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What Khloe Kardashian can teach us about celebrating ourselves

In a recent incident with an internet hater, Khloe refused to let rumour minimise the hard work she put into attaining her physique

 Khloe Kardashian has often suffered for being in the public eye
Khloe Kardashian has often suffered for being in the public eye (AFP)

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We all know the term—"haters gonna hate." The saying is the verbal equivalent of a shoulder shrug, dismissing negative remarks by people about others. 

Vanity Fair recently reported that Khloe Kardashian clapped back at an internet hater who said her weight loss was due only to injectable diabetic medication, one that manages blood insulin levels. According to the Vanity Fair article, Khloe's response was epic."Let's not discredit my years of working out. I get up five days a week at 6 am to train. Please stop with your assumptions. I guess new year still means mean people," she said. 

I'm not going to be shy about this. My view of the Kardashians and their perpetuation of unreasonable physical ideals on young and old alike is not flattering. However, in light of nonsensical comments such as these, posted by strangers on the internet, I respect how Khloe Kardashian has dealt with haters over the years. 

Also read: Why being neutral about your body is the best form of self-love

If there is anyone who suffered more under the public eye in her fame-obsessed family, it's arguably her. She started as the visibly more imposing figure, taller and with more weight than her other ultra-famous sisters. Over the years, I watched endless, terrible talk shows where interviewers would openly dissect her larger figure in relation to her sisters, almost trying to make her uncomfortable or publicly question her self-worth for ratings. It must have been agony to be constantly referred to as the bigger sister and the less attractive sister while continually being filmed for public consumption. It's not my place to discuss whether the quest for fame was worth the cost of constantly defending her self-worth to haters. However, reading her candid remarks about her body image has been enough to stop me in my tracks and help me reevaluate how we, as women, remark passively on someone's body.

In one of the many photo controversies that Khloe Kardashian had (heavens forbid, a posted unedited bikini photo), Women Health Magazine quoted her saying."You never quite get used to being judged and pulled apart and told how unattractive one is, but I will say, if you hear anything enough, then you start to believe it. This is an example of how I have been conditioned to feel, that I am not beautiful enough just being me."

What's interesting as well is that Khloe, in past interviews, had also said that there were times in her life when despite her higher weight, she loved her body, even with the onslaught of negative comments about her weight. It must have been a terrible effort to constantly value her worth and block out the noise from the world, which I applaud her for. 

Now that she has put in years of effort to change her lifestyle, eat better and get fit and strong, it's reignited the internet trolls who are suddenly unhappy with her transition to being healthy and slender – the exact opposite of their critique a few years ago. Some people on the internet cannot accept that a woman can change her body at her own will and love herself yet desire to make a change. In their minds, you either love yourself as a larger size and stay that way, or you dislike yourself and constantly want to become smaller. There is no place in the middle for someone to exist to both love their bodies and yet still desire change.

Khloe Kardashian, in this case, was the very public target of these remarks, but I have seen them replicated repeatedly throughout my training practice. In a strange yet relatable way, we are all Khloe Kardashian to some extent. Women will come into my studio looking to "get fit" or "lose a few pounds" and get bitten by the fitness bug. They feel empowered and strong as they leave each session, and that sense of pride carries into their daily lives, where they start choosing better foods to eat and exercise on their own time. 

The inevitable outcome of applying so much joy and pride to changing their lifestyles is that they actively engage in their transformation, which will happen over months or years, without them applying too much pressure on themselves in the process. And yet, these strong, capable, and empowered women will be subjected to others passing comments on their bodies or their wellness pursuit with disdain. "I liked you better the way you were," some people will say. Others may go one layer deeper and say, "you're looking too thin now," or, "you're too obsessed with this fitness thing now." Ironically, these comments are from people who once passed comments on previously held love handles. 

Because of having a front-row seat to my client's struggles, I have seen firsthand how these comments can unintentionally damage a woman and create a narrative that someone else's view of you matters more than your own. When Molly Galbraith, founder of the female-centric training organization called Girls Gone Strong, posted a Facebook quote that said this."You can still love your body while wanting it to look different than it does right now – there is no hypocrisy there."  I wanted to give her a running high-five. We must allow people to love their bodies and actively participate in the change process without telling them they must hate or love themselves based on how we feel. Our bodies change, and we must allow people to change too.

It's okay to celebrate our hard work, especially when it leads to any result, no matter how small. I have a weekly activity with all of my clients: a forum to celebrate their wins for the week. Celebrating any achievement, no matter how small, can encourage and motivate someone to try harder in the upcoming week, so I encourage my clients to spend five minutes a week recognizing their hard work. It can be minor or significant, but whatever it is, you deserve the five minutes to appreciate everything you've worked hard for. 

Whatever the real story behind Khloe Kardashian's weight loss is, I don't doubt that it involved a lot of work and effort on her part. And it's okay if she wants to celebrate and showcase that she has successfully reached her goal without people trying to jump up and tear her down. After years of negativity, she deserves some credit for withstanding that storm.

Jen Thomas is a Chennai-based weight-loss coach


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