That confluence forms the perfect recipe for disaster.
The person, Kimmer/Heidi Diaz
The professional practices of Kimkins
The plans of Kimkins
The plan behind the plans at Kimkins
The people of Kimkins
Now, a look at what has been dubbed the plan behind the plan.
One of the accusations most often leveled against Kimkins concerns what has been dubbed 'the plan behind the plan'. This charge concerns the persistent and well-documented tendency of Kimmer/Heidi Diaz to continually push for very low and even lower and even still lower calories, to promote daily laxative use, and to overlook eating-disordered behavior, all in an effort to see those numbers on the scale move virtually every day.
This was apparently Kimmer's modus operandi at Low Carb Friends (LCF) for years, where the original 'Ask Kimmer' thread is preserved. The trend continued and became even more extreme at the Kimkins site, since Kimmer was essentially unopposed there. In fact, Kimmer's own repeated pronouncements would be perfectly compatible with a pro-anorexia support site rather than any safe and reputable diet support site. Kimmer/Heidi regularly set the standard at 500 - 600 calories per day, and ALWAYS recommended cutting calories deeper when someone was stalled or even simply losing more slowly than desired. This is irrefutable, as many of us can easily document. By doing this, Kimmer formed the culture which inevitably continues to influence Kimkins, no matter what changes those in charge may pretend or promise.
The plans as written are still VLCD, and the 'plan behind the plan' still permeates the culture. In fact, that is the only way that Kimkins can brand itself with its unique selling proposition of "No faster diet. None." The latest ploy is to suggest (*wink, wink*) that everyone get enough healthy fats and a full allowance of vegetables, at least 800 calories daily with cycles of higher calories, plus daily water consumption and daily exercise, plus a full complement of targeted nutritional supplements. With all that, Kimkins wouldn't be Kimkins anymore --- it would be Atkins! And it could no longer promise big losses much faster than the standard 1 -2 lbs. a week that Kimmer has ridiculed so much.
So, is there real evidence of 'the plan behind the plan'? Oh, plenty!!
Did the dieters who developed health problems really 'take it to the extreme' all on their own, against Kimmer's wishes? No way!!
Here are just a few excerpts, out of dozens and dozens of potential examples, with screen shots to back them up:
~~~One member wrote of regularly going almost all day before eating eating anything, and usually taking in 400 - 600 calories a day.
Kimmer replied, "(Name), do what feels right to do. . . . Many of us have to overcome "forcing" ourselves to eat or ignoring when we're "supposed" to eat. Work at it!"
~~~A Kimkins member posted that she was eating less than 500 calories a day, more like 300 calories, but wasn't hungry. She asked if that was enough calories, and if there was no truth to the 'starvation' theory.
Kimmer replied that the body runs fine on stored body fat for all its calories, and gave the equation of exactly how many calories an obese person is carrying with them before they need more fuel. She said, "Want more proof low calories are OK? What about people who have gastric bypass surgery and the very goal of surgery is for them to limit their daily calories to 500! They lose just fine. Any complications are a result of the surgery or pre-existing health conditions brought on by obesity." (Note: this is not correct!) Then, she goes even further and recommends the poster consider long-term fasting, saying Dr. Furhman supervises patients who fast for several months at a time.
~~~ Another member posted that she had eaten 546 calories, and was not hungry, but wondered if she should eat more?
Kimmer replied, "I'm begging you, please don't eat if you're not hungry! We've all got to work on the 'I should' tapes in our head."
~~~One member reported episodes of dizziness and racing heartbeats, and asked if it could be caused by not eating much food. A couple of other members reported similar episodes, which in both cases they related to very low calories and said the episodes went away when they ate more.
Kimmer replied, "I disagree about not taking in enough calories. Water fasters take in 0 calories and their hearts are fine. So long as you have sufficient body fat, there's no problem. You're thin, but not overly so. By all means I'd snack on lean protein and be sure you're getting in the RDA of 60 grams, but it takes very little chicken/beef/eggs to do that."
When the original poster reported doing fine after adding more food in the morning before work, Kimmer replied, "I'm glad you felt better after chicken & cheese, but since neither has any carbs to speak of (and it takes 24-48 hours to synthesize protein), it didn't have an affect on your blood sugar or deficiency."
~~~One member reported that she was trying to keep her calories up to 400, but had only managed that once. She reported days of from 188 to 443 calories, with protein intakes as low 17 grams and fat as low as 7 grams.
Kimmer's response? "Did I tell ya or did I tell ya? It would happen! Don't panic about low calories. . . . Bottom line, as long as you have sufficient body fat you don't need to eat calories -- you're carrying them with you."
Wow! Is she claiming that people who are overweight don't even need calories at all?
When my own weight loss slowed to a crawl on Boot Camp, part of Kimmer's response was, "Someone can "eat clean" and still be too high in calories, even if they're low by other diet standards. Certainly no one would think 900 calories a day is "high", [Note: I was NOT eating that much] but it's 3 times as much as someone doing the Egg White Challenge at 300 calories a day. Weight loss will be different. Don't forget people who dabble in days of fasting, too."
When we original admins confronted Kimmer with our concerns, her response about low calories was, "I don't believe in starvation mode. I cannot and will not say anything about minimum calories. A grilled chicken breast and a 1 cup USDA serving of mixed greens is 200 calories. It just is. Adding fats or starches isn't "healthier" to up the calories."
Wow! As if 500 calories wasn't low enough, was her REAL intention 200 calories all along? (Notice how she dragged in starches when no one had said anything about that.)
As for some people at Kimkins dismissing or casting doubt on the health issues of former Kimkins dieters by saying 'no one really knows' how they ate, or that they 'took it too far' all on their own - not true! Until recently, most of the people there made their food journals public, and many posted to the Daily Menu thread, where very low calories were the norm and the goal. Kimmer herself posted to the menu thread for a good while, and reviewed many journals, always favoring lower calories.
Christin wrote an excellent blog entry on this very point: Used or Abused?
In response, I posted a comment excerpted here:
It is beyond belief that anyone would honestly say you abused the plan. You EPITOMIZED the plan. You were Kimmer's star pupil, her protege, her chosen cover girl. Kimmer checked and approved your FitDay more than once, and always suggested even more cuts to lower things. You were the one Kimmer asked to cover the 'Ask Kimmer' thread for her. You were the one Kimmer selected to run the Kimkins 'Loser Line' Chats. You were the one whose "FAQ: How I Did It" thread was pinned up at the top of the main forum for all to see and follow, with Kimmer's full support and blessing. You and your 300 calorie egg-white days were the example she threw in my face when I complained that the diet wasn't working as promised. You are STILL the one whose weight loss story is on the front page of the site, to sell memberships!
In fact, Kimmer's comment on Christin's FAQ thread was, "Brava, girl!"
What about the allegations of Kimmer recommending daily laxative use for weight loss?
"How about just doing a 25% dosage for a couple of days? Well, actually every day to compensate for the lack of veggie fiber . . . . I predict you'll absolutely have a "whoosh", LOL."
"If anybody is doing MoM [Note: Milk of Magnesia], it needs to be a daily thing since Kimkins is low in fiber. If you take MoM and get "action", then stop taking MoM, everything will begin backing up again and the scale will show a fake gain.
Are we going to be laxative addicts? No. Once you're close to goal and begin adding back good higher fiber carbs (not Twinkies!), things will move on their own. Or maybe not? The market is chock full of laxatives and not everyone who's buying them is doing low carb so there must be a serious constipation problem out there!
A reminder for dosage is take the maximum dose the first (and maybe second) night, then a 25% or 50% dose every night thereafter."
I could give so many more examples of Kimmer actively encouraging extremely low calories, fasting for weight loss, daily laxative use, and of her being either oblivious or accepting of eating-disordered behavior. Personally, I have come to believe that is how she once lost some weight, though that approach left her unable to reach goal and maintain it, as she claimed. I believe she herself is extreme and disordered in her eating, and that will always eventually come through in any eating plan or diet site she is part of --- and she is still in charge of Kimkins, have no doubt.
Whether recommending and supporting members in attempts to fast off 100 lbs., or to eat nothing but egg whites or nothing but fish for months at a time, she was and is the driving force of 'the plan behind the plan' that created the Kimkins culture.
When I first read these types of things, I thought I must have been misunderstanding --- that Kimmer could not possibly mean what it seemed like she was saying. I thought maybe she just lacked social or communication skills. After a while, as I began to realize how extreme her views really are, I tried to mitigate and buffer them as best I could with a more reasonable and balanced approach.
At times, though, I still felt myself being sucked into the vortex of ever-lower calories for continuing losses. Even as an intelligent middle-aged woman, I sometimes caught myself toying with the flitting idea of a few days of fasting or a dose of laxative tea, just to see the scale reach a magic number. It frightened me.
Anyone at Kimkins who has avoided 'the plan behind the plan' did so in spite of Kimmer, no thanks to her.
The 'plan behind the plan' IS the plan.
The rest was just a front.