her Facebook post with a typical before and after photo.

The first was from 2015 as a competitive body builder and the after was from just two weeks ago, after she purposefully gave up her grueling gym regimen.

"I felt like I needed to love myself a little more and I wanted to encourage others to love themselves, also," said Jones.

Her body acceptance message went viral and received thousands of positive comments, many applauding her beauty and bravery.

She started body building five years ago after peers told her she had too much cellulite.

When she was competing, a typical day included meal prepping and counting calories.

"I was never enough. That's how I felt. I was never enough," Jones told ABC News.

After getting sick a year ago, she gained 25 pounds, and once she recovered her coach told her she had to lose 30 pounds in order to compete again. That's when she said she had a revelation.
"I realized I didn't enjoy it anymore and I was just going through the motions," said Jones. "I wasn't pushing myself anymore. I was just doing it to do it."

She now loves her body instead of hating, and obsessing over it and exercises and eats for enjoyment.

"I let myself go from being controlled by something that's not even tangible. It's all in my head," said Jones.

Now she wants to inspire others and encourages everyone to start thanking their bodies.

"When I started to thank mine it made the difference."

RELATED: Love Your Belly movement celebrates tummies of all sizes
EMBED More News Videos

Two local woman have started a movement to encourage positive body image.

Report a typo to the ABC13 staff

Copyright © 2019 ABC News Internet Ventures.