The following is one of a series of emails exchanged among the founder and the moderators of Kimkins from July 31 to August 2. It began with a PM (private message) from me to the others, and we exchanged maybe 1 or 2 more PMs before taking it to gmail. (I do not recall exactly those initial PMs, and do not have a copy of those.) We exchanged 27 more emails, and this was #9 in that series. I include it here as I wrote it in haste at the time, with minor edits to remove names and details of others. Some of it refers to statements that had been made earlier in the discussion by various people.
I am sharing this email as a step in walking out the process I mentioned, even though it puts me in a somewhat unfavorable light. This represents me as being more conciliatory and accepting of some things than I was (and am) but, in an effort to be heard and to move the discussion along, I thought it best to tread softly. My actual personal views are stronger, but this is what I presented at the time:
Well, so much to address! The thing has become a mess, and apt to get messier, so it really isn't enough that we admins agree things are not as accused --- it matters how it is perceived in many ways in larger circles. Though I do not want to be argumentative or over-reactionary, I will be quite blunt and play the devil's advocate here, for the sake of adequate discourse. No use pussyfooting around – but no desire to go off half-cocked, either.
I do not need the approval of others, and don't expect everyone ever to agree with Kimkins; I know what it has done for me. But I do care about supporting our members and fulfilling basic responsibilities to them for morale and welfare. A lot is at stake, legally, morally, and financially, and, frankly, Kimkins (and Kimmer) is a big target. Enough people are concerned or upset enough to have already contacted authorities and investigators, (State medical fraud boards, business fraud boards, diet oversight panels, Dr. Phil, Dateline, and others) This goes far beyond idle drama and gossip.
[name]/[name] may have stirred a lot of this after she was banned, but it was already out there before that, from other people. [Name] may be posting blogs, but she is not the only one. This is not just the opinion of a few, or it would never have gotten this far. Honestly, the best thing to do would be to see where their concerns are, and address what part of them have a basis in validity – and there is some.
The concerns are two-fold ---- Kimmer herself, and the diet itself. Those are related, of course, but both are in play. Obviously, Kimmer, you are who you are and don't want to change that, and I understand, and that is your right. But, you do have a LOT at stake here, more than anybody else by far. More disclosure and moderation of responses would go a long way toward helping. It won't completely put out fires, but it will keep from adding fresh fuel, and let the fires now raging start to die out eventually. Is it impossible for you to go on the cruise, post more pics, clear up the before-and-after controversies more head-on, etc.? I know, I know, I am asking a lot, but the issues raised are fair, if we can step back and not get defensive or stubborn. You are selling your story, in a sense, like it or not. Your opponents have contacted business fraud boards to have you investigated, and they see your silence as admission of guilt. They should not have the right to demand your private business, but they say you've made yourself a public figure and profited handsomely from your story, and can't prove it. So, if you prove it, that takes away a leg they are standing on. Moreover, your members feel hung out to dry that you won't remove this cloud, and end up thinking that 'where there's smoke, there's fire'. Many of them have told me so and left the site. And they don't just leave ---- they spread trouble. Eventually, you will not be able to keep enough people coming in the front door and happily posting if this continues to spread. Controversy may be good for business ---- but only to a point. Low-carb board gossip is one thing, but a national mag doing a retraction or expose would be another. Let's not kid ourselves --- big media will get a hold of this, sooner or later. So, I know this is upsetting, but they intend to see you in court (or at least on a TV expose) eventually. If you can stop that now, it would be to your great advantage. The stance that served at LCF or on a start-up board is not adequate at this level. And I disagree that ignoring it worked. Worked for sales, maybe – at least for now, if that is all that matters --- but too much is at stake now for you. Sorry to probe into painful matters, but there it is --- the elephant in the middle of the room, that cannot be ignored.
As for the diet itself, in my opinion, there is room for moderation in how it is presented. Even if you disagree, there is a responsibility and a liability that goes along with dealing with the public where money and advice are concerned. One big accusation is 'the plan behind the plan' and I can see that. The plans as published are not bad, but the culture of pushing for lower and lower to lose can be. Also, assuming everyone who isn't losing all the time quickly is cheating is both hurtful and untrue. People do have different bodies and different responses. Also, I see (or hear later of) the reports of weakness, dizziness, erratic heartbeat, almost (or actually) fainting, etc., and that even persisting a month or two or longer into the diet ---- that is serious! These are people in our midst, taking it too far, but it has happened. If anything said or done, or the culture created feeds into that, there is liability, both legally and morally.
I think we need to consider several things:
1) Really reconsider how far is safe to push things, and what number guidelines ought to be in place. Rather than 0 – 20 carbs, for instance, just say 20 or less. Don't say 0 - 3 cups List 1 veggies on the Kimkins plan – say 2 –3, etc. Add a couple of ounces more of protein to the Boot Camp dinner, like it was before, and a little more fat. Etc. Stress that Boot Camp is not for beginners (even though the name sounds like it is the place to start).
2) Do not create a 'plan behind the plan' culture. Don't always assume lowering everything is the answer. Don't assume cheating with slow losses – not always true. Don't treat all fat as unnecessary. Continue to stress that required nutrient levels (including calories, fats, etc.) vary from person to person, and that we should feel well doing this.
3) Encourage Kimkins more over K/E, for the fiber and nutrient benefits. Reconsider fiber addition, maybe. Back way off on laxative recommendations. Reconsider recommendation for how long it is safe to stay on K/E at a time.
4) Be on the lookout for ED signals, and caution individuals who are displaying unbalanced behavior in eating, exercising, binging and starving, laxative abuse, going for goal weights in the underweight category, etc. Publish a warning and disclaimer on the front end.
5) Back off on the SNATT. Nausea over food should not be a diet strategy.
6) Back off so much on the WLS, Medifast comparison. Yes, WLS patients eat little at first. But, many have health problems, and the low calories quit working after a while, and loss levels off for them. Early shake fast diets had big problems, too.
7) Drop the Fasting and Detox forum. (I know it has its place, but that is a big target. Most of us never even check there, but there really is some extreme stuff that has happened there.)
8) Get a Maintenance plan up there, with hope of ever having a decent number of calories.
9) Get the eBook done, (and run past an advisor).
10) Stronger disclaimers and more direct address are needed, as [name] said, especially with pregnancy, nursing moms, medical conditions, teens and children,, eating disorders, etc.
11) Medical support and advice would be valuable. How to get? I do think we have medical personnel as members already, so you might contact them. A published research bank would be helpful.
12) Have you gotten legal counsel on this?
So, this is more than anyone wanted to hear, and more than you want to do, I know.
I tried to bring up everything I have heard leveled against Kimkins.
I realize that some people cannot be satisfied, and what is done is done. I am hoping, though, that all of this can be humbly looked at with fresh eyes and an open mind, and addressed with honesty and compassion where change is warranted.
I will do everything I can to serve the Kimkins members well, and hope we can sort things out for the good of all. Thanks for listening to all this, Kimmer. I know it's a tough spot to be in, and I'm sorry.