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 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 (, 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

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 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 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

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.

There and Back Again, Part 2

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

In my last post, I described how my time at Kimkins was going well, and any problems that might have flitted around a corner of my mind quickly vanished from view, because we had good stories and successes of happy people every day. Like most members there, I never even visited the main front page, let alone any other diet sites, but simply spent time in my favorite forums. As far as I knew, all was well.

In August of last year, Kimmer unexpectedly sent me a $50 Amazon gift certificate as a 'thank you' for my presence on the site. That was a surprise, but most welcome. Then, in November, she sent me a PayPal gift of $200, as a 'thanksgiving' gift, then another $200 in December for a Christmas gift. I was pleased by her generosity, and it did come in very handy, because money was very tight and Christmas had been looking very bleak. To me, it seemed a Godsend.

Then, in January, the People magazine with Mary Smith (CartBabe) on the cover, mentioning Kimkins inside, came out. That, combined with a rash of New Year's Resolutions, spiked membership up. Kimmer preferred not to deal with all the newbies (saying, "I forget not everybody already knows low carb"), so she asked if I would like to serve officially as moderator for $300 a month, and I was glad to say yes, especially since I was working a job at WalMart that I greatly disliked, and I could cut my hours a little with that. However, she stressed that it came with no promises, so it could go away at any time, depending on how the site was doing. I was already doing so much posting on the site anyway, just like so many other members were doing, so if she wanted me to delete double posts and sticky threads while I was at it, that seemed easy. I was to be a contractor, she said, so my duties and hours were not clearly specified --- just whatever I thought the $300 monthly was worth. Well, honestly, I already put in more than that on the site, so I mostly carried on posting greetings to new members and replies to questions that came up, etc. From my viewpoint, nothing changed except I could cut my hours at the store a little now that the Christmas rush was over, and spend some extra time at home online.

Kimmer and I never spoke on the phone but rather communicated by PM or email whenever something came up, which might be three times one day, then not for a week and a half. Neither of us wanted a friendship; we both already knew we had our differences. She wanted my help, and I wanted to hang out on the site, so it worked out for both of us. I had a little 'official' moderator work to do for the $300, and other than than that, I was free to post when and where I wanted, like I had done before.

This went on until an event that marks for me 'the beginning of the end'. That event was the banning of Amy(Cutie) and Kiki in mid-April. Amy and Kiki are good people, and I have been pleased to call them my friends. They were at the site from the beginning, and were hugely valuable in setting the tone there, especially all the fun and 'sparkle'. Amy was especially helpful and supportive to Kimmer in many ways, and was closer to her than anyone there. When Amy and Kiki they told me they had been banned on the spot, without warning, for daring to wonder, in private messages, about some questionable before-and-after pics on the early success stories, I knew then Kimmer was a liar. I had known all three of them a long time by then, and I never for one moment doubted Amy and Kiki or believed Kimmer as to why they were suddenly not there. Their word was good enough for me; had it not been, they had the emails to prove it.

I didn't know at that time if the pictures were fake or not. They went up after I joined, I think, or, if not, I hadn't paid them much attention. I followed my friends over, was happy, and never poked outside to look around much. Others had, though, and talk was starting to filter in, and Amy and Kiki had heard it, and were privately wondering. When I looked closer, I wondered, too, why some of them looked 'iffy', and why some of the people had never posted on the site. Kimmer offered some semi-plausible answers, and I did know we had lots of good, REAL success stories that had come through the site, including some I met in real life. So, it was kind of, sort of, almost easy to dismiss the shaky pictures, on the grounds that it would be crazy and pointless to dilute the potency of real success stories with fakes. What I could not dismiss, however, was Kimmer's outright violation of her stated promise to all the members that she could not and would not ever read PMs. (This had been a real sore spot for a lot of us when we left LCF.) I knew I could not see member PMs then, and I had believed Kimmer when she had said she could not either. So, now I knew that she was willing and able to lie to her members with a straight face and a smile, and cut off her closest 'friends' without a backwards glance. At the time, I thought it was more personal between the immediate parties. I simply had no idea how far the deception would ultimately go.

Here is the bad part, and I am deeply ashamed of this: I did not quit the site. I was hurt, confused, bewildered, and angry. My first instinct was to stomp out with my friends, just out of loyalty. But, I didn't. I didn't quite know why I didn't then, and I still don't. I should have. But my loyalties were divided. I was torn between my care for those friends, my care for the friends I would leave behind, my family's need for the money, and my selfish desire for peace and comfort. Mostly, it just didn't feel like the right timing. Here is what I said in an email at the time:

I know I will part ways with Kimmer sooner or later.
But, I have been burned a lot, and am leery of hasty
decisions made under emotional duress. I will take it
slowly and find my way. Anyway, what I do there is not
really for HER, anyway. It is for the members, and for
me. It happens to suit her for now, but it is not
ABOUT her, if that makes sense.

You ARE my friend! I miss you terribly! [deleted personal comments]

But, in fairness, you are not my only friend there.
I've spent almost a year with my challenge buddies
now. Supporting you would mean ditching them. That is
not a happy thought, either.

And, I don't know if I am up to starting a mass exodus
again. *sigh*

It is just a lot for me to process right now, and I am
taking my time with dealing with it. Maybe that is a
cop-out, but I am not ready to cause any more partings
or separations right now. I've had enough painful
partings for a while, and will chicken out of making
any more, if I can help it.


I would like to think that my waiting then, and leaving when I did worked to serve some greater purpose . . . and maybe it did.

If so, it was no thanks to me.

Please forgive me, my dear friends!

There and Back Again, Part 1

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

I said I would write up a brief short account of my Kimkins history, but I guess I can't write a short anything, so I will have to break this into parts. I have put this off, trying to even know where to get started. This may be more cathartic for myself than helpful to others, but I have to get it out, somehow.

In spring 2006, I was at my highest weight and lowest point in life, following a serious illness, heartbreaking family crisis, loss of a family business, unexpected cross-country move, and deep financial distress. Extended bed rest, immobility, steroids, stress and grief had taken their toll. I was morbidly obese, debilitated, and desperately depressed. I had almost reached the place of giving up and expecting to die young from obesity, and honestly I wasn't all that sad about the thought. However, life is so . . . persistent, and hope springs eternal, so I went looking for one more reason to believe and try again. That is when I came upon Low Carb Friends, and the Ask Kimmer thread that occupied center stage there.

Suddenly, it seemed people were really losing weight on Kimkins even if other things weren't working for them. I already knew cutting carbs was good for me from previous efforts at low-carb dieting, and reducing calories just made sense to me for people who were stuck or metabolically resistant to losing. I believe that, at the time, the stated guidelines for Kimkins there were less than 20 grams of carbohydrate (mostly from salads and vegetables), at least 70 - 90 grams of protein, and just enough fat to make menus work. Well, I already knew the under 20 carbs part, and that seemed like a good minimum on protein for a short, small-framed, sedentary middle-aged woman (me), and eating only reasonable amounts of fat instead of excessive amounts (which is how I had interpreted Atkins at the time) just seemed pretty fine and normal to me. So I tried it that way --- and it worked! I started losing weight, and feeling great, and having hope again. I simply cannot overstate how very good that felt! It was like getting my life back again! I was so extremely grateful.

I didn't much care for Kimmer's style, but her plan was working great for me. So, I quickly hooked up with some great people on a Camp Kimkins thread at LCF, who were pretty much doing Kimkins like I was --- 3 meals, maybe snacks, cheese in recipes but not as a snack, reasonable butter or oil in cooking, etc. To my mind, this was basically, Atkins without regular bacon for breakfast or cream cheese on pork rinds for a snack or whipped cream confections for dessert. I switched from cream to Half & Half in my coffee, gave up low-carb specialty products, and saw the scale move nicely enough. So, I did that, and hung out with my new online friends, whose support gave me encouragement to keep on going.

I hadn't been there long when suddenly Kimmer wasn't there and everything seemed weird and our posts started getting edited and deleted for mentioning her name. I got upset, and posted something like, "Hey! They're messing with our posts!" I got in trouble for that there, and my posts were moderated to smithereens, and my privileges got taken away. I found out Kimmer had her own site, joined up there, and my Camp Kimkins buddies came over soon, too, so we picked up where we had left off.

At first, it was like the golden age of Camelot. Everyone was nice and friendly and happy and losing well, and all seemed calm and bright. We had our own cozy corner, and were getting along beautifully, feeling good, having fun, and doing well. After all, we had initially come from a previous low-carb diet board, and most people knew something about low-carbing with Atkins, and brought that with them as a background and a basis. People generally did not cut things to the levels I saw later. In the various challenges and buddy groups and journals where people hung out, things were generally sane and healthy and happy. Friendships were knit, pounds were lost, and lives were regained. It could hardly have been better . . . almost.

Looking back, I can see things more clearly, but, at some level, I saw it then, too, I guess. In fact, I exchanged a few puzzled emails and PMs about this back then. In truth, it seemed like the less Kimmer posted, the happier most of the board was, and the saner the eating was. The best places were the places she never went, like the challenges and journals. She pretty much only visited the main lobby (called Q & A then, and Kimkins Cafe now) and even then, mostly the Ask Kimmer thread there, unless something else caught her attention. She was posting much less on her site than she had at LCF, often wouldn't post for days, and, honestly, that was fine with most of us, because sometimes we would just cringe when she would say things that were 'off'. So, a core group of members would just post away, have fun, and keep things going fine. The members made it a lovely place. To our minds, Kimmer was an almost non-existent non-issue. At least, that is how it was for me, and others can express their own opinions.

If there were health problems then, I didn't see it. Many people would have the usual few days of 'Induction Flu', and then move on to feel well and lose well. (I never even had that to speak of, because I started with Atkins, and slowly drew back on fat and calories, vs. jumping right in.) That is not to guarantee there were no problems like we have heard of recently, but I was not aware of anything out of the ordinary for low-carb dieters, if it was happening. After all, we were mostly still viewing Kimmer's guidelines through the lens of Atkins.

What I was sometimes aware of, though, were some women (five or so) I thought showed symptoms of eating disorders. I had seen that sort of thing at the other low-carb board, too, and though it concerned me, I did not know what I could do about it. When I would see potential warning signs, I would sometimes post, or otherwise PM the person with my concerns. I brought up situations to Kimmer several times, asking her to address things. I gradually noticed that some of the ones I was most concerned with were almost something like 'Kimmer's pets', who hung out in the Q & A, mostly in the Ask Kimmer thread, and seemed more devoted to her ideas. I didn't get it or realize all the implications, having not had anorexia or bulimia myself, but I just knew something was off, and I did not understand why Kimmer didn't see it and warn them instead of giving them gold stars.

Another nagging element to me was the SNATT thing. I never had it, thank God --- but then, I had eleven pregnancies and never a day of morning sickness, so I had no reference point for that. I was glad for the idea of diminished appetite, but mine never went completely away, which was fine with me. The people I hung out with would have at most a few days of feeling a little 'icky' like a flu bug, but then be fine. Every now and then, though, there would be someone who would get truly nauseated, and not be able to eat. One girl still haunts me a little. She was one I worried about, but she was a Kimmer fan, true blue.

My other concern was the 'moving target' nature of the plans. I also emailed Kimmer about this many times, asking her to spell things out with clear explanations, and then stick to it, but she would say it was simple enough as written. People would post to the Ask Kimmer thread, saying they were doing the plan and not cheating, but not losing as promised. They would be correct; they were within published guidelines, but were not losing as promised. Then she would tell them that if they REALLY wanted to lose, they would need to cut this and cut that - well below published allowances. I would think, "Who can eat like that?" Yet, people would often come back to her and praise her profusely for helping them, and actually take her advice.

Some of us worked hard to create a supportive, positive place, and to really address members' needs. That atmosphere spread throughout the site, and as new members gradually joined, they were mentored along by the members. Most people got connected with a group of friends, and many seldom ventured out into the other parts of the site. Most people never spoke to Kimmer, even in posts, let alone PMs or emails. In a real sense, for most people, Kimmer herself was very peripheral to the site, and apart from her input, it was a wonderful place to be.

I was an early member, instrumental in bringing people over from LCF, and in shaping the board in some ways, as were many others. I posted a lot, and was nice to people, which saved Kimmer a lot of bother. Sometime last year (and I can't find any record of when that was, but it might have been October, though I could be wrong) Kimmer asked me to be a volunteer moderator, which she said was essentially what I had been doing, except that I would now have a few extra buttons on my screen that would let me delete duplicate posts (we had a big problem with that for a while), move misplaced posts, set stickies, and lock threads. I said sure, no problem, if it will help. I was the only moderator, as the site was not too large, and we really had no squabbles or insults or anything to deal with. I literally never had to step in to intervene in anything or to delete anything considered 'offensive'. People simply weren't harsh or insulting to one another. It was a special time.

When I think of Kimkins --- well, when I thought of Kimkins --- that time, that atmosphere was what the name meant to me. I fought for it, hung on to it, thought really long and hard and agonizingly before leaving it.

But, leave I eventually did, because it is no more and never can be again anything like those 'glory days'. The magic is gone.

To those who remain, because you are still holding out hope that this will all go away and things can go back like they were, may I say, I deeply, truly do understand. It was something special at one time, and worth fighting for!

But, those times are over and gone. They are never coming back. It's over.

Kimkins is finished, whether it continues operation for a while longer or not.

I am sorry for our loss. Our loss. I lost a lot, too, maybe more than most.

I haven't done this to Kimkins. LCF hasn't done this to Kimkins. No one else has done this to Kimkins. Make no mistake. Kimmer did this to Kimkins. She has poisoned her own well. The sweetness is gone, and it is ruined.

Please, friends, leave. Leave now. It's OK. You'll be fine! There are lots of other low-carb and diet sites where you can recapture what was good, without the bitter taint.

You'll find lots of friends when you do.

Monday, September 10, 2007

NOW I get it!

My deep thanks go to Stephanie, who posted a link for me to read in her comments on a recent blog post.

When I read this, I was completely blown away! It describes to a T, and much better than I could, exactly what I and the others who have gotten close enough long enough have experienced. In fact, I could think of vivid examples of every point, and i am sure others could chime in as well.

This is long, but if you are looking of insight, this is the best I've seen yet. It helps make a little possible sense of what has been a mystery to me:

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Disturbing Disconnect

I said I would post several more things, and I will post them. First, though, I want to take another shot at explaining a little better just how disturbing Heidi/Kimmer's remarks felt to us at the time, and why they precipitated a mass exodus of those of us on the receiving end. As I said, it is hard to describe without some context how it hit those of us in the conversation.

Bear in mind, we were people who had borne the brunt of the work load of the massive explosion of membership, working many long hours, most volunteering with no pay at all, and even the couple of paid people were voluntarily putting in many more hours than compensated for, because we truly wanted to help out and help others have success. We had gone to the mat for the members, for the diet, and, by extension, for Kimmer. We felt like we were having to address things we shouldn't have had to do, in essence doing Kimmer's work and making excuses for her, because she would not produce an ebook, would not clarify the vagueness of the diet, would not fix the site problems, would not take even the tiniest simple steps to clear up what should have been easily-solvable non-issues, like her name and appearance. (And, yes, that obviously DOES matter, both legally and ethically, if she promotes her diet business with herself as the prime example and selling point.) People who were working their hearts out for the site with little or no pay were being wearied and compromised and scrutinized and criticized, without thanks, while she deliberately hid herself behind them and let them take all the heat. We were the ones interacting with the members, answering their posts and PMs, hearing their concerns, watching their struggles, seeing things fall apart for many of them. Yes, we had success losing weight, and yes, others were, too, but we could not overlook the fact that others just as important, members who had paid money for this, were also having horrible health problems that were being completely ignored and denied with woeful disregard. And, we thought we finally had a chance to speak to her about these things.

We poured out our hearts about real issues, real problems, real people being hurt, and, instead of real solutions, we were answered back with corporate brainstorming about how to spin it. No acknowledgment that the people mattered at all. In fact, in another conversation at around this time, she went so far as to say she couldn't help it if they were 'too stupid' to go to the doctor with medical problems, because it could NOT have anything to do with the diet at all. Why not? Because she KNEW so - low carb never hurt anyone. So, I pressed back with the idea that, no, maybe not just low carb, though it does have a natural diuretic effect, but how about combined with low calories, low essential fatty acids, low sodium, low mineral intake from inadequate vegetables and supplementation, overuse of laxatives, and then exercise on top of that, which is a subject she knows nothing about. She basically answered that 200 calories a day from a piece of chicken and a cup of salad were all anyone needed, and nothing about adding fat or anything else would make that better. Period. The message to us was clear, and clearly disconnected from reality: she cannot be wrong, and she will not back down, so therefore those things must not be happening. End of subject.

We talked about how all the controversy was distressing members and causing them to drop out, and she answered back with glee about how Kimkins was financially solid and all this was good for 'sales'. (So, once you pay, she has your money, so you can leave for all she cares. After all, it saves her bandwidth, and she can just replace you with new paying customers.)

We talked about her responsibility to address these issues for the sake of the members and her business, and she just repeatedly went off on a paranoid rant about how Amy/Cutie and Catherine were out to get her and it was all their fault. That is simply not true, btw, and, even if it were, it completely denies her own personal responsibility for having banned them when they suspected her of her dishonest and illegal business practices. It became so clear that she cares nothing for us or the other members as persons, or their actual well-being, or even their weight loss, except as useful tools, a means to her ends, another selling point for her. It is, in her mind, all about her, all about her money, and all about 'us' vs. 'them'. It felt like a frightening peek into a disordered mind.

One of the admins disclosed her very deep personal concerns about the anorexia issues, and admitted that she had gone 'off plan' at a youth event, rather than let the teen girls see how little she normally ate. Kimmer answered with some bizarre non sequitur one-liners that of course all fat people having EDs, but not to worry about low calories because WLS people eat 500 calories and don't have EDs. What??? That doesn't even make sense on the face of it, let alone answer the real concerns. Kimmer just has a bank of flippant answers she tosses out like they mean something, and gets away with it because people don't call her on it. (Or, if they do, she leaves that site and starts her own where she controls the ban button.)

Oh, and about laxatives, well, one member's doctor gave her a prescription for a strong one daily, so there you go, doctors say it's fine for everyone and, anyway, it's not as if she is suggesting a FULL dose every day, just a partial dose.

When the admins pressed harder on the issue of teens on the site, Kimmer's response was classic - What! Teens here! No way! I'm shocked! Shocked! I'll refund their membership! Yet, elsewhere in the conversation, she frankly admits there are teens on the site. (And we know what happened later with a teen, and I might address that with some additional info in a later post.)

We were pushing her to address members' needs, and she answered that she was not ignoring the members' needs. Then, she launched into what is clearly her carefully-laid 'exit strategy' - how she would slap up enough of a forum so that the members could carry on helping each other without her, so she wouldn't owe them refunds if forced to cease operations (What? Forced to cease? I thought she said she was completely unconcerned and above the law?)

Oh, and if she was not ignoring member needs, then why are the plans vague, the ebook not written, the Ask Kimmer questions often going unanswered for days and days at a time, but she has time to read PMs, delete threads and ban people she doesn't like, and heap praise on those who praise her. If member needs have top priority, then why were the recipe box and other site bugs not fixed while the tech guys had time to put up all the sales and promo pieces and take the site down to scrub PMs and install tracking bots and open member PMs suddenly to all admins a few weeks ago. (Yes, multiple reliable witnesses can confirm this.) Why was there time to take the Who Is Kimmer blurb down to protect her (totally unconcerned?) but it took so long to take down Christin's blurb? Whose needs come first? Is Kimmer serving the members' needs, or are they serving hers?

How about refusing the cruise by making it Jimmy's and the bloggers fault, on the grounds that it won't be fun? She was talking to the people who were expected to make it a working holiday in exchange for free tickets (free to Kimkins as a kick-back from the cruise line) yet the one whose full-time, income-producing enterprise it is will not go because it won't be 'relaxing' for her? Anyway, she had already told me she never had the least intention of going, so no fair pretending it was suddenly a safety issue because of stalkers. She simply wouldn't let herself be seen.

Likewise, it was typical behavior to blame the bloggers for delaying the ebook, and to make excuses again about the Maintenance Plan, when she had told me before she had one ready to go up with the new site back at the end of May.

When we pressed her about our serious concerns for people's welfare, and the potential implications of that, she replied that we ought not be concerned for her sake. What the heck?! When one of the admins replied that, yeah, well, it is our real faces and our real names out there, and it wasn't just about her and her 'privacy' anymore, she proudly boasted that she was completely unconcerned for her liability. Yet, it was obvious she knew there WERE legitimate concerns. She had an elaborate plan to conceal her identity, she had structured the business to protect herself, had legal liability insurance for herself, had an exit strategy, and had published very little in her name, really, and that mostly vague and open to interpretation, while she set up her moderators to be the ones out saying things for her. She has clearly operated in such a way as to think she can brazen her way out of any charges or suits that might be brought for laws broken or harm brought to others. It is as if all that is irrelevant, as long as she makes a profit and gets away with it. And, by saying that if Kimkins is sued, it won't be her in court, she is also saying that she really doesn't care who gets burned, either as victims or fall guys, as long as it isn't her. AND, she is saying this to the very ones she had set up to take the rap for her! And, even then, she had to try to lay a weird guilt trip on US about, well, if we don't trust her word and her superior knowledge, and are unwilling to take a bullet for Kimkins, that we were on our own to hire an attorney! Hire an attorney at our own expense to protect ourselves from her misdeeds, for an unpaid or underpaid position? How bizarre and incredibly self-centered is that statement?

This was the clincher: With all the hoopla and probing, shouldn't people be coming out of the woodwork who "know" me? Nope. No one knows who Kimmer is.

It felt like she was losing it a little, like she just couldn't keep herself from bragging about how clever she feels to be putting one over on people.

To me, that is admission that she was lying in all those after photos.
After all, she has put multiple photos on multiple websites, plus in a magazine. How could she claim no one knows who she is if ANY of them are true?

If any of those photos are her, she is irrational and delusional to say no one knows who she is. And, if they are not photos of her, as she strongly implies, then she has just admitted deliberate criminal fraud.

And what kind of person spends years constructing layers of false identities, anyway? Such a person would have to be either emotionally unbalanced, or extremely dishonest, or both.

Maybe you had to be there to get the full effect, but I came away believing that I was dealing with someone who is devious, manipulative, dysfunctional, disordered, smart, stubborn, selfish, greedy, and dangerous.

That is why I had to leave. And, that is why I finally felt I had to speak up.

And, from what I hear from inside the site, her behavior is only getting more desperate lately.

Friday, September 7, 2007

In Her Own Words

The following are excerpts from 3 days of exchanged emails.

July 31, 2007, 7:06 pm

I'm writing quickly because today is "social worker day" for the boys and they'll be here soon. It's a lengthy process and I won't be back on for a few hours.

Address the Issues

First, let's understand who the naysayers are. Many are the old crowd at LCF who are anti-Kimmer to the core and, frankly, seem bored so this is a great "keep busy" activity.

The catalyst behind all of this is Amy (Cutie) who got banned here and 183,921 times at LCF. She sent numerous emails to be reinstated which I refused and then she contacted my former partner, Catherine. She is the only person who knew Catherine's last name or email addy which she got because she asked Catherine for a quote for a website.

Amy sent me her last angry email to be reinstated at Kimkins. I refused. Two days later we began getting website "views" from Malta, the island where Catherine lives. I check tracking pretty carefully and we never had any views from Malta prior.

Catherine didn't know about the magazine. Once Amy told her and Catherine saw the member stats -- and no longer being a 50% partner -- the anti-Kimkins campaign kicked into full gear. Didn't Catherine's husband post their estimate of Jimmy's affiliate earnings (which were way wrong BTW).

This is all about $$$.

They figured by getting Jimmy out of the way (Amy, Catherine and the LCF naysayers), we would be $$$ hurt and have to fold up. I don't want to say Jimmy's earnings were insignificant, but their absence will have no effect on the financial stability of Kimkins whatsoever.

Kimkins is financially solid. We don't depend on anyone and we don't accept advertisers for exactly the "Jimmy" reason. We do what we want to do and don't cater to the whims of letter writers.

Don't ignore the issues? I disagree. Ignoring has worked which is why the anti-Kimkins blogs now have the "Open Letter to Kimmer". Amy can't stand to be ignored and her bully tactics didn't force a response from me. I've addressed their health issues a zillion times at LCF and here. They aren't looking for answers, they want to point and say "see, see."

Blogs Popping Up Everywhere

Yes, they are. Take a closer look. They are all from the same group, head up by Catherine or her husband. Catherine runs a home medical transcription site with a monthly fee and a web design business. She missed out on Kimkins profits from the magazine, so this is her way of recouping income. Since these blogs have nothing to do with "concern" for fellow human beings, they aren't going to go away no matter what I write or explain.

Notice how many anti-Kimmer blog posts have to do with "Kimmer's getting rich," "She's making millions," "The Kimkins Marketing Machine," "Kimmer is building an empire," or "She's taking money from poor people who can't afford it," (although it would be fine if they spent their money at Weight Watchers). The way to hurt my imagined fortune is by affecting sales so they use scare tactics.

I disagree about replying to the naysayers because there is no end with those people. Amy won't be satisfied until Kimkins is offline. Did you notice she posted immediately after me on Jimmy's blog of his "dropping Kimkins" announcement? She got what she worked for and couldn't wait to congratulate Jimmy.

From a business standpoint the controversy has been good. Sales have been up 17% overall since Jimmy's blog post (BIG sales day that day) and that includes today with the plethora of "Kimkins will kill you" blogs.

This is all about money. If I were still doing this for free, nobody would blog about anything.

Aug. 1, 2007, 9:56 am

Sorry for the delay, "Social Worker Day" can be difficult for the boys. Summer is very active for summer placements in foster care. Two unrelated boys thought their parents were working hard on completing requirements for them to go home in time for school to start. One parent has done nothing and the other parent can't be found. A third boy was invited on a day trip to Tijuana but leaving the country is absolutely forbidden by courts and he's crushed. I already knew he couldn't go, but he needed to hear it from an official source. I needed time with the boys after the social workers left.

Photos & Medical

What if we ask members to post their medical results? Christin, Suzanna, and a recent member whose doctor said OK to Kimkins AND a prescription laxative come to mind. Assuming they are willing, it can be an item on the front page "Kimkins & Your Doctor" or something.


We can ask members to blog about Kimkins, but that seems a weak position. Our affiliates with blogs provide some balance. When I blogged about the Teachers Challenge losing 907 pounds in 5 weeks, Catherine's husband couldn't bury it fast enough with his anti-Kimmer blogs.


Amy and Catherine's husband can spin it however they like (starving and laxatives), but all I'm suggesting is someone take a regular dose for 1-2 days and then a 25-50% dose each day after. The member who's doctor prescribed a laxative (which is stronger than what can bought over the counter) and to take full strength daily.


We have teenager as members, but I don't know that they are teenagers when they join. Emails I receive of "My 15 year old daughter ..." (or any age), I politely refuse. I don't mention specifics because that seems to give people more incentive. I tell them Kimkins is strict and their child would have more success with a diet that offers a wider food variety to make it easier for them around their peers, etc.

Low Calories/Pro Ana

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.

In Jimmy's interview I meant what I said about take a Weight Watcher or Jenny Craig meal and remove the starches. What's left? Kimkins. There is no health advantage to adding carbs or extra fat, so why is removing them (and having less calories) dangerous? 1200 calories a day is an arbitrary number (like 8 glasses of water).

Anorexia is a psychological disorder. Do we have people with ED on Kimkins? Of course. I weighed 318 pounds and you don't get that big without an improper relationship with food so I have an ED. But low calories aren't an ED, otherwise all of the WLS patients would be medically classified anorexic.

What if regular Kimkins changes guidelines from 0-20 carbs to 10-20 carbs and 0-3 cups to 2-3 cups List 1? Then again, I'm stuck with what to do when you're not hungry. Forced eating sounds ED to me. I'll find someone I trust to make a Recommended Supplements list.

If we make changes it will be announced with the Maintenance Plan (which will be a work in progress from member feedback). The announcement will be general and not in response to any outside pressure.

BTW, I asked Aliyar (tech support) to take the stats down from the homepage 4 days ago. Magically, no visits from Malta in the past 3 days.

August 1, 2007, 1:58 pm

A 13 year old in chat? No way! Not OK ever. Please all/any of you let me know so I can talk to the account holder and tell them "nicely" about no kids and probably refund/cancel.

I'm sure I could find a doctor. It honestly never occurred to me before the controversy. I'll make sure the doctor knows what he/they are getting themselves into.

Becky, I'm reading your email now, so I'm adding my comments here:

Thanks for your well thought out comments. Of course I don't agree with everything. You've laid out a lot of info and I won't go into all of it now, but here's a basic summary.

I cannot support a twisted version of Kimkins that turns into a mini-South Beach.

I'm not ignoring the needs of the members. Worst case scenario if we're forced to stopped operating, is a separate forum-only site will be set up for paid members todate. I'll pay the expenses for that forum, but I won't post and there won't be any frills (no chat, no PM, no ???)

SNATT - I can understand, although the symptoms of ketosis are covered fully in Dr. Atkins' books, including nausea. We are adding a few things to Kimmerwear and Christin can replace SNATT items with those. Anyone with heart palpitations, fainting or other serious conditions should see their doctor of course, not post on a forum asking for advice. There is nothing about removing carbs to cause those symptoms.

August 1, 2007, 2:55 pm

Amy/Cutie is a youth pastor. That has me scratching my head.

August 1, 2007, 4:21

Becky and all -- Chat continues to be a problem. What if we take a Chat Break for awhile? I know it desperately needs maintenance. ;)

Becky, I'm not ignoring your comments. Just asking for feedback on chat. It's a HUGE drain on resources and may eventually need it's own server.

August 1, 2007,

I disagree about WLS and Medifast. WLS patients regain for the same reasons people on all diets do. They still have psychological needs for favorite foods and stop the 500 calorie program. Even with a stomach opening of .75" diameter they can eat milkshakes, sugar cereal & milk, chips, alcoholic drinks, cheese, mashed potatoes & gravy, candy, etc. Both Al Roker and Carnie Wilson said in TV interviews that they started gaining because they went back to their old eating habits.

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.

I'm not against all fats, why do you think that? I encourage minimal use of fats. All protein is at least 25% fat, plus butter, salad dressing, olive oil, cheese and other fats that are allowed on Kimkins.

Photos - I will not add new photos or explain of current ones anymore than I have. There is not end with this. I told the publicist that a new photo wasn't a good idea (just I told Jimmy that the interview wasn't a good idea). Both insisted and I was right. I didn't want a photo at all and I'm still leaning in that direction.

Medical Boards/Dateline - I'm completely unconcerned. If Kimkins is sued, it won't be me in court. I have no legal connection to Kimkins. I'm not the blithering idiot Catherine and others think I am. There's no sinister reason for my secrecy. I'm not a felon on the lam. I am a private person because I want to be. I write articles under pen names because I want to and have for 23 years. With all the hoopla and probing, shouldn't people be coming out of the woodwork who "know" me? Nope. No one knows who Kimmer is.

Cruise - What a "relaxing" 5 days that would be. Staring, photos, whispering and full blog exposes when I return ... not to mention sitting across the table from Jimmy. And don't forget the stalkers. I never considered the cruise as a personal safety issue before.

Anti-Kimmer Blogs - I know there are more than Amy and Catherine's husband. I had quite an anti-Kimmer following at LCF.

K/E Limit - Hmmm, this is possible. What about 2-4 weeks? But then we have the people who hate veggies and won't move on but that's their choice.

E-Book - I'll be honest, in view of recent events and everyone's comments the eBook will be different than what I wanted. Some sections will be omitted including personal stories I've never talked about.

Maintenance Plan - I'm working on it. Every day seems to bring new time consuming challenges that suck hours out of the day. I'll get 'something' up. It will be simple. It will need revision.

August 2, 2007, 12:25 am

Just as I'm not a doctor, I'm not a lawyer. I would STRONGLY encourage anyone who is concerned about liability in this situation to contact a local civil attorney.

For Kimkins there could conceivably be an issue of liability in tort ... once they get through jurisdiction, causation in fact and proximate cause. As I've mentioned, please don't be concerned on our behalf.

As to whether any of you can be held liable, you cannot -- but I'm not a lawyer so ignore me. None of you are Kimkins employees or partners and that is key. Most of you are contractors or affiliates, and barring those then volunteers. None have liability and the rules of agency or indemnification don't apply. But ask a lawyer, please.

Separately, if anyone has concerns in this area I fully understand. If anyone is interested in resigning as moderator or any other position -- no hard feelings!

If I sound flip, I apologize and that's purely unintentional. It's only that if I have one more "well meaning" person email me about concers for my legal liability I'm going to scream. It is a non-issue for me, no matter what my association. If it is an issue for any of you, I understand. Please seek legal counsel.

My outlook is different because I probably grew up differently than most/all of you. I have different way of looking at things and what I hold valuable.

Again, if anyone isn't willing to take a bullet for Kimkins (and why on earth should you), no problem at all. :)

In a later email, I asked if she had an attorney check into her and our liability. I also asked if she had any sort of insurance policy against damages to protect the moderators (whom she had said were all contractors or volunteers). Her reply:
"However, contrary to popular belief we don't have unlimited funds and the site is fairly expensive on an income/expense ratio. We need to spend wisely. Our liability insurance covers employees which doesn't include contractors."

My comments -

That Kimmer would agree to discuss this at all, and to include us all at once was unprecedented. I felt that meant she was feeling the heat. I almost could not believe that she had made that misstep, in that we now had each other's contact info apart from the PM system, so we could actually communicate privately with one another.

Rereading these emails, I remembered how wary we moderators were (or at least I was) wondering what was 'safe' to say, or who could be trusted.

It may be impossible to pick up just from what I have posted here, without the surrounding context, just how deeply unnerving and horrifying this was to watch unfold. In my experience, Kimmer normally doles out information, misinformation, and false information like the proverbial carrot and stick to manipulate and co-opt, and plays one person against the other to isolate and control. In this joint session at this time, I think she felt a little cornered and panicked. She mostly maintained herself as cool, calm, and collected, but the more we went on, the less she could hide sudden swings and flashes of paranoia, gleeful gloating, and blindly callous self-centeredness. She said some things that showed her true colors and maybe accidentally let a little too much truth slip out. Though none of it rises to the level of irrefutable evidence in a court of law, it added up in my mind to an accidental acknowledgment of willful ongoing fraud.

I began cautiously emailing a few other of the moderators, testing the waters, and wondering if they saw it the same way I did. That they did you can see from their subsequent actions. In fact, they began mentioning other little things that added to the pattern of willful deceit.

Have you ever seen or heard something that seemed a little 'off', but you didn't have a category or reference point for it, so you sort of dismissed it, filed it away until something else came along to make sense of it? I began remembering things that had nagged at me in the back of my mind. I do not have a saved record of these things, but I could testify to these under oath:
- Catherine's tentative, wary remarks to me in Chat back in the very early days about how odd that Kimmer sure typed a lot for someone on disability for something like carpal tunnel, and later, asking if I had heard anything about some Kimkins spam on Craig's List, because something funny was going on.
- About six months later, Kimmer's chuckling about putting off a request from Mary Smith (Cartbabe) by saying something about having to ask her 'partners', and how Mary did not need to know that the 'partners' were just a loose term for whoever happened to be around, like her son or some other relatives.
- Much later still, when Christin and I were scrambling to enter recipes into the new software for the site move and realized we needed to include images to be able to save the recipes, Kimmer suggested we scour the internet, saying "I am not above 'lifting' images! LOL"

Again, I do not know how these words read to outside observers, out of context, but I do know that to those of us in the conversation, the message was unmistakable.

I have procrastinated pushing the 'publish' button all day, just sick to my stomach with grief. I feel I am betraying Kimmer and bringing turmoil to Kimkins members. I have no desire to do either. Kimmer was at times good to me, and I have lost weight successfully on her plan (my version of it, anyway) at her site. I was happy at that site. I cannot forget or fail to be thankful for that, and my loyalty makes me want to see everything in as kind a light as possible. However, I also cannot betray those who have suffered negative consequences from her plans, and I absolutely cannot be a party to what I now believe to be criminal misconduct.

So, here goes.