After Jana Roller participated in her fist bodybuilding competition, she was shocked to see her photos missing from the event's gallery. She had worked hard for two years to lose 140 pounds before the competition and was so proud of herself for participating, regardless of any excess skin on her body. Jana decided to reach out to the photographer to find out why they wouldn't include her photos, and it's bringing up a powerful point about the journey of weight loss.
"[He said] that because my physique wasn't as great, he decided to err on the side of caution to avoid me asking him to remove it or edit the photo," Jana wrote on Instagram. "He assumed I was embarrassed. Look. I get it that I wasn't stage lean. Maybe some of the competitors didn't think I was serious about my presence there. I worked for 2 years, lost 140lb, went through prep just like everyone else. I stuck to the plan, did hours of cardio, 5 am sessions. I worked just as hard to be told that I wasn't good enough to be showcased amongst every one else."
She explained that she wanted to see the photos as a way to reflect on her journey, which is far from over.
"This is just the beginning for me, and I won't be told that I should be embarrassed of this photo," Jana wrote. "I'm proud of my loose skin. As someone who has battled body image for years, to stand up there next to beautiful physiques took a lot mentally. I'm so proud of this photo. Not of the photographer who took it."
Jana deserved to be included in the photo album just as much as any of the other competitors did, but she's learning from this experience. She told People that seeing the photos made her excited to continue her journey and that she's received tons of messages from other competitors praising her for speaking out about this.
She closed her message with a powerful note, writing, "They call it #transformation for a reason and I think when it comes to bodybuilding shows we don't give enough credit to the journey and what it takes for athletes to get there. Every step of the journey deserves to be honored, not just the end result."