Ruby tells her truth: Interview with star of RUBY, new reality TV show

             Ruby: Telling My Truth

 

        Ruby Gettinger, a thirty-something Sunday school teacher in Savannah, GA, received a death sentence from her doctor when she reached 700 lbs.

Battling obesity since the age of ten, she “socialized her way out of college” after two years. She later thought of going back to school but realized she wouldn’t fit in a seat.  Several years ago Ruby saw an episode of Oprah that showcased the dilemmas of overweight women who had stopped going out in public because people stared and ridiculed them. Ruby realized there was both an obesity epidemic in the country and that she was part of it. She had also met a man about the same time and started to lose weight for him. But after eight and a half years, when neither over-the-counter diets, discrimination, Oprah, nor romance, proved effective motivations, her doctor’s dire prediction got through to her.

Ruby, a nine-episode reality show produced by Gay Rosenthal Productions, is about one woman’s life and death battle against obesity premieres Sunday, November 9th on The Style Network at 8:00pm.

I interviewed Ruby this week by phone today to find out what’s different about her reality show.

 

RP:  Why did you permit the cameras into your life in such an intimate way?

Ruby: Because I wanted to be the guinea pig and find out the truth about this disease, this obesity – the physical, spiritual, emotional, psychological aspects, all of it. I wanted to make a documentary at first that explored the missing link between the diet industry and the obesity epidemic. But I met some television people in Los Angeles who had the passion to tell my truth with my faith. The crew believed in me and shared my vision. At first, it was difficult being vulnerable and exposing my private feelings and emotions in front of these strangers, but it didn’t take long to know I was blessed to have a crew who believed in me and saw my vision

 

RP: Many people think reality TV is phony and constructed. What is the most real about this TV show?

Ruby: It’s the most amazing thing. I thought this, too. But these people came into my life to follow everything I was doing. I had to believe they were sincere and not judgmental. They were so quiet sometimes I didn’t even know they were there.  As long as they were telling my truth, it was ok.

 

RP: Did this production experience change your view of television?

Ruby:   I will never look at TV the same way again!   The long hours and amount of work the crew put in was very eye-opening. It is amazing the amount of work and time that goes into producing a TV show.  Everyone, from the executive producers to the director of photography, to the sound guy, runners and talent (TV word for who the show is about) are working nonstop!  Blood, sweat and tears have gone into this project; everyone is so passionate about the message of this show.  It is really humbling. To me, God orchestrated this crew.  I would have never been so open in front of the producers and crew that followed me around 24/7, unless they were nonjudgmental people with huge hearts. Above all, I have made friendships that will be with me throughout this journey and the rest of my life.

 

RP: When you started researching obesity what did you find out?

Ruby: There are so many prejudices against obesity.  When I went to restaurants I had to find armless chairs. Even in the ER at the hospital, I had to find a seat to sit on.  The world wasn’t made for big people, but we need to realize there are 96 million people in the U.S. suffering from obesity. The thing is that unless we do something 75% of our population will be obese by the 2010. This is an epidemic. The market is selling every diet product possible but we are not winning this battle. What is going on? What’s the missing link? Although it took eight years, that Oprah episode was a turning point for me. I wanted to find out the truth about myself and this condition.  Then my boyfriend left me, so I had another reason to find out the truth about why I couldn’t lose weight. And then the doctors told me I was going to die.

 

RP: In the television show your doctor tells you that you are a metabolic time bomb, threatened with diabetes, kidney failure, sleep apnea, and pre-mature death because you may stop breathing while asleep.

Ruby: When he said this, the first thing I told myself was: maybe I am meant to die. I have been happy. I haven’t really suffered because I have been loved. I thought “I cannot beat this.” It took me two or three weeks to tell myself: “I am not going to give up; God has a bigger purpose for you than death. Faith in God will keep you going. You can do this; you can conquer this.” I still believe this that I will conquer this condition once and for all, for me and for everyone else. And I want to find out why: if it is physical, spiritual, mental, all of it … maybe [through the television show] we can find out what the problem is and the cure at the same time.

 

RP:  Why do you want to get back into shape?

Ruby: I have been battling obesity since I was a kid. I remember realizing when I was 13 that I was 100 lbs overweight. But I have always been happy and accepted. I wonder if this is why I never did anything to change.  On this television journey, everything that you find out on the show from doctors, trainers, and therapists, I am finding out. This is the first time I ever went to a therapist and it was very emotional.

 

RP:  What is the link between God and your journey to weight-loss and a healthy lifestyle?

Ruby:  At first I went to that dark place…. It’s a place of survival but I felt defeated in my mind. And then my faith said, no. I felt God telling me that this change is possible but I am going to have to go down the hardest road of my life. Before it was quick fixes: now I need to find out why.  What got me here and why? What strengthens me is that God sees our addictions and he does not judge. He is with us if we will let him.

 

RP: What specific aspects of your life, or your lifestyle do you want to change to reach your goal?

Ruby: I am going to have to change the way I eat, I am going to have to exercise more and change the way I even think!  I am really still learning all of this.  But, this time, I am going to the experts and letting them tell me how to do all of this so I can learn and everyone else can learn along with me!

 

RP:  What is your support system? Who is in it?

Ruby: My support system consists of my family and friends, my family doctor, an expert on obesity, my trainer, nutritionist, therapist and my new family at The Style Network and GRP productions.  

 

RP: What’s the link between God and this journey?

Ruby: God has always been on my journey but this is about bringing everything together and examining those parts of my life, all the parts of my life, including the spiritual …

 

RP: How is your diet and new lifestyle a spiritual journey? 

Ruby: Because I could never do this without God and the prayers of my family and friends.  I have to get control spiritually of what has taken control of me. Only God truly knows my heart soul and mind.  He is the only one who truly can direct me on my journey and bring the right people into my life.

 

RP: How have you experienced God in your life?

Ruby:  I am still alive and that I can even get around; that I am here; I have not died and the power of God, faith in God, I cannot explain it… God is for real. There is a God. Because of God I have the strength never to give up.

 

RP: How do you get your body to go with your spirit?

Ruby: A great question. I think what I am finding is that my spirit wants this change so much; it is about discipline. On this road I am finding out for the first time how to make the body and spirit meet; the hardest thing to do. Like Paul says in Romans 7:24: “Christ acted to set things right in this life of contradictions where I want to serve God with all my heart and mind but I am pulled by the influence of sin to do something totally different.” (The Bible in Contemporary Language, Paterson.) The very thing I want in life is the very thing I stop myself from having because I can’t get control of it; I have to find a way for the spirit to lead the body. This is the why of the television show.

 

 

RP: How would you articulate your end goal of this journey?

Ruby: This life that I have is not the dream I had for my life.  I love being outside, you’ll see this in the television show, I want to ride a bike, to sit on the ground, to take a bubble bath. So my end goal of this journey is to beat the beast once and for all!  And, to be able to look someone else in the eye and say “You can do it!!”

 

 

 

RP: How do you see yourself a year from now? 

Ruby:  Stronger and healthier and doing things I never ever have before.  And my biggest dream is helping many others cross over to a healthy lifestyle.  We will all be on this journey and we will be winners.

RP: Finally, what would be the one thing you would share with others in the faith community who are challenged with weight problems? 

Ruby: Do not give up no matter what.  Trust God and believe again in the impossible.  And no matter how many times you have failed, start over and try again.  Live your life! Go out and enjoy times with your family and friends.  Have people pray with you.  Do not stay alone and do not keep your addiction to yourself because that is when it becomes bigger and controls you! No matter what, there are people out there that care.  Do not let your obesity or whatever you battle with define who you are.

 

An online microsite, www.mystyle.com/ruby will follow Ruby’s journey with blogs and vlogs (video blogs). You can also visit www.Rubysjourney.com

  • Vicky Kamberos

    I will be watching Ruby — not enuf of this kind of program on tv. Inpsirational people trying to do it against the odds. Love the way Ruby sounds. Here’s to you, Ruby. I’ll be pullin’ for ya!

  • http://www.ourladyofmiracles.com Kathy Maffei

    What a gorgeous lady. I just read about Ruby today and I will follow her. I wish her the best and hope she will loose weight so that she will be healthier. She is already beautiful. I love her clothes. Would love to find out where she buys them. I wish Ruby all the best.

  • Cherene

    Ruby you are an absolute inspiration to women of all shapes and sizes to think about what is healthy not only physically but spiritually for them. I watched your first show and became a fan. You are truly a beautiful woman both inside and out. I will be following your success as time goes by. Thank you for sharing your story with us.

  • Pingback: Ruby returns to TLC « Sister Rose’s My Movies Weblog

  • http://www.nariremodelers.com Bernadette C Bliss

    Ruby i absolutley love your show, your a very sweet person.You are very inspiring,and uplifting.I am a dialysis patient for9 years now and have some insecuraties of my own. but it’s people like you and your story that give other people hope . i’ll continue to watch p .s your biggest fan

  • Sharon Miller

    Hey Ruby,
    WOW!!! What can I say, you are absolutely amazing. I began watching your show on TLC last season and was amazed at your strength, wisdom, and determination. You have done so well, keep up the incredible work. I guess most folks go for the quick, somewhat easy fix of gastric bypass, but then realize once they have it done, how much of a struggle it is if you don’t really know in advance what to expect. i wanted to go that route when I also ballooned up over 360 lbs. I was so miserable, but was blessed when I adopted my son. I had always wanted children, but my weight made it not only risky, but found out it was impossible to even get pregnant. So when God intervened and one day while at work(i am a nurse and was working a second job in an OB/GYN physicians office)and a young woman called about being pregnant and not wanting the baby after it was born, I jumped at the chance to adopt. I am single, so felt it might be difficult, but thru prayer, trust, and belief that God would not have had me answer that phone that day if it was not meant to be, then I knew all was going to work out for me, and it did. I was there for the delivery, all went well, and my son was born on January 10, 1995, at a wonderful, healthy 8 lbs, 2 oz. So Ruby, don’t think that it can’t happen for you as well. My son’s birth, and then subsequent schooling helped me realize that I had to do this once and for all and get that weight off. With Gods love, my friends, family, and love for my son; I was able to take the plunge and start losing weight. I have so far been able to lose about 140lbs, and I can ‘t remember what it was like to be at this weight. I still have about 60 lbs left to lose, and it has been so hard to stay on track. But since starting to watch your story, I have gotten back on my diet, and like you I have many dreams. One of my dreams is to ride roller coasters again, I love them, but after gaining so much weight, I couldn’t fit in the seats. I am hoping that maybe next year, I will have lost enough weight that I can fit in the seats. I also dream of being able to get into a tub and take a bubble bath, but I have problems with getting up, so I am always scared to death that if I were to sit down on the ground or sit in a tub, that I would not be able to get up without significant help.
    So Ruby, please keep up the incredible work. I will be with you the entire journey, and I so hope that TLC continues to follow you until you reach your goals and begin to start fullfilling your dreams.

    GOD BLESS and STAY HAPPY. YOU ARE SO BEAUTIFUL NO MATTER WHAT YOU WEIGH,
    Sharon Miller
    Hyattsville, Maryland

  • http://SouthAfrica Barbie

    Hi Ruby!
    I think you are the best and a winner. You are so spesial and an inspiration to the whole world. I watch the show and every time I see it, I just admire you for been so open and sharing. I can see you suffered a lot and yet you make it look so easy.
    Just remember no matter what, you are one very spescial person and God loves you and He is very proud of you.
    Blessings and we all adore you with such a uplifting and amazing personality.
    Barbie
    South Africa

  • Lyt

    Ruby,
    I have enjoyed watching your show, you are so real. Your personality is amazing, you are joyful, cheery and most the time upbeat and sweet to those around you. I’m overweight and am miserable with myself when I mess up, how do you overcome those feelings of guilt? Would like to see more of you on TV.
    THanks for sharing your journey with us!

  • Mary

    How many seasons has this show been on and Ruby is still fat? Does she lose any weight at all anymore?

  • Diane

    Thank you so very much for doing this. I fully understand all that your going thourgh. I;ve been a big girl of my 50 years . went threw alot as a kid and i still hide behind my weight. Thank you for being so strong. when you feel that your not good enough,remind your self that you are made in the image of God, and you are the apple of his eye.

  • Marie

    I keep wondering why Ruby doesn’t just get a gastric bypass done. She seems to be fighting a loosing battle and she’d be much healthier with the weight off sooner.

    • sisterrose

      Good question.
      I sometimes think I ought to get one, but the side effects can be really bad, even if you keep to all the diets after, turning the procedure into a “drastic bypass”.
      We all have something … and to get up and keep trying … this is a good thing.
      I pray she will keep at it.
      Thank you!