I took a quick glance at the archives to see if I could discover exactly when I first started doing the Kimkins Diet back in 2007, but I kept it quiet due to the controversy surrounding that plan. I can remember communicating with Jimmy Moore several times back then, as he was doing the Kimkins Diet himself, but I couldn’t find anything I had actually posted to this blog. People were very emphatic back then that you had to eat a certain amount of dietary fat. You had to eat a ton of protein, and you had to get a certain amount of calories, or you were not doing low carb.
Because of these self-made dietary restrictions, these same individuals refused to call Kimkins a low carb diet. They insisted it was a glucose-burning diet, even though it limited you to 20 full carbohydrates per day. Their reasoning was if you were not using dietary fats for fuel, then the body was converting most of the protein you were eating into glucose, so you were not in ketosis. You were simply doing a very low calorie diet.
No one wanted to discuss the fact that the ketone strips were turning purple for those of us on Kimkins. No one wanted to discuss the possibility that the body was in ketosis because the diet caused you to use more stored body fat for fuel than a typical low carb diet did. Now, I am not advocating that you run out and join the Kimkins website, and I am not even suggesting that the Kimkins Diet (as written back then) is healthy because it was very low in calories.
In fact, when you compare what Kimmer was suggesting a dieter eat back then with the current HCG Diet plan, they are very similar except that most HCG diets severely limit the type of vegetables you can eat. Plus, the original HCG protocol designed by A.T.W. Simeons includes higher carb fruits, such as apples and oranges, and melba toast.
Some of the principles Kimmer was discussing and advocating somewhere around the middle of 2007 helped me to design my own low fat, low carb diet that worked for me.
When I started the Kimkins Diet, I still weighed more than 200 pounds on my large 5-foot frame. I’m guessing it was somewhere around 215 pounds or so, maybe a little more than that, because I weighed about 190 pounds when I first looked into Lyle McDonald’s Rapid Fat Loss Plan. That means I had lost about 40 pounds following a typical low carb diet before hitting a brick wall.
Kimmer’s Experiment was rough going mentally. It was the first time I had ever tried a zero carb diet. I ate chicken breast for breakfast and lunch, hard-boiled eggs with a little bit of mayonnaise and sugar substitute mixed into mustard for a snack, pork chops or a bunless burger with a couple of eggs fried in a non-stick pan for dinner. I also ate sugar-free jello later on in the evening.
By the end of the week, I was literally craving vegetables. It was the oddest thing I had ever experienced. Before that time, I didn’t think too much of salad and veggies; I saw them only as a necessary evil. Since I couldn’t eat the bread and potatoes I was used to, vegetables were the only way I could fill my plate on a low carb diet. But my experience with Kimmer’s Experiment changed the way that salad and vegetables tasted to me. For the first time in my life, they actually tasted good.
Now, the downside to the Kimkins Diet for me was that full-fat salad dressings were not allowed. Since the diet was a low fat diet, salad dressing sprays were encouraged, so that’s what I used on my salad. I didn’t like the sprays, but they were better than fat-free salad dressing varieties, so in real life, I ate very little salad. I ate mostly vegetables with plenty of salt and a dab of butter because they were easier to tolerate than dry salad.
Once I moved into the general Kimkins Diet, I started recording everything I ate at Fitday. That gave me a way to track my progress, keep on top of potential problems, and pay attention to the way individual foods affected my weight losses.
Basically, my diet consisted of very lean meats: chicken or turkey breast, tuna, very lean pork loin chops, extra-lean ground beef, and sometimes top sirloin steak. I ate eggs and vegetables. I also made protein shakes with one or two scoops of whey protein, diet soda for the liquid, a quarter of a cup of non-fat cottage cheese to make them creamy, and four to six ice cubes.
I ate a small amount of dietary fats, mostly mayonnaise in my tuna salad or a teaspoon of butter on top of my vegetables. The eggs were either hard-boiled or scrambled in a non-stick pan with about a half a cup of leftover vegetables from dinner the previous evening. I ate sugar-free gelatin, egg drop soup, and chicken and vegetable soup – but mostly, I kept my meals plain and simple. Chicken breast and steamed vegetables worked the best, so I ate that most often.
Although Kimmers’ Boot Camp Menu suggested you stick to only 500 calories per day and consume less than 30 grams of fat for accelerated weight loss, I ate between 800 and 900 calories per day and kept my fat grams to somewhere in the area of 45 to 60 grams.
The regular Kimkins Diet did not restrict calories. It did not restrict dietary fats. It did restrict total carbohydrates to 20 grams per day, or less, and insisted you eat a minimum of 90 grams of protein per day to prevent muscle loss. The dietary recommendation for fats was to eat only as much fat as necessary to make the diet work. The idea was that the fewer fats and calories you eat, the more fat storage the body would have to access to fuel your daily activities. So those are the guidelines I followed.
Now keep in mind that I am only five feet tall. I do have a large bone structure, but I personally need a diet that drastically cuts calories and dietary fats much lower than maintenance levels. For someone else, the figures might be different (you might need more calories or fats than I do) but for me the bottom line is that calories and fats must be dialed in to a level that will allow you to lose weight at an acceptable rate of loss.
A typical low carb diet is too high in dietary fat and way too high in calories.
In two months time, I lost 45 pounds eating this way. I regret that I stopped following that program. I regret that I listened to the low carb advocates who were running around using scare tactics against me and many others who were following this diet – because, for the first time in my life, my body was actually healing.
Today, I realize that healing came from not eating gluten, dairy or corn. But even with my new restrictions today, I have still found through trial and error that to lose any significant amount of weight, I am still going to have to drastically cut my dietary fats and calories to a lower level than a typical dieter would have to. But that’s just me.
Part of my problem is vertigo. That is why a weight loss diet needs to be tweaked and individualized to fit your lifestyle as well as any health problems and food sensitivities you have. I am extremely inactive due to the dizzy attacks that occur whenever the weather is bad or when I accidently get glutened, dairyed, or corned. I also have a balance problem, which limits the amount of activity I can do.
My calorie needs are, therefore, not as high as yours might be. For me, a maintenance level of calories is about 12 calories per pound of body weight. At my current weight of around 170 pounds, that works out to be about 2,000 calories. The average person can eat around 15 calories per pound for maintenance.
A small handful of low carb dieters did experience health issues around the time that Kimmer’s deception was discovered due to the way they chose to tweak the diet. They were following the Boot Camp program, which was way more restrictive than what I was doing, and listening to dietary suggestions that advised them to cut their calories even further.
Many of those individuals were only eating 300 calories per day, or less, because Kimmer told them to. I personally find that hard to believe. I would never lower my calories to such a drastic degree. That seems extremely unhealthy, and my common sense meter would be sounding the alarm.
What I do know is that FOR ME, eating 800 to 900 calories per day and limiting my dietary fats to below 60 grams per day did not affect my own health in any way. In fact, tests that were run on me shortly after I stopped dieting revealed me to be in excellent health. My arteries were so clean that the cardiologist was utterly amazed. My blood sugar control had normalized, so my current physician un-diagnosed me with pre-diabetes. And my organ function was so good, my physician couldn’t believe how healthy I was. In fact, she stood solidly behind both me and my diet.
And yet, the low carb community continued to work very hard to convince people like me that we were going to destroy our metabolisms for the rest of our life if we did not move back to a typical low carb diet immediately. Despite my physicians support of my diet, I was told that I was going to injure my health, and that I was risking my life if I didn’t return to the Atkins Diet.
For me, that has not proven to be true. In fact, when I first moved back to low carb, I gained about 20 pounds very quickly because it was so high in fat and calories. The low carb community insisted that my weight gain meant my metabolism was healing, but that didn’t turn out to be true either. Weight gain only meant I was eating more calories and fat than I needed to maintain my current weight – nothing more.
The same thing happens today every time I try to go on a typical low carb diet. If I stay within my maintenance level of calories, I can eat anything I want to – carbs included. But if I move back to a typical low carb diet that is high in fat and calories, I begin to gain weight very quickly.
What I learned from following the Kimkins Diet is that a low carb diet does not work for everyone. Sometimes, you have to tweak it in order to get it to work. For me, those tweaks involved lowering the level of dietary fat and calories. About the time I was thinking about returning to the Kimkins Diet, one of my readers told me about Lyle McDonald and what his perspective on nutrition and diet had done for her. So after briefly looking over what Lyle believed, I decided to leave the Kimkins Diet behind and began reading everything on the Body Recomposition website and forum.