Week after week, America is rooting for reality star Ruby Gettinger. In November 2008, Ruby helped put the Style Network on the map when her original series, Ruby, had the biggest debut in the network's history!
For 10 to 12 hours a day, cameras follow Ruby as she deals with the daily struggles of losing weight. At her heaviest, this Savannah, Georgia, native weighed 716 pounds. After dropping almost 230 pounds, she landed her own show and set out to lose 300 more.
During her first Oprah Show appearance, Ruby says she never weighed less than 350 pounds as an adult. Now, she's at her lowest adult weight ever and her health is improving with each pound lost. "I am a little bit right under 350 [pounds]," she says. "I still have diabetes, but it's under control. I don't have to take medication any longer."
Ruby has also reached a new milestone—she's wearing jeans for the first time in her life! "I've always wore tents and coverups," she says. "This is a new world."
The last time she sat on Oprah's stage, Ruby says she had a weight loss breakthrough when Oprah asked her what she was really hungry for. "That haunted me for a long time," Ruby says. "I'm finding out that this is more than just exercise and working out. You're feeding pain, and that's what I've been feeding."
Ruby can't remember anything about her life before age 13, which she's realized caused her to overeat. "I'm working with a new therapist who's helping me cope with a lot of pain or trying to find my childhood," she says. "I'm finding out I'm a girl that felt a lot of pain and I had no idea. And I suppressed it and suppressed it. And the only medication you can get to as a child is food."
To help fill the gaps in her memory, Ruby hired a private detective to find "Dr. Dukes," a doctor's assistant who treated Ruby and her mother more than 20 years ago. Dr. Dukes, tells Ruby he saw her about once a week. He says he also had the impression her mother was trying to protect Ruby from experiencing some kind of trauma she herself experienced as a child. "He thinks that she fed me to keep me unattractive to men," she says.
When Ruby and Dr. Dukes confront her mother, Anne, she reveals she suffered from clinical depression and suicidal tendencies when Ruby was a child.
"I don't remember everything yet, but I know that Dr. Dukes was seeing my mom first. And then I started seeing him at 13," she says. "He said that he thought my mom pushed me seeing him because he thought that she thought something happened to me or she knew something happened to me. But there was something dramatic going on in my life at that time."
As Ruby loses weight, she says more memories reveal themselves. "All of this stuff is just coming up for me. And I'm crawling," she says. "I'm going to walk one day through all this."
As Ruby continues her emotional journey, she's also exploring uncharted territory in her physical transformation—plastic surgery. Because she's lost so much weight, Ruby is now carrying around 30 to 40 pounds of excess skin.
Ruby says a consultation with the surgeon left her with mixed feelings. "I was that girl that got 716 pounds. And because of it, now I'm being punished," she says. "You're trading the fat for flab and flab for scars. So you're always going to have a big fat flaw no matter what."
Still, Ruby says she's just happy to be healthy. "The best part of this is I can get up. I'm healthier than ever. I'm going, going," she says. "I've got a fast pace. My life's not limited anymore."