Tuesday, April 15, 2008

I was "Semi-Starving"

It is a well known and well published fact that Heidi Diaz of the Kimkins Diet does not believe in what the medical community deems "Starvation Mode." This was one of the topics that I addressed to her in the letter which resulted in my termination. Although there is plenty within the scientific community to prove and explain this phenomenon, Heidi has always held to that these beliefs were falsehoods and that "she didn't buy into it."

Here is just some of what she claims to believe (taken from conversation with Kimkins Admins, August 1, 2007):

"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).

I don't think we can fight the "1200 calorie a day mentality". Some people cannot understand that your body takes the calories it needs from body fat if the calories you eat are too low to sustain current weight. If you need 2500 calories (250 lb person) and eat 500 (number picked for easy math), the other 2000 are taken from body fat....

I don't believe in starvation mode. I cannot and will not say anything about minimum calories. A grilled chicken breast and a 1 cup USDA serving of mixed greens is 200 calories. It just is. Adding fats or starches isn't "healthier" to up the calories."

Heidi would also regularly compare victims in concentration camps surviving on 300-600 calories or less a day. What she failed to acknowledge in this analogy was that most of those prisoners DIED. Many due to starvation. It was because of those horrible restrictions that the Geneva Convention specifically addressed the treatment of POW's and their dietary needs.

I have often compared the symptoms that many people have experienced utilizing the low calories that NATURALLY come by using the Kimkins program, to the side effects experienced by anorexics. I have seen bits and pieces of the scientific studies on this, however none more concise than those found in a study recently provided to me by a reader here on my blog.

"Sixboymom said:

Christin, I'm not sure if you remember me, I'm sixboymom from the kimkins site. Anyway, I read this article yesterday, and it explained to me what I went through after starting Kimkins the first time. I never got as bad as the sever cases, but I did develop MANY of the symptoms. I wanted to pass along for other Kimkins survivors to see.

The Effects of Semi-Starvation"

This study, performed on men, consisted of restricting their calories to HALF of what they were accustomed to eating. If these participants were eating according to average consumption for men, that would be approximately 3000 calories. Half would then be about 1500 calories for the purposes of a SEMI-STARVATION study. This is more than DOUBLE what the average person on a strict Kimkins diet is eating.

Many of these symptoms I experienced and didn't even realize that it was due to my eating habits. For example:

"One of the most of the striking changes that occurred in the volunteers was a dramatic increase in food preoccupations. The men found concentration on their usual activities increasingly difficult, because they became plagued by incessant thoughts of food and eating."

"...as well as corresponding declines in interest in sex and activity during semistarvation"

"They made what under normal conditions would be weird and distasteful concoctions," (This reminded me of the "weird" concoctions that I made while participating in the Egg White Challenge)

"Sexual interests were likewise drastically reduced....One subject graphically stated that he had 'no more sexual feeling than a sick oyster.'... The fact that starvation perceptibly altered sexual urges and associated conflicts is of particular interest, since it has been hypothesized that this process is the driving force behind the dieting of many anorexia nervosa patients."

"As the 6 months of semistarvation progressed, the volunteers exhibited many physical changes, including gastrointestinal discomfort; decreased need for sleep; dizziness; headaches; hypersensitivity to noise and light; reduced strength; poor motor control; edema (an excess of fluid causing swelling); hair loss; decreased tolerance for cold temperatures (cold hands and feet); visual disturbances (i.e., inability to focus, eye aches, "spots" in the visual fields); auditory disturbances (i.e., ringing noise in the ears); and paresthesias (i.e., abnormal tingling or prickling sensations, especially in the hands or feet"

The list goes on. I would encourage you to take a few minutes to read this article as it is very informative. Thank you Sixboymom, yes, I do remember you. I hope that your health has turned around and that you are improving now. Heidi, I ask you again, please show me the proof that Starvation Mode does not exist. I would wager that you will be hard pressed to find it.


Nancy Ellyn said...

Great post, as always. You are doing a great service, spreading the word and informing others of your experience! Kudos!

WildAngel said...

Excellent post, Christin.

It is really frightening to read this information and realize that no one really knows what the long term damage Kimkins will have on people, and just how many people she has hurt; is hurting; and will hurt; before she is shut down.

This just puts more emphasis on the reason why we have to work harder stop Kimkins ASAP, before she has time to do more damage than she already has.

Magicsmom said...

Thank God we all made it out of the land of the semi-starving! Great post, Christin!

theTRUTH said...

Funny that without seeing this, I released a PW from 5 months earlier where she uses almost the exact same language about calories. Some of us were very fortunate indeed to escape before we had serious problems. I hope current members read and heed these warnings.

New Wordpress blog: http://thetruthinhiding.wordpress.com/

Becky said...

Great post, Christin! I hope any remaining Kimkins dieters read and heed it.

Sixboymom left a similar comment on my blog (thanks, Marcy!) and I had the same reaction you did. How awful to think of so many Kimkins people having (and mostly ignoring) those problems, because we believed Heidi Diaz that there was "no such thing as starvation mode". After all, Heidi had lost so well and maintained easily, right? We wanted the same 'results', so we figured she knew what she was talking about. Yet now, seeing pictures of Heidi Diaz shows us the REAL 'results' of doing Kimkins.

I continue to hear from people who had the types of symptoms described in that study, but dismissed them as unrelated, or minor, or temporary, or as 'worth it'. It is really sad and eye-opening.

One thing the article discusses is how long it took for the study subjects to get back to 'normal' even after a fairly short time on the diet study, and how a few had such adverse effects that they were unable to continue the program. Considering the participants had been carefully selected for optimum physical and mental health prior to the study, it is no wonder so many struggled on and after Kimkins.

I urge any former or current Kimkins members to read the whole article. The similarities between this starvation study and Kimkins are truly chilling.