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Ruby Gettinger dropped 400 lbs. and counting by making a simple diet change. She indulges in fruit instead of chocolate! But she cautions against eating too much of either one. Also: Why eating healthy is harder in the South, and diet tips to help readers shed the pounds.

In her What I Ate Today interview featured in the OK! on newsstands now, Ruby admits that she can never have chocolate again.

“It’s like a cocaine addict or an alcoholic,” the reality star, 48, tells me. “They’re not allowed to ever taste it, or if they do, there’s no way they’re going to stop at one. The biggest thing I lived on when I was overweight – I’m still overweight – was sweets. I’d rather have sweets as a meal than anything else. That’s my trigger food. I have to say ‘no’ to it. It’s hard, but if you don’t taste it for a while, it’s not so hard – as long as you don’t put it back in your mouth.”

She continues, “When I did try to taste it, just the chocolate – I start thinking about it, and there’s something it triggers in your brain. I know that is my weakness, so it’s best for me not to put it in my mouth or taste it.”

Although she’s been told that a nonfat, sugar-free three-pack of Snackwells make a suitable substitute, she has learned that the chocolate cookies set her off on a binge, so it’s best to stick with vanilla.

“When I get a chocolate one, it usually makes me crave chocolate even more, so I know I have to stay away from that.”

Instead, Ruby will reach for grapes, strawberries or grapefruit topped with Stevia or Splenda sweeteners. However, the pains of PMS present a challenging time for her.

“That’s when the addiction is bad,” she says. “I’m like ‘oh my Lord,’ you feel like you’re gonna go crazy. Sometimes around then, I’ll substitute a meal for a protein bar to get that sweet taste in so I won’t go and get a candy bar that’s going to sabotage me.”

What was it like when she would have too much chocolate?

“Before the diet, when I had too much chocolate, for dinner, I would have a king-sized Milky Way and I would have a bag of Cheese Puffs. That was my dinner. I’d rather have that than dinner. In fact, the next thing I know, I didn’t start eating until 3:00 in the afternoon. My whole thing, the way I ate was horrible. At night, in the afternoon, I didn’t eat all morning.”

She adds, “Here you are thinking ‘I’m not eating that much because I’m not having dinner.’ As soon as you’ve justified in your head that this is healthy, even though you’re living in this body that is so unhealthy, it’s almost like you have a way of making yourself believe something.”

Nowadays, Ruby feels much better than she did when she was a chocoholic.

“I started becoming diabetic, and when that started affecting me, I felt like I didn’t know what I was doing to my body. There came a time when I could not even lift up a can of Coke, it felt so heavy to me. I started sleeping a lot, I became weaker.”

She continues, “Candy’s supposed to give you all this energy, and a high. When I started doing it, my body started shutting down on me because I started having sugars. My sugars were 500-800 a day. That’s when I was diabetic.”

Incredibly, it only took Ruby one month of eating healthy and exercising for her to start noticing a difference in her health.

Still, Ruby has to watch that she doesn’t go overboard when she snacks on her favorite fruits like blueberries, grapes, strawberries and apples.

“This is something I’m learning myself because here I am thinking ‘fruit’s fine.’ I think that’s the way society is, just the way I thought not having fat – no fat at all – is better, which it’s not. You need to have some fat in your diet. We’re so trained out there with all these different kinds of diets. People tell you you can’t have fat, have sugar-free this … all this adds up. What I found out is you have to portion your fruit, and you can have too much, especially if you’re a diabetic, because the sugars in that will add up, too.”

Even though she’s cut out chocolate, Ruby allows herself other tasty indulgences.

“On the weekends, if there’s something I am craving, I’ll eat a small bag of pretzels or plain pretzels or I’ll eat air popcorn that you make in the microwave because you want that extra taste of something. It’s not that salty, that air stuff, but it makes you feel like you’re having a treat.”

What has been her biggest food challenge?

“It was totally sweets and pasta,” she says. “I miss spaghetti. I would never want to get up to 716 lbs. again. That’s what keeps me off. I never want to be that person again. I never want to be limited. I liked who Ruby was, but I don’t like how she limited herself. I’m not the same person any longer. That’s the hard part – that’s why I get so stressed. When you lose this much weight, you say ‘goodbye’ to your best friend, who you thought was so strong and could survive anything, because I live in that shell, and now I find out it was weaker. What I’m doing now is stronger. “

Although Ruby has been mindful that she needs to make a complete diet overhaul, living in Savannah, Georgia, hasn’t been the easiest location to make the switch to healthy foods.

“It’s crazy,” she says of life in the South. “It’s the hardest thing, especially when you go out. People have become more health aware, so  you’re able to order some healthy food, but it’s hard, especially during the holidays when you have the mashed potatoes and the dressings and it’s all homemade, and you have the biscuits. Everything is homemade. It’s hard. You’ve got the fried green tomatoes, you’ve got all that stuff, and it’s everywhere. That’s the craziest thing … it’s everywhere you go. You’re smelling it. If you want to get gas, if you go to a convenience store, you have food everywhere.”

Despite the obstacles, Ruby continues to tackle her weight woes. She shares her diet tips.

“What helped me the most is, I was an extremist, where I was one way or the other. I did not find a balance. What helped me is to take one day at a time instead of thinking about tomorrow. Instead of setting these huge goals and thinking ‘by the time this is all said and done, and I’ve reached my goal, I would’ve lost 100 lbs., in my head I started going ‘there’s all this weight.’ Instead of doing that, I started goals of ‘you’ll lose 30 lbs. That’s all you need to think about.’ And daily, taking one day at a time. I started off doing one thing different. Some people say it’s too hard for them, but I started off doing one little thing differently than I usually did – exercising or change one meal. Start by doing that.”

She adds, “The biggest thing is if you mess up – and this is one thing I had to learn – if you mess up, start right over the second you mess up. Don’t wait until tomorrow because tomorrow will never come for you. That way, your mess-up will run perpetually, like ‘Oh my God, I’ve ruined the whole thing, my diet, I feel awful.’ You beat yourself up, and all of a sudden, you’re off track, and gain more weight. The best thing to do is start over right after you mess up. Let it go, start over. Before you know it, if you start these habits, you’re losing all this weight and you’re a changed person, if you do it daily.”

Pick up the OK! on newsstands now to get Ruby’s What I Ate Today feature. The cover line is “Kim Kardashian: Betrayed Before The Wedding.” And, tune in to Ruby, airing Sunday at 8/7c on the Style Network.

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