Coming on the heels of diet of the Federal Trade Commission’s investigation of best-selling diet author Kevin Trudeau for fraud and deception comes another diet-monger in judicial crosshairs.
Heidi Kimberly Diaz, otherwise known as the Kimmer behind the Kimkin’s Diet, is due to appear in court on Nov. 1 to give a sworn deposition in answer to a class-action lawsuit, according to KTLA news. The Los Angeles-based news organization has now completed a multi-part expose on the discredited diet maven: Click to view Part 1 and Part 2 For more on the lawsuit and its allegations, read here.
For those of you who haven’t been following the whole sad saga, here’s a primer. The Kimkins site describes the diet as a low-carb, low-calorie plan that allows users to lose up to 5 percent of their body weight in 10 days. The diet first attained national prominence after being featured on the cover of Women’s World magazine in June, with a story that called the diet “better than gastric bypass,” and told the “success” story of a woman who says she lost 100 pounds in five months.
Diaz first reported on low-carb dieting message boards that her modified Atkins plan allowed her to lose 198 pounds in 100 months. After people started asking her about the plan, she put up a website and now charges $59.95 for a lifetime membership for access to her secrets, along with an affiliate program with commissions for leading others to sign up.
The trouble is, the whole diet plan was a scam.
Diaz’s after photos have been proven to be a hoax, swiped off of a Russian mail order bride site. Since KTLA began its expose, both the photo and Diaz’s testimonial have mysteriously disappeared from the site. A private investigator, hired by Diaz’s former partner-turned-disgruntled-informer, have revealed Diaz to be ironically, a morbidly obese woman. It’s always tragic to hear of people shilling snake oil weight-loss cures, but the fact that it is a fat woman conspiring to make money off the insecurities of other fat women particularly sickens me.
Turns out there’s a reason why most of Kimmer’s so-called success stories feature white women of slavic origin – they’re Russian brides, too.
Deceiving people with disingenuous diet plans is not a new practice, nor is it necessarily illegal. If it were, fad dieting would rightfully be prosecuted into oblivion. But the Kimkin’s diet is not only a scam, it’s dangerous .
The diet calls for followers to adhere to a 500 – 800 calorie a day plan, with laxatives and fasting encouraged. Carbohydrate consumption is much more restrictive than the first phase of the Atkins plan, upon which the plan is loosely based. Kimkins mandates the consumption no more than 20 grams a day, regardless of carbohydrates from fiber.
Hmm.. 500 calories a day. Laxatives. Fasting. That sounds a lot like my life when I had an eating disorder.
Followers of the diet have complained of hair loss, irregular heartbeat, fainting, and menstrual irregularities amongst a host of other medical issues. They report that Kimmer’s response to such problems is that they should eat fewer calories.
Christin, the success story featured in Woman’s World, now blogs about her experiences on the diet. I normally wouldn’t offer a link to weight-loss blog but her story is relevant to the topic at hand. In response to accusations that plan members cut calories to unhealthy levels of their own volition, and not according to the plan, Christin says:
It saddens and sickens me to admit this about myself, but I feel that I must share in order to bring to light proof of the eating disordered behavior that I not only engaged in, but was encouraged in.
Emphasis mine. Christin offers up her FitDay journal, which shows her to be consuming less than 400 calories a day. In hindsight she admits:
By all indications medically and scientifically, I was in actuality, starving. I was showing very clear signs of grossly anorexic behavior. However, in my zeal to lose and blind faith in a program that I believed I was utilizing “perfectly” I failed to see the warning signs my own body was giving me.
Yet when she asked her diet guru Kimmer for advice, Kimmer advised her to cut calories even further, although Christin’s diet consisted primarily of egg whites. Writes Christin:
True that no one forced me to eat this way, or told me that I must follow everything that Kimmer said. But, when you feel as though you’ve been handed the keys to true permanent weight loss, and you are so close to achieving that goal, it is difficult not to be blinded by your own aspirations, especially when receiving such encouragement. I was affirmed that I was doing exactly what I was supposed to be doing. I used the plan. Plain and simple.