Monday, January 21, 2008

Good Morning America - The TRUTH addressed


I have almost been at a loss concerning what to say today. There has been much on my mind since I participated in this interview for Good Morning America. I've been troubled by the smoke screen obscuring the truth versus multiple fabrications regarding the Kimkins diet. Because of these questions and discrepancies, I want to address several "points" of argument that continue to surface following any media coverage of the Kimkins controversy.

I have been accused of many things. Most center around the assumption that I have some sort of hidden agenda or motive in exposing issues regarding Heidi Diaz's presentation of the Kimkins diet. My reason remains that many people still sign up for this program who simply print out the food lists and guidelines and put it in practice. These silent people get sick without understanding why. These unheard voices may be saved by the continuing exposure of real dangers in the fundamentals of this program.

The following are the claimed "discrepancies" and my response to the accusations:

1) "There is no 500 calorie limit. I was never told to starve myself."

Well, of course you weren't. No one would be interested in a program where people are told to NOT EAT. Heidi's gimmick emerges as admins advise fervent, intense dieters to "only eat when you are hungry," while failing to define what true hunger signals. Diaz published an article on the "'myth' of starvation mode" (her idea: one cannot starve if any fat reserves remain in the body) in order to hook dieters into believing that fat people cannot eat too little. Members are told to eat when hungry, but to also determine if the "hunger" feeling is real or psychological. That is where the tricks of a cup of chicken broth (Kimmer's Egg Drop Soup = 1 cup chicken broth and 1 egg or egg white. UNDER 50 calories with 1 egg white) or Crystal Lite come in.

NO one is told to keep calories under a certain amount, but given the food lists and choices available, that is where they naturally fall because "I'm not hungry" usually comes before a desire to eat one more lean protein portion. In this post that I made last year I described how even with my calories BELOW 400 on average, Heidi encouraged me to limit my protein servings and cut foods with any fat out of my diet, completely in contradiction to the current claim of "I'm never told to eat less." This advice prior to October, 2007 was standard.

Here are Heidi Diaz' own words regarding the low calorie aspect of the Kimkins diet:

"We are low calorie after ketosis kicks in or with the shake option, but those calories are identical to post-WLS patients (500 cal a day for months), original Optifast and Medifast (450-700 cal a day for months)."

The difference? Those who are on a post-WLS diet are under STRICT doctors supervision and the do not remain on those diet plans for an unspecified period of time. Even those following a shake diet program are encouraged to eat a normal, HEALTHY BALANCED meal for dinner.

2) "We never recommend laxative use unless someone has constipation issues."

This statement actually has two parts. The second part of the phrase included the innuendo from Heidi to the moderators "... or unless someone reports that they are stalled." Along with a request to view the dieter's Fitday or food journal would be a question regarding regularity many if not most times accompanies with a version of the following instructions (Heidi's words):

"but all I'm suggesting is someone take a regular dose for 1-2 days and then a 25-50% dose each day after. The member who's doctor prescribed a laxative (which is stronger than what can bought over the counter) and to take full strength daily. Stores are full of laxatives and those people aren't all doing Kimkins."

In closing, I would like to direct your attention to this blog, published today by former Kimkins member "Regandy." In this post, "Regandy" describes the emotional and psychological damage that comes very frequently from following a program such as Kimkins. I can completely empathize with Regandy in this post. The road to maintaining my weightloss has been rocky at best. I know all to well the difficulties that come after a metabolism is damaged following a program such as Kimkins. All though there are still people utilizing this program to lose weight, their road has only just begun. Using the Kimkins program establishes a maintenance disability. It enables a fear of adding in any "normal" foods. When those attempting to add foods to their diet do, they see a shocking result on the scale.

It is because of these continued arguments and discrepancies, and because of those struggling to regain their daily lives that I continue to speak out regarding my experience with the Kimkins program and Heidi Diaz.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Why.... The Risks ARE Real.

Many times I am asked why I am continuing to spread the word about my fears regarding the Kimkins program and sharing what I feel are the very real and present dangers regarding the eating issues that can arise utilizing it as written. I want to share some of my motivation with you today. It is not often that I share photos of my family here in my blog, but these people are some of the most important people in the world to me.


This photo was taken about 2 and ½ hours prior to our accident on January 1 of this year. From my grandparents, to my parents, to all 5 of my siblings plus their spouses… these incredible people are why I do what I do. Standing by a loved one suffering is heartbreaking, no matter what precipitated it, but no family should have to endure watching a loved one endure the self-inflicted illnesses many Kimkins users have experienced. Each member of my family was worried about my emerging anorexia/bulimia. All expressed their concerns for my health and eating disordered methods and mentalities.

So why did I blog about Kimkins from my hospital room? Because I was overwhelmed with love, support and kindness from my family and those closest to me. I could imagine another family sitting in a similar hospital room watching their loved one suffer from a preventable eating disorder or a side effect from disordered type of behavior, and I felt that warnings must continue to be given.

If you have a loved one who is suffering, or if you have concerns or questions regarding the warning signs of these behaviors, please feel free to contact me through my blog or send me an email. I’d love to help however I can, whether through a listening ear, understanding shoulder, or caring hand.


Monday, January 7, 2008

New Year - NEW LIFE

As I write this post, I am lying in a hospital bed recovering from an auto accident that occurred on January 1 of this year. Praise the Lord, my injuries are the worst of my entire family and are minimal compared to what could have taken place. Here is a photo of my family’s vehicle after the accident (my husband was driving and my 2 young children, ages 2 and 4, were riding in the back seat).

My injuries involve an acute concussion, swelling and contusions in my brain, laceration to my right eye, and severe bruising over my entire body, that will all take time to heal.

These days in the hospital, however, have given me time to reflect over this last year. Over the course of 2007, I have lost 100 pounds. I have fallen prey to one of the most incredible diet scams of the internet community, I have been on the front cover of a magazine, and in national news, yet, for what cause?

As a formerly habitually overweight person, I too know the pain and turmoil that comes from living that lifestyle. As I have said in my testimony previously, I have yo-yo dieted my entire life. I never seemed to find “that one magic bullet.” I am here to tell you now, there IS NO MAGIC BULLET. I thought I had found it, I thought I found my one answer. I lost weight, but not until after my “success” did I realize the damage that I had done to my body through the diet. Here I am almost 1 year later and I am still struggling daily to maintain and keep a grasp on my weight. It is NOT EASY.

There are many timelines across the internet which will provide you with great detail into how this twisted story unfolded, so I will simply share a short synopsis from my experience:

The Kimkins diet program was started by Heidi Kimberly (Kimmer) Diaz several years ago during a dieting stint in an internet community called Low Carb Friends. Never actually having successfully completed the program, Ms Diaz gave the appearance of being her diet’s ‘leading lady,’ completing and maintaining her loss for at least 5 years. This led to Ms Diaz’ rising popularity as “one with answers” within the internet weight loss community.

Soon Ms Diaz took her program and created a new website. She touted her weight loss “success” and popularity as basis for creating her own pay-per-membership website. The rising popularity of her program reached its peak when it achieved national recognition on Woman’s World Magazine in June of 2007 with the byline “Better Than Gastric Bypass.” This title led to an explosion of Kimkins membership with led to an estimated $3 million in revenue for Ms Diaz. The hitch?

1)Ms Diaz never lost her claimed weight to begin with.

2)The diet program is unsafe and can cause severe damage beginning with slow, unrecognized starvation and malnutrition.

Through the next few months, the dangers of this program became increasingly evident as more members began complaining of the same symptoms and side effects. Slow and steady starvation methods utilizing a caloric intake of significantly less than 1000 calories a day was the norm. The daily intake of less calories and less fat was not only encouraged, but praised as new members began to feel “snatty” (Slightly Nauseous All The Time), lightheaded, and generally weakened. Tips for controlling hunger varied but all were primarily synonymous with little to no caloric intake. All for the sake of losing weight fast. But at what cost to the individual’s physical and psychological condition?

Disguised eating disorders emerged; serious malnutrition indicators like hair loss, heart palpitations, electrolyte and potassium deficiencies were commonly reported. I did not learn of the potentially deadly side effects of my eating habits till after I completed the program. I had shrugged the symptoms that I had off as “typical” or short term.

Bottom line, starvation works to take off pounds – here, just like in Ethiopia or Dachau. The difference is that in those sad places, the people knew they were starving. Kimkins moderators are merely overweight peers with eating disorders of their own (speaking from personal experience), completely unqualified to assess what constitutes nutritional dangers.

Do not let the tantalizing beauty of rapid weight loss hinder the ultimate goal of a better life and good health.

There are many effective and safe weight loss programs out there today. Diet responsibly; do your research; always remember to speak with your physician regarding your plans. Do not desperately trade obesity for broken health.