Barbi Twins Chat Transcript

Candid Talk With Shane And Sia About Eating Disorders

After the broadcast of 48 Hours' "Slim Chance" we offered our viewers a chance to talk directly with Shane and Sia Barbi, former pinup models, who were featured in the program. The following is a transcript of the live Web chat with the Barbi Twins, authors of "Dying to Be Healthy" who now lecture on healthy living and eating.

The Barbi Twins: Hi, this is Sia and Shane - known as the Barbie Twins and we love doing this and coming out of the closet to support people with eating disorders.

BartlettBear: What were the biggest pressures that led you both to eating disorders?

Sia Barbi: I can't really say the exact day because it can something that is inherited. There's new research saying that it's genetic in the same family as alcoholism or drug addiction.
What you look out for first which was in our early teens or about age 9 or 8 you look for signs in character defects - perfection, control ,over achieving...basic things like that by the time you show physical symptoms it's too late.
Shane Barbi: It's a process that is a destructive behavior that becomes a vicious cycle of obsession.

MrPoo: How long did you guys suffer from bulimia?

Sia Barbi: It was somewhat inherited but we didn't show signs, we didn't really come to the conclusion that we were bulimic until we were purging. I never thought that over exercise of over 8 hours a day was unhealthy. I thought that was disciplined.

It wasn't until during a fashion show in '92 that I really thought I had a bad problem that is where I learned about laxatives.

Kim59: Where did you first get help? I think my friend may be suffering from bulimia, but denies it. What should I do?

Sia Barbi: Any 12 step program is the best including for the ones associated with someone who is sick because it is a family disease. They can only get help if they want it.

Shane Barbi: The reason why fellowship works a little bit better than therapy - although I definitely recommend therapy as well, is because people who are in denial of this disease which is the main part of the disease ( the denial) will be more likely to acknowledge their own disease by hearing someone else talk about their own disease rather than a therapist talking to them.

Timmah: Why was it so difficult for you to accept you had a problem?

Sia Barbi: It's easier to deal with things thinking you are normal not dysfunctional.

Shane Barbi: It wasn't obvious with our weight - which is the main symptom to look at - it was our behavior that was more like an addict. And also our mother was also the top therapist for alcohol and drug addict and I was so glad that I didn't have that - it was hard to admit that I had another big problem.

joe_monday: Do you feel you struggle with a disorder has made you both stronger people?

Sia Barbi: What it did more than stronger because that's relative it made me sne and it made me grateful one day at a time.

I did this by looking at this as a three-fold disease, spiritual, mental and physical and addressed them all. This is how I also wrote the book "Dying to be Healthy." I divided into nutritional facts and recovery so that it addresses both nutrition and self-help.

Laura: Sia and Shane, I read your book last year and it had some helpful info on overcoming an eating disorder. Much to my dismay I found the pictures sickening!! If you are trying to help people overcome a terrible body image why would you put pictures like that in a recovery book? I hope that wasn't a ploy to sell your book.

Shane Barbi: First I want to say that we don't make a dime through this book - it goes for charity. Part of our recovery is giving what was given to us. So we have all good intentions.

Second, it was the first publisher that insisted - against our will - to put those pictures in since they felt we are not nutritionist; we are pinups and since this is in part an autobiography - to show what we have done and what we are famous for.

Third, the new publisher, Triumph Books, actually agreed with us with taking those pictures out for the new edition, which will be out at the end of this month. But we have found that women want to see what we have done or inspired themselves through these pics so we will put these pics outside the book.

LindaJean: How much do you weight now? Do you have a tendency to see yourselves as "fat" now that you are no longer skinny skinny?

Sia Barbi: I don't weigh myself or count calories or anything that has to do with obsessing on the food and body. What I do now is that I make health my goal and that thinness or how thin I look is the by-product so I let it go. I know my disease will make it so that I'm never happy but I am grateful.

dann: do you think you will ever have a normal eating life again?

Sia Barbi: The word normal is very relative. One day at a time. I just like in my book "Dying to be Healthy," I do both the research for nutrition and then I address my issues and let go of the obsession.

weightrainer: How did you hide the secret of your disorder , did your guy friends notice?

Shane Barbi: I would have never under normal circumstances ever done Playboy - not that there's anything wrong with it - it just wasn't our thing. I have felt I was on the cover no one would ever know about my disease. We hid it from everyone that was part of the disease.

Sia Barbi: The only reason why I did come out, because it is very difficult, is because I wanted to reach out to someone the way I wanted someone to reach out to me. I was sick of all those perfect models with their perfect lives and no problems. I couldn't identify with them.

darius: Do you find it hard to keep up the "Hollywood" image or persona of the Barbi Twins?

Shane Barbi: Being that size 2 is a regula size in Hollywood, of course there's pressure but part of my recovery is to not do that to myself.

We are doing lectures and we wrote the book for no money - non-profit, so I therefore hope that people will see we really are speaking from the heart.

Debb: Is it hypocritical for you to preach body image acceptance when you still look like models?

Sia Barbi: Don't forget that part of the disease is sincerely thinking that we do not look good. So I only took that question as a compliment and am surprised at that.

Shane Barbi: Part of my poor self image was one of the reasons why I felt I needed to model where now I hope it a sense of motivation for women saying "If we can do it - you can do it!"

Sia Barbi: Also I think this all the gave us greatest podium to speak about eating disorders.

Shane Barbi: Most people like us- wrapped up with people who wanted to know about models and Playmates and their eating habits and I believe we're the first ones who are coming out and being honest about it and have lost our male fans. We've gained female fans but lost male fans.

Most girls as we did, were keeping lives of the model and the starlet over a doctor.

Shane Barbi: If you ask any young girl the name of all the top models they know them. But they do not know the name of top female scientists or doctors or any women who have contributed something. For example Marilyn Monroe is admired by both adults and little kids as well and I feel in all honesty she has contributed nothing. She is put on the stamp so girls listen to her over a doctor.

Susie: Do you think the work you do lecturing to young women has an impact?

Shane Barbi: I feel that were definitely part of the problem without knowing it. We were solving no problems and now we've made a conscious choice to be a part of the solution.

Linda: I am 40 years old and still in the clutches of an eating disorder. I am also the mother of two teenage daughters which SHOULD move me towards recovery. My fear of gaining weight is too great. My daughters unfortunately know about my problem now and it has me feeling quite shameful. Eating disorders in older women are not discussed often enough. Have you discussed the problem with many older women and what has been their outcome?

Shane Barbi: You are half well talking about it so give yourself credit. But the main problem here that you must learn to get rid of is the shame because most diseases are shame based. It has nothing to do with the eating; it has to do with the shame that comes after that.

Sia Barbi: Shame based means that you think you are the problem that you don't just have a problem and then eating disorders are prevalent with more women every day all ages - it doesn't discriminate any age group. One out of two women will die from a diet or weight related diseases - that includes heart attacks, diabetes, etc. That should show hw much in denial we are.

I want to remind you if it's a family disease you should all go to group therapy with your daughters so you can figure out what you are eating or starving about because it's not about the food and the body. That's only the symptom.

Brandy: I purged off and on between 3rd and 7th grade and once realized what I was doing I stopped but since then I've gained so much weight. I went from 120 to 200 since about 8th grade and I'm now in 11th grade and I feel like giving up b/c I feel terrible I have no energy and whenever I try to go on a diet I'm afraid if my obsession with weight lose will get out of hand again. Do you have any advice b/c my parents just laugh when I say I need help losing weight & tell me to do it myself?

Sia Barbi: First thing: diets don't work! For every diet there is a binge and a payback. Fist educate yourself on how to eat - not deprivation, Brandy.

Shane Barbi: Eating fires the metabolism but you really have to inform yourself and learn how to eat, Brandy.

Sia Barbi: Once you've learned how to eat, let it go and move into the issues that is turning you to eating or purging which is the exact same disease.

Shane Barbi: People who are eating too much or eating when they're not hungry are trying to smother their emotions and an interesting fact that we have found through our research is most overweight people are not overweight necessarily from eating too much but inconsistent eating of dieting and bingeing. Consistency makes you lose weight.

Purging will not only kill you but it ruins the metabolism. Your body will eventually get fed on its own when you eat right without dieting. I recommend 12 step programs. I felt the exact same way - I was suicidal but I got hope in the 12-step program.

Dana: My daughter is 21 years old and has had an eating disorder for six years. It began when she was a cheerleader and weight was important because she was a mounter. She has been treated off and on by a doctor who specialized in eating disorders, a psychologist, a psychiatrist, and dieticians. She now attends college out of state. How can we, her parents, help? Should we have forbidden her to leave home until the disorder was under control? Please help.

Sia Barbi: If it's really out of control the best thing to do is an intervention with family friends, co-workers and loved ones along with a specialist that intervenes on how they see her disease affect everyone and destroy herself.

Also, I recommend programs like Al-Anon, which is a 12-step group for family members of all different kinds of addicts. Remember, it's not about the weight. It's a control issue and her drug of choice is starving.

Shane Barbi: Because it is a disease about control it is very important that you let her know how you feel without controlling her and let it be her choice for what she does. If she wants to leave home then she needs to leave ome.

betotallyfree.com: Isn't it easy for you to tell a 200 lb. girl to just eat right? You don't know what it is like to be a fat loser, like I have been. I knew what the right foods to eat were but I did not have the power to eat them. Only someone who has been fat knows what it is like to be fat

Sia Barbi: I really agree in the way that I would be so annoyed when someone would say to me "Just get some will power and eat right" How relative.

The right diet is as controversial and contradicting as religion and politics. That's why I promote a formula that varies person to person.

Shane Barbi: One thing that people are unaware of and too judgmental of people who are overweight is that every fat cell demands food by increasing insulin flow which makes the cycle more vicious in an overweight person.

By lowering your calories you lower your metabolism so you're in a no win situation. It's beyond discipline and easy to give up but you can overcome this by actually learning something from this and becoming a better person. It could be a blessing in disguise.

Sia Barbi: Sometimes what we think are our handicaps are a new door that opens up for possibilities. We just have to be open to that, kinder to ourselves and most importantly - surround ourselves with a health and supportive environment. (Ex. 12 Step Program)

You're NOT a loser because you made the effort to even go online here and you are even helping other girls that feel the same.

davey_boy: What exactly is so bad about laxatives?
peepill: What do laxatives do to the body if you abuse them?
peepill: I know someone abusing laxatives and amphetamines in order to be thin. What would your advice be for me to tell that person?

Sia Barbi: I was the one who overdosed on 100 laxatives. I thought I was so smart I became like a pharmacist. I researched every type of legal drug-- which is euphemism for laxatives-- so that I could combine them and achieve my goal, which I didn't know was death - or didn't care.

Laxatives are drugs that have ephedrine in them. They leech your body of every nutrient and electrolyte, make your body incapable of digesting on its own, ages you and finally cripples you. Then your body becomes used to having no food. It leads to numerous diseases but it is also an addiction that I define this way: when you use the laxatives to lose the extra weight or water weight, it not only stops working - you need them just to be normal. Then it backfires. Nothing is a freebie.

Shane Barbi: All drugs build intolerance and your body will duplicate that learn about it and will do opposite side effects later on: meaning everything reverses.

At first you lose weight and you can actually gain weight later. I highly oppose this.

HiPriestess: OMG. How on earth can people not know the dangers of laxatives and what they do to the body? tell 'em ladies!

VirusOvaLoad I am a 25-year-old male actor, and I am bulimic. I feel like I have lost control. I was on the Dr. Atkins diet for a while, and I was wondering if you were familiar with the Atkins diet, and if the Atkins diet is healthy?

Bobb: So many people these days are losing a lot of weight on the Atkins diet (lots of meat, no carbs). My thoughts are that this type of diet can't be good. What are your thoughts about the long-term effect on someone who's on this diet long term?

Shane Barbi: Dr. Atkins is brilliant with his biophysics of saying insulin is the culprit and protein blocking insulin so you may eat unlimited calories.

Where this can become fatal is this exact same process of low carbs, high protein is the body forcing fat to break down for energy which is just like diabetics called ketosis. Ketosis is a quick gimmick to lose weight but eventually kills your kidneys and could possibly make you diabetic and ruins the metabolism. Again as boring as it may seem you need to eat moderate but you can still learn to block the insulin where it doesn't force the body to dramatically go into ketosis.

CBS Host: We have been chatting with The Barbi Twins, Sia and Shane. Thank you so much for being with us...do you have any final remarks for us?

Sia Barbi: All eating disorders are defined by the character defect - the drug is the food or the starving and the symptom is the way you look - thin or fat. Health should be your goal. The way you look will be the symptom.

Shane Barbi: My sister wrote "Dying to Be Healthy" for everybody. It has a little bit of health tips that everyone can learn from but most of all it's so that someone doesn't have to reach the point that Sia did.

weightrainer: THANKS
HiPriestess: Thanks for your time Sia and Shane, you're doing a great service for society!
barbwire: Goodnight and thanks for trying to help.
darius: That's brilliant. She's classy and sexy!
jirog: Thank you moderator
BartlettBear: Sleep well! And don't let the bedbugs bite!
jirog: Thanks Barbi Twins, Sia and Shane
donna: Thank you Barbi_Twins for chatting.
Thumper: I think you are doing a wonderful thing here keep it up
Galahad: Thank you CBS!!
CaptainAmerica: Good luck in the future, you deserve it!!
BartlettBear: Thank you Barbi twins for spending your time with us and educating us further on eating disorders.
FATTY: THANK YOU AND GOD BLESS
Pamela: thank you Sia and Shane!!!
davey_boy: Thanks for answering my question!
Chris': thanks for a great chat
Kari: Bless you for realizing that obese women have the struggle too
Slim_n_trim: Thanks so much


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  • CBSNews.com staff CBSNews.com staff

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