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.

15 comments:

Cutie said...

your authenticity and transparency continue to inspire so many...many who thank you for your willingness to share truth in the midst of veils of deception.

Julie said...

"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.)"

Thank you for posting this. I have been blaming myself a lot for my backslide. I needed to read that.

KimPossible said...

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.

AMEN SISTA!

Love you Becky! May all members have peace... :)

PrettyPaula said...

Becky, thankyou for your untold honesty and saying what so many need and WANT to hear, there will always be a place in my heart for you. xx

Kat said...

Becky, I'm hoping your honesty saves a few followers over there from suffering some of these problems. If anyone can reach them, you can!

I have a google account but everytime I want to post I have to resign up...never wants to take my password..grrr

Blossoming Soul said...

Becky,
I, for one, am grateful that you were at Kimkins to lend a voice of reason.
Your comments today made me realize that this diet has worked for me because I have MADE it work for me. I haven't cut the fat back to nothing... and that's what has made it possible for me to stick with it for these past 3 months.
Heidi's attitude about her customers is appalling. Yes, people are stupid. I'm in a business where I answer stupid questions all day long, but these questions are coming from my customers - the people I need for my business to exist.
Would it be so very difficult for her to put together an outline for the non-professional dieter to be able to follow? I don't think so.
Her business practices... oh my. And... she does state on the home page that she lost the weight and has kept it off. Everyone is so 'forgiving' of her possibly gaining the weight back, but in actuality, she is committing a fraud.
Thanks for your honesty. It's given me a lot to think about.

Sherrie said...

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?

Becky I am glad to see you make this point, I think it is a very important point that needs to be made, many times over!

Ann Marie said...

Becky!

Thank you again for your enlightening post. Thanks to you, Deni and Christin I have found old friends who were either banned or .. well just left.

I am glad you wrote your novel.

VernsWifeVickie said...

Once again Becky your honesty and willingness to share your heart is an inspiration to me. Keep speaking the truth my friend.

Mayberryfan said...

It took me too long to put it together, but I never interacted with K., so I didn't SEE her giving the advice to go lower and lower. Without meaning to though, I went too low for a while and experienced some of the danger signs. Thanks to you and people like you who have spoken out in a rational and truthful way, I am doing a more sane LC plan now and happily losing. Thank you again for having the courage and decency to speak out!

BabyBug said...

You have once again provided a glimpse into the true Kimmer. Her total disregard of members' suffering in the wake of her plan is extremely disturbing.
Even when she had been made aware of the dangers regarding the plan, she chose to turn a blind eye to the harm for which it was directly responsible.
Her malevolent, immoral and callous treatment of other human beings I find deplorable.
I am afraid that the full scope of the damage she has done will not be known for many years, because the fall-out from her starvation plan has just begun.
And this saddens me.

getting better said...

Becky,

Thank you for doing the right thing by speaking out.

chickycola said...

Becky you are doing a great job! Thank you for your posts.
Thank you for sharing with us the truth....You are so inspiring!

Janice

debby said...

i paid $60, was there for about 2weeks, (i don't regret it cuz i wouldn't be posting here today if i didn't) then somehow found jimmy moore's blog. i read several of your posts!! all i see when i read you, deni, kristin and jimmy's posts are the love for God! what the devil means for harm, God will turn it around for His glory.

John 8:31-32 (New International Reader's Version)
31 Jesus spoke to the Jews who had believed him. "If you obey my teaching," he said, "you are really my disciples. 32 Then you will know the truth. And the truth will set you free."

Vicki said...

Hi Becky--

I never joined Kimkins, but I was going to after I had my surgery. I actually have the page saved as one of my bookmarks. The reason I didn't join is because I belong to 3fatchicks.com and I had been asking the people there if anyone had anything to say about the plan. Imagine my surprise when I logged in after my surgery and there was Kimkins on the front page of 3FC--I was still thinking to myself, "It can't be that bad, Vicki" and then I came across your page, Jimmy's page, Deni's page and Christin's page. Thank you for doing what you are doing by getting the truth out. I may just be a STUPID person to Heidi, but I'm not stupid enough to give my money to a cold, manipulative person who doesn't actually care about the people she's taking money from. So thank you--you are doing the right thing and I sincerely hope that you NEVER doubt that for one minute.