Meet Ruby Gettinger. If you don’t already know her or recognize her from The Style Network’s reality series Ruby, you should know that she’s an honest, dedicated, brave and inspiring woman. She’s also hilarious with tons of little catchphrases (I call them Ruby-isms, as you’ll see later in the Q&A) that I guarantee you’ll start using.
FBG: How did your reality TV show come about, and what made you want to share your weight-loss journey with the world? Why was it imperative for you to lose weight?
RG: I was making a documentary at first. We are a nation that is in severe trouble with obesity, and I decided awhile back that I wanted to find out why there are so many of us suffering from obesity. I wanted to be the guinea pig and see if it was possible to be 700 pounds and lose all your weight and look normal. I want to find out why we are overweight and what actually works.
I met some television people in Los Angeles who understood my passion and wanted to help me tell my truth … and that was the beginning of Ruby on Style. Perhaps by sharing my story on national television and taking this journey in the public eye, I can help others confront the truth and lies behind obesity. And if I can do it, then I know anyone can conquer “the beast.” Just before starting production on Ruby, my doctor told me that if I didn’t lose weight, I could die. I knew that something had to be done!
FBG: On the show, you’re very open about your struggles and successes when it comes to losing weight and eating right. Your honesty and vulnerability is really touching and refreshing (especially when most of reality TV isn’t very real). Do you find it hard to open up to the camera? Is it cathartic?
RG: No, it isn’t as hard as you would think because my DP (camera man) and my crew have become like family to me. Yes, surprisingly to me, it has been cathartic because I am learning things about myself and facing head-on (and on camera) my problem with food. I am finding out so much of my journey is mental.
FBG: Do you watch your show on TV? Why or why not? And, if you do, what’s it like reliving your past triumphs and setbacks?
RG: Yes! The first time I saw it I was in shock how fat I really was. Anorexic people look in a mirror and see themselves fat. I looked in the mirror and saw myself a little big, but not as huge as I was. All I got to say is, “I scared the bears out of the forest!” LOL! But watching my triumphs and setbacks is a growing experience. You see what you’re doing right and wrong, and you realize you have to get control over the thing that has been controlling you!
FBG: You’ve inspired a lot of people to get healthy. What’s it like to be a role model for getting healthy? Do you feel any pressure because of it?
RG: I run into people who tell me their success stories and how they are losing weight or exercising because of me or kids who tell me they are getting help for the first time with their addiction—which isn’t always obesity—because they see me getting help. To me, it proves that we are all on the same journey, no matter what we are fighting. They say I am an inspiration, but every time I hear their stories, they inspire me to keep going on. YAY for us all! We can do this!
FBG: On the show you also talk about how there’s a prejudice against overweight people—whether it’s people staring, rude comments, small chairs in public spaces or no fashionable options for large sizes. We have no doubt that anyone who watches your show will quickly fall in love with you because of your personality, but do you think that you’re causing others to be more accepting of overweight people?
RG: Yes, and this is what makes me hacky-wacky (happy)! I get emails and people have stopped me on the streets telling me that they used to look at people like me as lazy, gluttons, etc. But since watching me on the show, they understand and realize we have an addiction and we are human beings. They have apologized to me for being one of those people that judged me so harshly.
FBG: Earlier this year, you were on Oprah. OPRAH! We desperately want to meet Oprah. What was it like to be on the show, and what is she like in person?
RG: I was honored to be on her show, especially since one of her shows inspired me. She is an amazing woman! She made me feel like I was in her home. During the breaks she talks to everyone in the audience and truly cares. To me, it truly is like you are a guest in her home. The people that work for her and with her are amazing and so loving!
FBG: We have a lot of readers who are in all stages of their fitness journey—some could be fashion models while others are hundreds of pounds away from their goal weight. What’s the best piece of advice you can give someone, no matter where they are on their weight-loss journey?
RG: Fight, fight, fight, and never ever give up. Remember: Do not give up, and if you mess up it’s okay, but don’t wait to get back on track tomorrow. Do it today! Because your tomorrow will turn into years. Live your life no matter what size you are! Go off with your family and friends; stay in the land of the living! Do not let yourself give up or become a shut-in.
FBG: You are quite the Southern belle with an accent and some fun sayings. What are some of your favorite Ruby-isms?
RG: Hacky-wacky for happy, humidified for humiliated, helicopter for hell, and astronaut for a**. Some other Ruby sayings are: “You have scared the bears out of the forest,” “for scared for that,” “like it a lot-lot,” and “you have embarrassed the family!”
FBG: Losing weight isn’t easy (the understatement of the year). How do you stay motivated day after day?
RG: I remember where I came from. I remember how I felt and how I could not move around. I was so limited and didn’t even know. For the first time, I am trying to think about the repercussions of eating bad before I eat. It’s hard for us to remember the bad or repercussions of things, so I am really trying to focus on how great I feel and how much better it will get after the next 100 pounds. I know now that this is a life change, and feeling healthy is a lot better than chocolate! Even though, at times, the chocolate monster tries to get me, I have to remember, once again, that a few moments of pleasure is not worth a long future of displeasure.
FBG: What’s your typical day look like now in terms of food and workouts? What are you able to do now versus before the show when you were 100 pounds heavier?
RG: I try to eat every 3 hours now, when before, I was a night eater. I eat variations of healthy foods, which thanks to my meal plan, Our Life Fresh, I learned portions and all kinds of yummy healthy foods! I take my daily supplement called Vemma, and before I was getting no vitamins at all! Before, I only ate snack food (candy, potato chips, fast-foods, etc.). I bike, box, walk and work out several times a week. At first, I could only walk 5 minutes, and now I can walk a 5K. YAY!!! I am so excited about losing the next 100 pounds and what my life will feel like.
FBG: What’s coming up for you next? Will there be more and more shows?
RG: This season, you will see someone from my past, whom people do not favor, come back several times. I lose someone very dear to me. I make a lot of changes that are great for me and search more for my lost childhood memories and find out some disturbing stuff that makes me want to find out everything. It’s very scary to me, but I have to face it. I will be going more into the mental, trying to figure out why I use food. What emotion is it pleasing, and why has it become a security blanket for me? I ride a bike, go kayaking, and one of my dreams comes true…and so much more!
FBG: Anything else you’d like to add or tell our readers?
RG: Please get healthy! I have lost two people close to my heart because of obesity in the past 6 months. It will kill you! Obesity will lock you up in a cage! But, we hold the key, and that’s why we must find out the root of this problem. Much of this battle is mental. Find out what food is giving you. Start today, start NOW and not tomorrow, and do whatever you have to do to get healthy. You are no longer alone. We are all on this journey together, and we can, and will, beat this or any addiction, one day at a time. I believe in you, and know we will all meet at the finish line! I thank you all for your support and belief in me.
If you’d like to own a DVD of the best episodes of Ruby’s first season, send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or comment below by next Wednesday with why you’d like to own it, and we’ll pick a random winner. U.S. residents only, please! Good luck to all!
And a BIG THANKS to Ruby! You make us hacky-wacky! —Jenn