Is Ruby Gettinger Pulling a Scam?

Go ahead, call me a cynical bitch. Former reality show “star” Ruby Gettinger’s latest promotional venture has ended with her achieving her announced goal: losing 50lbs by consuming products from multi-level marketing company, Visalus. And yes, I’m skeptical.

I’ll save you the signup and give you the link to watch the videos from “Ruby’s Challenge.”

Ruby’s Challenge Videos

Scroll down and you’ll find “Episode 9: The Finale.” You can also scroll further to find the first episode that launched the “90-Day Challenge.”

In the Finale video, Ruby essentially negates everything she did during her reality show, announcing that she’s learned new things and she’s different now.  She sings the praises of the program that’s earning her a paycheck, “…everything is healthy on the [Visalus] plan…this is a lifechange. It’s no longer about dieting, it’s the way you want to live the rest of your life.” If consuming $249 worth of engineered supplements every month are how you want to live.

Click over to the products pages and the URL clues us in that Visalus has set Ruby up as an affiliate. That’s a very straight-forward way to track how much product the Ruby campaign moves. Visalus products are what you’d expect from this kind of “program.” Ruby’s “transformation kit” contains protein powder, tablets that are supposed to boost your metabolism, “nutra” cookies (“nutra” means they’re nutritious), something called “Clear Control Drink Mix,” an energy drink, and some kind of multi-vitamin with  “omega” in the name.

So why am I skeptical? Ruby’s goal was to lose 50lbs. And she lost EXACTLY 50lbs. If you worked three months toward a big weigh-in, would you be crazy about every detail? Would you want to weigh with as little clothing on as possible, first thing in the morning on an empty stomach? Or would you go to a gym and step on a scale, fully-dressed, shoes and all? The 50lb loss brought her to 329lbs one pound MORE than the lowest weight she achieved on her reality show. In an interview with 20/20, she admitted to starving herself before weigh ins and keeping her exercise equipment dusted off so she could claim she was using it. She also described how she figured out a way to lean and get the scale to display as much as 30lbs less than what she actually weighed. Read the interview here.

Ruby appears to be a woman with no apparent means of earning a living except for marketing her weight loss attempts. Her current and future income now depend on being a successful affiliate for Visalus products. She HAD to lose 50lbs or she’d be unemployed and Visalus management would probably be pretty pissed.

Ruby announced that she’s doing a second “90-Day Challenge.” Well sure she is, she is still over 300lbs and she’s got product to sell. It would be nice to see her promoting weight loss through a whole foods diet but I don’t know of an affiliate program for cruciferous vegetables. Protein powder does pay better.


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    • Jen on April 21, 2013 at 10:27 am

    You called it first.

      • Dagny on April 21, 2013 at 11:08 am

      And I’ll say so!!!

    • JoAnn on April 21, 2013 at 11:44 am

    Is she pulling a scam? I don’t know but it sure is troubling. Basing one’s diet on a whole bunch of manufactured and over processed supplements is certainly a lifestyle change, but it’s not a good one. It would be nice is the fitness industry would stop pushing protein drinks as some sort of miracle cure.

    Losing exactly 50 pounds seems a bit too convenient. I know she’s struggled her whole life with weight so maybe she’s setting her sites low, but why is her goal to get to 250 pounds? She still would not be at a healthy weight.

    On a positive note, breaking down a large weight loss goal into smaller pieces is a way to make the task less overwhelming. Having ongoing support is crucial. Incorporating vigorous exercise is vital. Using measurements other than the scale is helpful.

    Overall this made me sad. We continue to enjoy making the severely obese and making them into a bit of a freak show. I haven’t really followed her so I’ll give her the benefit of the doubt that she continues to look for a way out of a desperate situation. I grateful to have found a more healthful way out of mine and am pretty confident that I will enjoy lasting changes. It has however made me sympathetic to those who know that same desperation. On the other hand, I have no patience for the people I encounter who tell me all the things they couldn’t possibly change, including not giving up chocolate (no offense to chocolate!). You want to see a change? You have to make a change? Want a big change? You need to make big changes. Just another lie that floats around–everything in moderation.

      • Dagny on April 21, 2013 at 1:02 pm

      It makes me rather sad too, JoAnn. Is “scam” a bit too strong a word? Maybe. But I do think that Ruby has become a person who’s desperately trying to support herself by exploiting her weight. I think I accurately evaluated her situation in this post from before the beginning of the “challenge.”

      Ruby Gettinger: Incredible Inspiration or Unending Spiral?

      At the time I wrote the post, the videos were not up yet. I guessed her weight and I was close—high 300s. She started at 379lbs. We assume she is now at 329. Yes, mighty convenient!! I suppose I could be distorting my own self-image and it was many years ago now but I weighed 340 and I swear she looks a LOT bigger than I did. I did NOT have a 65″ butt, not ever in my whole life. Plus, according to various online sources, Ruby is 5’9″. That’s 3″ taller than I am. It makes a very big difference. Yeah, I’m pretty darn skeptical and given yesterday’s post I guess it’s just my weekend for it!

      We have to acknowledge that this is a woman who was once at 716lbs and she’s now in the 300s. That’s a huge accomplishment. But what has she really accomplished through this time? I would hope that by this point, this many years along, that she would be settled into a lifestyle of whole, highly health-supporting foods and regular exercise. She seems to get exercise, at least when the cameras are rolling, but it’s obvious she still doesn’t have a solid plan for what she should eat for the rest of her life. The protein drink and processed meal replacement approach is not a way to live. It works if you want to drop that extra 25lbs you picked up when you stopped going to the gym but for a lifelong weight problem, that’s not the answer.

      Something that bothers me greatly about Ruby Gettinger as a “reality show celebrity” is that people want to relate to her and they share something with her. Not many people reach 700lbs. The people who do have their own unique and highly complex set of problems. Parading them around like a freak show on television or as part of an Internet marketing campaign to sell products is not how they should or deserve to be treated. Ruby Gettinger makes me very sad.

        • JoAnn on April 21, 2013 at 3:56 pm

        I was sort of curious about the personal trainer. She said that Rudy has been a client for 4 years. While diet has more impact on weight than exercise (the old rule of you can’t fix bad eating with a workout), it should have at least established some good habits. Of course, I have a personal trainer who I adore. I frequently hear other client’s disregard his advice or talk about the things they “can’t” do. I always wonder why they pay money if they aren’t going to listen to the expert. I think I get a lot more annoyed than he does. Maybe that’s the case for Ruby’s trainer too.

        1. I write in my book about a 12-week program I did with a powerlifting trainer. He had another client who would tell me how great I was doing. I asked her how long she had been working with him and she said “Years!” in an almost exasperated tone. She had weight to lose and did not seem to be getting any results. You get out what you put in!!!

  1. Very sad. They all seem to sell out. I used to see the fake food, and supplements at Weight Watchers and they were always full of sugar and other things I was allergic to. I watched Ruby for some time but tired of the show being so focused on weight loss and the numbers. Did she say her butt is 65 inches. My waist is 65 [oops now 60] and I am near 500lbs. Those measurements do not sound right if I am 55-60-80 at almost 500lbs. That sounds a bit off. [of course my hips are wider]. I have been near 700lbs so someone would think the Ruby show would work for me right?

    Well I didn’t relate to a lot of it. Some of it made severely fat women look bad. The strange roommates–her friends if they are not just actors and actresses were odd. I do not see friends babysitting someone to that extent at her age. The weird stuff with men and Danny-that bothered me, the baby-talk ground my gears. Personality wise, we would be like fire and ice. That is one problem I have with being so fat, I never did do “jolly” well. I am glad she lost weight and if she can lose more all for the better but many aspects of the show bothered me too and seemed to bother me worse as time pressed on. They’d never allow me on TV, I don’t have the right opinions, I’m too “fringe”. I wouldn’t want to be anyhow.

    1. You got tired of the show being about weight loss? It was a weight loss reality show. If you’d kept watching, it moved over to Ruby’s life drama when her weight loss was not so good and then she even regained. Look for the link above to an earlier post I wrote about the show.

      Your friends would babysit you if they got paid to for a television show.

      Something unusual about the show was the absence of health issues. Emotional issues are drama; it makes her a sympathetic victim. I don’t remember much if any focus being put on Ruby’s health issues. I found out later that she is diabetic and had sleep apnea. The show left out the unpleasant realities and focused on painting her as a lovable Southern eccentric.

      I considered the whole thing an exploitation of a severely obese woman as a freak show.

      1. LOL you got a point it was a weight loss reality show. I wish they had just shone a big fat woman without the weight loss involved. I knew someone who signed a book contract once who was near my size and then lost it when she stopped losing weight and got sick. 🙁 So later on she stopped losing or had a regain? I think in her case she probably can only maintain somewhere in the 300s, there seem to be undealt with metabolic issues but then did she ever admit being an eating addict? She seemed very active for someone of her size. She can walk and breathe even when she was in the 500s and 400s then I ever could, but I have to accept a lot of weight story is more complex. LOL yeah maybe my friends would all move in too. :p I didn’t like that they only seemed to skim over her health issues. They said her diabetes was out of control, what did that mean? They never say. You see reality shows where if someone is prediabetic, they act like it is a death sentence. Was she ever on insulin? Sleep apnea also messes with weight.

        I do think the show was exploitative too.. I think she has DID {dissosiative disorder} or something even regarding the weird stuff with the childhood where she couldn’t remember entire spans of time and the strange made up language got to me. There was something wrong there I couldn’t put my finger on.

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