Laura Donovan
May 21, 2014 12:09 pm

During a recent bout of unemployment, I got hooked on Keeping Up with the Kardashians. I learned that, regardless of your thoughts on the family’s insatiable hunger for the spotlight and fame, they truly love each other. A particularly likable member of the clan is Rob Kardashian, the youngest of Kris and the late Robert Kardashian’s four children and brother of Kim, Kourtney, Khloe, Kendall and Kylie.

In earlier seasons, Rob was on camera a lot, but he’s distanced himself from the reality series lately, perhaps because newer episodes have entailed others pointing out his weight gain and confronting him for finishing bags of candy.

Like many folks, he looks much different now than he did in 2007, when the Kardashians first aired, and critics have been quick to mock his 2014 appearance. After photographs surfaced this week of Rob Kardashian arriving in Paris, the Twitterverse exploded with cruel remarks about his size, making his name a trending search term. Understandably, this made the poor guy feel bad, but he took the high road by responding with some cautiously optimistic tweets and acknowledging he’s not where he’d like to be in the weight department:

— ROBERT KARDASHIAN (@robkardashian) May 20, 2014

Season 9 used his weight gain as a story line, and while some may argue this could motivate a person to thin out and start exercising more, I’m sure it can also have the opposite effect. Being subjected to unrelenting jokes to the point where you’re trending on Twitter for being not aesthetically pleasing might make a person want to withdraw or give up altogether. Revenge is often a useful motivator—it can be fun to prove the haters wrong—but Rob may also be so overwhelmed by the storm of hate and cruelty that he doesn’t know how to help himself. When you’re not even close to what you’d like to be, or in his case, used to be, day-to-day gym visits feel pretty uninspiring and futile. Significant weight loss takes a long time, and while you’re waiting for the results to kick in, it doesn’t help to have constant reminders via social media that you don’t appear to be making much progress.

The unhealthy energy and discouragement directed at Rob Kardashian aren’t going to push him to get fit for the sake of his health. What matters is how he feels about himself, and if he’s happy, it’s nobody’s place to fault his way of feeling happy. If he’s not in high spirits, then he has to work through the obstacle when he’s ready, not when the Internet is ready to maniacally laugh at his pain.

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