Thursday, September 6, 2007

Reasonable Appeal

Generally, I believe there is a process to go through, if possible, to address things that need resolution. I expressed my concerns privately to the individual involved. When that was not satisfactory, I presented my concerns along with a larger, but still private, group. Since that was not satisfactory, the next step would be to take these to the members at large, but that is not possible, so I put them here, so that some may read them if they wish.

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.


Mimi said...

Hi Becky. This was interesting to read -- well, "interesting" is an understatement! It's heartening to read this, and see your efforts to create positive change. Sadly, it appears that rationality, ethics, integrity and compassion are foreign concepts to certain individuals.

May you and everyone else who has been personally affected by "Kimmer" and/or "Kimkins" and/or "The Kimkins Diet" continue to move forward with the courage of your faith, a faith that proclaims, "Perfect love casts out fear."

Kristy said...

Hi Becky,

All I can think of at the moment to say is, WOW!! I guess I'm still in a state of shock. I thank-you for being so open and honest about what happened and I know that it musn't be easy for you.

All my love and best wishes, Kristy

Lee said...

Wow! Once again I think you said it all and more.


Alex said...

Thank you for publishing this. It truly does shed light on the whole situation- particularly the fact that everyone who is (and was) associated with kimkins may *NOT* be of the same mindset as Kimmer/Heidi.

As someone that has not done Kimkins, and because there seemed to be such a solid stance of support and defense of Kimmer/Kimkins in different forums, it appeared that there was no questionning or doubts from within.

I think that your insight and revelations will do a great deal of good in helping people struggling.

theTRUTH said...

Thank You, Thank You, Thank You
for having the courage to publish this. It was well thought out and done with the best intentions. Will be seeing a part two? (Kimmer's reaction to reason)?

Not a Chance! said...

Becky, thank you for posting what your concerns were. It would be extremely helpful to those thinking Heidi is a "hero" to see what her response was. Could you post that email response too?

LJ said...

Thank you for sharing that. You obviously put a lot of thought, energy and attention into trying to make a difference over there; I commend you for that. With all due respect to the previous posters, I don't think it would be appropriate to publicly post someone else's private correspondence. I'm sure if we use our imaginations, it's exactly what we'd expect it to be. ;)

Deni said...

I'm proud of you for coming out with this. I still have all of these emails too. :)

By the way.. I posted a new post in my blog this morning too.

Elemkay said...

Oh my gosh, Becky - You are my hero! The grace, guts, and diplomacy that you exhibited is beyond compare. Your suggestions were thoughtful and valid and I believe would have stopped the trainwreck right in its tracks if taken to heart. I applaud your ability to present your ideas in a non-confrontational manner, while still being assertive in what you know to be true. I feel sad that your suggestions went unheeded.

As you go through this trying and uncertain time, please know that so many of us are standing behind you, propping you up with our unconditional support and love. You won't have to walk this alone.

VernsWifeVickie said...

Once again you have amazed me with your honesty,grace and integrity in dealing with a very difficult situation. I think that you and Deni are my new heros!

follmercarolyn said...

Dear Becky,

I admire your honesty and sincerity
in dealing with your Kimkins experience.

In my opinion, the best advice that anyone can give Kimmer is to hire a nutritionist so that they can go through each plan and have them decide what is safe and adequate nutrition for women who want to lose weight safely.

Lowcarb dieting is so different than just cutting calories and fat.
In fact, research has shown that you need an adequate amount of fat
in your diet in order not to experience the health problems that Kimkins can cause.

God Bless you in your weightloss and maintenance journey.

Tracy said...

A thoughtful, reasonable email. Thank you for posting it. Glad you got out, and hope all the others do too...and that no-one else gets sucked in.

Kelly said...

Thank you, thank you, thank you for posting this!!!!!! It is exactly what I needed to hear. You were RIGHT ON with your advice to "kimmer" and if she was on the up and up, she would have taken your advice. I think it is just a matter of time before she gets shut down and ends up "exposed" on tv and print. This is the info that I needed to make my decision to leave Kimkins. I will continue on my weightloss journey in a safer way. I specifically had asked "kimmer" about K/E because I was concerned with the safety of so much protien and so little veggies and she PM responded to me that I really shouldn't be concerned and that it was "safe" to do K/E all the way to goal, and that was what she had done, as well as Deni and Christin. After reading your post here, I will change to something "safer" such as Atkins that includes veggies and fats. I know this has been hard for you, but I REALLY appreciate your sharing the info. You are saving the health and possibly lives of countless people. God bless you!

melodiegale said...

Thanks Becky,

Your email to Kimmer contained most of the reasons why I left a month or so ago. Especially "the diet behind the diet". Best to you. You've been brave and done the right thing, and certainly tried to swing the "founder" towards more rational thinking when it comes to her business practices.

Some things just can't be fixed.

theTRUTH said...

For those who think it not appropriate to post someone else's private email communication, I understand and I agree to an extent. In this case, I think I could make an exception to at least paraphrase her response. In this single case, I believe the benefits to a huge number of people (with a lot on the line, health wise) to see the truth about Kimmer by reading her response to a well reasoned argument, far outweigh the appropriateness of withholding personal communications.

Email's are not privileged information and become the property of the person receiving them, or even the company providing the means of communication. My employer makes that clear enough.

Sparky's Girl said...

Thank you for sharing this Becky. I pulled my Kimkins affliate, and support, just a few days before Jimmy did. I'd seen too many things that bothered me. Hearing the truth about some of these things has reassured me that I did the right thing.

Deni said...

I just read your comment and wanted to let you know that I did NOT do strictly K/E all the way to goal!
I cycled k/e with regular kimkins... pretty much half and half throughout the weeks.
I needed veggies! :) I never even really liked veggies before trying Kimkins, but after about a week of k/e, I started wanting vegetables.. and NEVER denied my body when it wanted healthy things!

so... there you have it... another lie caught and exposed.

theTRUTH said...

I got rushed into lunch time before publishing that last comment. I meant to add, "Ultimately it is Becky's decision, but I am asking that she weigh the potential benefit to thousands of folks who still don't believe, against her regard for Kimmer's privacy. After all the lies, I for one, am looking forward to the truth finally seeing the light of day, no matter how ugly, and no matter how much it violates the privacy of the original lier. Kimmer has taken money from all of us, and she is possibly exposing us and many others to further dangers, and we sure the heck are not going to get the truth out of her. That much is clear, with spin like this she posted today:

"Someone has asked about Becky recent blog entry. As I mentioned, Becky & I did not see eye to eye on changes for the site. Her ideas were excellent and well thought out. I've got nothing bad to say about her and any company or website would be luck to have her on staff."

If they were so excellent, why were they not implemented instead of Becky getting locked out???

theTRUTH said...

Post like that from Kimmer, allow members to believe how kind and generous she really is and keeps them in the fold. Until the whole truth comes out, (and I am now thinking that paraphrasing my not be enough - her own words are probably needed), she will continue to "snow" her members into believing what she wants them to believe.

Stephanie said...

Becky, I had a lot of respect for you before today. Today, I am even more impressed with your wisdom and candor. That was the most reasonable and thorough appeal anyone could have made to Heidi.

That she rejected your appeal to sanity, to reason together with you and the others on these important points, and that she rejected YOU speaks much greater volumes about HER character than any weight issue ever could.

I believe it would be doing a huge favor to the remaining Kimkins members for you to continue to shine the light on the darkness that is Kimmer - Heidi Diaz. The enemy can only operate in the dark.

You and the others can choose to continue to be beacons of light. I pray you will continue to do so as the Lord leads and gives you wisdom in His timing.

Arielguard said...

This is what Kimmer put on the forums this morning:

"What is with people? 22 Minutes ago
I wasn't going to comment on the anti-Kimmer blogs or the photos because this is exactly what they want and I won't oblige them.

However, posting about Heidi and digging through her trash is absolutely disgusting. Thanks to all of you who sent PMs of concern and support. She's OK with it, her first comment was "Did he have the car air conditioning on?" because it's been 100+ degrees nearly all month in Corona. Many people have died from heat and her first concern was for him.

What we don't understand is the "secret"? What secret? Raise your hand if you joined with a check or money order. Who did you make the check out to? Heidi Diaz/Kimkins, right? That information has been on this site since we upgraded in May and was in email instructions for joining by check for a year before that. What's new?

Everything about Kimkins is in Heidi's name and always has been. When my partnership with my former partner dissolved I borrowed money from everyone I knew to raise the buyout funds. They became my new partners. There are 5 plus me -- not that it's anyone's business.

Kimkins has grown to nearly 40,000 members. Does anyone honestly think I do this all by myself? We have working partners, paid staff, generous volunteers and tech crews. Two staffers are morbidly obese, we don't discriminate against fat people here. We have people of different ethnicities and religions also, if anyone's interested. Maybe the anti-Kimmer blogs would like a photo of our staff member who's confined to a wheelchair, too? What is with these people?

What they say about me doesn't matter a flying frigg. When they start dragging other people into, it gets my dander up. OK, rant over. What's the scientific calculation for jumping to conclusions?

BTW, for those who have asked why we don't accept credit card payment directly and use Paypal instead, the anti-Kimmer group is a good example. If you enter your CC info on our site, it remains in our database and is, theoretically hackable. To protect our members, we use Paypal."

Thank you Becky for all you have done.

Arielguard said...

I forgot to say it looks like she is spinning it.

Following the "plan with in the plan" and eating 300-400 calories caused me to be so daized that one day I ran a red light with my kids in the car, and I didn't even realize it until my son pointed it out. I was in a fog after a few weeks. That scared me to the point I stopped in my tracks. I was so weak that I would just sit and stare sometimes without the energy to do anything. I eventually figured this wasn't right, and stopped. This was in may.

Thank you Becky for having the courage to do what it right.


Cheryl said...

Dear Becky! Thank you for your latest post. It took courage to come forward and I for one appreciate your honesty. You tried your hardest to reach Heidi and got no where .... but at least you tried. I do admire you for taking a stand.

When I was banned from the site I too wrote an e-mail to Heidi pleading with her to come forward to disprove all the allegations, but it fell on deaf ears.

You tried and you were rebuffed. You made the right move - you left. Thank goodness for that!

S said...

I really am not going to write a book, and I didn't read all of your posts in here, but I do want to say one thing, that is it was not only the kimmer story that helped me to join Kimkins, it was you and Kristen and the others that have left, your encouragement, and advice on Kimkins are what got me started and going. If this information was so terrible, than why were you there, and why did you encourage everyone to follow the plan and how good we were doing?