Saturday, November 24, 2007

Practical Problems

Thanksgiving is scary. For anyone who has struggled with their weight, whether just a few pounds up and down… or the drastic weight loss winners… it’s scary. We know what happens at this time of the year. Inhibitions are mysteriously released and we lose control over the stuffing, potatoes and apple pie. (For my European readers bear with me, I do have a point.)

I have attempted to be as open as I can be regarding my status in maintenance since losing weight so drastically and quickly. But, one thing that I have never touched on is how very difficult learning how to eat properly again after a program such as Kimkins has been. I am not surprised at all at the statistics we see about those who have lost weight dramatically in a short period of time in their inability to keep the weight off. I will be the first one to tell you that it has been one of the hardest things that I have ever attempted and continue to struggle with.

The first area begins in the mind. I have mentioned before that I believed that Kimkins promoted eating disorders. Possibly even a new brand of eating disorder. My family will readily tell you how worried they were about me last Thanksgiving when all I would put on my plate was about 4oz of turkey. I stood my ground against them in my assurance from my mentor that as long as I had fat on my body that I would continue to burn that fat off my body at lightning speed. They saw what I failed to see. They saw already that I was developing a grossly skewed relationship with food and eating principles.

Because this mindset that was so fervently instilled in me, I literally became scared of food. When I hit my goal I knew that if I reverted to previous eating habits I would put the weight back on faster than it had come off. Therefore, I was faced with a new problem. How do I transition to a “normal” lifestyle after depriving myself of so many calories for so long?

Although it was promised, there was no maintenance plan for Kimkins. And, all that I received from Kimmer was the encouragement to simply add a little fruit and a yogurt and that would be enough to maintain me. I tried very hard to understand this, and after debating and working with Kimmer for a month or so… I asked her if I could work on a maintenance program that would be possible to transition off of that program and learn how to eat “normally” again. She agreed and I got to work.

The main source of my research was a book that I’ve been discussing throughout my blog titled “The Thin Commandments” by Dr Stephen Gullo. At the time of my transition I began reading this practical guide. Through utilizing Dr Gullo’s principles I began to see a glimmer of how to come about the correct way to view weight loss and maintaining it. I was able to address some of the psychological reasons behind why we gain weight back, and why I had such a difficult time previously losing the weight.
It was this book in particular that led me to some of the re-introducing principles that I incorporated into writing a maintenance program for Kimmer/Heidi. I worked a long time on developing a what I felt was workable, using myself as the “user” to determine if what I had put together would work. Little did I know that because of the mindset I had, and because of my body’s lack of nutrition, it would be extremely difficult for me to incorporate these principles.

What should have been simple math and only adding in a few additional calories ended up as a long and painful process. I could not add one additional food without a fear that it would be the one thing that would send me over the top in the battle to keep the weight off. My relationship with food is still rocky at best. While I have been able to maintain for almost 9 months, it is only by the grace of God that I have learned what I need to or can eat. I thank the Lord that I learned about Dr Gullo and his book. Without that, I would probably either still be lost in the proper way to incorporate healthy foods into my daily lifestyle and how to avoid those that I will have an issue with.

As far as the maintenance program that I wrote for the Kimkins program… it has since been removed. I pray that each person coming out of that program will really take their time and research the best way to re-incorporate a healthy lifestyle. It’s not easy. It is a daily battle and thought process that must take place.

As to my own eating disordered thought patterns, I am weekly working with my therapist now to remedy this. I have been diagnosed with Eating Disorder Not Otherwise Specified with binge bulimic tendencies. This is a hard realization to come to. I never thought I would have such an issue, and prior to my weight-loss this was not a problem for me. Yes, I overate, but I was never scared to eat. I never had the fear that if I started I would not be able to stop. It will be an uphill process… but I am determined to see it through. Keeping the weight off is necessary for my emotional and psychological stability, and I WILL prevail.

As Dr Seagal from the Mike and Juliette show stated (paraphrased), this program (Kimkins) is nutritionally bankrupt. No self-respecting physician would be associated with it. I would add, any program that does not offer a do-able, sound maintenance program sabotages the possibility of sustainable weight management.

EDIT 11/26/2007: I just wanted to clarify. My above statement in regard to my diagnosed eating disorder with bulimic tendencies; I do not mean that I have "purged." There are many aspects to bulimia and purging is just one of those aspects. Although I will admit that the thoughts have been there for that type of behavior, by God's grace I have not succumbed. The bulimia tendencies in this instance are towards binging.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Misplaced Motivation

"There is no sadder grief than that which lies at the bottom of a life that has been wrecked through deception"

~Lemuel K. Washburn

"An honorable man or woman is one who is truthful; free from deceit; above cheating, lying, stealing, or any form of deception. An honorable man or woman is one who learns early that one cannot do wrong and feel right. A man's character is judged on how he keeps his word and his agreements."

~Ezra Taft Benson

I feel the time is right for me to address the questions and concerns that have risen in regards to my motivation and purpose in my stance against the Kimkins diet and exposing Heidi Diaz. It is no secret that for the last year I was a avid supporter of the Kimkins diet. After all, I lost 100lbs. I was assured with absolute confidence that being overweight was far greater a risk than any I would subject myself to by utilizing this diet. So with much gusto and enthusiasm I embraced the teachings of "Kimmer" and touted them as she had instructed me.

I excitedly traveled to Los Angeles for the Woman's World photo shoot and believed with all my heart that I was helping motivate others to lose that dreaded fat through my actions. After all... Heidi had done it... she not only lost it but maintained it for 5 years! I was sure there was hope for me to finally win the battle of the bulge. I wrote my "How I Did It" thread again with enthusiasm and inspiration. All done with the encouragement and flattery that I was a "star." I was Heidi's cover girl and her pupil.

My participation in Kimkins was enthusiastic to say the least. So much so that the side effects/symptoms of malnutrition and starvation that I was experiencing I was grasping at every straw that I could to justify and explain what was happening to me. I went to my doctor to get a physical in July after being off of the program for 4 months. My blood work and other things all showed up ok and when I told my doctor about my weight loss... I simply explained it as "Lean proteins and veggies." He was fine with that, with only a passing comment about a high protein diet being ok for those who are "younger and more resilient." When my blood work came in ok I clung to that as validation that I was ok... however... my hair loss had still not slowed down and my menstrual cycle was still very irregular.

As the PR representative I began to do research with the rising "grumblings" against Kimkins and Kimmer, I felt it was my responsibility to "debunk" what I was told were misconceptions and misinformation's regarding the program. As I researched and began to delve into the issues arising in following a very low calorie diet such as Kimkins, I realized that I was not alone in my symptoms. I grew increasingly worried as I learned that the symptoms I was having were very much in line with those who suffered from eating disorders such as Anorexia.

Not long there after was when Becky left/was fired from the program. I had begun to see the person behind the mask. Although I had desperately wanted to believe Kimmer, and to question now was to go back on everything I had trusted in and based my life on for the last year, I knew that if I was to represent the company with integrity and present it (the Kimkins company) as an ethical and upstanding growing corporation, I must clear the air of the murk that was beginning to set in.

The last couple of weeks in August were agonizing for me emotionally as I gathered my thoughts and evidence for the questions that I had for Kimmer/Heidi. I knew based on Becky's experience that my asking would only have one result, and yet I still believed in the potential goodness of Heidi and I wanted desperately to believe that what I knew would happen wouldn't. However, my own experience was becoming a frightening reality and the questions within the boards of people becoming very ill and growing medical problems were too loud to ignore and the questions must be asked.

On September 3, 2007 while on vacation with my family and with many tears and great heaviness I submitted my questions to Heidi Diaz, knowing what the result would be for my "defiance" and inquiries. I have written about my questions previously but again listed for your review, I requested verification and documentation on the following points:

1) The safety of her claims regarding laxative use.

2) The claim that the program was technically "doctor approved" because it was based off of programs written by doctors, and a statement that a doctor's approval for the program was long overdue. I also requested a copy of the email that she had claimed to have sent to a bariatric specialist

3)Documentation that the program (being low cal) was safe "no mater if your 14 or 84."

4) The issue that had arisen regarding teens utilizing the website and her encouragement to continue on the plan when she had clearly stated that teens were not allowed.

5) Questions followed up with examples clearing the air regarding her identity as Heidi Diaz.

Here is the response that I received from Heidi about 30 minutes after I asked those questions:

"I understand that you're a person of integrity and it seems you've had a
nice life (meaning you might be a bit protected or naive -- which is nice!)...

...You will discontinue as Director of Media & PR. I have someone in
mind who can step in...."

In a following email:

"...I don't see that there's a future for you with Kimkins unless you can
come up with something that wouldn't jeopardize your integrity..."

So am I a disgruntled employee? No. Since I left Kimkins I have had almost daily contact with people who have been hurt. Physically, emotionally, and psychologically from this woman and this twisted eating plan, and I am deeply saddened.

Shortly after returning from my "vacation" I decided that it was necessary for me to return to my doctor and come clean with what I had actually done. If you have followed my blog you know what the results of that meeting were. With tears and grief I shared my story with him and his concern was genuine.

My side effects, however scary, have been minimal compared to the stories that are coming to me. My heart breaks for these people, and they are crying out for a voice. If I was spared greater damage to be their voice, then so be it and I am prepared to do that for them.

My last point is this... you may look at me and say "Well look at her... she lost weight, she looks great... so what if she lost hair, periods, whatever... she's healthy now and has maintained it."

I cannot stress to you how difficult maintenance coming off of this program has been. I will be further blogging about my maintenance strategy at a later date, but the price has been high, and the road so much harder than weight loss ever was. Attempting to repair the damage that I had done to my body has been and continues to be a struggle.

I am not backing down. Yes, I promoted Kimkins. Yes, I believed at one time that it was a lifesaver for me. Knowing what I do now... would I do it again? I honestly don't know. Like so many overweight people today I was desperate. However, my motivation was Kimmer. Her claim to have lost the weight and kept if off... I would want to ask those using the program now though... what is the motivation... where is the proof that you will be safe after you lose the weight and how will you keep it off? A weight loss journey is not just the beginning... it has a middle and an end; it is a complete change in your way of life and thinking. What kind of life will a cycle of restrictive yo-yo eating be though?

I hope that I have been able to clear up some questions that have been circulating around. Please know that my motivation, although misplaced for a time period, has never been anything other than helping others make better lives for themselves.

For such a time as this.... I am prepared.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Purposes and PR

I want to begin this blog by thanking the many many members of the Low Carb Community for your overwhelming support and kindness to me over the last few weeks. I have such a wonderful caring community, and I do value each of you.

As I was preparing for my trip to New York to be on The Morning Show with Mike and Juliet I really had to search within myself for what exactly was my motivation for going on the show. I want to share with you all an email that I received this morning from a former Kimkins member, Tina AKA Lil_Red. Tina has been emailing me since I left Kimkins in an effort to determine and discover for herself where her own journey would take her. I want you to hear this in Tina's words as she describes what she has discovered about herself and this program that all of us were so convinced was our golden ticket to permanent weight loss:

"Hello ,
My name is Tina Coates aka Lil_Red. I wanted to write this out for everyone to see. I am not doing this to win brownie points with anyone, I am doing it for the purpose to let the past, present and future Kimkins users know that this is not a healthy nor safe diet. I joined Kimkins in June of 2007 withe same intent as everyone else; to lose weight as promised , fast and safe. I have since then started to have issues with my health. The first issue I had was about the end of July. I started to have really itchy burning skin. All over my body not just in one area. I first noticed it on my face. When I would scratch or rub it would burn and hurt like heck. I chalked it off to what others kept telling me "oh it's probably an allergy Lil_Red " , "what have you ate different?" I cut out things I thought it might be. That meant eggs, aspartame, splenda and I even avoided any contact with the sun, thinking it might be a sun allergy. Nothing worked. Continuing on to lose the unwanted lbs I started to experience hair loss. At first it was a couple of hairs here and a couple there. I thought nothing of it because I had thick hair. I use to joke around saying to my hair dresser "well, at least I will never go bald!" Now that just isn't funny anymore as I have little hair left. And yet, I continued on still to shed the lbs. I started to have chest pains , thinking it was around the gallbladder area I would go and have it looked at. I went in for the blood test and it is not my gallbladder. I am still uncertain what it is. I still get the pains and shortness of breath. I am hoping you will read my story and know this is for real. This is not a joke. And I am in no way saying this to get publicity nor am I saying this cause I had anything to do with Heidi aka "Kimmers". I am saying this to warn you peple this is dangerous. You can lose the weight in a healthy way. Thanks for reading my story."

Tina - you are not alone.

While on the show I was challenged by the new PR director of Kimkins, Jeannie AKA Tippy Toes, in my statement about how I hear every day of people being hospitalized, hurt, and sick through utilizing the Kimkins program. Jeannie, in answer to your request, I do hear you. I present for you though Tina, who is just one of many stories I have been witness to now since leaving Kimkins. Look around your forums. When I left, people were posting daily about issues that they were having looking for answers. Their bodies are screaming in malnutrition and they are simply encouraged to speak to their doctors. I understand that answer, and gave it myself even. But the issue does not lie there. The issue lies in the original problem, with the nutrient deficient program that they are following.

Kimkins as a diet is not stable. Yes, the "minimum" calorie count has been upped to 800. But I'm here to tell you, I put together, while I was still working for Kimkins, a Boot Camp Menu in an effort to "prove" that it could be done with a higher calorie count. Utilizing the specified protein limits and vegetable limits given for that option, I was only able to come up with a menu that totalled just over 700 calories. I have proof via screen shots of Heidi stating that the boot camp option usually averaged around 500 calories a day and that's the way it is. I'm sorry, but 2 cups of lettuce for lunch and dinner and 1/2 a cup of cooked veggies a day is NOT enough to provide the essential vitamins that our bodies need.

While the plans on the inside may be changing, what is published has not. What about all those who have joined, printed the lists, and taken them at face value. They put it on their refrigerator and read "no more than 20 carbs," and they take that as is, never coming on the forums to ask questions or for clarification. Kimmer (Heidi) herself adamantly insisted to myself, Becky, Deni, and other moderators that when you take her plans and tweak them, they are no longer Kimkins. You have now simply published a modified Atkins program which will leave you open for even further legal complications.

Yes, people are getting sick, and I have proof. Not from extremes, but from doing exactly what they have been told and understand. There is no amount of public relations spinning that can be done to give the peace of mind back to Tina that her health has not been harmed. It cannot give another member's gall-bladder back. It cannot undo the fear of another who spent days in the hospital due to an electrolyte crash. These are not bogus stories made up by someone who had a vendetta against Heidi or the program. These are real people who are suffering.

My question is... how many more? Jeannie, this is in no way meant to question your credibility or motivation. I had the same motivation and received the same emails as you speaking of encouragement and motivation. You can still motivate people in weight loss without endangering. We can still motivate without aiding a criminal fraud.

Will it take someone with a heart condition dying of a potassium deficiency? How many more must suffer?