Ruby Gettinger has a big heart and a huge faith, which just may be the perfect combination to help her succeed in her televised battle against morbid obesity.
The reality television program Ruby which debuts on the Style Network on November 9 at 8:00 PM, may not seem like relevant content for a Catholic website. But it’s Ruby’s tremendous faith that makes me want to share the good news about this particular television program. I recently had the opportunity to screen the first episode of Ruby and to interview Ruby Gettinger, and instantly fell in love with this unlikely star. Ruby is a “thirtysomething” native of Savannah, Georgia who has been overweight since childhood. In the first episode of the show, we follow Ruby to a meeting with her physician who confirms that her current lifestyle may indeed be an early death sentence. Surrounded by caring family and friends, Ruby decides to face her demons head on, with cameras in tow.
I see this particular program as having a two-fold message. The first message is that even someone with tremendous health difficulties like Ruby can be inspired to make positive change in his or her life. Through Ruby’s interaction with health professionals, fitness coaches, and nutritional experts, the viewer learns a great deal of practical information. Ruby is brutally honest about how painful the process of losing weight can be, both physically and emotionally. But she is also very forthcoming about the role that her faith plays in the process.
“The first thing I said when they wanted to do this story was that I wanted my faith to be the biggest thing, because my passions are God and people. I teach Sunday school and one of the things I want to teach the kids and that I want to share with others is that your faith in God is everything. I’ve been battling this since I was ten years old…and the only reason I don’t give up is that my faith kicks in and I think, ‘I can do this. I can beat this.'”
The second, and equally as significant reason to watch this show is Ruby’s openness to sharing the hardships often faced by those who struggle with obesity. We watch Ruby deal with the day-to-day hardships that larger people face — everything from car seatbelts that don’t fit to the mean-spirited stares and hateful comments of passersby on the street.
Ruby shares a message that helps her to confront and to survive this type of inconvenience and persecution. “I’m not defining who I am by what I look like on the outside,” Ruby confided to me. “I’m defining who I am by the person I am on the inside. God created me, and God thinks I’m great, and that’s what matters. I’m teaching the (Sunday School) kids that. If we can teach the kids this, we can change the world – that you are not defined by what you look like. You are defined by the type of person you are. With God, everything is possible. I believe that God is there with me every step of the way.”
Since I’ve only seen the first episode of the series, I can’t say what the future holds for Ruby. I don’t know if she will lose a large amount of weight, or in what light her strong faith convictions will be portrayed on television. But I do know from watching the show and from my conversation with Ruby Gettinger on the telephone, that she has the capacity, the faith and the will to change not only her own life, but also to make the rest of us a bit kinder and less judgmental about others. I’ll be rooting for Ruby to regain her good health and will be looking for opportunities in my own life to turn to my faith like Ruby does when I face challenges and difficulties. Due to some of the sensitive medical content discussed and some adult themes, parents may want to prescreen this program prior to allowing their children to view it.
For additional information on Ruby on the Style Network, visit rubysjourney.com.
To hear a recording of the interview go here.