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“Ruby” is a gem of a show on the Style Network

I don’t have cable, but if I did I would be watching “Ruby” on the Style Network. “Ruby” is a new documentary-style reality show that follows the charming and delightful southern belle Ruby Gettinger as she seeks to lose over 300 pounds. “Ruby” isn’t a game show like “The Biggest Loser.” She’s not competing against anyone, though she does have professional help from an obesity expert, a trainer, and a therapist. Ruby has to live in the real world and doesn’t get to move to a ranch where she exercises six hours a day. Instead she lives at home on disability with her nephew’s assistance. Ruby is an average Georgian girl with one serious problem she’s decided she must overcome or die trying.

Ruby Gettinger

I may not have cable, but I did receive a screener of the second episode and was able to watch the complete first episode on the show’s web site here in the “Videos” section. (ETA: Looks like they have taken the episode down now. Sorry!) As I watched the show, I found myself muttering, “Oh, yeah,” as I remembered moments from my own period of morbid obesity I’d otherwise forgotten. Ruby has to hold onto the side rails of the treadmill for balance, like I did. She dislikes the chairs with arms at her friend’s house, just like I used to. She wants to take a bubble bath in the tub, a task I never felt worth the effort because I would struggle to get out of the tub. When she looks in the mirror sadly, I remembered all the times I sat in the Lane Bryant dressing room and wondered, “When did that become my reflection?” And while I never wore a mumus or put bricks under my bed to prevent it from collapsing like Ruby does, I did wish I could wear calf-high boots and jeans like she wants to.

Despite her extraordinary problem, Ruby is an ordinary girl. She’s the kind of person you’d have a blast with chatting in the salon, as we see her do in the opening of the second episode. The topic of discussion is an old boyfriend who is coming back to town after he broke her heart years ago because she could not lose weight for him. Amazingly, Ruby is not bitter over her ex and has come to accept that he was not the one for her. Even though she is unhappy with the state of her body, Ruby never exudes self-hate or negativity. Instead she expresses a love for life, a life that she does not want to be cut short by diabetes or sleep apnea.

I admire Ruby for letting cameras into the vulnerable parts of her life as she takes on this enormous task. In the second episode we see a group of people making fun of her size. She plays it off at the time, but later comes near tears as she recalls the moment in a private confessional. Luckily, Ruby is surrounded by friends and family who love and support her, though they too have to change their ways. Particularly ironic is one friend’s musing that it will be hard to do as she stirs a big pot of macaroni and cheese.

If “Ruby” suffers at all, it is from squeezing itself into the traditional trappings of a reality show. There is some repetition as clips from different interviews set up the scenario for this week’s show. The show also skips over some details, like why her nephew is living with her. He says it’s because his parents got a cat which he is allergic to, but I suspect there’s more to that story. The occasional voiceovers by Ruby which connect parts of the story sound somewhat awkward, but also go to show that Ruby is a real person and not a professional actress.

That is what I appreciate most about this show. The main character is a real person (who uses phrases like “I’m going to kick his astronaut” so she won’t have to curse) who also happens to be morbidly obese. People of that size are typically dehumanized and seen as objects to be ridiculed, but “Ruby” makes you see its heroine as a real person who could just as easily live next door as live in your TV set.

If you get the chance, I hope you check it out. “Ruby” airs on Sundays at 8pm EST on the Style Network. “Ruby” is a gem of a show.

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60 Comments

Melissa • November 14, 2008 at 7:54 am

I watched the first episode last week. I really liked the show. I loved her personality. She’s positive and upbeat. I think she’s beautiful.

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Marla • November 14, 2008 at 8:14 am

I want to point out that you wrote she puts “bricks under her BREAD.” Which is cracking me up.

On the less-goofy side, sounds fascinating and I will definitely watch it on the website, I don’t have cable either.

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PastaQueen • November 14, 2008 at 8:41 am

@Marla – Heh! I cook some huge loves of bread. I’m going for the Guiness Book record. Thanks, I fixed it.

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Charlie Hills • November 14, 2008 at 9:08 am

Thanks for the tip, I’ll have to check this out. I think if I were named after a mineral, I’d just be Coal. But that would be a good TV show too.

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Liz • November 14, 2008 at 9:22 am

I tuned into Ruby this past Sunday and I thought it was a really valuable show in the wasteland that is most reality television. Like the best programs do, it actually generated a good discussion afterward between myself and my boyfriend who was watching with me. We will definitely be tuning in again this Sunday.

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Lilbet • November 14, 2008 at 9:44 am

What a great review. Beautifully written.

Hope I can catch all the episodes online.

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Merry • November 14, 2008 at 10:02 am

I’ll look for this online too.

(It’s encouraging to find other people who do not have cable. Sometimes it feels like I’m the only one.)

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Kyle • November 14, 2008 at 10:31 am

I’ll have to hope I can catch it online. I saw a preview for this as well and thought it looked good. Ruby is just easy to relate to, no matter what size you are.

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Erin • November 14, 2008 at 10:32 am

I didn’t finish reading your post, because I must comment. I caught the tail end of Ruby last weekend. She is so positive and upbeat, and it’s a nice change of pace from the other “weight loss/healthy living” shows that show people down on themselves for “ohmigosh only losing 12 pounds in a week.”

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JEM • November 14, 2008 at 10:33 am

I don’t have cable, but my mom tivo-ed it for me. I watched it last night and am really glad they decided to do this show. I’m rooting for her! I hope people can see the reality of living with obesity and the struggle to change. She is precious!!

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Dawn • November 14, 2008 at 11:10 am

Yea, I think the nephew and her best friend have something going on for sure lol. I really like this show and have talked about it to everyone lately. I just think it’s something worthwhile to watch for someone that has a lot to lose. I think it’s really going to show how to really lose the weight and keep it off there needs to be work done in all areas, mental health, food and exercise.

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Benjamin Teal • November 14, 2008 at 11:25 am

Thanks for the tip on “Ruby.” I am going to go find it online right now to catch up, but I have been looking for something to watch on Sunday nights as I write articles.

I do have cable, so I will be tuning in!

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Jessica • November 14, 2008 at 11:34 am

I’m one of those people who’s basically been trying to lose 20 pounds my whole life. I found a lot to relate to (regarding the show) as someone who wants to lose some weight but also just as a person, a woman, an American, etc. I hope it challenges some people’s ideas about the lives of obese people (she is very happy and fulfilled in spite of her struggles with weight) and I hope it inspires some viewers to take a closer look at how they’re treating their own bodies, their health, etc. Anyway I thought of her this morning as I hauled my cookies out of bed to work out at 6 am in the pouring rain and said to myself, “If Ruby can do it, I can too!!!”

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KLCthe BookWorm • November 14, 2008 at 11:46 am

What I find really funny? My dad got me Direct TV (long story) just in time to see this show. I didn’t have cable for years before. I watch Style for Clean House and now Ruby, but I really wish they had opened up the program for it to be a five-days-a-week show. I’ve lost count how many times they have replayed the premier episode. I think that format would allow for more time to be spent covering her story.

The way her friends rally behind her is a testament to her personality. And being a Southern gal too (Louisiana), I can agree wholeheartedly how hard it is to eat right with the comfort foods we got. A lot of the show rang true for me.

However, I’m a little worried about the therapy angle. While her interactions with the therapist (and her nephew’s untold story) hint at issues behind her obesity, I’m hoping the show doesn’t go for “everyone who is fat has a mental problem.” I’m fat because I eat the wrong things and don’t get enough exercise. I think my causes are true for a larger section of the population than mental issues.

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teality • November 14, 2008 at 12:06 pm

This was really well put. I want to be her friend!

Also, you can tell just from her smile in the photo that she has a beautiful personality.

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Mymsie • November 14, 2008 at 12:08 pm

I’ve heard such good things and can’t wait to see this!

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Sarah • November 14, 2008 at 12:14 pm

I DVRd them! Just come on over and we’ll watch! :D

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Jenna • November 14, 2008 at 12:17 pm

I’ve seen the first episode on tv, and I just loved it. Ruby has such a great personality, and sounds like such a fun lady to spend time with.

I find that the show is already challenging me to examine how I feel about weight. For instance, I was really angry about her ex saying that he would have married her if she lost weight. But, the more that I thought about it, the more I can see that point. I’ve always thought so much about how a man should love a woman for who she is, and not what she looks like. But, I didn’t spend enough time thinking about what it would be like to be married to someone who wasn’t healthy enough to even consummate the marriage. That would be a really rough to expect someone to be happy about that kind of situation. It’s just a lot to think about, I guess.

Anyway, “Ruby” looks to be a great show about a wonderful lady. :) I look forward to watching more episodes.

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Skye • November 14, 2008 at 1:00 pm

Thanks so much for posting about Ruby. I watched the first episode online and it made what was beginning to be a bad day so much better. I’m astonished at how willing she is to try things–getting a personal trainer, going swimming even with her makeshift bathing suit–things I would NEVER do, even though the challenges she faces significantly outweigh my own. By being hopeful for her I was reminded to be hopeful for myself.

Incidentally, I may have developed a crush. Ruby is HOT! Gotta love a green eyed girl.

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Distance Observer • November 14, 2008 at 3:36 pm

I watched Ruby and really enjoyed it. Wish they had it on a regular cable channel though. I won’t be able to see the rest of the season since they don’t have Style network here.

I agree with you Jenna. At first I thought “what a jerk” and then when she said something to the effect of wanting to be intimate I realized how hard it must be to be married but never being intimate. While I know that I could stay married without being intimate with my husband, I also know if it was something like a weight issue I would be really angry that he would not do something about it.

I really hope she has a good outcome with this. It would be nice to see someone lose weight the right way and have success. Reading blogs is fun but seeing the progress in action is even more rewarding!

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Tina • November 14, 2008 at 3:58 pm

I’ll have to keep an eye out for this show!

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maria • November 14, 2008 at 5:24 pm

the show was unbelievable. i was so glad to see a character like this on a channel like style. i really hope she does it.

it kind of made me think twice about that bagel i wanted to eat the next day…

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Anna • November 14, 2008 at 8:00 pm

I really enjoyed the episode, and the whole time I was watching I was just crossing my fingers that eventually they’d bring you on the show as an inspirational guest!

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Sydney Gallaher • November 14, 2008 at 9:51 pm

Sweet morning oatmeal

fragrant cinnamon sunrise

the cat at my feet

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Sydney • November 14, 2008 at 9:54 pm

LOL – whoops. Wrong place for that one…

I’ll post it over in the oatmeal section.

btw – I also get headaches that last for weeks with only a day to a few days in between where I’m pain-free or low pain. I have also tried everything you’ve listed and no joy as of yet. So I can empathize. If you ever find something that works, post it so I can try it too!

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Martha • November 14, 2008 at 9:54 pm

You mentioned that you had to hold onto the side rails of the treadmill for balance. I’ve lost 60 lbs and at the beginning, I also had to hold onto the side rails for balance. Now,not so much, but I have about 40 lbs to go. What’s up with this??? When we get fat, we lose our balance? I don’t get it.

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anonymous • November 14, 2008 at 10:08 pm

I think you’re a hundred times more inspiring than Ruby, PQ. And I’m not your Mom, just an occasional reader who has followed your journey.

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Michele Helms • November 14, 2008 at 10:57 pm

She is such a pretty girl! I am with you….I wasn’t quite as large as she is but I was well on my way! I am glad to be on this side of things!

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Chrissy • November 14, 2008 at 11:57 pm

Thank you for this info. I was totally oblivious to any info about this show. I plan to watch it, and I sure appreciate you giving us the heads up.

I am SO informed now that I ‘know’ Jennette! [on all kinds of topics..haha]

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Sarah • November 15, 2008 at 12:47 am

I saw the first episode, and while I applaud her for her bravery in many ways, I thought it was dull. Maybe the second episode is better.

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s • November 15, 2008 at 8:28 am

i watched the first episode and liked it. i think i’ll tune in. hopefully it will be a good show.

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morgana • November 15, 2008 at 10:48 am

Hey everyone – I just watched the first episode online and the ‘You’re killing her’ comment from her friend’s son to his mum, has really stuck with me. Her friend is a total saboteur – bringing her brownies, bringing her cheesecake.

I know, I know is down to us what we put in our mouths, but support goes along way. I just got the ‘i-like-being-the-skinny-one’ vibe from her mate, and it’s not sitting well with me. I wish her all the success in the world, she seems like a cool girl.

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SeaShore • November 15, 2008 at 11:12 am

I watched the episode online – hope they continue to put them on the site. When the doctor told her that she had the same cardiovascular risk as someone who had already had a heart attack, wow, that’s the stuff that keeps me trying.

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alex • November 15, 2008 at 11:12 am

NO cable here either. Hope that it is online for the duration. Thanks for posting this. Must be nice to be a celebrity getting screenings … you go girl ;)

Tell Will Smith, Brad Pitt, Oprah and the gang hello :)

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alex • November 15, 2008 at 11:29 am

Just and extra while watching the show I had to google Brittany (her friend from the West Coast) cause I knew I knew her from somewhere she is on a TV show the Game and she is an actress from the south Brittany Daniel. Just in case any of you have the same where the heck do I know her from :)

A

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Lisa • November 15, 2008 at 1:57 pm

Thanks for posting about this. What a great show! You just can’t help rooting for her.

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Colette DeVillier • November 15, 2008 at 9:54 pm

At my heavest I was about 260 so I can relate to Ruby’s “wants”. My mom told me about the show and I watched it. I LOVE her attitude and think she will lose this weight. I can’t wait til tomorrow to see the new episode!!!

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mamaV • November 16, 2008 at 12:00 am

Hi PQ: I just popped over here to see what you were up to and I was delighted to read this post. I don’t have cable either (I thought I was the only one in the country without it) so I’ll have to get my parents to tape this for me.

Ironically, I just wrote my first post about obesity today called “Fran The Fat Lady.” Franny was my dear friend, lost from morbid obesity. She just couldn’t kick it. We always had this unsaid connection, I accepted her and she accepted me. She was a gem, and I was so very lucky to have her as my friend.

Obesity is something I have been thinking about since our Chicago/Quaker meeting. It was a different, and pleasureful experience being surrounded by the group of “weight watchers” since I am so used to the eating disordered world that I don’t often reflect on the other side.

It’s nice to be pondering new topics, especially this one because you know…I think we all have more in common than we realize.

Hope you are well,

-mamaV

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Allison • November 16, 2008 at 10:25 am

I live in Savannah, where Ruby lives, and have been anticipating the start of the show since an article about Ruby ran in my local newspaper.

I have cable, but don’t get the Style network. But my husband and I found a re-run of the first episode on E! last week. I’m hoping they’ll show re-runs of every episode.

There was an update in an article in my newspaper this morning about how much Ruby has lost so far. I don’t want to ruin the surprise of the show, but suffice to say, sounds like Ruby is well on her way to kicking morbid obesity’s astronaut. :)

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Boilergrad93 • November 16, 2008 at 10:54 am

I set the DVR to tape the premier episode a week before it came on. First of all, regardless of her size she is an incredibly BEAUTIFUL woman, I’d kill for that hair, eyes and smile. Her energy and spirit is infectious. It’s VERY refreshing to see an overweight person on television who loves her life and isn’t about being the victim. I’m SO tired of watching shows with overweight people who spend half of the show crying because they are overweight. I’m a firm believer no one can hold you back from the life you want to live except yourself. For Ruby there are challenges at her size, but if it’s within her ability to overcome it she does and she’s not afraid to ask for what she wants or needs. I weigh over 300 lbs, but I have a WONDERFUL life, I have lots of friends, and incredible social life, a job I love and am confident in the person I am, losing weight will not change any of that in the least. For me losing weight is a health issue only. I’m 38 and do not presently have any health issues, so I’m attempting to be proactive instead of reactive. I can’t wait to see how Ruby makes out on this journey, needless to say I’m rooting for her all the way!!!

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anji • November 16, 2008 at 2:25 pm

cool, I’ll have to see if I get this channel and can get this show!

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Chrissy :-) • November 16, 2008 at 4:44 pm

Ruby is doing so great! I really hope everything works out for her (but since she’s on TV that’s probably a given, right? ;-) ). She seems to be what we used to call back in the olden days a “really together chick”! (FWIW, like others here, I still tend to hold onto the rails on the treadmill – as well as the stability bar on the rebounder. I probably don’t need to anymore but once you get into the habit it’s hard to change.)

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Mary • November 16, 2008 at 9:13 pm

Am I retarded? I can’t find a way to make the episode play on the website! Is it no longer up, or is there a secret I’m just not catching on to?

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PastaQueen • November 16, 2008 at 10:21 pm

@Mary – Yeah, it looks like they took it down, probably because the 2nd episode just aired tonight.

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Angel • November 16, 2008 at 10:28 pm

Ruby is fat.

Ruby is a woman.

Ruby has a personality.

This is a combination that I have never seen on T.V. Most coverage of the severely obese follows them being lifted on a crane into their beds. And the tone is usually depressing and lacking of real hope.

So I am intrigued to see how the show flows. And I pray that it ventures away from the hopeless fat person and has an optimistic tone.

If it does that, then all of us will be able to relate. The skinny, the fat, and the in between.

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Angel • November 16, 2008 at 10:44 pm

Ruby is fat.

Ruby is a woman.

Ruby has a personality.

This is a combination that I have never seen on T.V. Most coverage of the severely obese follows them being lifted on a crane into their beds. And the tone is usually depressing and lacking of real hope.

So I am intrigued to see how the show flows. And I pray that it ventures away from the hopeless fat person and has an optimistic tone.

If it does that, then all of us will be able to relate. The skinny, the fat, and the in-between.

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Angel • November 16, 2008 at 10:58 pm

Ruby is fat.

Ruby is a woman.

Ruby has a personality.

This is a combination that I have never seen on T.V. Most coverage of the severely obese follows them being lifted on a crane into their beds. And the tone is usually depressing and lacking of real hope.

So I am intrigued to see how the show flows. And I pray that it ventures away from the hopeless fat person and has an optimistic tone.

If it does that, then all of us will be able to relate. The skinny, the fat, and the in-between.

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auntie • November 17, 2008 at 8:10 am

I just saw a preview (ok, I saw the same preview about 50 times) for this show yesterday, but sadly I don’t get the Style network, even though I have cable (lousy cable package that’s included in my rent). It looks like a good show…maybe they’ll put it back on their website??

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K • November 17, 2008 at 12:46 pm

I was going to contrast what sounds like a healthy multi-faceted approach to a multi-faceted health issue with the approach I saw in “My half-ton dad” last night”. I realize that you have already talked about bariatric surgery, specifically in children (as they proposed for a teenager last night).

http://pastaqueen.com/halfofme/archives/2007/06/should_they_be.html

I was disappointed that, while they advocate this surgery only when other techniques have failed, their coverage of other techniques seemed to come down to “have you tried to lose weight before?… oh, ok”.

Then, they permanently remove part of the guys’ stomach, permanently reducing his absorption of nutrients and ability to eat. I saw little in the way of education of him or attempts to change his and his family’s food culture.

Will he now die of malnutrition instead of obesity?

Sorry, rant off, delete Pasta Queen if you so deem.

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Weight Loss Wanda • November 17, 2008 at 5:09 pm

Wow, the show sounds very interesting and inspiring. Thanks for passing along some great information!

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Stacey Joy • November 17, 2008 at 6:39 pm

I don’t have cable so I bought a “Season Pass” to Ruby on iTunes for $12.99. The first two episodes are already up and the new episodes download to my computer each week when I log into iTunes. Enjoy!

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Michelle • November 17, 2008 at 6:51 pm

Ruby is pretty and warm. Her development seems to have arrested as she is very child like – the self nurturing with food, enabled by disability, her loved ones, etc…and even through all the psychological STUFF that must be in that hed, is that she is reaching for a lifeline…I so hope she is willing to make the rotten,painful leap to adulthood and seize the line that has been thrown to her – she’s an amazing adult when she allows it….

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s • November 17, 2008 at 10:57 pm

@Stacey Joy – oh that’s a great idea :)

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melissa • November 19, 2008 at 10:02 am

I really liked the show. I hope it will continue..With the US being so overweight I think people need this show whether they realize it or not.

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Tammy • December 7, 2008 at 10:58 am

first I want to say ruby you are a beauthiful woman, I have lost 62 lbs I know it’s very hard to lose weight.

I didn’t have as much to lose as you will do.

it make you mad cuz you can’t have what you want.

the best diet is weight watcher it’s not a diet it’s living right you can still EAT what you WANT and leard to eat now and after you have lost all your weight you will not be hungry you will know how to live every min of your day with out thinking of being hurgey and worry about your weight every day, maybe they will could yake you under their wings. I wish you all the best YOU CAN and WILL DO THIS

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Tracey • December 10, 2008 at 1:52 pm

I have watched several shows already & I just love Ruby!!! I think she is really brave & wonderful. I am over weight myself & I can share in Ruby’s pains and something other things for one who weighs over 275lbs. The stares, people talking about you. Not being able to wear what you would like. Getting tired faster than others. I applaud Ruby. I live in Baltimore & I just love her southern accent. Her dogs are adorable too. I wish Ruby much love & sucess. She will get through this and get over her fears and loose the weight she is seeking to loose.

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michelle holland • December 15, 2008 at 2:25 am

I watched her show the first time today. Watching her plight getting on the plane. OMG that was so me when I went to see my son in California in Nov. I tried with a little success before my flight to loose some weight. I lost 15 lbs 2 weeks before I flew and exercised like crazy with a little success at least I could share a seat with someone that was compassionate to put the arm rest up and share their seat with me. The most humiliated thing was asking for a seat belt extender before going to my seat and having them tell me they would bring it to me. It’s that anxiety all over again watching to see which one was going to bring it. Well guess what? they didn’t bring it and I never seat belted myself in thus plane wreck fly out of the seat if you even lived thru it. I thought about suing the airline but why further humiliate myself and bring attention to being 292 lbs. I feel for her in every way. I applaud her courage for going on public television where reality is the norm these days and will watch and support her in every way. I am struggling every day with food as you have to eat to live..NOT LIVE TO EAT!!

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michelle holland • December 15, 2008 at 2:25 am

I watched her show the first time today. Watching her plight getting on the plane. OMG that was so me when I went to see my son in California in Nov. I tried with a little success before my flight to loose some weight. I lost 15 lbs 2 weeks before I flew and exercised like crazy with a little success at least I could share a seat with someone that was compassionate to put the arm rest up and share their seat with me. The most humiliated thing was asking for a seat belt extender before going to my seat and having them tell me they would bring it to me. It’s that anxiety all over again watching to see which one was going to bring it. Well guess what? they didn’t bring it and I never seat belted myself in thus plane wreck fly out of the seat if you even lived thru it. I thought about suing the airline but why further humiliate myself and bring attention to being 292 lbs. I feel for her in every way. I applaud her courage for going on public television where reality is the norm these days and will watch and support her in every way. I am struggling every day with food as you have to eat to live..NOT LIVE TO EAT!!

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Usman • August 28, 2009 at 4:42 am

Missed it :(

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evad the slayer • April 8, 2010 at 1:18 pm

This is a waste of video. Ruby is obese beyond belief and a walking talking reason to reject B.O.’s healt care plan. She will be automatically signed up despite the fact she will literally drain medicare out of money. I think she sets a lousy example and is a walking blight on the landscape.

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Jennette Fulda tells stories to the Internet about her life as a smartass, writer, weight-loss inspiration, chronic headache sufferer, and overall nice person (who is silently judging you). She does this at JenFul now, but you can still have fun perusing her past here.

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