Ruby Gettinger is the star of the new Style Network reality show “Ruby,” which chronicles her life as she struggles to lose weight. 5’9″ Ruby is now down to 364 pounds from a high of 715 pounds ten years ago. Ruby is determined to lose weight through diet and exercise and while she’s not opposed to gastric bypass surgery she says she needs to learn how to lose weight without it.
A resident of Savannah, GA, Ruby calls eating an addiction and is emotional and honest about her personal trials. She says that she wants to inspire other people by sharing her journey. Her goals and dreams are simple ones and she hopes for many of the things regular-sized people take for granted, like being able to take a bubble bath or paint her toenails by herself.
A friendly, positive person, Ruby helps bring a human face to the obesity issue while shedding light on the struggles of larger people in a sizeist society.
“My doctor said, ‘You’re a walking time bomb and you’re going to die if you don’t do something,’” recalls Ruby, who reached her highest weight of 715 pounds 13 years ago and has since fluctuated between 350 and 550 pounds.
Having lost 113 pounds over the last eight months, the 5’9″ Savannah, GA native is hoping to inspire others. “My dream is to help those who are on the same road,” she tells In Touch. “I want to be able to look into people’s eyes and say, ‘You can do it, too!’”
In Touch: How did you feel when your doctor said you could die?
I knew he was right because I already felt my body shutting down. I thought, “OK, I guess I’m going to die,” but three weeks later, I decided not to give up.
Have people been mean to you because of your weight?
I was walking through the mall once and a man stood up and yelled, “Oh my God!” and started pointing and laughing at me. And another time someone said “Aren’t you embarrassed to look like a circus freak?”
That must have been awful.
I went home thinking, “Do I really weigh more than the woman in the circus?” I looked it up, and I did.
Has being obese affected your love life?
I’ve never been asked out on a date. I have a lot of guy friends, but they just can’t get over the physical.
You’ve lost more than 100 pounds. Have you been exercising?
Yes, I do 20 minutes on the treadmill in the morning and evenings. It takes everything I have to do it!
Have you ever considered having gastric bypass?
I’m fine with people wanting to do that, but I need to learn how to do this, or I’ll never beat it. But I will get plastic surgery after I lose the weight to get rid of the excess skin.
You’ve lost weight before – what makes this time different?
I’m tired of the quick fixes. I really want to learn how to eat healthy and work out for the rest of my life. Plus, for the first time, I’m doing it for myself.
What’s one thing you can’t wait to do once you reach your goal weight?
I’ve never taken a bubble bath, so I’m really looking forward to that!
[From In Touch, print edition, November 24, 2008]
Ruby won’t reveal her age, but is open about most of the other aspects of her life. She says she’s been big since she was young and that she didn’t eat regular meals but had snacks like pop tarts, sweet rolls, and Milky Way bars growing up. She likens food addiction to alcoholism, and there’s a scene in her show in which she points to fast food in a display case and says how hard it is to see that, like an alcoholic walking into a bar every day. Ruby started filming the show seven months ago and is now down to 364 pounds from 477 pounds, which means she’s lost over 100 pounds in just over half a year.
Ruby keeps in touch with her fans on her message board and says she has read all of their messages and is touched and moved by the support she’s receiving. You can learn more about Ruby on her website, which includes many clips from the show. Hang in there, Ruby, a lot of people are rooting for you.
Here’s a video message from Ruby:
Note: this is not an advertisement for the show and we decided to cover this story on our own without any encouragement or contact from the Style Network.