I like reality television. I do not watch a lot of TV, except for news, but when I do it is usually something reality related. A few of my guilty pleasures are just silly shows about rich women or people dating and are just for pure fun and that is okay. Back in late 2008, however, as I was awaiting my upcoming weight loss surgery, I came across something very different. Here was this beautiful red-headed woman with an infectious smile, sharing her very personal life-long battle with obesity on the air.
The show was on Style Network and was called “Ruby”
I was immediately drawn in as she described the failed diets and years of struggles. My heart broke as she showed the audience around her home which was specially designed to accommodate her weight. There were concrete blocks under her mattress, a special sized chair that her friends gave her for Christmas, and other things to make life a little easier for her large body.
Through it all, she was smiling. I mean a huge, beautiful, smile that just draws you in instantly. I could immediately relate to her calling her disease of obesity “The Beast” because that is exactly what it is for so many of us. She was comparing her issues with food to those of a drug addict or alcoholic and all of a sudden I found myself just breaking down into tears.
This was not your typical show where the participants show up heavy, get onto a diet program, add a personal trainer, and by the end of the show they are skinny! No, this was real, and raw and it touched my very soul. Everything she was dealing with was so similar to my world at the time. I was a food addict and seeing a fellow addict on the screen facing the same demons I faced and not understanding why just captivated me.
For four seasons, Ruby has opened up both her heart and home and shared her journey with us all. She has come such a long way from 715 pounds. She has lost over 400 pounds over the years and says she still has a way to go, but she is getting there! What makes Ruby even more appealing is her honesty. She doesn’t just show us the good and happy times on her show. She shows us the true ugliness and harshness and horror of “The Beast”.
How many of us have lost a lot of weight and regained some or all of it at one point? How many of us have been on vacation and made poor eating choices and suffered the consequences? How many of us have been out in public and felt the staring eyes or cruel jeers of people who have a negative stereotype in their minds about the obese?
Ruby is someone that anyone who is struggling with the disease of obesity can relate to on so many levels. She is the most unpretentious person I have ever come across. What you see is what you get and she does not try to candy-coat anything. She acknowledges from day one that she is suffering form a horrible disease and admits her addiction. Ruby realizes that her weight is just a symptom of something deeper and involves so much more than just putting down the fork. This is the case for so many of us who battle “The Beast” daily.
This show has touched lives in so many ways. This is not just for people who are taking the journey without bariatric intervention, or with bariatric intervention, it is for anyone who suffers from obesity and is trying to recover from it in whatever way works best for them. Who can forget the episode where Ruby went to visit kids at a weight loss camp and was able to transform one young girl who was literally bullied out of school and was being home-schooled into a more confident young lady who was no longer afraid to leave her house? This young lady ended up actually entering and finishing third in a pageant for plus-sized teens. Child after child came up to Ruby and thanked her for showing them that they can still go after their dreams and lose the weight and beat “The Beast”.
Who was not moved by seeing Ruby achieve so many firsts? First bike ride, horse ride, getting on a motorcycle, going camping, going down a water-slide, fit into a seat on an airplane, etc. These are real issues that we all face daily along this journey and Ruby is opening up her world and sharing all of this with us.
“Ruby has been a huge inspiration to me. I see her on her journey to being healthy and it has given me the push I need to do it for myself. I watch reruns of her show over and over and it would be such a help to so many if we could all catch up with her. I am sure she had saved countless lives by allowing us to be a part of her life. Thank you Ruby!!!”
“Ruby has inspired me to start my journey of beating a 23 year addiction to food, and find myself and figure out who I really am. I went to one of her boot camps and was so excited to meet her and the gang, and they truly are who you see on the show! I love them all and I can’t wait to see the next chapter in Ruby’s journey ! ♥ me some Ruby!”
“Seeing how far Ruby has come on her weight loss journey has been a true inspiration for me. I have lost 70lbs since April of this year. Even though she has had setbacks she has picked herself back up and kept going which I always remind myself when of I’m struggling. Praying she will be back on tv soon!”
Now we are hearing that Ruby is waiting to hear from Style, which is part of NBC/Universal now about whether or not she is being renewed for a fifth season. In my mind, I cannot see how there can even be a question as to whether or not to renew? The networks keep shows that are just for fun and really do not HELP people, not that that is wrong, but they are actually wondering whether or not to keep a show that brings awareness to such a big issue? I cannot wrap my head around this fact. Obesity is one of the most deadly diseases we face in America. It is a huge problem all over the world. Why are shows like this in danger of being cancelled? Look at what happened to “Big Medicine.”
I cannot sit here and just do nothing and see “Ruby” suffer the same fate when she is clearly helping so many people and changing lives. Awareness must be raised that obesity is a real disease and an ugly disease that is killing people daily. Awareness must be raised that food addiction is just as real as an addiction to cocaine and alcohol and cigarettes. Shows like “Ruby” help raise this awareness and so we all have to do what we can to keep Ruby’s show on the air.
We all need to speak up and let NBC/Universal and Style know that we want to see Ruby complete her journey. How can we help? There are several ways.
You can call Frances Berwick, who is the President of Style Network and tell her you want Ruby to stay on the air. You can reach her at 212 664 4444.
You can also email Kathy Kelly-Brown firstname.lastname@example.org
and Adriene Bowles email@example.com
and tell them you want to see more of Ruby and her journey. The people who make the decisions need to know that shows like this are needed and wanted on the air.
You can also go to Ruby’s official page and show her your support! The fun shows are fun, but we also need the shows with real substance that can and do change lives! To hear my interview with Ruby, just go to The Bariatric Guru page and LIKE the page. You will get all of the updates on Fit Living radio show and when Ruby appears as well as other guests who are all fighting the fight with us to beat “The Beast.”
Together we can all beat this terrible disease!
UPDATE: PLEASE GO TO THE FACEBOOK PAGE FOR THE PEOPLE’S CHOICE AWARDS HERE AND POST ON THE WALL THAT YOU WANT TO VOTE FOR “THE RUBY SHOW” HERE IS THE LINK!