Ruby Gettinger Lost 400 lbs—and Took Charge of Her Diabetes

The star of her own hit former reality series, Ruby, on the Style Network, describes how to persevere through the challenges posed by a big weight loss and take control of type 2 diabetes.

Linda Childers

From 2008 to 2011, Ruby invited America into her life, week after week, to come along for the ride as she dealt with the daily struggles of losing weight. At her heaviest, the Savannah, GA, native weighed 718 pounds. Since then, Ruby, 48, has shed nearly 400 pounds—and counting—and revels in each milestone she reaches.

Her quest to lose weight isn’t just about looks—it’s about feeling better and getting more out of life. When Ruby was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, it further motivated her to lose the weight once and for all (her father died from diabetes). Today, she is able to manage diabetes without medication.

“My weight stopped me from doing everything, but I’m no longer limited,” says Ruby, whose new favorite activity is biking around her neighborhood in Los Angeles. “The fact that I can move and breathe easier now is amazing.”

Here, Ruby explains her strategies for losing weight and embracing good health, both physically and emotionally.

Go to the root of the problem.
Ruby acknowledges that she has been emotionally attached to food for most of her life. “I’ve been feeding my pain,” says Ruby. Currently, she’s working with a therapist who’s helping her learn to combat depression—as well as find out why she so often turns to food for comfort. The good news is she’s making progress: “I’m losing weight from the inside out and will continue to do so until I find out what I’ve been feeding,” said Ruby. “Learning to feel good about myself and be stress-free allows me to take better care of myself.”
Success secret: If you turn to food when you’re feeling stressed or sad, your emotions could become tied to your eating habits. Keep a food diary: Write down what you eat and how you’re feeling right before you eat. Over time, you may see patterns emerge.

Pinpoint binge triggers.
For Ruby, it’s chocolate. “I can’t eat just one piece of chocolate because it makes me crave more.” To help satisfy her sweet tooth, Ruby eats grapes, strawberries or grapefruit topped with artificial sweeteners. Berries, especially, are a diabetes super-food because they’re packed with antioxidants, vitamins and fiber and are low-carb, according to the American Diabetes Association.

Get enough fiber and protein.
People with diabetes who eat 50 grams of fiber each day—particularly soluble fiber—are better able to control their blood sugar levels, according to a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine. Try Ruby’s favorite salad: spinach, mushrooms, grapes, cranberries, nuts, broccoli and 4 oz. of protein.

April 2013