New Shows Deals With Obesity and Faith
by Phil Boatwright

Television gets knocked a lot for programming that does any and everything but uplift the spirit.  There are, however, exceptions – you just have to do a little treasure hunting.  If you have the cable channel Style, then here’s one show that will make you feel good. RUBY is an intimate look at one woman’s battle against obesity.  The new weekly series offers a remarkable journey that both inspires and encourages.  What’s more, it is a reality program with something a little different – it features a person of faith facing not just the trials of obesity, but the joys of life, as well.

Savannah, Georgia resident Ruby Gettinger is a Sunday school teacher (she attends the Sanctuary Church, a nondenominational group in Savannah) who embraces life, family, and friends.  But no one is perfect and in Ruby’s case she is obese.  Weighing in at 500 lbs., Ruby has attempted every diet on the market without success.  Having developed diabetes, her doctor has told her that she will die unless she finds the determination to fight for her health and transform her life.

From Press Notes:  Style’s cameras will follow Ruby’s personal journey to lose weight, get healthy and battle discrimination on the new reality series.  With no-holds-barred honesty and unwavering optimism, Ruby shares her story, including her past and present battle with obesity, her struggle to find the lost memories of her childhood and her reunion with an ex-boyfriend who broke her heart.  Along the way, Ruby seeks to inspire others to take the first bold steps towards a healthier and happier future.

At her peak, Ruby weighed 700 pounds and was at a crossroads in her life until she decided it was time to get healthy. By sharing her positive and negative personal experiences and allowing viewers to come along on her weight-loss journey, Ruby hopes to help others realize that they are not alone and if she can do it, anyone can.

As Ruby struggles to lose weight and unravel the locked secrets of her childhood, viewers will be moved by her memorable and inspirational story. Heartfelt episodes include a church revival in support of Ruby’s weight loss efforts and a moving reunion with her ex-boyfriend Denny (who left her because she could not lose weight and subsequently broke her heart).

Just a few days ago I was able to ask Ms. Gettinger questions about her show and the trials she faces.

How did the show come about?  Did the Style Network want to address the issue of obesity or did you come to them with the format?

“I saw a show on Opera one day with these women who weren’t as big as me.  Still, they were 300 to 400 lbs.  They were crying.  They were bothered by the cruelty of people who’d make fun of them right in front of them.  They’d get to where they wouldn’t go out of their homes.  And I could relate. And according to statistics, soon 75% of the American public is going to be obese.  Not just overweight, but obese.  So I wanted to be a guinea pig.  I wanted to find out why this was happening and see if I could find a solution.

“Well, one of my best friends in LA, Brittany Daniel, also happened to have a friend who presented the concept to the folks at Style.  And they were very receptive.  But I told them I’d have to be able to share my faith.  It’s my passion.  I thought this would end it, but they said they’d be glad to incorporate it into the show. 

“This is a journey, a journey to save my life and hopefully find the truth, the reasons for why a person becomes obese.  According to the scripture, the truth will set you free.  So we are on a journey to find the truth.”

I understand you are very open about your Christian faith and that an episode of the series deals with that aspect of your life.  Can you give us a few details, both on how you came to Christ and how your relationship with Him will be represented on the show?

“I know there is God, without a shadow of a doubt.  And I believe in prayer.  That’s why I’m asking everyone to pray for me.  That’s the only way I’m going to make it, by prayer support. 

“I gave my life to Christ when I was younger, but at some point I began to ask myself, do I really love God?  In the years since I accepted Christ, I have found I really do believe, and I am truly growing in love with Him.  And the producers and the network itself have embraced my attempt to share my faith.” 

If they don’t get the Style Network, how can folks learn more about you and this fight against obesity?

“They can go to mystyle.com/ruby.  I’ll be interacting with it.  So if people want to get a hold of me, to talk about anything, we’ll make that happen.  It’s going to be there to help people who are trying to cope with the problems in their lives.  There will be a message board and this is going to be a platform for all of us to help other people.”

From press notes:  To coincide with the premiere of Ruby, Style will launch a robust and informative Web microsite (mystyle.com/ruby) devoted to Ruby’s weight-loss journey.  It will feature additional show information and highlights, blogs and vlogs (video blogs) and behind-the-scenes interviews with Ruby, including her video tour of Savannah.  Visitors will also be able to communicate directly with Ruby using message board postings, as well as access expert advice nutrition, exercise and overall wellness through other user-friendly interfaces. 

I’m not really a reality show fan, but this is far more.  This is a weekly visit with a nice person, a gentle soul who enjoys the joys of life.  Ruby, both show and person, makes a person feel good.