JessicaBoston (former Admin) posted this last night in her kimkins journal. We held onto it until we saw that the post had been posted elsewhere, because we wanted it to remain up for kimkins members to see, and didn’t want to bring it to the attention of the wicked trolling kimmer-spies.

jessicaboston (User) Teacher Posts: 756
Re:Things I’ve learned so far

Hi everybody,
I left the Kimkins site a little over a week ago. It was my intention to stay out of forums entirely for a bit while I detoxed from the whole situation and read more outside accounts about what’s going on. I still have a long way to go, but the more I read, the more concerned I became, and after reading so many accounts of how damaging people’s Kimkins experiences have been, I’ve realized that I have some apologies to make.

I’m smart, well-educated, and no stranger to low-carbing, but I still drank the Kimkins kool-aid. When I first joined, I was shocked by how little people were eating, but I ignored the warning bells in the back of my head. I read many accounts in the forums of people who had been on the program for months and were doing well, so I figured that my reservations (starvation mode, etc.) could just be dietary dogma that I’d have to get over, just as I had to get over the “fat is bad for you” and “the food pyramid says you should eat lots of carbs” dogma when I started my low-carb lifestyle years earlier. I decided to try it, and see.

My experience seemed to back that up: I felt good and was losing steadily. I assumed that, because I always listened to my body and ate when I was hungry, what I was doing must be safe. I didn’t experience any side effects, other than occasional sluggishness and grumpiness, but these were normal for me, since I have both reactive hypoglycemia and chronically low blood pressure. They happened more frequently on Kimkins, but they always went away after I had a snack, so I assumed it was just another way my body could let me know it was time to eat, and I always did. I was proud that I had learned to listen closely enough to give my body just the amount that it demanded. I felt good, my skin looked great, I wasn’t losing more hair than usual (I’m a shedder anyway), I was exercising with good stamina (as long as I didn’t do it before breakfast), and my exercises had given me nice muscle tone.
However, it didn’t occur to me that my case might not be typical:- I ate more fat than many people (kept my blood sugar stable)- I ate a wide variety of foods from the allowed list- I tried to eat nutrient-dense foods- I payed close attention to my body (honored my hunger, kept myself hydrated)- I got a lot of exercise- I took my vitamins and supplements religiously- I cheated frequently.

Convinced that my way of doing Kimkins was healthy, I started giving advice in the forums. My intentions were good: to be a part of the supportive community of the forums, and to help people in their weight loss journeys. I tried to give responsible, common sense advice based on listening to your body, but when assumptions are flawed, the conclusions often are too.

Which brings me to my first apology: If following my advice caused you to suffer, whether directly or indirectly, I’m very sorry. Please forgive me.

As I said many times in the forums, I’m a shameless know-it-all. I like to learn things, and I like to talk about them. Because of this, many people came to trust my advice, particularly after I was asked to be an admin. I also tend to sound like I know what I’m talking about. I made a point of identifying what I believed was fact vs. what was based on personal or other people’s experiences, vs. what was my simple opinion, etc., but I don’t know that that was enough. I can see, in hindsight, that sounding like an expert can make people more likely to believe you even if you don’t claim to be an expert and even when you say it’s just your opinion without investigating the matter themselves. And while I do believe that everyone has a responsibility to take advice with a grain of salt, I wish that I had reminded people of that more often.

Which brings me to apologies #2 and 3: If my tone or wording made you feel like you didn’t need to check the facts yourself, I’m very sorry. Please forgive me.If that failure to check facts caused you to suffer, whether directly or indirectly, I’m very sorry. Please forgive me.

In all of this, the thing that I’m least proud of is the way I censored myself. When my opinion differed from the rules of the diet, from a more experienced admin, or even just from the most common ways of doing the diet, I would often:- choose not to comment,- defer to the other authority- tell the poster that my advice would be against the rules / common practice (which, I can see in hindsight, would discourage some people from doing taking my advice)- phrase my suggestions weakly, even when I felt strongly. I self-censored because people were there to do Kimkins, not Jessicakins, and I didn’t want to lead anyone “astray”.

Which brings me to apology #4: If you suffered because my silence, directly or indirectly, I’m very sorry. Please forgive me.

When the controversy really hit the fan, I was hosed. Really, insanely hosed with my personal life, day job, and dance career. I was only managing to keep up with my PMs, missed over half of the discussion on the Admin threads, and rarely managed to participate in the forums. Because everything I had heard about the controversy up until that time had to do with Kimmer’s identity (which I didn’t care about), I didn’t bother to read all the “anti” blogs. I didn’t even discover that other admins had left until days after the fact. It wasn’t until I was contacted by someone who had left (you know who you are, and I am grateful to you) that I even bothered to skim the information available “on the outside”, and so I discovered much later than most people that there was much more to the controversy than the “who is Kimmer” question. If I had educated myself about the controversy sooner, I might have left much earlier than I did.

Which brings me to my apology #5: If my continued presence on the Kimkins site encouraged you to stay, and if that caused you to suffer, whether directly or indirectly, I’m very sorry. Please forgive me.

At the time that I left, my primary issue with Kimkins was all the negativity on the site. This came from two places:1) All the snarking and flaming, both from the pro- and anti- camps, impaired my weight loss efforts, rather than supporting them.2) The widespread fear of censorship and banning made me very uncomfortable.
A side note about censorship in the forums:As I mentioned, I wasn’t very active in the forums during the time I was an admin. As a result, I didn’t see everything that was going on. However, I can say that this conversation from the Admin forums is genuine. I know because I participated in the conversation; I was the admin whose name was removed. I do feel that people have a right to speak their mind in the forums, but at the time that I posted my reply, I had seen very few cases of censorship/banning, and was a newer admin, and so I phrased my concerns “diplomatically”. Instead of saying “I think banning is wrong”, I chose to phrase it in terms of Kimmer’s own interests: “banning could get you into trouble”. I did this in part because people usually are more open to that than to direct criticism, but also because I didn’t want to rock the boat.

Which brings me to apology #6: I don’t think phasing my objection to banning more strongly would have made a difference, but if hearing it worded more strongly would have prevented another admin from censoring and/or banning you, I’m very sorry. Please forgive me.

(For the record, I never banned or censored anyone. I told Kimmer that I wasn’t comfortable banning people except for threats or obscene content, and asked to abstain. For the record, I also suggested setting specific guidelines for appropriate behavior, a standardized pre-banning process including a series of formal warnings, and making sure that the community was informed of them. Kimmer said that she’d be following through on my suggestions, but it didn’t happen before I left.)

My reasons for leaving are relevant because they are only a small part of why I’m glad I left. As I mentioned, I did most of my reading on the controversy after I left. And what I found has changed my mind about many things.
1) I wasn’t personally abused by Kimmer, and am not aware of being manipulated by her. In fact, she has been nothing but polite to me. However, I have heard too many accounts of abuse and manipulation from former admins that I know and respect, to believe that even half of them are untrue. And half is too many. If you are asked to be an admin, I suggest that you decline. It’s very flattering to be asked, but becoming an admin:- associates you with every aspect of Kimkins- puts at least some responsibility for what happens there on your shoulders- means that you will be asked to censor and/or ban other forum members (although, maybe you could decline like I did)- is a lot of work (from which Kimmer is profiting, but you are not being paid. To be honest, that still doesn’t bother me, but it does bother some of the others.)- puts you into an admin environment in which I, at least, did not feel comfortable speaking my mind- puts you into an admin environment in which many of our beloved “wise elders” felt abused, taken advantage of, and lied to.

2) After hearing the experiences of a large number of people, including many people that I have known, trusted, and respected from the beginning of my Kimkins journey, I have grave concerns about the safety of this program. If you are still on Kimkins, I urge you to switch to something more moderate, or at the very least talk to your doctor immediately. Really. If you can’t get an appointment soon, or if you’re too busy to do that right away, switch to a more moderate plan (Atkins, Weight Watchers, South Beach, whatever) in the interim. And educate yourself about the controversy. I really wish I had done so earlier. Finding the blogs of the admins who have left is not hard. They are not “haters”, they are the wise elders who held our virtual hands and comforted us when we were scared, lonely, or tempted, and who cheered us on when we were doing well.

3) The biggest red flag in all of this is how little I heard about the side effects people were experiencing. Because I only heard of a few cases, I assumed that they were either flukes or happening to people who were taking the program to extremes. Some of my unawareness was definitely due to the fact that I was busy for much of August and September, and less active in the forums, as well as to the fact that I did most of my posting in certain areas of the site (my 2 challenges, the newbies threads, and some work in the cafe). I have read many reports of side effects were being systematically suppressed and trivialized in the forums, and from what I did see in the forums and what I have read “on the outside”, I strongly, strongly suspect that at least some of them are true. Furthermore, the forum culture at the time of my departure was so polarized that those who reported or even asked about side effects were ridiculed or flamed by other members, including admins. This is not okay. Failing to warn people about even trivial side effects is horribly negligent, and suppressing discussion of it (whether through banning or peer pressure) is unconscionable.

I mention these things both because I think everyone on Kimkins should know about them, but also because they are the motivation for my last apology. When I left, I posted a pretty bland goodbye. Because I hadn’t educated myself thoroughly enough on the controversy, I only had vague suspicions. I chose to leave a bland goodbye based only on what I was absolutely certain of because I didn’t want to sway anyone else’s decisions without hard proof. I still don’t have hard proof of these three items, but in the face of overwhelming allegations, I am comfortable enough in saying that I strongly believe that they are true. I wish that I had educated myself sooner so I could have said so publicly when I left the forums.

Which brings me to apology #7: If my failure to speak out about my concerns in my goodbye message caused you to suffer in any way, directly or indirectly, I’m very sorry. Please forgive me.

Still wishing you all the best,
Jessica

Hypoglycemic Belly Dancer and Computer Geek
AWOL for the time being, but feel free to say hi at http://savorlightly.blogspot.com

Nice way to say goodbye Jessica! We are proud of you!

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5 Responses to “”

  1. Hooray, Jessica!That was wonderful.

    You have my utmost respect for your intelligent and humble apology.

  2. sheissparkling Says:

    Now, I started right as Becfy, Deni and Christin left so I cannot comment on them, but Jess was one of the best admins (and frankly one of the greatest people since I am friends with her!) on Kimkins. She cared, she was honest and she constantly tried to help – and stay drama-free. I’m happy that she’s left the Kimpire, but so sad that her knowledge can’t continue to be shared!

  3. Jessica,
    Thanks for finally seeing that Kimkins and Kimmer were both frauds. I remember thinking that you had a lot of knowledge and I couldn’t understand how you were supporting the diet. I think we clashed a few times. SnazzyBabe

  4. I really liked the way she wrote that!

  5. I think you have a lot of courage for coming out and saying this about kimkins. Thanks for posting it. Steph http://www.reactivehypoglycemia.info

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