"Skinny Bitch" - The Diet Channel Interviews the Skinny Bitches

Friday, May 30, 2008 - 6:04pm

They are ogled by men, hated, imitated and envied by women, worshipped by the media, and catered to by the fashion industry. They are those women who seemingly have it all – stunning beauty, perfect bodies, career success, and smarts. Kim Barnouin, a former model, and Rory Freedman, a former agent for Ford Models, are two of these women and they aren’t shrinking violets when it comes to telling you about it. Their new book, Skinny Bitch, is a “no-nonsense, tough love guide for savvy girls who want to stop eating crap and start looking fabulous.” Thanks to Rory and Kim for graciously agreeing to sit down with us!

Buy Skinny Bitch from Amazon , or visit the Skinny Bitch web site for more information.

As a former model and a former agent for Ford Models, the easiest assumption to make is that you worked together in the fashion industry. How exactly did you two get together though?
We met almost ten years ago at a small talent agency in Virginia. After discovering our shared passion for eating and laughing, we became friends right away.

Why this book and why now?
Obesity, heart disease, cancer, and depression rates are at all-time highs. We felt compelled to share what we knew and make a difference in the world. But we didn’t want to write a boring, clinical diet book that would put readers to sleep. It was from this mindset that Skinny Bitch was born.

What are the biggest misconceptions the “regular girls” of the world have about the so called perfect “Cover Girl” models?
We seem to forget that models and celebrities are humans. Yes, some of them are hauntingly beautiful and seemingly perfect. But many of them are just like the rest of us: They’ve got junk in the trunk, cellulite, and body parts they despise. The only difference between us and them is makeup, hairstyling, lighting, photography, and airbrushing.

You aren’t afraid to be blunt. What is the single dumbest thing you see people eat in the modern diet?
Fast food! Everyone on the planet knows it’s unhealthy and fattening. But we use phrases like, “Everything in moderation” to convince ourselves it’s okay.

Diet soda is another doozy. There’s nothing good about it.

What’s your view on the low carb diet craze?
The low-carb craze is maddening, because it’s partially accurate, but also bullshit. Here’s what everyone needs to know: There are good carbs and bad carbs . The good ones are fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes, and they should be eaten daily. The bad carbs are white flour, white rice, white pasta, and other highly processed foods, and they should be avoided. But avoiding fruit because it’s “high in sugar” is madness. Eat fruit! It’s good for you!

If you could recommend just one thing that a woman can do to aid in her quest for a healthier lifestyle, what would it be?
Use your head. Start thinking for yourself. There are so many fad diets and clever advertising campaigns that we’ve forgotten common sense. Get back to the basics that you know are good for you: fruits, veggies, legumes, whole grains, and water.

In your book you describe sugar as the Devil and soda as “Liquid Satan”. How do you really feel about it?
When given the proper fuel, our bodies function like perfect machines. We feel energized, healthy, and happy. But when we fill up on crap, our poor bodies have no idea how to process it, and we become lethargic, sick, and depressed. Refined sugars and sodas (even diet sodas) are like crack—nearly impossible to resist once we’re hooked. But they are ruining our bodies and lives.

Are there any acceptable junk foods?
Of course! We are total pigs who live to eat, and we wouldn’t want to go on if it meant being deprived. The trick is making better, healthier choices to satisfy your cravings. (And we don’t mean raisins or other lame “snacks.” We’re talking cookies and ice cream.) In Skinny Bitch, we include a whole list of acceptable junk foods. A girl’s gotta eat.

To put it mildly, you have strong feelings about meat. What is it about “Dead, Rotting, Decomposing Flesh” that hits a nerve with you?
About 99% of the meat in our country comes from factory farms, where animals are raised by the thousands in confined, cramped quarters. In order to prevent disease and promote growth, the animals are given hormones, steroids, pesticides, and antibiotics. We, in turn, are ingesting hormones, steroids, pesticides, and antibiotics every time we eat meat. But it’s been hammered into our heads that we have to eat meat to get adequate protein and iron. The truth is, we can get all the protein and iron we need—minus all that fat and cholesterol—by eating fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes. And these foods don’t pose health risks like mad cow disease, trichinosis, and bird flu.

In addition, factory farming is literally destroying our environment, contributing to global warming, polluting our waterways, and wasting tons of valuable resources. When you add that to the fact that the animals suffer immeasurably, it’s hard to see the point.

“Milk Does the Body Good” – True or False?
Now would be a good time for common sense. When we have babies, we breastfeed them, and then at a certain point, we stop. We don’t breastfeed our grown children, or our husbands or friends, for that matter. It is exactly the same for cows and every other mammal on the planet. They produce milk when they give birth, they feed their young, and then they stop. We are the only species on the planet that drinks the milk of another species. We are the only species on the planet that drinks milk as adults. Why? Because the multi-million dollar dairy industry has convinced us that we need milk for healthy bones. That without cows’ milk, we will shrivel up or shatter. However, Yale researchers found that countries with the highest dairy and meat intakes also suffer the highest osteoporosis rates.

The truth is, we can get adequate calcium from leafy greens, vegetables, raw nuts and seeds, and beans. And again, these foods come without the hormones, steroids, and antibiotics found in dairy.

Some readers might find the diet you recommend—giving up soda, sugar, and dairy—impossible to follow. What’s your advice to people struggling with these restrictions?
We never feel restricted or deprived, because we didn’t really give up foods, as much as we replaced them with other better foods. Again, we’re total pigs and we love eating all day long. But we didn’t become healthy eaters overnight. It took years to get rid of our old, bad habits. We tackled them one at a time. And knowledge was our best defense: It’s hard to enjoy unhealthy food once you learn exactly how bad it is for you.

We also find comfort in knowing that we’re our own bosses when it comes to eating. We don’t answer to anyone, and at any time, we can eat whatever we want. And occasionally, we will eat crap. But usually, just knowing we can if we want to is enough.

Of all the diet fads out there, which irritate you the most?
The Atkins diet . With its emphasis on meat and dairy and avoidance of fruits and vegetables, it defies common sense.

The book implies that we aren’t being told the truth about protein. Please explain:
Have you ever in your life met someone who was protein deficient? We’re all running scared that we need these enormous amounts of protein. The truth is, most Americans are in danger of getting too much protein, rather than too little. Diets high in animal protein can impair our kidneys; leach calcium and other vitamins and minerals from our bodies; and cause osteoporosis, heart disease, cancer, and obesity. Anyone eating a healthy, well-balanced diet that includes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes will have more than enough protein in their diet.

You have an entire chapter dedicated to well……uhm………pooping. Should I even ask you to elaborate?
Pooping is a vital part of weight loss and health maintenance. No diet book should shy away from the topic. It all boils down to basic math: How much are you putting in your mouth, how much is coming out your butt? You’ve got to be a good pooper if you want to be skinny. But that doesn’t mean taking laxatives, which are bad for your body. You can’t fool Mother Nature. You’ve got to eat high-fiber foods like fruits, veggies, whole grains, and legumes; drink lots of water; and exercise regularly. And stay away from foods that have little or no fiber, like meat, eggs, cheese, milk, and processed, refined foods.

All of these things make it seem like the American diet has gone totally awry. Aren’t people living longer than ever before? Is it really that bad?
Thanks to evolution and medical advancements, people are living longer than ever before. But our cancer, obesity, and heart disease rates are through the roof. And these are directly caused by the Standard American Diet. It really is that bad and it really needs to be addressed. Childhood obesity and juvenile diabetes are running rampant. This isn’t a problem that will go away. It will only get worse unless we all educate ourselves, use common sense, and avoid falling prey to clever advertising. We need to read the ingredients of everything we buy and know what they all mean. We need to get back to the basics and eat more wholesome, fresh foods and less packaged, refined ones.

What do you tell yourself when you find yourself reaching for a donut? Or does that never happen?
Um , did we mention we were pigs? Of course it happens! We just reach for one of the goodies on our acceptable junk food list.

Fill in the blank: The US Department of Agriculture is __________
….not what you want it to be. Certainly there are many well-intentioned people working there who want to keep our food safe. But frighteningly, many high-ranking officials have direct ties to the industries they’re supposed to be protecting us from. It is an enormous conflict of interest and it totally compromises our safety. Our health is being politicized and is up for sale to the highest bidder.

Honestly, how long did it take you both to stop eating the “bad stuff” and switch to an entirely organic diet?
Rome wasn’t built in a day. It took us each many years to achieve the lifestyle we live today. But we aren’t fanatical. While we try to eat mostly organic and totally healthy, there are times when we don’t.

Let’s play a little word association. I’ll give you a word and you tell us what you think about it.

  1. Aspartame : Yes, the FDA approved it for use and deemed it safe. However, they also recognized ninety-two different symptoms that resulted from ingesting aspartame. Use your head!
  2. Olestra : Crap garbage.
  3. Coffee : Don’t kill the messengers: Coffee should not be a part of your daily routine. Caffeine affects every organ system, from the nervous system to the skin. There is nothing beneficial about starting your day with pesticide-laden coffee beans, hormone-filled milk, and sugar or artificial sweeteners. We know it is addictive and people would rather lose a limb than live without coffee. But it just isn’t good for you. Take a week or two to wean yourself off completely. And never look back.
  4. Cigarettes : Our hearts go out to smokers because we know how tough it is to quit. But there’s no time like today to start a new life. Be the best you can be right now!
  5. Booze : Habitual drinking will make you fat and unhealthy. Plain and simple. But an occasional drink won’t kill you. Occasional, we said.
  6. Water : God’s gift to us. Drink up. All day. Every day. You’ll look great, feel great, and be great.

Best part of being a Skinny Bitch:
Feeling energized and healthy all the time. There’s a profound sense of well-being when you treat your body like a temple. And of course, getting to eat like a pig but still look great is a huge perk!