Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Kimkins, via Admin Gary, Still Recommending Very Low Calories

This was just posted at Kimkins this morning, December 11, 2007, by Admin Lasttime4me (Gary).

Note my math and comments below.

Lasttime4me (Admin)


Kimkins a low-carb diet and our goal is to eat 20 or less total carbs each day. The percentage of Carbs will be low compared to Fats and Proteins you eat each day. This should not alarm you in any way.

If you eat almost no carbs or low-carbs, protein and fat will naturally be a very high % of calorie intake, since that is all you are eating. If you added carbs, the protein and fat % would go down, even though the amounts didn't. So, don't worry about ratios.

As for overall totals to shoot for, no exact guidelines. Eat from the food lists, to appetite, no more, keeping carbs always below 20, and fats are low as you reasonably can. This IS NOT a fat-free diet so use fats to make your recipe work for YOU!

Now, once you are well on your way, feeling strong and confident, with good appetite suppression working for you, and just looking to make tweaks, the fastest losses seem to be around 800-1200 cals, 30 - 40 grams fat, 60 - 100 grams protein, 8-12 grams (or less) carbs. But, that is NOT an official rule, nor can everyone want to or need to do that.

Make sure you take your multi-vitamin and drink at least 8 glasses of water or MORE!

I do understand the bind Gary is in. During my time at Kimkins, Kimmer repeatedly ignored and refused requests to elaborate on the diet plans or offer more info to answer the many newbie questions for help and specifics. She repeatedly stated that the diet was simple, and she could not understand why anyone would have trouble figuring it out or need more explanation. She directed the moderators to answer the lost and confused 'newbies', for whom she showed little patience.

(I now wonder whether her refusal to elaborate was because she was too busy marketing for new 'sales' to care about the existing members, or because she deliberately wanted to put her Mods and Admins out on the line for her.)

So, I understand that Gary, Singling Lass, and the other experienced members field the same questions over and over and over, that Kimmer should have answered in her published guidelines and ebook. As they have run into those same frustrations, they have begun to do what previous Admins did, which is to compile a bank of "stickies", permanent posts at the tops of the main forum categories that fill in the gaps and answer the questions that come up all the time. It is helpful for members --- but creates a convenient buffer between Heidi Diaz and her dangerous advice. She can then try to blame the Admins for creating the poor advice she is passing along through them.

Now, let's do the math:

Gary advices 800 - 1200 calories, because that is the latest 'Admin-safe' party line, though NOWHERE in the published diet rules has Heidi/Kimkins changed the actual guidelines to say this. If Heidi REALLY believed and wanted to say that, she could write exactly that into her 'simple' bullet-point paragraph guidelines.

Then Gary goes on to give a fairly generous interpretation of the macro-nutrient levels Kimmer has advised. I (and many others) specifically recall Kimmer saying in a scheduled all-site chat one time that the ideal amount of fat for Kimkins was 20 grams a day, 30 tops, but Gary has bumped that up to 30 - 40 grams of fat.

Likewise, over time, I watched as Kimmer revised her recommended protein intake down, from the "at least 70 - 90 grams" she listed at LCF, to the 60 - 80 she first published at her own site, to no officially listed amount, but frequent posts mentioning 60 g and later 50 g. So, Gary's 100 g of protein is quite extravagant by traditional Kimkins standards.

Similarly, Kimkins states 20 or fewer carbs, but Kimmer has always promoted the idea of even lower carb levels for 'deep, real ketosis' and maximum appetite suppression, with 8 - 12 being a commonly mentioned level.

Gary even advises drinking ample water, which Kimmer herself never did.

So, how does his math add up?
Each gram of protein or carbohydrate has 4 calories. Each gram of fat has 9 calories.

Thus, on the high side, Gary's ideal recommendation has 808 calories:
40 g fat x 9 = 360 calories
100 g protein x 4 = 400 calories
12 g carb x 4 = 48 calories
TOTAL: 808 calories

On the low side, Gary's ideal recommendation has 542 calories:

30 g fat x 9 = 270
60 g protein x 4 = 240 calories
8 g carb x 4 = 32 calories
TOTAL: 542 calories

People can try to bump Kimkins up to higher levels all they want, but the actual guidelines, the math, and the culture Kimmer has created just don't support it. She always intended Kimkins to be very low calorie levels, mainly achieved through very low fat levels. She taught it that way, people learned it that way, and that is the only way to get the fast weight loss results she boasted about in her claims (along with the negative health consequences she denied). That is what Kimkins is, and what it will always be as long as it is Kimkins. That is Kimmer's way.

Frankly, that is the way MANY people at Kimkins (or doing the diet elsewhere) STILL do it, in spite of Jeannie Baitinger's recent efforts to raise the calorie levels. That is why so few post FitDay links anymore --- they do not want it known how little they actually eat.

The only way to meet Gary's stated ideal calories, which are still considered low by safe medical standards, would be to raise fat to 60 - 85 grams. After all, Kimkins cannot raise carbs too much and still be a low-carb diet that claims an extra-deep level of appetite suppression. Kimkins also cannot raise protein too much higher without triggering gluconeogenesis, the conversion of excess protein to glucose.

Adding good healthy fats is the only way to make Kimkins safe, healthy, and adequate.

It also makes it Atkins.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

KTLA News, Part 4

Heidi Diaz, the founder of the popular internet diet, Kimkins, admitted under oath in sworn deposition that her diet was based on a lie, KTLA investigative reporter Chip Yost reports.

Click here to watch the video of the newscast.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

KTLA Update

An update on the Kimkins story is airing tonight, Wednesday, November 28, with Chip Yost - KTLA Channel 5 News at 10 p.m. Pacific time.

I will post the video link once it airs and goes online.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

The REAL Heidi Diaz

(It has been a while since I posted to this blog. Frankly, it got overwhelming, and I needed a 'real world' break. I do have some things saved as drafts, which I will go back and post over the next week or so. [NOTE: Two are now posted below this.] These are eventful times, and I have a LOT to catch up on. However, this latest is too important not to publish.)

Attorney John Tiedt, representing the plaintiffs in the class action law suit against Heidi K. Diaz/Kimkins, took her sworn deposition on November 12, 2007. The depo lasted from about 10:00 am to about 5:00 pm, with a lunch break.

The entire deposition was video recorded. He has now released a screen shot of Heidi Diaz taken from that recording.

She appeared heavier in person that day than she did in the picture that she posted on her site that same day with her so-called 'confession' and 'apology'.

Ironically, she seems to have told the truth when she said red is her favorite color.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Who's in Charge at Kimkins?

As mounting evidence of continuing criminal fraud and dietary damage has escaped from internet forums and into 'real life' public notice, even Kimmer, who had claimed to be 'completely unconcerned' about it all, has finally had to realize that she is in legal and financial jeopardy. Thus, she recently adopted a new "duck and cover" strategy to try to protect herself and keep the money rolling in.

In an email to members on October 4th, Kimmer announced a 'change of ownership' at Kimkins, and now pretends to be 'gone' from Kimkins. That easily can and will be proven to be completely false.

Why should anyone believe her claim about not running the business anymore, anyway, when she has been proven to lie easily about so many things already, and has freely admitted to using multiple identities for years? After all, the only 'evidence' that she has stepped back is just her own brief emailed statement.

However much she shuffles names and titles and structure, Heidi 'the Kimmer' Diaz is still very much in charge of Kimkins, still perpetuating fraud, and still profiting from every new membership sold. In fact, good authority states that she has been actively posting on the site under 6 or 7 different identities within the last month. [NOTE: Danielle Hauck, wannabefit2, noelle88/Noelle Lawson, Admin, PimpMyDiet, Wonder Woman, and probably dwmcneill] She did take some time off of posting under any for a few days after October 15, when a lawsuit was filed against both Heidi 'the Kimmer' Diaz and the business entity of Kimkins, under any and all aliases.

She has continued to answer questions or comments from her AskKimmer gmail account. People who have emailed supportive messages to her at that address have received this message in return:
I'm still here, but behind the scenes. You can reach me anytime here -- it's just like a PM. No abandonment issues! Everyone still has "direct access". :)
(This statement seems a clever ploy to deflect any possible complaints that she defrauded on her promise of personal coaching for members.)

She also continues to manage and promote the site, by posting testimonials and blog entrees, etc. In typical Kimmer style, one of her most recent blog posts was a stolen cartoon, lifted and used without credit to the author.

Think about it realistically. Who would purchase or otherwise assume liability for a foundering business in a time of scandal and legal crisis like this?
Who, having stepped in to clear up a web of secrecy and deceit, would not then provide full disclosure, introduce themselves, open up communication, calm the members' concerns, and work overtime to correct every bit of wrongdoing?
The notion that the 'new owners' are hiding to avoid exposure by the anti-Kimkins 'haters' is preposterous! That is simply not how legitimate businesses operate.

No, the vague unsubstantiated statement, accompanied by empty assurances, and followed by the banning of anyone who questions the story is very much more of the same Kimmer treatment. Lying and hiding to protect herself while allowing the Admins to do the work, take the heat, and cover for her is very much Heidi's style.

Kimmer had previously discussed in PMs to at least 2 Admins how things might continue to function if she were forced to "leave" for a while. That is all this is ---- a pretense of 'leaving' while waiting for things to 'blow over'. (Not going to happen!)

Some of the less deeply-involved Admins did not know this was coming until the got the same email everyone else did. Just as none of them met the real Kimmer, none of them have met or know anything about the 'new' people, either. However, whether the current Admins know this is a ruse, or sincerely believe Kimmer's story, they are being used, once again, to front for a lie.

Heidi keeps lying, even to her own members, because it's what she does.

Friday, October 19, 2007

The Case Against Heidi Diaz . . .

. . . . Kimkins, and all associated "Does" (meaning aliases, as in John Doe/Jane Doe)

If you would like to see for yourself the extent and nature of the complaints, and the weight of evidence so far gathered against Heidi Diaz/Kimmer/Kimkins, you can access it through a public records search by clicking here.

To log in, enter GUEST in the spot for Operator Code, and leave the password field blank.

On the next screen, enter Diaz as last name, Heidi as first name. (If you do that, it will bring up two cases, the first one being her impending December court date for being in default on student loans, and the second one being this lawsuit.)

and/or enter the Case Number: RIC483005

Scroll down to the last entry, "COMPLAINT FILED FAST TRACK - SUMMONS ISSUED" and click on the little camera icon.

You will be able to download and view 30 pages at a time.
There are 215 pages altogether.

KTLA - Part 3

KTLA Exclusive!!! Internet diet Scam Exposed

In this 3rd installment of his expose' of 'the Kimmer' and the Kimkins diet scam, reporter Chip Yost of KTLA television station in Los Angeles tipped off viewers to some BIG NEWS I have known for some time and had been asked to keep quiet.

In the broadcast on Thursday, October 18, reporter Chip Yost features the fake success stories using stolen 'Russian bride' photos, including Kimmer's infamous 'red dress' fraud.

He leaked news of the rapidly escalating legal challenges facing Heidi K. Diaz (Kimmer) and Kimkins, reported that the lawsuit has already been filed, and that Heidi 'the Kimmer' Diaz will be required to appear for deposition on November 1, 2007.

This is a major milestone in the case against Heidi Diaz/Kimmer, and it is only the beginning of actions that will soon bring a halt to the Kimkins fraud.

To watch Part 3, click here.

The series will continue, as more information surfaces and new developments occur.

I repeat what I said after the last episode, with even more urgency:

Kimkins is winding down, and Kimmer is running out of time.

For any remaining Kimkins members, it is past time to be looking for a new forum to join. This cannot last much longer, and it will not end well.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Kimkins: The Perfect Storm, Part 4

What happens when a deceitful, disordered person promotes effective but defective diet plans which then grow into a dynamic but dysfunctional business?

That confluence forms the perfect recipe for disaster.

The ingredients?
The person, Kimmer/Heidi Diaz
The professional practices of Kimkins
The plans of Kimkins
The plan behind the plans at Kimkins
The people of Kimkins

Now, a look at what has been dubbed the plan behind the plan.

One of the accusations most often leveled against Kimkins concerns what has been dubbed 'the plan behind the plan'. This charge concerns the persistent and well-documented tendency of Kimmer/Heidi Diaz to continually push for very low and even lower and even still lower calories, to promote daily laxative use, and to overlook eating-disordered behavior, all in an effort to see those numbers on the scale move virtually every day.

This was apparently Kimmer's modus operandi at Low Carb Friends (LCF) for years, where the original 'Ask Kimmer' thread is preserved. The trend continued and became even more extreme at the Kimkins site, since Kimmer was essentially unopposed there. In fact, Kimmer's own repeated pronouncements would be perfectly compatible with a pro-anorexia support site rather than any safe and reputable diet support site. Kimmer/Heidi regularly set the standard at 500 - 600 calories per day, and ALWAYS recommended cutting calories deeper when someone was stalled or even simply losing more slowly than desired. This is irrefutable, as many of us can easily document. By doing this, Kimmer formed the culture which inevitably continues to influence Kimkins, no matter what changes those in charge may pretend or promise.

The plans as written are still VLCD, and the 'plan behind the plan' still permeates the culture. In fact, that is the only way that Kimkins can brand itself with its unique selling proposition of "No faster diet. None." The latest ploy is to suggest (*wink, wink*) that everyone get enough healthy fats and a full allowance of vegetables, at least 800 calories daily with cycles of higher calories, plus daily water consumption and daily exercise, plus a full complement of targeted nutritional supplements. With all that, Kimkins wouldn't be Kimkins anymore --- it would be Atkins! And it could no longer promise big losses much faster than the standard 1 -2 lbs. a week that Kimmer has ridiculed so much.

So, is there real evidence of 'the plan behind the plan'? Oh, plenty!!

Did the dieters who developed health problems really 'take it to the extreme' all on their own, against Kimmer's wishes? No way!!

Here are just a few excerpts, out of dozens and dozens of potential examples, with screen shots to back them up:

~~~One member wrote of regularly going almost all day before eating eating anything, and usually taking in 400 - 600 calories a day.

Kimmer replied, "(Name), do what feels right to do. . . . Many of us have to overcome "forcing" ourselves to eat or ignoring when we're "supposed" to eat. Work at it!"

~~~A Kimkins member posted that she was eating less than 500 calories a day, more like 300 calories, but wasn't hungry. She asked if that was enough calories, and if there was no truth to the 'starvation' theory.

Kimmer replied that the body runs fine on stored body fat for all its calories, and gave the equation of exactly how many calories an obese person is carrying with them before they need more fuel. She said, "Want more proof low calories are OK? What about people who have gastric bypass surgery and the very goal of surgery is for them to limit their daily calories to 500! They lose just fine. Any complications are a result of the surgery or pre-existing health conditions brought on by obesity." (Note: this is not correct!) Then, she goes even further and recommends the poster consider long-term fasting, saying Dr. Furhman supervises patients who fast for several months at a time.

~~~ Another member posted that she had eaten 546 calories, and was not hungry, but wondered if she should eat more?

Kimmer replied, "I'm begging you, please don't eat if you're not hungry! We've all got to work on the 'I should' tapes in our head."

~~~One member reported episodes of dizziness and racing heartbeats, and asked if it could be caused by not eating much food. A couple of other members reported similar episodes, which in both cases they related to very low calories and said the episodes went away when they ate more.

Kimmer replied, "I disagree about not taking in enough calories. Water fasters take in 0 calories and their hearts are fine. So long as you have sufficient body fat, there's no problem. You're thin, but not overly so. By all means I'd snack on lean protein and be sure you're getting in the RDA of 60 grams, but it takes very little chicken/beef/eggs to do that."

When the original poster reported doing fine after adding more food in the morning before work, Kimmer replied, "I'm glad you felt better after chicken & cheese, but since neither has any carbs to speak of (and it takes 24-48 hours to synthesize protein), it didn't have an affect on your blood sugar or deficiency."

~~~One member reported that she was trying to keep her calories up to 400, but had only managed that once. She reported days of from 188 to 443 calories, with protein intakes as low 17 grams and fat as low as 7 grams.

Kimmer's response? "Did I tell ya or did I tell ya? It would happen! Don't panic about low calories. . . . Bottom line, as long as you have sufficient body fat you don't need to eat calories -- you're carrying them with you."

Wow! Is she claiming that people who are overweight don't even need calories at all?

When my own weight loss slowed to a crawl on Boot Camp, part of Kimmer's response was, "Someone can "eat clean" and still be too high in calories, even if they're low by other diet standards. Certainly no one would think 900 calories a day is "high", [Note: I was NOT eating that much] but it's 3 times as much as someone doing the Egg White Challenge at 300 calories a day. Weight loss will be different. Don't forget people who dabble in days of fasting, too."

When we original admins confronted Kimmer with our concerns, her response about low calories was, "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."

Wow! As if 500 calories wasn't low enough, was her REAL intention 200 calories all along? (Notice how she dragged in starches when no one had said anything about that.)

As for some people at Kimkins dismissing or casting doubt on the health issues of former Kimkins dieters by saying 'no one really knows' how they ate, or that they 'took it too far' all on their own - not true! Until recently, most of the people there made their food journals public, and many posted to the Daily Menu thread, where very low calories were the norm and the goal. Kimmer herself posted to the menu thread for a good while, and reviewed many journals, always favoring lower calories.

Christin wrote an excellent blog entry on this very point: Used or Abused?

In response, I posted a comment excerpted here:
It is beyond belief that anyone would honestly say you abused the plan. You EPITOMIZED the plan. You were Kimmer's star pupil, her protege, her chosen cover girl. Kimmer checked and approved your FitDay more than once, and always suggested even more cuts to lower things. You were the one Kimmer asked to cover the 'Ask Kimmer' thread for her. You were the one Kimmer selected to run the Kimkins 'Loser Line' Chats. You were the one whose "FAQ: How I Did It" thread was pinned up at the top of the main forum for all to see and follow, with Kimmer's full support and blessing. You and your 300 calorie egg-white days were the example she threw in my face when I complained that the diet wasn't working as promised. You are STILL the one whose weight loss story is on the front page of the site, to sell memberships!

In fact, Kimmer's comment on Christin's FAQ thread was, "Brava, girl!"

What about the allegations of Kimmer recommending daily laxative use for weight loss?

"How about just doing a 25% dosage for a couple of days? Well, actually every day to compensate for the lack of veggie fiber . . . . I predict you'll absolutely have a "whoosh", LOL."

"If anybody is doing MoM
[Note: Milk of Magnesia], it needs to be a daily thing since Kimkins is low in fiber. If you take MoM and get "action", then stop taking MoM, everything will begin backing up again and the scale will show a fake gain.

Are we going to be laxative addicts? No. Once you're close to goal and begin adding back good higher fiber carbs (not Twinkies!), things will move on their own. Or maybe not? The market is chock full of laxatives and not everyone who's buying them is doing low carb so there must be a serious constipation problem out there!

A reminder for dosage is take the maximum dose the first (and maybe second) night, then a 25% or 50% dose every night thereafter."

I could give so many more examples of Kimmer actively encouraging extremely low calories, fasting for weight loss, daily laxative use, and of her being either oblivious or accepting of eating-disordered behavior. Personally, I have come to believe that is how she once lost some weight, though that approach left her unable to reach goal and maintain it, as she claimed. I believe she herself is extreme and disordered in her eating, and that will always eventually come through in any eating plan or diet site she is part of --- and she is still in charge of Kimkins, have no doubt.

Whether recommending and supporting members in attempts to fast off 100 lbs., or to eat nothing but egg whites or nothing but fish for months at a time, she was and is the driving force of 'the plan behind the plan' that created the Kimkins culture.

When I first read these types of things, I thought I must have been misunderstanding --- that Kimmer could not possibly mean what it seemed like she was saying. I thought maybe she just lacked social or communication skills. After a while, as I began to realize how extreme her views really are, I tried to mitigate and buffer them as best I could with a more reasonable and balanced approach.

At times, though, I still felt myself being sucked into the vortex of ever-lower calories for continuing losses. Even as an intelligent middle-aged woman, I sometimes caught myself toying with the flitting idea of a few days of fasting or a dose of laxative tea, just to see the scale reach a magic number. It frightened me.

Anyone at Kimkins who has avoided 'the plan behind the plan' did so in spite of Kimmer, no thanks to her.

The 'plan behind the plan' IS the plan.
The rest was just a front.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

'Professional' Practices of Kimkins, Take 3: The Infamous Red Dress Picture

As if any further proof of fraudulent business practices at Kimkins by Kimmer/Heidi is needed, check this out:

This is the beautiful 'red dress' picture that Heidi/Kimmer posted on the new Kimkins site in late May, 2007, claiming it was her current 'after' picture. She even told stories of the photo shoot, of needing a few glasses of wine to loosen up, of how the photographer had her twist and turn to look her best, how the lighting and filters were 'kind' to her. She 'modestly' accepted praise for her beauty, gave credit for her youthful appearance to her supposed Retin-A routine, gave credit to 'good genes' for her firm muscle tone.

Kimmer's target market, primarily desperate, overweight women, were to believe that this was the current photo of an almost 50-year old woman who had lost almost 200 pounds in less than a year, and maintained it. In actual fact, it turns out to be the stolen photo of a 27-year old Russian mail-order bride named Lesya. See the original source here.

Here is another photo of Lesya from that same Russian agency:
(Thanks go to buzzybee of LCF for this discovery.)

This photo has recently been removed from the Kimkins website, but, at the time of this writing at it can still be seen as Kimmer's 'after' shot on various newsletters and blogs around the internet, not to mention in archived copies stored for the legal authorities.

Kimmer played upon the hopes and fears and deepest emotions of an already vulnerable group of people. She eagerly sold them the lies she knew they so fervently wanted to hear, with her full assurance that she could help them achieve their dreams, as she claimed she had done. She exploited the photos of these Russian mail-order brides, who are an already exploited group of women. Then she used these photos to exploit tens of thousands of trusting customers who were willing to risk $60 on the fond hope these wonderful results could be theirs as well.

That is not only immoral---it is illegal.
It is not just a bad business judgment --- it is fraud.

And, at this late stage of the game, those associated with Kimkins who knowingly suppress this evidence, or delete posts pointing out this evidence, may be seen as accessories after the fact to fraud, and share in the guilt.

Friday, October 5, 2007

The 'Professional' Practices of Kimkins, Revisited

On 9/27, I wrote:
~ Fraudulent Marketing: In her marketing campaign, she lied to prospective members by spamming Craigslist with fake listings to plug Kimkins, by posting phony 'articles' and answers and numerous blogs for Kimkins all over the internet under various names, by promoting Kimkins with false implied celebrity endorsements specifically to target teens, and primarily by posting numerous fraudulent 'success' stories with 'lifted' and photoshopped 'before' and 'after' pictures. She also made numerous claims she had no proof of or right to make, in violation of FTC regulations.

A recent breakthrough brought irrefutable proof of this false advertising. Struck by the thought that certain 'success story' models looked vaguely Eastern European, former Kimkins member vanillasky (aka Cilantro at lowcarbdiscussion, or Caro at LCF) decided to check Russian 'mail-order bride' sites, and soon stumbled upon a photo that Kimmer had claimed was an 'after' image of a Kimkins success. As news of that discovery spread across the internet, many other people, primarily a large contingent from LCF, began searching various similar sites, finding phony 'success' after 'success' very quickly.

They also found that the names Kimmer and Kimmer2 were already taken at some of those Russian site forums.

Remember "Kim Drake' in the leopard print blouse from Woman's World?

At the time of this writing, the group's efforts have uncovered the real photos of:
'Kim Drake', the alias that Heidi/Kimmer used in Woman's World magazine
'Vanessa', imaginary Kimkins Affiliate Manager
21 false 'success stories'

and are continuing to search for more.

See them all here at Kimkins Exposed.

It is now evident that Kimkins actually has very few verifiably real success stories.
At least one prominent success story freely admits to using Kimkins less than half of the time. Another one used another low-carb plan instead of Kimkins.

Even worse, at least half of the real success stories have now renounced Kimmer and Kimkins completely, and been banned from membership. Many of those have filed cease and desist orders, to have the use of their names, images, and stories completely removed from the site.

These photos seems to be clear evidence of criminal fraud. This information has been turned over to the proper authorities.

Kimkins is collapsing.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

KTLA - Part 2

KTLA Exclusive!!! Internet diet Scam Exposed

Watch Part 2 here.

In this broadcast from Wednesday, October 3, reporter Chip Yost highlights the health risks associated with Kimkins as well as the looming legal problems facing Heidi K. Diaz (Kimmer) and Kimkins.

The series will continue, as more information surfaces and new developments occur.

Kimkins is winding down, and Kimmer is running out of time.

For any remaining Kimkins members, it is past time to be looking for a new forum to join. This cannot last much longer, and it will not end well.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

This just in . . . . . .

The KTLA website proclaims: KTLA Exclusive!!! Internet diet Scam Exposed

Part 1 of a series exposing Kimmer of the Kimkins diet aired Tuesday, Oct. 2, at 10 PM on KTLA television in Los Angeles.

Part 2 is due to air Wednesday, Oct. 3.
Chip Yost is the investigative reporter working on this story.

Watch the video of Part 1 here.

The voice heard is unmistakably that of Kimmer, heard on the phone interview podcast with Jimmy Moore. Others who have spoken to Kimmer on the phone confirm that it is definitely her voice.

Other recent information sheds even further confirmation on the fact that Kimmer of Kimkins definitely IS Heidi Diaz as seen on this video, and definitely is NOT the 'lady in the red dress' previously presented as Kimmer's 'after' photo.
Watch for further developments as this unfolds.

Robert Charlton of Alliance Investigative Services, the private investigator working on this case, describes the surveillance in more detail here.

This controversy has now spilled from internet diet sites out into the real world, and it will only spread from here. The end is near for Kimkins.

Once again, I plead with the few remaining Admins of Kimkins to walk away, far and fast, in case it is not too late.

I plead with the members remaining at the Kimkins site to really examine the evidence with an open mind and heart. Whatever you may think about the motives of those on 'the other side' and however poorly or hurtfully it may at times have been conveyed, please just be willing to examine the preponderance of evidence, and realize that there is even more that is not published here, but is in the hands of authorities even at this moment.

There is a reason this is newsworthy, and it is not a jealous business vendetta, or overly-dramatic bloggers or bored online posters, as Kimkins members have been told. It would not have gotten this far if it was just a smear campaign with no basis. This is making the news, and will continue to make bigger news, because Heidi K. Diaz is defrauding the public with reckless disregard for their health and safety.

Leave Kimkins and find an online home elsewhere now, where you can continue to lose weight in a supportive and healthy environment. Soon, you will have no choice anyway, because the Kimkins site as you knew is going, and will soon be gone.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Kimkins: The Perfect Storm, Part 3

What happens when a deceitful, disordered person promotes effective but defective diet plans which then grow into a dynamic but dysfunctional business?

That confluence forms the perfect recipe for disaster.

The ingredients?
The person, Kimmer/Heidi Diaz
The professional practices of Kimkins
The plans of Kimkins
The plan behind the plans at Kimkins
The people of Kimkins

Now, a look at the diet plans of Kimkins.


Kimmer is on record as saying that she initially lost weight as a 16 year-old single welfare mom by following Dr. Stillman's Quick Weight Loss Diet. This was known as the most severe and strict ketogenic diet possible - until Kimkins came along. The Stillman QWL diet promised and delivered quick weight loss, but had some associated health risks related to rapid weight loss. Though weight loss was fast, Stillman's was not considered a good diet to follow long-term, and maintenance was often problematic

Kimmer may have proven that true, as she has reported that her weight fluctuated up and down over the years, mostly up. She has also reported early diagnosis of thyroid problems. Still, weight regain and yo-yo dieting are common enough, and many of us have been there, and can understand those struggles.

About seven years ago, she joined Low Carb Friends, where it seems she initially followed some form of Dr. Atkins 1972 diet, as her FitDay entries and the recipes she later posted at the Kimkins site would seem to indicate. During this process, she also posted about multiple, lengthy fasting experiments, citing the medically-supervised fasts of Dr, Joel Fuhrman. Before too long, she claimed amazingly fast weight loss results, 198 lbs. gone in 11 months, though she offered no proof, and her published weight statements at the time do not seem to bear out her claims. Certainly, her own FitDay menus and recipes were more generous than what the Kimkins diet was later to become, and she seemed to rely on fasting for much of her 'loss', and for her claimed 'success' in maintenance. Nevertheless, she freely promoted her expertise with great certainty, and began to be sought as a diet guru by desperate dieters there. As her audience grew, she began recommending lower and lower fat and calories, so that others could lose as quickly as she had claimed to do. She took the low-fat cheese out of Stillman's, almost all fat, fatty meats, and dairy out of Atkins, and dropped their advice about water, exercise, supplements, multiple meals a day, and stepping up to maintenance in stages, among other things. Along the way, her personal tweaks and combinations of Stillman's and Atkins was dubbed Kimkins, and a diet disaster was spawned.

The Appeal of the Plans

Let's face it - most overweight people struggle with weight loss, because it is just plain hard, and sometimes seems almost impossible. Perhaps only one who has been seriously overweight for some time can understand just how helpless and hopeless that feels. Kimmer offered herself as a shining example of 'one of us' who found the magic secret, the keys to the kingdom, the holy grail of weight loss, and would share these mysteries with those would follow 'Kimmer's way'. It seemed too good to be true, as many who followed Kimkins were elated with amazingly fast losses. Seeing pounds drop quickly is a powerful incentive, both to stick to the diet, and to defend it against any detractors. It can be tremendously appealing and empowering.

However, things that seem too good to be true, usually are. Regrettably, Kimkins has dangerous side that sometimes shows up early on, but often not until much later, after the damage has been done. Now that the diet has been popular for a while and been followed by a larger population, health problems are beginning to appear more and more, and it remains to be seen what the full impact of the diet will eventually be.

The Problems with the Plans

Kimmer began with recognized diets designed and tested by MDs, who wrote complete books full of solid information and explanations, including precautions and safeguards, documented by peer-reviewed studies and years of clinical practices with many thousands of patients. That basis was sound, had it been left at that. The problems came in when she began to twist and tweak and push the diets past responsible limits and strip them of their safety rails. Though she tried to claim the Kimkins plans were safe and medically-approved because they were 'based on' diets originally developed by doctors, her changes made that no longer true. Her claim to be the prime 'test case' for the efficacy of her own plans has turned out to be horribly false. Now that a sufficiently large population sample has paid for the 'privilege' of being Kimkins 'guinea pigs' for a sufficient period of time, the harmful flaws in the diets are starting to show up with alarming effects.

~ The original Kimkins is a stripped-down, low-fat version of Atkins.
~ Kimmer's Experiment (K/E) is a stripped-down version of Stillman's.
~ Boot Camp is Kimkins (or K/E) with even lower fat and very strict portion control, plus required exercise. It was was based on a fictitious 'success story' which has since been removed.
~ The Shake Option, added after protein shakes became favored by some of the members, was based on liquid protein-sparing modifed-fasting programs like MediFast.
~ The Vegetarian Option was simply adapted to appeal to that segment of the market.

All Kimkins plans as written are low carb, which gave them an air of legitimacy to many low-carbers. Responsible low-carb diets usually work very well for better health and well-being, reduced cravings, and good weight loss. Many who found Kimkins their entry into low-carb dieting have been thrilled with the benefits of low-carb eating. Many give Kimkins credit for results that rightly derive from Atkins.

In addition, despite recent disavowals to the contrary, all Kimkins plans are written and intended to be very low fat,which at first seems to make sense by common diet sensibilities. However, as I have heard so many reports of people having such severe side effects, I have researched more, and found that the combination of low-carb with very low-fat turns out NOT to be healthy after all. It leaves little for fuel or nourishment except lean protein, a condition long documented as "rabbit starvation", which is a "form of acute malnutrition caused by excess consumption of rabbit meat (and possibly other lean meats) coupled with a lack of other sources of nutrients. Symptoms include diarrhea, headache, lassitude, a vague discomfort and hunger that can only be satisfied by consumption of fat or carbohydrates." It can also contribute to something called hyperammonemia, with symptoms such as dehydration, lethargy and weakness, severe loss of appetite, even to the point of nausea, vomiting and anorexia. (SNATT, anyone?)

Kimmer has repeatedly stated that the plans as written are meant to be only moderate protein, thus effectively limiting even the main source of food allowed --- lean protein.

Thus, the overall inevitable effect of all Kimkins variations, as written, is that Kimkins is first and foremost a very-low-calorie diet (VLCD), with all the thoroughly well-documented harms associated with VLCDs. Though recently Kimkins staff and members have tried to downplay and even revise the very low-calorie aspects of Kimkins due to public pressure and threat of legal charges, there is absolutely no denying that the plans, as written, have always promoted and even required very low calorie consumption. Kimmer is well-documented in hundreds of places, at LCF, on the Kimkins site, in her newsletters and blog articles, PMs, and emails, recommending a calorie consumption of 500-600 calories or less daily. Even today, the Kimkins Vegetarian option has a top limit of 1000 calories, and Kimmer is on record as saying that it is the slowest of all Kimkins plans, because the calories are higher than the other options allow. For a long time, Kimmer promoted the Boot Camp menu as the ideal thing to follow, at 500 - 600 calories, and said the shake option, properly done with only 3 or 4 protein shakes would come in even faster than that.

While current studies seem to promise benefit from mild calorie restriction, many decades of ample scientific research consistently find severe consequences from VLCD programs. Read sources of VLCD research, including here for more details and documentation of effects such as: weakness, dizziness, insomnia, nausea, constipation, diarrhea, dry skin, severe hair loss, menstrual changes, intolerance to cold, sagging skin, gout, gallstones, osteoporosis, 22 - 25% reduction in metabolic rate, severely diminished thyroid function, and cardiac disturbances up to and including sudden death due to "ventricular arrhythmia after prolonged use (median 5 months) of very low calorie weight reduction regimens consisting entirely or largely of protein".

In addition, those on VLCD programs are much more apt to develop eating disorders, and are especially prone to binge eating. Furthermore, they do not fare well in maintenance. Research recommendations are that VLCDs should be followed for no more than 4 weeks at a time, with 2 month intervals in between, with extensive nutritional supplementation, and under close and careful medical supervision including cardiological monitoring before, during, and after the diet.

All that is a very far cry from an unqualified and unsuccessful dieter giving a brief list of vague guidelines, a food list, and a forum where untrained members give each other their opinions and advice.

Any recent attempts to scrub the site of foolish advice, to add disclaimers, to lay off the laxative and SNATT talk, to increase calories or to 'cycle' a week of Kimkins with a week of 'something else' is merely a belated attempt to protect Kimmer, not the members. Too many people have very clear proof of her hurtful insistence to cut lower and lower all the time, and to refuse to even consider changing her advice in any way, even in the face of pleading from her previous staff concerned about documented health problems of members. When it only affected others, she refused to even acknowledge the possibility she could be wrong; when she finally realized it would have repercussions for her, suddenly the plans began to change overnight. If they were so right and safe before, why change them now? Changing them now is an admission that they were unsafe and medically indefensible before. If Kimkins is how Kimmer 'lost weight', and "there is no faster diet, none", then what will be the Kimkins claim to fame when it is selling Atkins?

And what will be the fallout when those who once trusted her diet and were so thrilled to lose weight quickly later find that she used and misused us, at the expense of our health? Will we be glad we got the weight off in 6 months instead of a year or so, when our hair and skin and bones and muscle are thinning and aging rapidly, and when our thyroid function and metabolism has slowed to such a crawl that we cannot keep the weight off with any kind of reasonable diet? If we find ourselves disordered in our thinking about eating, like so many other ex-Kimkins dieters have been experiencing, swinging from binging to restricting and back again, will it matter then that Kimmer didn't know what she was talking about, and never could get it to work for herself, either? Will we realize then why she didn't provide an adequate ebook with solid science and strategies, or a maintenance plan that wasn't essentially yo-yo dieting? The VLCD-induced euphoria of rapid weight loss will be wiped out in a moment if we develop heart damage.

Bear this in mind: the very best parts of Kimkins come from Atkins or similar low-carb plans. We might not lose as fast that way, perhaps, but we can lose safely and with more satisfaction, avoiding damage and complications down the line.

Admittedly, some of us already have lower metabolic rates or thyroid issues, and do need to watch calories as well as carbs, as Dr. Atkins said. (Reminding the low-carb community of this may be Kimmer's one positive contribution.) Atkins' books, as well as others, show how to do that safely. The exact number of calories any of us needs to lose safely and successfully may vary from person to person, but still, we all do have a number, a basal metabolic rate, that we cannot drop below for long without negative consequences. We only fool ourselves if we think we have found the magic formula for weight loss that lets us circumvent the body's defenses and get away with it.

Kimmer has said repeatedly that there is nothing about adding fats that would be healthier. That is completely false! Essential fatty acids are just that --- essential --- and MUST come from the diet, not from stored body fat, or our health will certainly suffer.

Kimmer has said repeatedly that we don't need any certain level of calories if we are still overweight. That is also completely false, as literally scores of good peer-reviewed research findings prove time and again! The harmful effects of VLCD plans cited above were studied in overweight and obese patients who restricted calorie to 800 or lower, even with good nutrient sources and medical monitoring.

Kimmer has said repeatedly that eating disorders are a matter of the mind and emotions, not the body, and that eating low calories does not in any way equate to eating disorders. Once again, that is completely false! We are getting new reliable reports every day of ex-Kimkins members struggling with the effects of eating disorders. It may be that Kimkins attracts a high proportion of predisposed individuals, but many of these are people who never had eating disorders before Kimkins. These are women who trusted Kimmer, who bought a diet they thought was safe, who posted on the forums with us, and who now face a devastating struggle with a potentially deadly disorder triggered by their choice of diet.

This is what we need to realize: people with eating disorders suffer ill health, and 20% of them will die from their disorder.

They do not become ill or die from the thoughts in their head, but from their eating behaviors.

SO, even if we do not have the thoughts and emotional patterns of an actual eating disorder, IF WE EAT THE SAME WAY AS PEOPLE WITH ANOREXIA DO, OUR BODIES WILL SUFFER THE EXACT SAME DAMAGE!

This is what people with drastic hair loss and amenorrhea and muscle wasting due to malnutrition, and with thrashed thyroid function, esophageal spasms, and even heart damage are discovering. They were once happy to be losing on Kimkins, too, until their problems started. It often takes a while to show up, and we can expect to see even more of it in the months and possibly years to come.

A Better Plan

If you want to do Kimkins as Kimmer has always intended and promoted it - realize you are playing with fire, and you'll get burned, sooner or later. ALL of the Kimkins plan variations are woefully deficient nutritionally, and some worse than others. Though the rapid weight loss is exciting at the time, many are now wishing they had taken a slower and safer path, having found that after effects simply are not worth it.

If you want to lose weight safely, please follow Atkins or another reliable low-carb method, at as high a calorie and nutrient level as will allow you to lose at the standard and safe rate. Don't even bother to call it Kimkins, because it won't be; Kimmer never built those safety precautions in for you. You need a healthier diet and a healthier support system. You have many options available

I did not follow Kimkins nearly as strictly as many have done, and not nearly as strictly as Kimmer advocated. I felt actually wonderful most of the time, unless my calories and fats went too low, as I have discussed previously. Still, I must admit to having had some 'slight' side effects, the occasional fleeting moments of dizziness or heart palpitation that I chose to dismiss at the time. Near the end, my skin tone and muscle tone suffered, and my hair is coming out at an alarming rate. I hope I have avoided anything worse. It is distressing to realize that how I have eaten and what I have encouraged was just plain wrong. I hope I can help someone avoid my mistakes by speaking up, though I sincerely wish I had learned and realized all this much sooner. I was lied to, as we all have been, and I guess I just wanted so desperately to believe it was true.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Kimkins: The Perfect Storm, Part 2

What happens when a deceitful, disordered person promotes effective but defective diet plans which then grow into a dynamic but dysfunctional business?

That confluence forms the perfect recipe for disaster.

The ingredients?
The person, Kimmer/Heidi Diaz
The professional practices of Kimkins
The plans of Kimkins
The plan behind the plans at Kimkins
The people of Kimkins

Now, a look at the professional practices of Kimkins.

Kimmer first gave out her brand of diet advice (as well as hair care and skin care tips) for years on Low Carb Friends, which garnered both followers and foes. I am not sure when the idea of her own site first began in her mind, whether it was all a carefully-laid plan, or just an opportunity too good to pass up when it arose. Judging from her track record of not sticking very long with any one thing (whether it be school or work or a relationship), I would guess that it was the latter. My conjecture is that she joined the diet site in all sincerity, hoping to lose weight like anyone else. She probably learned some things and had some initial success, but then, being Kimmer, she just couldn't help embellishing things a bit, highlighting her successes and ignoring her failings, amplifying it more and more, becoming more extreme over time, as it began to attract some attention. Gradually, the gap between her words and her actions widened, as she could not follow through with her knowledge and intentions, but could not allow herself to back down and admit it, either.

She may have done what many of us have done ---- promised herself to get back on track tomorrow, next week, next month, try to be extra strict to make up for it, only to give in to her old ways again. Her real life wasn't working for her at all --- but online she could be the best possible version of herself, everything she every dreamed of, until perhaps she came to believe it herself. The attention and approbation were too addicting.

At some point, it seems, delusion reigned supreme, and there was no backing down. As her claims became more grandiose and her polarizing presence began to dominate and draw heat more and more at the LCF forum, another member, Catherine, approached her with the idea of an ebook and a website to sell it. (Read more here.) I think it was the brass ring, the golden goose, and Kimmer/Heidi grabbed at the opportunity. Once that thought was there, I do believe Kimmer purposely aggravated her enemies and gathered her fans even more, setting the stage for her big exit. Soon, 'Kimmer' flounced off in a huff, and Kimkins.com was launched as a partnership between Heidi Diaz, supposed diet guru and Catherine McDonald, tech expert.

In the early days of the Kimkins website, Kimmer seemed to have it all --- a successful diet plan, satisfied customers who were easy to please, low overhead, and a competent business partner who made her ideas work. Her departure from LCF calmed down hostilities quite a bit all around, and Kimmer was left to operate her own site in her own little corner of the internet with little interference. If she had made the right moves then, Heidi/Kimmer might possibly have been able to continue on course to a legitimate business success for quite some time to come. However, because Kimmer at her core is a fraud, it was inevitable that any enterprise built on that basis would soon begin to crumble.

Kimmer was not only a fraud in her own personal claims of large, rapid weight loss, but she soon began building the business of Kimkins around fraud at virtually every level --- member service, marketing, and management.

~ Fraudulent Member Service: She lied to her members about the safety and efficacy of her diet plans, leading them to believe her plans were safely based on the recognized plans of doctors such as Dr. Atkins and Dr. Stillman, while continuing to push them ever farther away from the cautions and sensible limits of those plans. She assured members it was safe, because, after all, it had worked so well for her, or so she said. She also began to be less and less available to members, despite her promised member benefit of 'personal coaching'. She ignored or gave inadequate and misleading answers to valid member concerns. This was because she apparently preferred to spend her energies on marketing, to keep new paying customers coming in the front door while leaving the members mostly on their own to look out for one another.

~ Fraudulent Marketing: In her marketing campaign, she lied to prospective members by spamming Craigslist with fake listings to plug Kimkins, by posting phony 'articles' and answers and numerous blogs for Kimkins all over the internet under various names, by promoting Kimkins with false implied celebrity endorsements specifically to target teens, and primarily by posting numerous fraudulent 'success' stories with 'lifted' and photoshopped 'before' and 'after' pictures. She also made numerous claims she had no proof of or right to make, in violation of FTC regulations.

~ Fraudulent Management: Heidi/Kimmer entered into partnership with Catherine originally under false pretenses, and continued to lie to her about many things, including the source of the 'success stories'. It also appears that Heidi skimmed a certain part of the gross proceeds from the partnership before profits were split, by funneling income to supposed affiliate accounts which actually led back to her. It is unclear whether proper legal or tax filings were ever made, though it does not appear they were.

In matters big and small, every bit of the Kimkins enterprise was fraught with deception. It was bound to catch up to her sooner or later.

Before too long, Catherine began to have concerns about Heidi's integrity, and backed out of the partnership. At this point, Kimmer claims to have brought in 4 other partners to finance Catherine's buyout, but this is highly doubtful. For one thing, one of the partners she claims to have brought in at that time is Heidi Diaz, but photographic and written evidence clearly shows that Kimmer herself is Heidi Diaz. (For example, Kimmer has always acknowledged that Catherine was her partner in the beginning, and Catherine signed the original partnership agreement with Heidi Diaz.) Other names mentioned as possible 'partners' include Dennis Sharp (her son), Vanessa Sharp and/or Romero (Vanessa Romero is her niece), Nicki or Nikki Sharp, and Tish Diaz. It is extremely unlikely that these relatives are actually working, decision-making partners as Kimmer leads people to believe. It is possible they put up some money so Heidi could buy out Catherine; it is possible she got money from them under some other pretext; it is very possible they know little or nothing, and she is just using their names to seem like a larger and more legitimate enterprise. Nicki and later Vanessa disappeared from the "Meet Your Team' roster some time ago, so it is possible they were based on actual people who became aware of the use of their identities, and protested it.

I have seen various things supposedly 'written' by some of those names and now Brad Johnson. To me. they all have the same unmistakable writing style, and are all almost surely written by Heidi herself, who freely admits to writing frequently under various male and female names. No one has ever spoken or communicated with any of them, except through Kimmer, and she trotted out the same excuses over and over as to why they were not available. (Usually they were 'called out of town to deal with a sick father'.) Kimmer herself often spoke to me of doing all affiliate payouts and answering affiliate questions, even though she supposedly had an affiliate manager. These 'partners' were probably a construct that Kimmer used to pass blame, as when criticizing someone ('the partners don't think they are getting their money's worth') or floating unpopular ideas ('the partners are pressing to make the fees monthly vs. lifetime membership', which she brought up to me several times), as well as to provide other 'identities' under which to hide income.

In fact, there is no good reason to assume that the entity of Kimkins is anything other than Heidi Diaz sitting at her computer pumping out fraudulent marketing and picking up funds from Paypal and the mailbox, with a tech guy or two working remotely and unaware of the real situation, and paid and unpaid admins and members doing the heavy lifting on the site.

The best of businesses, with a solid business plan and an experienced team of managers would have been hard pressed to absorb the massive explosion of growth that occurred with the Woman's World magazine feature. Kimmer only had forum helpers with very little knowledge of the true nature of the business; after all, she could not afford to bring anyone into her confidence, because she had too many secrets to hide. So, Heidi was suddenly way out of her league. She was gleeful at the funds rolling in, and foolishly thought she could continue to get away with the same type of scamming indefinitely. She was even in contact with Star magazine for another feature. Who knows? Maybe she even thought she could lose the weight, go legit, and make it work. However, her newfound success soon began to cave in on her.

Once thousands of new members hit the site and began trying to understand and apply the diet, the pressure was too heavy and all the cracks in the foundation soon began to appear. Without the personal mentoring and reinterpretation of the diets that new members had received before, the flaws and gaps in Heidi's business soon became very evident. Many of those coming in with fresh eyes clearly saw the disparity between what was promised and what was delivered. Many clearly saw the dangers of the diet plans, all of them. Of the 40,000 or more who joined, most never even tried the diet once they actually saw it, and many who did try it did not stick with it long. Meanwhile, all the massive attention the diet was receiving reignited the smouldering controversy that she thought she had left behind at LCF. However, Heidi did have two things working in her favor: the misplaced support of people like me who encouraged new members to stick with it, and the absolute sheer desperation of overweight people who had almost given up hope. For my own blindness and supporting role in it, I am sick-to-my-stomach sorry, and beg forgiveness.

At this time, Heidi seemed manic with delight over the income rolling in, and eager to spin off new ventures - more magazine and media features, merchandise, and related enterprises like the nutrition business she offered me. She could hardly be bothered with member support or complaints, and brushed off all concerns as something irrelevant, hardly worthy of her attention, even as worrisome side effects and evidences of her dishonesty mounted. Thus, the round of emails I pressed on her, with the results that we admins began to leave and express our concerns and experiences.

Our exits and warnings further precipitated a rash of blockings and bannings, as other members took up the banner and began speaking out. The business of Kimkins is now woefully in breech of the terms of their agreement with their members, who paid for lifetime membership in a healthy and safe diet followed by a woman who lost 198 lbs in 11 months and maintained it, only to be booted without warning when they complained that the diet was unsafe and the owner's story was a lie. Members have had 'privileges' like private messaging and blog links in their signatures revoked, have been flamed and harangued mercilessly for any hint of breaking ranks,and have been banned without warning, redress, or refund on the vaguest pretext of 'violation of Terms of Service', which, like the diet plans and disclaimers, are an ever-moving target, conveniently changed after the fact.

Kimmer had it all --- a million dollar website, a great staff, great member loyalty, and great future prospects. And due to great greed, arrogance, and dishonesty she threw it away.

Kimmer is now behaving like a rat backed into a corner, biting and snarling, while looking for a way to escape unscathed. She is starting to meltdown, trying to cover her tracks and salvage what she can, leaving more of the running of things in the hands of unqualified admins. Perhaps she still thinks she can pull it off, or perhaps she is making her exit plans. As she continues to overestimate herself and underestimate her opponents, she will find, once again, that she has made a grave mistake in waiting too long.

Kimmer is a dangerous fraud, and the business of Kimkins is a dangerous fraud.
Both need to be stopped, and the sooner, the better.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Kimkins: The Perfect Storm, Part 1

What happens when a deceitful, disordered person promotes effective but defective diet plans which then grow into a dynamic but dysfunctional business?

That confluence forms the perfect recipe for disaster.

The ingredients?
The person, Kimmer/Heidi Diaz
The professional practices of Kimkins
The plans of Kimkins
The plan behind the plans at Kimkins
The people of Kimkins

First, the person, Kimmer/Heidi Diaz.

Much could (and has been) said, and more will continue to be speculated about and discovered about Kimmer/Heidi Diaz, I am sure. She is a fascinating person, who came to the attention of the low-carb dieting community by making extreme claims of losing 198 pounds in 11 months with her own extremely low-fat, low-calorie version of Atkins. She soon began to dominate many threads at a low-carb forum (lowcarbfriends.com), where she was the center of many heated arguments over the truthfulness of her claims and the safety of her diet. She would seemingly go from being sweet and helpful to being sarcastic and cruel in a moment. For a long time, she steadfastly refused to post photos of herself to back up her claims. When she eventually did, they were immediately questioned as suspect. Eventually, this erupted into something of a showdown, and Kimmer/Heidi left that site in a huff to start her own paid site, spreading rumors that she had been banned to gain sympathy from followers. Thus it began.

Who is Kimmer? What makes her tick? Ultimately, that will be up to the proper authorities to determine, as they will in due time. For now, since she will not appear to answer honest and legitimate questions, all that is left for others is to examine the apparent evidence collected so far. There is so much out there, and it is sometimes hard to know what is true and what isn't. At this time, it is likely that at least 80% of all the accusations against her are true, and it may be much, much worse than anybody yet knows.

But, she really only needs 1 or 2 of them to be proven true for her to be forced to shut down Kimkins and go to jail.

Here is the main thing that will do it, in my opinion, and it is easy enough to prove in court. It is almost certain that she committed consumer fraud , a federal felony, by lying about her before-and-after weight loss story to sell memberships in Kimkins.com.

She did NOT lose weight down to 118 lbs. years ago and keep it off all this time. She in fact is heavier now than she was in her before photo. She used a false claim and false 'after' photos of herself to sell the site.

It appears she also used other false 'success story' before-and-after photos and 'testimonies'. One uses a well-known model, Louise Vyent, for the 'after' photo, which does not match the before photo. In another, the 'success' tells of meeting Kimmer when Kimmer supposedly volunteered at a Braille Institute (which, when contacted, confirmed never happened.) Other details of Kimmer's story (like being a CASA rep) have been checked with state authorities and proven false. All this and more can be proven beyond any doubt. Thus, she is in violation of FTC regulations, and is guilty of criminal fraud.

That is not even counting a potential federal charge for mail fraud. This stems from the beginning of the site when 'Tippy Toes', current Kimkins PR person Jeannie Baitinger, organized a fundraiser for Kimmer's 'foster kids' and people sent checks through the mail as donations. California authorities have verified that Kimmer did not have foster children at the time, and has not had foster kids for many years. (Family members who have been contacted say it is because she let the middle school-aged foster kids in her care get drunk, and that she is a practicing alcoholic, which I also suspected, from communication with her. A search of court documents has also revealed that she lost custody of her son when he was 13, which verifies the family-member story.) Moreover, even if she had foster kids at the time (which she didn't), it is a violation of foster care regulations to use foster children for fundraising purposes.

And that does not count that she reportedly has been receiving Social Security money for 'disability' all this time, or that she is, according to public court documents, currently in default on a judgment for unpaid student loans.

And all that is apart from a charge of making false medical claims that she is not authorized to make, such as 'Kimkins is perfect for all diabetics"

And, that doesn't even take into account that she has, by all accounts, banned many 'lifetime' members at whim, with no warning, and for no legal basis except vague Terms of Service which were only changed after the fact.

And there is more.

And, that doesn't even account for things that have not yet been verified, but can be proven if they are true. For instance, contacted family members say that the disability payments she is drawing are based on the grounds a mental illness. And, that she has already done jail time in the past as a con artist, who has stolen identities and used other people's Social Security Numbers.

Now Kimmer is trying to pretend that maybe Heidi Diaz did those things, but that she (Kimmer) is not Heidi Diaz. Not true, beyond a doubt in my mind.

Consider this. She has gone by the username 'Kimmer' for years on LCF and several other sites, as well. During all that same time (well before she started Kimkins.com) she also mentioned in more than a few posts as well as to some people who got closer to her that she was Heidi Diaz. In fact, she posted (and the posts are a matter of public record, and go back for years) that she was Heidi Kimberly Diaz, maiden name Miller, born May 10, 1958, in southern California, with an older son born when she was 16, and a younger son Brandon, who is now 18. State records reveal Heidi Diaz's mother's maiden name to be Drake - which matches the name Kim Drake, given to Woman's World magazine.

Heidi and Kimmer, under both names, claim the same location, same birthdate, same marital history, same children, same foster parent/CASA status, same financial history, same weight loss story. People who have communicated with her by email (including me) have sent and received emails from the same person, often about the same conversation, interchangeably as Heidi Diaz or Kimmer. Someone who has called her personal number (namely Christin) has asked for either Heidi or Kimmer, and been given to the same person, either way. Family members have confirmed that the voice of 'Kimmer' heard on the Jimmy Moore phone interview is the voice of Heidi Diaz. The photo that 'Kimmer' has used as her 'before' photo is an exact match to the person seen in the private investigator's recent surveillance photo of Heidi Diaz, seen living in an apartment belonging to Heidi Diaz, driving a car registered to Heidi Diaz, picking up mail at a postal center corresponding to kimkins.com mailing address.

Let me repeat that: Kimmer's 'before' photo clearly matches Heidi Diaz' current photo. It clearly does not match the 'after' photo of the woman in the red dress, which Kimmer posted on her site and claimed was her.

(Photos copied from http://www.lowcarbfriends.com/bbs/kimkins/515944-why-fascination-kimmer-2-a-90.html#post9239265)

In fact, it is only after investigations began closing in that Kimmer began pretending that Heidi was someone else, not her.
She told Jimmy Moore that Heidi was her cousin. She told Christin that Heidi was a friend who worked for her. (I spoke to both of these people, and each volunteered this info independently, before the surveillance photos even came out.) Now, she is telling everyone who will listen that Heidi is just someone who works for her.

And, even if it were true (which it is surely not) that Kimmer and Heidi were two separate people, then they would BOTH be guilty of conspiracy to commit fraud!

'Kimmer's before shows the same person as Heidi's 'after', irrefutably. So, even if they were by some EXTREMELY REMOTE chance of fate not the same person, they most certainly would be co-conspirators.

Even if nothing else turns out to be true, that alone is enough to prove she is not just a self-deceived liar, but guilty of criminal fraud.

Past that, the question of who Kimmer is and how she came to be this way may be debated for quite some time to come.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

There and Back Again, Part 4

We don't see things as they are. We see things as we are.
~ Anais Nin

I didn't mean to write a multi-volume book, but I guess I've been carrying a lot to say for a long time. This part chronicles my disillusionment with and dissolution of my involvement with Kimkins.

By mid-July, the first Woman's World members had been there for about 6 weeks, and things were not as frantically busy on the site. Since I was not as occupied trying to keep up with newbie questions, I had a little more time to poke around the site. I began to wander into sections I hadn't visited and notice things I had not noticed before. Yes, many people were losing amazingly fast, and feeling quite well and happy. Yes, many people had plugged in and made close friends in their groups. I wanted it to just be that way. However, I couldn't help noticing a growing minority who were NOT doing well at all. At first, I thought it was the usual few days of Induction Flu, but the more I read, the more I could see this was ongoing. For many, their moods were poorer, their energy was down, and their weight loss was stalling more and more. Some complained of weakness and dizziness, even fainting. A few reported losing wads of hair. At least one posted that she had to be hospitalized. I saw many more signs of eating disordered thinking and behaviors. I began to hear rumblings of similar cases filtering in.

At first, I didn't understand why these members were struggling in ways that earlier members had not (at least to a degree that I was aware of). Heidi tried to pass it off as individuals 'taking it to the extreme', apparently "too stupid" to notice 'pre-existing' health problems and go to a doctor.

I cannot accept that, for several reasons:
1) These people had no history of pre-existing conditions or problems before the diet.

2) Even if those were pre-existing conditions, a healthy weight loss diet should not trigger those problems to that degree. If this plan put people with previous eating disorders at risk of retriggering them, that should be clearly spelled out with huge warnings. (Not to mention, it simply should not happen.)

3) If the diet could even remotely be responsible for provoking dangerous medical problems, even in a tiny predisposed minority, then the person who took money from them to sell them the diet owed it to them to protect them.

Offering nothing but a one-page list of diet options and a food list, then expecting members and moderators to take it from there, is completely negligent and dangerously irresponsible when people are reporting potentially life-threatening symptoms as a consequence of the diet!

Even if you think people are "stupid", Heidi, if you are willing to take money from "stupid' people, you owe it to them to safeguard them. People should have to deliberately climb over all kinds of warnings and precautions to put themselves in harms' way. That is what legitimate diets and legitimate diet experts do. If coffee cups have to warn people that coffee is hot, what makes you think you can sell a potentially risky diet and then blame the purchasers for getting harmed?! How dare you!

And, how is it that once you were made aware of people being harmed, you denied it, yet put up after-the-fact disclaimers to protect yourself, but have not yet significantly protected the health of your customers?

4) Many of those with frightening medical symptoms were, in fact, not 'taking it to the extreme' but were, in fact, following the diet exactly as written.

I have come to believe that the reason we had not seen more of these problems sooner was simply because enough of the early membership had come from low-carb diet boards that understood the essence of low-carbing, and automatically interpreted the 'just enough fat to make it work' provision to a reasonably sufficient level. We as members had protected ourselves by sharing any prior knowledge, or even accidentally by simply not sticking fully to the plans as written.

But, when the big magazine rush arrived, there was no adequate framework in place to incorporate them --- no promised ebook, no studies, no safeguards, nothing but a few pages of guidelines and a member forum with lots of exuberance and far too few experienced members available. Then, when the new members were told to 'stick to the lists' and 'follow the plan as written', they trusted the diet and actually followed it pretty much as written. Unfortunately, it now appears that some of them suffered some severe consequences as a result of their misplaced trust.

Heidi, why is it that the more closely people 'stick to the lists' and follow your plans as you have written them, the more likely they are to develop these problems?

I have thought long and hard about this, and gradually realized that all the Kimkins variations, strictly taken at face value as written, are in and of themselves nutritionally inadequate. It was only ever the personal 'tweaking' and extra supplementation that we members took upon ourselves to do that ever made any of the plans viable. (I will say more about this in a subsequent post.)

So, at this point in my concerns, and for the first time in the big blur of activity since the magazine, I had occasion to take some time away from the site for a long weekend family trip, and really step back and consider what I was seeing. That same weekend, controversy over the 'Fascination' thread at LCF spilled into the Kimkins forums, from people complaining about 'haters' there. I went to LCF to look. I read what I considered many exaggerated and inflammatory speculations from some who were offended by Kimmer's former treatment of them at LCF, and from some who just seemed to want to pass the time in gossip. It was offensive and I wanted to just write it off. However, I did read some thoughtful and intelligent comments making valid points confirming some of the same worries that I was now having. I had to give credence to some of their positions, because I was already coming to many of the same conclusions.

Within a few days of my return from that weekend trip, I started the round of emails I have already written about, to give Heidi a chance to answer my concerns and address the erupting conflict that was now affecting the site. As I said, her answers not only confirmed my growing suspicions, they chilled me with the knowledge that no matter how bad I had thought it was, it was actually much worse. I knew it was over for me then.

At that time, my newborn grandson went into the hospital, and I quit posting. When he was better, I came back to the site, caught up on over 60 PMs, and posted a little bit here and there, where I felt like I could or was required to, while I tried to get my bearings and figure out what to do. I thought about deleting all my old posts, but I had over 4000 posts anyway, and I could never get through them all without Heidi catching on. I began trying to make offsite contact, by putting my email address and little hints out there, and I started contacting the other moderators, as I mentioned. I figured Heidi was onto me, watching every move. I know she was mad at me for not cheerleading for her, and for not deleting the 'trouble-maker' threads. At that point, I was trying to buy time to get the word out to a few key people.

The August 6 payday came and went with no money and with me locked out of the site. I knew then how the game would be played out. I had seen hints of this with our previous lead tech guy, who quit/got fired/quit 3 times. So, on August 9, I emailed Heidi simply,"I was wondering if I would be paid this week." I was fully prepared to be told no, because I knew I had not been doing what she hired me to do, nor was I willing to. Fair enough.

She sent back a typical response intended to intimidate me back into line. It began, "From all indications it seemed to us that you had quit?"

I sent back a response saying she was out of line, her personal statements to me were uncalled for, and ending, "I find, once again, that I cannot get on the site. I am being banned? If so, I think you are making a terrible mistake, both in how you are treating me, and in the fallout all this type of thing will have on you down the line."

She emailed back, "Before I reply, would you care to revise any part of your statement?"

I ignored her.

Five days later, on August 14, she sent me an almost-apology, offering me my position and the nutrition business back.

Obviously, I did not take it.

It was a while before any public statements were made, longer still before she removed my Admin tag and 'Meet Your Team' blurb (at my insistence), and longer still for the truth to begin to come out.

I regret any and all aid I ever gave to Kimmer/Heidi Diaz, and her business enterprise. I would revoke it all if I could.

I am glad for my weight loss, but, I did that - she didn't.
And as she said, I wasn't really doing her version of Kimkins, anyway.

The only thing I do not regret is the fact that I met some wonderful people at her site, no thanks to her. Those relationships are the silver lining in this storm.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

There and Back Again, Part 3

We don't see things as they are. We see things as we are.
~ Anais Nin

As April drew to an end, I stayed on at Kimkins. I never pressed Kimmer about the banning, because I already knew I would not like anything she might say, and she never mentioned it. (In fact, our communication tended to be brief and to the point, because I already knew I did not want to be Heidi's friend.) Though I remained, I never trusted things quite like before, and it weighed heavily on me. Still, with the Kimkins issue of Woman's World magazine set to debut in early June, and the site getting revamped, I had plenty to do, so I just threw myself into the task at hand. It was a welcome diversion.

As these things tend to do, the site launched late, and the magazine came out early. The site had its good features, but was quite buggy and not as functional as the previous one. Boot Camp was revised and made even stricter (for the third time), some other plan details were changed, and two new ill-advised plans (the shake option and the vegetarian option) were sprung on us. Existing members were disgruntled at the changes, and still trying to figure out how to make profiles and avatars and signatures, when the magazine hit mailboxes. The magazine response was mind-blowingly astounding, far exceeding anybody's wildest imaginings. We jumped from less than 4000 members to around 40,000 in a matter of weeks. Literally thousands of new members were joining daily. Someone would post "New here today and looking for a buddy" and by day's end, there would be a buddy group with a hundred newbies in it. Sometimes the forums would be mobbed with 100 posts a minute, with questions filling up the pages and falling off to page 2 or page 3 before anyone could even see and answer it. New members would run from thread to thread posting a long string of frantic questions in random threads, and, not knowing how to navigate back to that thread, would go somewhere else and post them again. (Hi, I am new and need to lose 167 lbs. Could someone explain the diet. It says 20 carbs - whats a carb, and is that per meal or per day? Does that include the salads and vegetables, or are they extra? What about fruit, and can I have low-fat milk, and how do I get those pictures and other cute things by my name like you all have? I hope this works.) It felt like a stampede.

Earlier members had come in at a pace of a few a week, or a few a day at most, and usually came from other diet boards and low-carb sites. At the very least, they had been computer-savvy enough to have had looked online for a diet. These new members had seen a magazine cover in the check-out line, had been galvanized by the photos, captions, and promises, and had taken a $60 chance that this would be the answer they were seeking. The magazine claimed "Better than gastric bypass!" and many who now joined were desperate to lose 100 to 200 lbs. or more, as their last hope before surgery. Some had never dieted, and most had never done a low-carb plan before. Quite a few had never been online before, certainly not on a forum, and had no idea of the basics of low-carb dieting or of forum protocol. They were simply overwhelmed.

Kimmer wasn't posting on the board at all, most of the old members had understandably retreated to their journals and challenge groups, and I was the only moderator at the time, fitting it in around my store schedule at first. Even with me on the site 16 - 20 hr. days, it was impossible to keep up with answering posts and PMs and working on site structure and management, so we quickly recruited some more moderators and helpers, almost all volunteers as far as I know. Still there were relatively few of us who had been around a while, with thousands of new members online at any given moment in the forums and in chat, so it became the blind leading the blind. It was extremely frustrating for everyone.

I was running sleep-deprived, dozing off at the computer, until my rear end was calloused and my mouse arm hurt, trying to meet the massive needs all around me. I would sometimes put my head on my desk and cry. We just couldn't keep up in the forums, and we could only poke into chat once in a while. Soon, the mantra became 'Read the lists. Stick to the lists. If it's not on the lists, don't eat it' because there was no time for real mentoring. However, since the plans were vague and self-contradictory, they were open to a range of interpretations. As I would email Kimmer with my reports and concerns, I began to be more and more disillusioned, as I felt like we were working at cross-purposes. I was pressing for simple things that would serve the members and moderators, while she was all about sales and marketing. So, I just plowed ahead, doing the best I could with the forums, and not really stopping or stepping back to think about it.

When things got crazy, Kimmer almost immediately increased my pay to $600 a month in exchange for my reducing my store hours, plus a few 'good week' bonuses unexpectedly thrown in. It went to $1000 a month in mid-June for dropping the store altogether, and finally to $2000 a month in July, with additional projects expected now that the site had calmed down. She commissioned me to research the best way to start an online nutritional store, which I did. Heidi was to loan me $20,000 interest free, no payments for 6 months, payable over 5 years after that. I was to own and operate it, with part as Kimkins Kitchen, and part as our own venture, and Heidi would promote Kimkins Kitchen in the newsletter and website like she did Kimmerware, in exchange for a cut. My husband and I drew up a prospective product list, contacted and selected suppliers (prominent among them Netrition, incidentally), opened business accounts, and purchased domain names, business licenses, and DBAs. We were ready to pull the trigger on what might have been a good future . . . and we just couldn't. Too many things began troubling me. By August I was glad to call it a loss and walk away with $1000 severance, just to be free. Altogether, in gifts and compensation, I made $8090, plus a $50 Amazon gift certificate from my time at Kimkins.

What went wrong? Many things! Another incident in the end of June had sounded a warning in my soul, and I couldn't shake it. It may or may not be a big deal to others, but I am sure it was a terrible offense to those involved, and it was a waving red flag to me. In fact, out of everything, I am most ashamed of myself over this next part.

As I said, I was busy at first just trying to keep up, and viewing this as something I had always done for the members, and could now be paid to do so I could be home with my family more. I thought if I just got through the turbulence of the magazine spike, things could go back like they were before. Then someone posted a question in the Q & A, with two different after pictures of 'Kimmer', asking if it was the same person. I panicked and overreacted. Remembering that Kimmer had already banned two people for asking something similar, and worrying about our 'happy home' at Kimkins, and feeling a certain obligation to Kimmer now that I was taking her money, I plunged in and gave the same answer Kimmer had given to Christin and me when we had asked her about it, and I said it in a most condescending and sarcastic manner. I had an immediate sick feeling in the pit of my stomach, wanting to 'protect' Kimkins from unpleasantness, but suddenly somehow just 'knowing' that I had unwittingly lied for Kimmer, and behaved quite badly doing it. I had been mean and nasty to someone, to squelch debate. I felt heartsick, and wondered what I had gotten myself into and what I was becoming. I emailed Kimmer, told her about the thread, and told her that I had been unfair and unkind to the member in response to a fair and innocent question, and was going to humbly apologize for the mess I made of it as soon as I got back from a medical appointment. Kimmer said fine - but when I got home, I found an email saying she had gotten mad and moved their thread and told off the ladies in question. After that, everything was harder, because my heart was not in it like before.

So, katinsac, wherever you are, I ask your forgiveness for my rude response to your good question. You were right to ask, and I was wrong to answer as I did. I am sorry!

If banning Amy and Kiki had been Strike 1, this was Strike 2.