Skinny Bitch: A No-Nonsense, Tough-Love Guide for Savvy Girls Book Review: Eat, Read, Crap

Posted on 12 May 2014 16:58

By Eric Troy

The blurb for Skinny Bitch: A No-Nonsense, Tough-Love Guide for Savvy Girls Who Want to Stop Eating Crap and Start Looking Fabulous! claims that it is not your typical boring diet book. This is true. It also claims it is a tart-tongue no-holds barred wake-up call to all women who want to be thin. If calling your reader "shithead" is tart-tongued, I'll agree with this as well. You could also describe the language, instead of tart-tongued, as adolescent.

Before actually reviewing this pile of crap (there is a section on pooping), I'd like to take a moment to just consider this blurb itself. Does the fact that an author is "not holding anything back" have anything to do with the truth-value (odd term, but it fits) of the book? Well, it signals conviction. What does conviction signal? Nothing more than steadfast belief. You can believe what you say and be absolutely full of conviction, but it does not make you right. Passion is not truth, it is just passion. Passion FOR the truth, well, that is another thing.

The authors of Skinny Bitch, Rory Freedman and Kim Barnouin, waste absolutely no time in letting the misinformation spew forth. Chapter One begins with the first completely untrue statement in the book. "You need to get healthy if you want to get skinny. Healthy = skinny. Unhealthy = fat." This is such a gross simplification of the relationship between body fat and health that it is not laughable, it is disgusting. We see, right off the bat, that mistaken value judgments are taking the place of well-researched and considered arguments. Skinny does not equal healthy.


The fact that this was ever a New York Times Bestseller
is just plain old sad.

The central theme behind the book is the simplistic notion that some food is crap — which should, of course, cause the requisite self-loathing should you eat it — and some foods are well, not crap. According to the authors, sugar makes you fat, so avoid it. Sugar is the Devil, say the authors, and this is the title of Chapter 3. They advise to eat fruits instead. They make no effort to differentiate between one type of sugar and another. It is probably a good guess that they mean table sugar, or sucrose, but they ignore all other simple sugars, and the fact that fruit contains sucrose, probably due to the misguided notion that "natural equals good."

Meats are banned as well, because meat makes you fat. It is "rotting flesh" while vegetables are "living." Ignoring this moronic stance, the idea that meat makes you fat flies in the face of the weight loss experienced by those eating very high protein diets of almost all meat. Much of the book is just a opinionated attack on the meat industry and processed foods. To make it a bit more simple: The authors recommend a vegan diet, although one that may be nutritionally deficient.

There are three chapters devoted to animal slaughter and the food industry. While everybody has opinions, some opinions are more valid than others, and the opinions blasted forth in this book are based on a lot of misconceptions and misinformation, as well as an absolute lack of anything resembling critical thought.

They recommend whole grains, and avoidance of white flour products. The overinflated notions boil down the idea that every single health problem you could possibly encounter comes from "eating crap," including menstrual cramps! But do not take medications to relieve the pain of menstrual cramps, because they are supposed to hurt, and they get you ready for the pain of childbirth.

The dietary guidelines are simplistic layman notions based on, obviously, not a shred of credible research. However, who needs good research and well thought-out explanations when you have adolescent attitude? Chapter 5, "The Dairy Disaster," begins "Go suck your mother's tits." Here, we are told that because "breast milk alone" accounts for such a large weight gain in a human baby, than cow's milk should therefore do much the same thing to you.

We are then told that since humans lack the enzyme lactase (only some of us do) they cannot digest milk and this encourages the growth of bacteria which digest the lactose in the milk and this, in turns, causes an acidic environment which encourages the growth of cancer cells. They also repeat the well-debunked myth that milk causes excess mucus production. Soy milk (and other soy products) are to be used in place of milk.

Give up your gross vices, the authors advise. Cigarettes are for losers…they are totally uncool. That should solve the cigarette problem, once and for all. Who knew it would be so easy to break the vice-grip of nicotine? And cigarettes cause you to eat shit and garbage. Man, now that is a side-effect I never knew about. I've seen people dumpster-diving, but eating shit, as well? And, beer is for frat boys. Another vice gone. Need more? The authors recommend donating blood as a weight-loss aid.

The sources used by the authors to write this book are all Google searches and things like self-help books. There is not one credible scientific source used to inform the content of this work. Not one journal study. Nothing. The assertions given lack even a shred of scientific validity. As you can see from the example above, most of the book is made up of value judgements, rather than factual statements. Although we should be able to state, as a fact, that cigarette smoking causes cancer, for instance, to say that cigarette smoking is "totally uncool" is a value statement, which we can neither prove nor disprove. My statement above that the book is a "pile of crap" is similar (see also it is digusting). It is a value statement. We can stand behind those, but we can't always defend them logically.

Jamie Hale, author of Should I Eat the Yolk? Separating Facts from Myths to Get You Lean, Fit, and Healthy and In Evidence We Trust: The need for science, rationality and statistics had this to say:

Despite the books poor contents it has catapulted to an International Best Seller. Which is not surprising considering the book’s fancy rhetoric and targeted audience. The authors shock methods and in your face attitude has proven a successful marketing strategy. If you like books with sometimes catchy phrases, and high-octane attitude give it a read. If you are looking for a book about nutrition look elsewhere.

My opinion: It is a poorly disguised attempt to justify disordered eating and and unhealthy attitudes about body size under the guise of "health" and a pro-animal rights stance. The language is childish and, although some find it amusing, I find it disgusting because of the damage it can do to young women who are already struggling to cope with society's expectations. They don't advise their readers, they abuse them, trying to shame them into following the asinine recommendations of the book. "Don't be a fat pig anymore," read this book. Well, don't. Just don't. There are also many follow-up books, including "Skinny Bastard." I'd recommend ignoring these as well. If you do read these books, and think they are anything more than ill-informed ravings, well, in the language of the book, "You've got your head in your ass." It is not worth one little cent.

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