It all revolves around a diet known as Kimkins.
Long story short, a woman known as “Kimmer” on various low-carb diet forums created her own version of Atkins, despite having no background in nutrition, science, or medicine.
Her diet, a very-low calorie, low-carb, and low-fat one dubbed “Kimkins,” quickly gained a strong following.
The hook? Apart from promising “no exercise” and “super fast weight loss,” Kimmer cited this “way of eating” as one that helped her lose a staggering 198 pounds in just 11 months five years ago -- and maintain it ever since!
As “proof”, her website featured a before and after photo of Kimmer, as well as pictures of other successful dieters.
In June of 2007, Woman’s World Magazine featured the diet on their cover, describing it as “better than gastric bypass!”
Membership sales climbed through the roof! In fact, it is estimated that over a million new members signed up in the month following that issue’s release.
A few things were beginning to “stand out”, though.
For one, Kimmer balked at the magazine reporter’s request for an in-person meeting, claiming she was “too shy.”
She instead submitted a photo of her new figure.
Additionally, some members began reporting disturbing symptoms after following the diet for several weeks, including dizziness, fainting spells, hair loss, and cardiac complications.
Finally, over the course of several months, the truth came out.
Kimmer’s “after” photo (as well as most of the other testimonials’) was actually lifted from a Russian “mail order bride” website.
Kimmer’s real identity? An obese woman (heavier than in her “before” photo) named Heidi Diaz.
This was the woman telling people who forked over $59.95 to join her website and follow her diet that they needed to “follow her example” and eat approximately 500 or less calories a day.
Diaz insisted time and time again, even when challenged, that she lost 198 pounds -- and maintained that loss -- solely because of Kimkins.
She even provided “tips” of low-calorie snacks she “loved” to eat whenever she got cravings (i.e.: a lettuce leaf topped with a slice of ham and a drizzle of mustard).
According to recent reports, Diaz recommended on her own website's forums that people take laxatives and not drink water to speed up weight loss (in what was dubbed “the plan behind the plan.”)
In some postings, she claimed that “starvation” does not exist.
According to Diaz, overweight people don’t even need calories because their bodies can get energy by “melting fat.”
Diaz often defended her diet’s safety, claiming it is what bariatric surgery patients are put on after their interventions.
She failed to mention that these people are also closely monitored by an entire medical team.
This saga is filled with all sorts of deceit, lies, and fraud.
If you are interested in learning all the details (I have but barely skimmed the surface in this posting and, trust me me, it is juicy), please visit this blog.
A quick YouTube search also pulled up a story Good Morning America did on Kimkins this past January.
As of this posting, a class action lawsuit has been filed against Diaz. I sincerely hope she is prosecuted to the full extent of the law.
While we are at it, here are some excellent guidelines for identifying unhealthy diets and diet scams.
Remember, your health comes first!