Corona woman's diet program given low marks
07:40 PM PST on Tuesday, December 30, 2008
By DOUGLAS QUAN
A Corona woman's Internet-based weight-loss program has been named the worst diet product of 2008 by a healthy-eating Web site.
In announcing winners of its 20th annual Slim Chance Awards, the Healthy Weight Network -- an online forum for health care professionals, researchers and consumers -- said the Kimkins low-fat, low-carb diet amounts to a "starvation diet" that deprives members of many nutrients.
"This weight obsession is causing so many problems," said network founder Francie Berg, a licensed nutritionist and adjunct professor at the University of North Dakota School of Medicine.
Corona resident Heidi Diaz, founder of the Kimkins program, which charges members a fee to access the diet, could not be reached Tuesday by phone or e-mail.
A pending class-action lawsuit filed against Diaz claims that Diaz misled consumers with made-up success stories and pilfered images from a Russian dating Web site to depict as successful Kimkins dieters.
Some Kimkins members have said that they suffered hair loss, heart palpitations, weakness, nausea, muscle fatigue, forgetfulness and abnormal menstrual cycles.
Court records show that Diaz dropped her lawyer this month and is representing herself.
In an online message to Kimkins members posted a year ago, Diaz acknowledged that she had not lost 198 pounds in 11 months, as she had claimed on her site, but 100 pounds in six months. She also wrote that photos accompanying success stories were taken from another site.
"We wanted to show visitors the possibilities with Kimkins," she said.
Woman's World magazine featured the Kimkins diet program on its cover in June 2007 with the headline "Better than gastric bypass!" The magazine later apologized to readers for "having shared with you a story we can't stand behind."
As of Tuesday, the Kimkins Web site was still running, telling visitors that "many Kimkins members drop 5 percent or more of their total body weight in the first 10 days."
Members pay $79.90 to join the program.
A disclaimer tells visitors to contact their doctor before starting any diet.
Berg said people should focus less on losing weight and concentrate more on eating well, staying active and relieving stress.
Berg's Web site named as its worst gimmick of 2008 a brand of jeans that claims to release a cellulite-fighting medication when the jeans rub against the skin.
"Some of this is just ridiculous," Berg said.
Reach Douglas Quan at 951-368-9479 or dquan@PE.com
Wednesday, December 31, 2008
Corona woman's diet program given low marks
Monday, December 29, 2008
2. Original Hollywood Celebrity Diet. Sure, you too can lose weight if you live on 400 calories a day for two weeks. Wow, it's like magic!
3. Kimkins. Gives sketchy advice like super-low calorie levels and also laxatives (eeek!), but finding out that the diet's supposed inventor and biggest success story actually weighs over 300 pounds must have been très awkward.
4. Hydroxycut. Starbucks sells buckets of caffeine for much less money than these capsules, and with no scary ephedra accidentally making its way into your misto.
5. Celluslim. Random words thrown together to name pills that made a lot of people feel ishy. Sounds like a bunch of bullshit to us.
6. Chitosan. Weirdly, found to reduce cholesterol to some extent, but totally does not help you lose weight even a little.
7. Slim Slippers. Are you kidding us? Reflexology has no proven association with weight loss or metabolism and also, need we mention that these are slippers! For your feet!
8. Hoodia. It might be TrimSpa, but it's also bullshit, baby!
9. Diet Patch. Come on, you're on a diet, not an ocean voyage.
10. Mariah Carey's Purple Food diet. No, really. Purple food.
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
Who would have thought that we would see yet another Christmas with Kimkins.con still being up and running? At least a lot have been accomplished during the year. Many, many pro-kk articles have been removed from the internet. Many anti-kk blogs are still kept current. A dieter looking for a new plan is bound to find information to be warned about the dangers of the Kimkins diet.
Kimkins.con is a ghost town today. Many members have left and found other support communities. A few loyal members remain. Most of them signed up a long time ago so they don't bring any new revenue for Heidi Diaz. Hopefully she doesn't get many, or any, new customers.
Many times during the past year, I have heard pro-kk people telling us bloggers to "move on". We are moving on. We have been moving on. But my blog will remain until I can report the shut down of Kimkins.con.
Kimkins doesn't consume my life. I have many projects I'm working on, both in real life and on the internet. One of them is a new forum: Tipping the Scales to Health
As the name implies, we are focusing on Health. That may include losing weight. It may not. For me, the most important is to eat healthy to stay healthy. To exercise for health.
While the forum was formed by an anti-kk group, the focus is no longer Kimkins. Yes, we follow and report the latest developments, but it's not an anti-kk forum. We also report on other diet fads and quick fixes that are designed only to line the pockets of the people promoting them.
Please join us in our goal to make 2009 and beyond Healthy years. Meet like minded people. Discuss. Share your ups and downs. Receive and give support.
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
12/22/2008 SUBSTITUTION OF ATTORNEY FILED; ON 3RD AMENDED COMPLAINT OF JEANESSA FENDERSON REMOVE ATTORNEY LAW OFFICES OF COTTLE & KEMP FOR PARTY(S) HEIDI DIAZ AND REPLACE WITH ATTORNEY PRO/PER
The Kimkins Class Action Lawsuit took a new twist when Heidi Diaz' lawyer was removed from the case and leaving Heidi to fend for herself.
What is the reason? Nobody knows.
Perhaps he was fired by Heidi. She seems to have unreasonable expectations which is evident from the counter suit that she filed. She appeared to have listed a number of defendants just because she was mad at them, and not because she could possibly win a verdict against them.
Perhaps Heidi didn't want to, or could not, pay him any longer. All the hours Cottle has put in during the last year must have cost her a lot of money.
Whatever the reason, I think it is very good news for the plaintiffs in the Class Action Suit and the defendants in the Cross Complaint. Perhaps this saga will be over sooner than we expected. Perhaps the day to celebrate the shut down of Kimkins.con will arrive shortly.
It will be interesting to see Heidi Diaz representing herself. What persona is she going to assume? Heidi? Kimmer? Vanessa? Lesya, the Russian Bride in the red dress?
Sunday, December 21, 2008
The Worst Diet Promotions of 2008 snag 20th Annual Slim Chance Awards
HETTINGER, ND – Healthy Weight Network released its 20th annual Slim Chance Awards today, highlighting both the hidden dangers of diets and supplements that often contain unknown ingredients and sometimes potent drugs, and the merely ridiculous.
To call 2008 a typical year in the weight loss field would be too easy. This year’s awards go to an infamous huckster of diet infomercials, known for his outrageous disregard of injunctions against him; $139 body-shaping jeans impregnated with substances that supposedly reduce cellulite; a pill that’s “proven” to make your belly fat vanish; and a dangerous starvation diet launched recklessly on the Internet with false promises of safe, fast and permanent weight loss.All in all, a typical year that synthesizes all that is deceptive and exploitative in this field. So, here they are, the 20th annual Slim Chance Awards (only "Worst Product" is shown here):
WORST PRODUCT: Kimkins diet. It must have seemed an easy way to get rich quick. Founder Heidi “Kimmer” Diaz set up a website and charged members a fee to access the Kimkins diet, boasting they could lose up to 5 percent of their body weight in 10 days. “Better than gastric bypass,” there was “no faster diet,” and in fact she herself had lost 198# in 11 months. Stunning “after” photos were displayed. In June 2007 Women's World ran it as a cover story, and that month alone PayPal records show the Kimkins site took in over $1.2 million. Then users began complaining of chest pains, hair loss, heart palpitations, irritability and menstrual irregularities. This was not surprising since Kimkins is essentially a starvation diet, down to 500 calories per day and deficient in many nutrients (shockingly, laxatives are advised to replace the missing fiber). In a lawsuit, 11 former members are uncovering a vast record of Diez’s alleged fraud. They found that the stunning “after” photos, including one of Kimmer herself, had been lifted from a Russian mail order bride site. According to a deposition reported by Los Angeles TV station KTLA, Diaz admitted using fake pictures, fake stories and fake IDs, and a judge has allowed the litigants to freeze some of her assets.
For a full list, go to Quackery and Fraud
Friday, December 12, 2008
The motion for Class Certification for the Lawsuit against Kimkins.con was filed last week. It is an impressive document that details many of the lies told by Heidi Diaz in her efforts to attract customers to her website.
The motion has an excellent summary of why a Class Action Lawsuit is justified. The entire document can be read on the Riverside Court website (look up RIC483005 or search on Diaz, Heidi).
An excerpt from the motion (edited to shorten):
The Unraveling of America's Worst Internet Diet Scam.
Almost all of the material representations of the Kimkins.con website and advertisements were in fact false. The success stories were pure fiction and photographs were stolen from other Internet sites. The Kimkins diet was not ever proven safe or effective.
"Kimmer", aka Heidi Diaz, never lost 198 pounds in 11 months. "Kimmer" was purely a fictional character created to defraud the public. The perpetrator of this scam is Heidi Diaz, who habitually lied about the Kimkins diet and her alleged weight loss on the Internet for years from her home in Corona, California. She regularly used false names on the Internet, lied about her weight loss, created countless false success stories, falsely claimed celebrities such as Jessica Alba and Lindsay Lohan used her diet, lied about the safety and efficacy of the Kimkins diet, falsely impersonated consumers in order to induce sales, used unlawful labels and Metatags to misdirect Internet traffic and fraudulently tried to conceal her assets to avoid repaying customers. Heidi Diaz was caught red-handed but still continues to engage in false and misleading advertising on the Internet while making a substantial profit.
1. Kimmer is not Kim Drake, the thin diet expert: Kimmer is Heidi Diaz, a morbidlv obese Internet swindler from Corona, California.
The beautiful woman in the red dress featured on the Kimkins Internet site named Kim Drake aka "Kimmer," does not exist! Ms. Diaz also admitted that she had posed as Kimmer in a "public apology" that was posted on Kimkins.con after she was successfully exposed by an investigative report on the KTLA news. The Kimkins "poster girl" is actually a model named Lesya whose image was lifted by Heidi Diaz from a Russian bride Internet site. Heidi Diaz used her own picture to depict the "before Kimkins diet" image of Kimmer, and unlawfully misappropriated the photograph of Lesya as the "after Kimkins diet" image of Kimmer. Heidi Diaz has been and remains a morbidly obese woman.
Heidi Diaz created false identities to sell or promote the Kimkins Diet. She admitted under oath that she had used such names as Kimmer, Jennifer Danser, Brad Curtis, Kimberly Stewart, Kimberly Drake, Vanessa Sharp, Dennis Sharp and numerous other monikers.
2. Use of False Pictures of Kimmer.
Under oath and by way of public apology, Heidi Diaz has established that she has used false pictures to depict the weight loss success story of Kimmer. Under oath she stated that the picture of the Kimmer was not her and was actually "a model."'M s. Diaz' decision to use a false picture to advertise Klmkins was even questioned by her technical support staff. Her technical consultant, Aliyar Firat, wanted to use a real picture of Heidi Diaz but Ms. Diaz refused and insisted on using the picture of the model for Kimmer's after diet photographs.
3. Heidi Diaz Lied About Her Alleged Weight Loss.
Under oath, and by way of public apology, Heidi Diaz admitted that she lied about the alleged weight loss success of Kimmer on Internet and print advertisements. She admitted that her statement that Kimmer lost an amazing 198 pounds in 11 months was in fact a statement that she prepared but was false. Ms. Diaz also admitted that the woman identified as Vanessa does not actually exist and her story was a fictional creation by Ms. Diaz.
With respect to Kimkins' homepage, Ms. Diaz admits that her testimony on said homepage was derived from the interview wherein she claims to have lost a purported 198 pounds in 11 months was false. Variations of the homepage of Kimkins.con were accessible to the public throughout the class period.
To promote Kimkins, Heidi Diaz made phenomenal misrepresentations on the Internet program known as the "Livin La Vida Low Carb" show hosted by Jimmy Moore on July 19, 2007. Heidi Diaz also stated in the interview that she had kept the weight off for a total of 5 to 5 1/2 years. At the time of the interview, Heidi Diaz weighed over 300 pounds. She was photographed several times shortly after the interview.
4. Material Misrepresentations Contained in the Woman's World
Magazine Article "Make Heidi Diaz a Millionaire."
In June of 2007, the story of Kimmer and the Kimkins diet reached millions of Americans. Heidi Diaz admitted that she supplied her own "before diet" photograph for the article but used a photograph of another model for her "after diet" photograph. When asked where she obtained the picture of the model, she stated: "from the Intemet. I don't remember the site. Just again, I wanted to be anonymous." Ms. Diaz does not dispute the fact that she also used the false name "Kim Drake" and another false picture in the article.
Her statements in the article were a phenomenal act of fraud by Heidi Diaz. In the article she falsely stated she had lost 200 pounds in 11 months. She also falsely represented that she soared up to 318 pounds after a serious injury. She falsely claimed she went from a dress size 26 to a size 6. As a result of such blatant false advertising, sales shot up immediately. In June of 2007, there were 15,330 paid memberships.
5. The Use of Fortv-One (41) False Success Stories with Misapproprated Photographs.
Numerous Kimkins' success stories used on the websites and on advertisements were FALSE. The photographs featured in each of the success stories were lifted from Russian Bride websites. Ms. Diaz admitted that each and every person featured did not use the Kimkins diet and did not lose the weight as advertised.
She admitted to fabricating success stories and using false photographs in connection with the advertisements. She also created fraudulent success stories on the Kimkins Newsletter which was accessible to the general public and designed to promote Kimkins.con subscriptions.
6. False Celebrity Endorsements.
Heidi Diaz admitted that she had represented to the public that celebrity Jessica Alba, a famous actress, used the Kimkins diet. She testified that she did not know if Jessica Alba used the diet but repeated the "rumor" on the internet. She admitted in retrospect, she thought it was deceptive to repeat the rumor that Jessica Alba used the Kimkins diet.
Heidi Diaz also falsely claimed and advertised that Lindsay Lohan was a user of the Kimkins diet. In fact, she misappropriated a picture of Lindsay Lohan wearing a T-shirt. The Kimkins logo is superimposed on Ms. Lohan's t-shirt. Ms. Diaz admitted that she has never had any contact with Lindsay Lohan. She also testified that she never believed the photograph of Lindsay Lohan with the doctored image displaying Kimkins across Ms. Lohan's chest was real.
7. Unlawful Use of Labels and Metatam to Misdirect Internet Traffic.
Many of the Kimkins.com advertisements have labels or tags that are used as a basis to direct traffic to the Kimkins.com site. Heidi Diaz was an expert on how to misdirect traffic on the Internet. For example, Heidi Diaz took a popular Internet topic such as the "Geico Caveman" which generated a lot of Internet activity at the time. Heidi Diaz placed the labels: "Caveman, Geico, Kimkins" together so that when "Geico" and "Caveman" would be searched, the Kimkins advertisement would appear. Heidi Diaz admitted that she prepared the graphic and text without the permission of the Geico Insurance Company. Heidi Diaz admitted that labels were also used as tags and that if a search were conducted with respect to the terms "Geico" or "Caveman," the subject advertisement would show up in a ranking!'
Another example of label/tag misdirection occurred on the Kimkins Blog. Ms. Diaz used the following labels: "Celebrity Diet Secrets, Christie Brinkley, Gwyneth Paltrow, Kimkins, and low carb."
8. No Lifetime membership as Promised by Heidi Diaz.
Members of Kimkims.con were promised a one-time payment for a lifetime membership. However, if anyone complained of becoming ill on the diet, which was a common occurrence, said member would be immediately terminated. In fact, if Heidi Diaz or any of her minions decided they did not like you, you would also be terminated. Heidi Diaz testified that troublemakers would be blocked from full access to the website. She claimed to have no criteria for terminations. She stated that the term "troublemaker" would be defined by each administrator!
9. Advertised Lies and Misrepresentations.
Although Heidi Diaz is the sole owner of Kimkins and responsible for all of the content on its website, she has made the miraculous claim that certain representations appeared on her website without her knowledge.
Another classic misrepresentation repeated throughout the Kimkins advertisements was that the Kimkins diet was a "fast and permanent" way to lose weight.
Heidi Diaz admits that no medical doctor has ever approved the safety or efficacy of the Kimkins diet."
Another amazing misrepresentation repeatedly stated that the Kimkins diet was thermogenic and that no exercise was needed to lose weight. Many other irresponsible statements were made by Heidi Diaz and it is anticipated that she may even try to claim that she was not responsible for everything stated on her own website. However, she did admit undeer oath that no one had access to her website other than her technical company, Clexus New Media. Ms. Diaz admitted under oath that in her best estimate, she only visited her homepage two times in the year 2007, despite being the sole owner of the website.
The Court already has on file numerous declarations and affidavits signed by purchasers of Kimkins.con memberships, who stated under oath that they relied on the representations of Defendant's weight loss claims when they decided to subscribe to Kimkins.con. The subject declarations and affidavits illustrate the consumers' reliance on the fraudulent representations of Heidi Diaz. Heidi Diaz admits she lied and the sheer volume of lies proves her intent to deceive her customers.
Sunday, December 7, 2008
A while back, Kimmer asked for her members input to come up with a Kimkins maintenance plan. She eventually came up with something she published as a "plan."
The "plan" was really obscure and really just consisted of calorie recommendations: "........ a 10-12X multiplier for women and 12-14X for men" i.e. if your weight is 125 pounds you would eat 1250 to 1500 calories per day. The "plan" didn't include any recommendations about carb limits, more than that you had to find out your own "Carb & Calorie Equilibrium" without any explanation of what this is or how to find out what it is.
On Kimkins forum, she posted a more detailed sample menu. For being a low carb plan, it included a lot of carbs in the form of fruit and grains. Still low fat, of course. Her menu had waffles for breakfast, a hoagie roll for lunch, and pasta for dinner, for example. For her 1200 calorie menu, the carb count varied between 103 and 135 grams! From where did she steal this plan? Weight Watchers?
Following the posting of this menu, some members on the maintainer board weighted in with their comments. All (3?) of them pointed out that they could not eat anywhere close to that carb amount. They also said that any grains were off limits for them.
So what did Kimmer do?
Nothing. No comment. No change of the menu. Did she even read the comments?
You would think that Kimmer would listen to her maintainers. After all, Heidi Diaz has no experience of her own for how to maintain weight loss. But then, she has never listened to anybody in the first place. She is still acting as the know-it-all diet guru that lost 200 pounds and maintained for 6 years. Not as the 300+ pound obese person she is that has failed over and over again to lose weight.
It is also baffling that the maintainers stay at Kimkins.con. Could it be because they are still doing Kimkins? Constantly trying to take off a few regained pounds? It certainly can not be to receive "advice" from Heidi Diaz.
Saturday, December 6, 2008
Some people find us anti-kk bloggers "obsessed" and suggest that we "move on". The reasoning seems to be that fraud has now been admitted, the Class Action Suit is underway, and many people have left Kimkins to gather at other places. Why would we continue to pursue this one woman that started it all?
The answer is simple. Kimkins.con is still operational. Heidi Diaz is still running google ads to snatch new, unsuspecting members.
Some also think that we are doing this for attention. And, they are right. I do this for attention. Not attention for me as a person, but to spread awareness of the Kimkins fraud to prevent other people to lose their money like I did. Remember that when the Woman's World article came out in June 2007, there was no negative information to be found about Kimkins on the internet.
A Kimkins search at that time gave a lot of hits to affiliate blogs, and if ending up on Ask Kimmer on Lowcarbfriends, there was just praise for the diet there as well. Today, Kimkins Survivors often come up as the 2nd hit, directly following the Kimkins.con website. Hopefully, seeing a site dedicated to "survivors" will give pause before blindly signing up for Kimkins. Or, going down the list to read all the other anti-kk blogs.
Some also criticize the anti-kk bloggers based on that many of us (a) lost weight, (b) didn't do the diet, or (c) never were Kimkins members in the first place.
With very few exceptions, the ones that lost weight on Kimkins didn't do it without consequences. Some suffer health problems. Many discovered that they had developed an eating disorder. Most regained weight.
I am in the group that didn't do the diet, so my only loss was the money I paid for the "lifetime" membership. And the loss of trust. Knowing that people like Heidi Diaz so easily can create an online persona that has very little in common with who she really is. And me falling for it, paying her money that helped establish a website based on fraud. You could call me a "disgruntled customer" and I want to prevent others, not yet Kimkins customers, to become "disgruntled" also.
The last group that never were Kimkins members largely comprises dieters that are concerned about their fellow dieters' health. That were appalled at the diet "advice" Heidi Diaz gave out. They became aware of the fraud, and now want to stop Kimkins.con.
When it comes to "moving on", many, many have done so. The vast majority no doubt within weeks of signing up at Kimkins.con following the WW article. The anti-kk bloggers and the people working behind the scenes constitute just a small number as compared to the reportedly 40,000 that paid money to Heidi Diaz. Do not the people that walked away also deserve restitution? To get their money back when they realized that the diet was not anything they could ever do?
Some also tell the anti-kk bloggers to "get a life" as if we spend all our time obsessing about Heidi Diaz and Kimkins.con. Nothing could be further from the truth. Just check out the FWK thread to see how many other subjects that are discussed there. Or visit one of the other boards where we hang out and it will become obvious that this Kimkins thing is just occupying a small part of our lives. And it will keep on doing so until Kimkins.con is shut down. I will not "move on" just yet.