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Interview With Dr. Phil McGraw

Aired September 25, 2003 - 21:00   ET


LARRY KING, HOST: Tonight, Dr. Phil. He's shaped up your attitude. Now he wants your body. Dr. Phil McGraw talking as only he can about your problems and a whole lot more. The doctor is in for the hour, with your calls, next on LARRY KING LIVE.
It's always great to welcome him to this program. He's kind of like an old standby now. And he's got a new hit book out. Should surprise nobody. The book is -- it's right here, "The Ultimate Weight Solution" -- there you see its cover -- "The Seven keys to Weight Loss Freedom." This Sunday in "The New York Times", September 28 edition, this book will be No. 1. There are already over 2 million books in print. In fact, 2.5 million, nine printings. And other good news. In the first eight days of its second season, "Dr. Phil" is up 27 percent in its ratings. That in from King World.

Boy, you must be feeling your oats.

DR. PHIL MCGRAW, AUTHOR, "THE ULTIMATE WEIGHT SOLUTION": Well, I'm feeling pretty good about the new season. I am. I'm excited about the book and the new season both.

KING: How you like now being a television host regular?

MCGRAW: Well, you know, I've enjoyed it. I thought the first year was a lot of fun because it was new. You know, I had done Oprah for, what, almost five years. But she always took care of that pesky hosting business.


KING: It's different to be a host (UNINTELLIGIBLE)

MCGRAW: It is different. But I really -- I really have enjoyed it. I think she really prepared me well, and so I enjoyed the first year. And you know, they always say there's nothing like your first year, how exciting it is. But I'm actually -- I came into the second year more excited about it than I was the first year.

KING: Why?

MCGRAW: Well, because I think I we've built on strength. My whole idea was to use that platform to talk about things that really matter in people's lives, because you go to school -- and in the American educational system, we don't really teach people how to manage their lives. We teach them subjects. Most people don't ever go into therapy. Most people don't ever read a book that's instructive on life. So there's a real vacuum there, and what we've done is tried to deal with that vacuum by talking about those things that matter in a common-sense, accessible way and delivering it to people's homes every day for free. And I think that's the highest and best use of television.

KING: And as I've said many times, I've appeared on many shows, I never had a better time than the hour with you.

MCGRAW: We did have fun, didn't we.

KING: That was a great hour. All right, what's with Dr. Phil and weight loss?

MCGRAW: Well, Larry, this is something that I've worked in for 30 years, actually, because it was part of...

KING: You mean in private practice?

MCGRAW: Yes. It was part of my clinical practice, and so I've worked with it. You know, I'm a clinical psychologist, but I have a specialty, as well, in behavioral medicine or medical psychology, which deals with this kind of disease. And it is a complex disease. It's...

KING: It's a disease?

MCGRAW: It is a disease. I think it's a disease of choice. Some people debate how big the genetic factor is in obesity, and I deal with that and acknowledge it in the book. But it also was a big issue in my family. I lost my dad a number of years early to a heart attack secondary to obesity. I have overweight people on both sides of my family, all through...

KING: You tend to be obese?

MCGRAW: Well, I've had to fight it. It stabilized in the last 10 or 15 years, but early on, it was a real thing that I had to struggle with because I was an athlete and -- you know, they actually put weight on me on purpose when I was in college.

KING: Football?

MCGRAW: Yes. When I was in college, they wanted to beef me up, and they did. And so I -- in working with these patients and having such a passion for it, I decided to put this book together. And I had a real serious decision to make about how to pull this book together when I did it. Well, you know, you can kind of do one of two things. You can either come up with the new flavor-of-the-month sort of diet, you know, because you see the cabbage soup (ph) diet, the Beverly Hills diet, the North Shore diet or whatever. You know, all these...

KING: South Beach.

MCGRAW: Yes, I guess that's it. I haven't seen it, but -- and you know, everybody kind of reinvents the wheel and comes up with something that's the new flavor-of-the-month diet. And that's one choice. And the other, which is what I did instead, is I put together a multi-disciplinary team. I got a specialist physician in bariatrics, or obesity. I got the best nutrition and health researcher and writer in the country. And I got the best psychological researcher in the country. And we did a massive review of the literature, and there's not one thing in that book that is not grounded in the scientific literature.

KING: So this is not Dr. Phil off the top of his head, knee-jerk advice.

MCGRAW: Absolutely not. And you know, so a lot of people can look at it and say, Well, gee, is there anything new in there? I don't think there's anything new under the sun in human functioning, in psychology, other -- the hydraulics of the body work the way they work. The idea is, can you bring all of that together and present in it an accessible way that people can use? This is not a diet book.

KING: Do we know why he overeats and he doesn't?

MCGRAW: Well, we do know. And there's a different question. Do you know why one person is obese and another is not? Part of it is genetics. Genetics determine who can be obese. The lifestyle and choices we make determine who will be obese. That's why I say it's a disease of choice. You can be predisposed to it, just as you can other diseases such as diabetes and heart disease, and it's up to you to determine whether or not that's going to become manifest in your life. So it's very much a lifestyle. It's very much a matter of choice.

KING: Why is it so hard to break?

MCGRAW: Well, because we learn our eating habits from the day we're born. I mean, immediately -- and there's nothing unnatural about this, but it explains the origins some. You know, the first time you're held and cuddled and cooed and patted by your mom, you're being fed. I mean, we start pairing up comfort and food from the first day that we ever have any nourishment. And then throughout life, we -- think about it. We are a fast-food society. Food is a social lubricant. We -- you know, you go to dinner, you don't ask somebody, Hey, why don't you come over and we'll pull weeds this afternoon? You don't ever do that. It's, like, Let's go to dinner.

KING: Yes.

MCGRAW: And people celebrate with food. They medicate themselves with food.

KING: Drink alcohol. Let's have a drink.

MCGRAW: Sure. Yes. Let's meet for drinks. Let's do lunch. Let's meet for drinks. But people celebrate with food. If they're lonely, they companion themselves with food. Food never rejects you. So the problem is, if you're using food only for nutritional purposes, you won't be overweight. I mean, animals don't eat emotionally. They eat to live, right?

KING: Yes.

MCGRAW: Like I said, you've never seen a fat coyote. You know, you look out there, they eat something that they need to live, and then they move on. But people use food for a lot of different reasons.

KING: How much at fault are the food retailers and processors and manufacturers who get us to...

MCGRAW: Well, clearly, we're in a target-rich environment. In the 1970s, we spent $6 billion a year on fast food. In the early '90s, we spent $110 billion a year on fast food. And you go down the street and every sign down there -- Stop and eat. Stop and eat. Stop and eat. It's everywhere. We have all of these impulse foods around. We're just so bombarded with food. And the way it's marketed, it's paired with fun. You see these food commercials on television, everybody's laughing and music's playing and they're dancing and singing around in the kitchen or at the restaurant. What's that got to do with eating food? I mean, that's the reason they put a good- looking girl in front of a Buick or something when they're selling it. I guess people think subliminally, you're going to get the girl when you get the car.

KING: I want to go over the seven keys in a minute, but there are seven keys? What's that concept? And then we'll go through them.

MCGRAW: Well, here's the thing. You have to understand that obesity -- it must be treated as a chronic disease, resistant to change and subject to relapse.

KING: And lifetime?

MCGRAW: Yes, of course.

KING: So you have it, you have it.

MCGRAW: That's right. You don't -- you don't -- 65 percent of our population is obese, at this point, or overweight. Either overweight or obese.

KING: Obese is, what, 20 pounds or over?

MCGRAW: It's just a -- it depends on height and weight, but it has to do with how far you are from the target weight. And what people need to understand is it is multi-dimensional. And that's what I'm dealing with in here. And I didn't -- I didn't invent these seven keys, and I have not said that. You know, people have said, you know, Do you really think you can make a difference by taking -- the science is there. I think nobody disagrees with the science there, but they say, Can you really make a difference in obesity in America? Because I've said I didn't want a write a book, I wanted to start a movement.

And if you're just taking what's known in science, can you make a difference with that? Because it's already out there. So why is everybody obese if that's what matters? And you know, the best example I can think of is, you go to the library and you look on the door and it says, Read books and stamp out illiteracy. You know, Department Education pamphlets -- read, read, read, read. Does it make a difference? No. It's actually getting worse.

Then Oprah Winfrey steps up and says, You know what? I'm going to use this television platform. We're going to have a book-of-the- month club. I want everybody to read it. We're going to talk about it. We're going to have fun. And I think she's had the biggest impact on reading in American history. She's used that platform for leadership to get people to do that. And that's...

KING: You want to do it with food.

MCGRAW: Exactly. You can -- people could go into the medical abstracts and find the information, but people don't have access to it. I want to provide the leadership.

KING: And we're going to go through those seven keys. We'll be including your calls, as well. Dr. Phil, "The Ultimate Weight Solution" is No. 1 on "The New York Times," the best-selling book in America. We'll be right back.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Being overweight has really affected my self-esteem. My husband's constantly making jokes about it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She'll be going down the hall, and I'll go, Wide load coming.

MCGRAW: Isn't the truth that you've started agreeing with a whole lot of what you're hearing him saying?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I've heard it so long, yes.

MCGRAW: What are you thinking when you're humiliating her in front of people?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm not the only one that does it.

MCGRAW: Excuse me. You're the only one here.

You got to get real about this, and that means you got to stand up and tell him to shut up. And then you've got to look yourself in the mirror and say, I ain't listening to that from you anymore, either!




UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I thought I kind of looked like you, Dr. Phil.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Dr. Phil, I need you to help me lose weight!

MCGRAW: My staff and I spent the summer looking at over 7,000 submission tapes, and it all came down to these 12. This is No. 1.


KING: What were you holding there?

MCGRAW: What we did is decided on the show to do what we called "the ultimate weight loss challenge." And we wanted to pick a group of people that would work through the book, work through the seven keys, for America to watch and see. And...

KING: You'd follow them?

MCGRAW: And so we put up on our Web site, If you want to be part of this, you got to fill out this long questionnaire. You got to submit a videotape and tell us your story. I mean, it took a lot of work to even make a submission, and we have thousands and thousands of them. So we took that plug down in a fast hurry because everybody responded so much. And when we started the weight loss challenge on the 15th of this month, with our show launch, we have had close to 13 million hits on our Web site in the first week alone, just participating. This is an epidemic in America.

KING: Let's run down some of the keys. By the way, you think willpower is a crock?

MCGRAW: I do. You know, people -- it's way overrated. Willpower is fueled by emotion. It's just another word for emotion. You'll all pumped up, you're all excited. Every January 1, everybody's going to get out there and they're going to walk and they're going to jog and they're going to diet and all of those things. About the middle of February, jogging shoes are on the porch and they're in bed because the willpower's gone. The key here is you've got to program your life for success. You got to program your life so it pulls you in the right direction when you don't feel like it. It's easy to do when you feel like it.

KING: Key No. 1, "Right thinking."

MCGRAW: Right thinking.

KING: So that means focusing the brain a different way?

MCGRAW: Yes. And it doesn't mean that you're going to think your way thin, all right? But everybody has a personal truth, something they believe about themselves. And think about it, there's a 95 percent failure rate with people who do diets. Ninety-five percent of the people gain the weight back plus some within a very short period of time, just a few years, if they reach their goal. They have had nothing but failure experience after failure experience after failure experience. In their mind, they're saying, I can't do this. I'm not like those other people. I'll never be where I'm accepting of my body. And so we have to attack that and get people to challenge that thinking and replace it with something that is rational and right.

KING: You told me during the break that obesity kills more people than tobacco.

MCGRAW: Yes. It has overtaken smoking as the No. 1 preventable cause of death in America.

KING: Key No. 2 is "Healing feelings" -- meaning?

MCGRAW: Meaning this -- as I mentioned before, we eat -- so many of us eat for emotional reasons. And so often, you -- sometimes you'll see -- one in four women in America has been sexually molested when she was growing up. Oftentimes...

KING: One in four?

MCGRAW: One in four. Isn't that terrible? And so often, you'll see those folks devalue themselves and you will see them put on a lot of weight in hopes of hiding their sexual characteristics, so they're not appealing, they're not attractive a stereotypic way. They're using food to quell that anxiety. You see people that are depressed or lonely, and they, again, medicate themselves with food.

If you'll take away the need by getting real about the emotions and healing those problems, then you don't need the medication anymore. And if you don't, then you won't. That's why going on a diet just won't do it.

KING: So this book takes them through all these steps, right?

MCGRAW: It does a couple of things. First off, in each key, we go through an audit for you. Here are the questions -- you know, people have asked me before, you know, Do you feel like you have an awful lot of answers? The truth is, I don't. What I feel like is, I have an awful lot of the questions. It's the questions that will lead you to the answers.

KING: Does your book deal with things like Atkins and we get into this, Don't eat carbohydrates, and you can eat all the bacon you want?

MCGRAW: Well, listen...

KING: Do you get into stuff like this? Because Atkins sold books, the late Dr. Atkins.

MCGRAW: Those are diets. And here's the problem with...

KING: This is not a diet.

MCGRAW: It is not a diet. We're very specific about nutrition in there, but it's educating you to make choices. There's nothing you can't eat. There are things that if -- there are more efficient foods in there that we talking about under the nutrition key. There are what are called "hunger suppressors," foods that you eat that suppress your hunger. There are foods that you eat that actually drive your hunger. And we have to educate people as to those two things so they...

KING: What's a hunger suppressant?

MCGRAW: A hunger suppressor are foods that are high in fiber. They're what I call, for example, "high response cost" foods.

KING: Like?

MCGRAW: Well, for example, a "high response cost" food is a food that you have to work to eat. A low...

KING: You have to chew it.

MCGRAW: You've got to prepare it. You've got to chew it. Probably one of the best examples is a sunflower seed. You know, those little seeds you got to crack and -- you've got to work your tail off, and you don't get very much. That's a "high response cost" food for not very much payoff. And on the other hand, there are "low response cost" foods like a bean and sour cream burrito that you can go pick up. You can eat like a wood chipper, just -- you can just put that down like that. I call it "Gulp and gain." You eat that, you're gaining weight while you're eating it!

KING: Back with Dr. Phil. The book is "The Ultimate Weight Solution: The Seven Keys to Weight Loss Freedom." It's No.1. We're going to go to your calls at the bottom of the hour. Don't go away.


MCGRAW: He's thin, and he's overweight.


MCGRAW: So you're worried about the role model.


MCGRAW: But you were worried about that before. Why now? Why here?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There are things that I can't do with my son. I can't even get on a bike without the tires going flat.

MCGRAW: This is not some diet you're going to have to go on.



MCGRAW: This is something -- you're going to have to change your whole life.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Exactly. I don't want a Band-Aid.




MCGRAW: You're 22 years old. Do you want to live your entire life as the fat girl? Do you want to spend the rest of your life looking in the mirror saying, why did you do this to yourself? You will never have a better chance than you have right now. You will never have a better offer than you have right now. Judith, you said you want a quick fix. You're in the wrong room, girl.


KING: Dr. Phil. He calls them as he sees them.

All right, key number three, "A no-fail environment."

MCGRAW: Well, that's what we were talking about. I said you can't be overweight if you don't have a lifestyle to support being overweight. Think about it. If you don't have impulse foods around to eat, if you don't have the "low response cost" foods that drive your hunger around to eat, if you don't...

KING: Yes, but what if you're a family -- you got a family of five, and people aren't fat and they have those foods around. They like Twinkies.

MCGRAW: OK, so let's feed them pure sugar so they can have a problem later? I mean, kids learn their palate. They learn what they like and what they don't like. The idea is to set your world up in a way that supports you when you don't feel like it. You can't be overweight without a lifestyle to support it. You can't be at a healthy weight without a lifestyle to support it. So set your world up so you -- it pulls for you instead of against you.

KING: Key No. 4 to weight loss freedom is "Mastery over food and impulse eating."

MCGRAW: This is the best news in the whole book, I think. This is the best news. Most people think that you've got to be strong and great willpower 24 hours a day, seven days a week. And as I said, willpower has nothing to do with it. But when you analyze people's lives -- and we do the audit. We give you the audit to analyze your life in there. Most people do damage to themselves in a very narrow window of the day. It's that 15 minutes when you first get home or it's that 30 minutes when the kids have gone to bed and you're in there by yourself. There's nobody watching. It's when you're watching your favorite Larry King episode at night. And...

KING: Or Dr. Phil during the day.

MCGRAW: Or Dr. Phil. That's right. Or you've TIVO'd it. I mean, any -- whatever. But you have to find out that there are those zones. And if you can get through that time zone, that place zone, that activity zone, you're unlikely to overeat the rest of the time. But you've got to find those danger zones and react to them.

KING: Key No. 5 is "High response cost, high yield nutrition."

MCGRAW: Yes. This is what we talked about before. You don't want to -- look -- look, the reason diets don't work is they're restrictive, and people rebel against restriction. And when they binge, they binge for revenge. I mean, it's like, I want to go eat everything they told me I couldn't have. If you're losing weight by going on something that you're going to come off of later, you are going to fail.

KING: You got to change your life.

MCGRAW: You have to change your life, and you can't go on an eating program that you later come off of because when you come off of it, you'll gain it back. You've got to lose it with something you can do for the rest of your life, which is why I say this isn't a diet book, but it is a nutrition smart book that teaches people how to identify "high response cost" foods.

KING: Key No. 6, "Intentional exercise."

MCGRAW: You got to jack it up and get out there.

KING: Isn't all exercise -- well...

MCGRAW: Sure. Well, no. I mean, well, you see some things from the government that say if you're vacuuming, that's exercise. Look -- and you see people that go to the gym and they're on these little sit- down bikes with a book. If you can read a book while you're doing whatever you're doing, that's not exercise. You need to put that down. You need to break a sweat.

KING: Walking is great, right?

MCGRAW: Walking is great. Jogging is great. I mean, anything -- playing tennis, playing racquetball. It doesn't -- find something you're comfortable with. You don't have to be an athlete, just something that you are moving one foot in front of the other and getting yourself -- getting your heart rate up and getting a sweat going.

KING: And key No. 7 is "Your circle of support." Meaning?

MCGRAW: Meaning -- think about it. If you were an alcoholic and you had gone through a treatment program and all of your buddies were drinking buddies, would you want to go back out and hang with your drinking buddies? You wouldn't want to do that. You'd want to make some friends at the gym, people that were like-minded. You have to look at your circle of support. There are some people that will sabotage you. Maybe they're overweight and they resent you for losing, so they're going to try to sabotage you. Maybe it's -- like, my mother, she cooks for me. And if I don't eat it, it hurts her feelings.

KING: Do I know that feeling!

MCGRAW: Yes. And you know that. They love you with a pie. And that's not good for you. So you have to be careful who you're around, particularly when you're just doing this important work. Later, when you're more stable and under control, you're not as vulnerable.

KING: Is there a danger -- my staff makes me guilty of this -- of being over the other way? You start to lose, and then you get -- become a compulsive loser of weight.

MCGRAW: Of course. You know, people think about anorexia, for example, as not eating. But anorexia also has examples of people that become excessive exercisers. They just, to the point that they...

KING: Bizarre.

MCGRAW: ... that it's way unhealthy and way out of control. But short of anorexia, there are people that obsess about anything they do. And overweight people oftentimes have an addictive personality, and they will substitute the food addiction for an exercise addiction. And that's not healthy. That's not good. Are they pointing their finger at you here?

KING: Well, I watch myself. You know, I'm scared. I like to keep my trim down, so I'd rather...

MCGRAW: You look great.

KING: I feel great. They tell me I'm too skinny.

MCGRAW: Well, tell it to your wife. She wants to (UNINTELLIGIBLE)

KING: Dr. Phil is our guest. We'll take a break and come back and go to your phone calls. He's the host of the highly-rated and most successful syndicated talk show in years, and they're up already this year 27 percent over last year. And the book, "The Ultimate Weight Solution," is No. 1 Sunday in "The New York Times." We'll be back with your calls. Don't go away.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I want to be able to go to a bar or go to a bookstore and see a woman and be able to go up and talk to her. I used to weigh 500 pounds. I want to feel the confidence that I have for the body that I'm in now.

MCGRAW: You've got a new body, but you didn't get a new body image. Come with me. You got these girls here, see? And they say they would go out with you. Why don't you take one out Friday night and the other out Saturday night? OK?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Would you like to go out with me on Friday? And would you like to go out with me on Saturday?




MCGRAW: Throughout the upcoming year, we're going to be walking through this together. You and me, step by step, by you taking my ultimate weight loss challenge. I didn't want to just write a book and do a show. I want to start a movement. I want to stop this absolute run away epidemic of obesity in America.


KING: Dr. Phil, my man.

Let's go to your calls. Coeur D'Alene, Idaho, hello.

CALLER: Yes. Hello. Hello, Larry.

KING: Hi. What's the question?

CALLER: I have Huntington's-Korea (ph). My mother had 10 children. We are very fat (ph) people. I was 240 pounds. My ideal would be 149 pounds. I want to know, Larry and Dr. Phil, does Huntington's-Korea cause all this fatness in our family? All of these children are fat and obese.

KING: All right. Doctor?

CALLER: What...

MCGRAW: Clearly -- clearly, there is a genetic factor that can be associated with the disease and you have some very special challenges, as many people do. Not just that disease. There are a number of diseases where you have very special challenges because it affects your biochemistry.

And what you have to do in that circumstance is get with your physician, take a hard look at your labs and do what you can to contain it. But it's very difficult if you're not working with a physician...

KING: Because she has to work harder.

MCGRAW: Absolutely.

KING: Springdale, Arkansas, hello.

CALLER: Hi, Larry.


CALLER: Dr. Phil, I have a friend. She's 28 years old. She's 400 pounds. Her ideal weight would be about 140. She's 5'7". And my question is...

KING: Get her the book.

CALLER: What could I -- what could I do to get her motivated to read your book?

MCGRAW: Well...

KING: That's right. You got to get motivated to buy the book.

MCGRAW: Right. You know, one of the things we talk about in the book is referred to as a readiness profile, where you have to assess what's getting people to move towards a goal.

And here's the thing. Most people that are that overweight are overwhelmed by the scope of what they have to do. I mean, it just looks like a huge hill to climb. And I think it's much more important than to talk going from 400 to 150 pounds of just saying, We need to start taking care of you. We need to start taking care of your body. We need to start taking of your health. So rather than starting out by saying "I need to lose 250 pounds," let's just work and do what we can do a step at a time.

So don't let her be intimidated and just encourage her to go day- to-day and week-to-week.

KING: Give her the book.



MCGRAW: Tell her to read.

KING: Lancaster, Kentucky, hello.

CALLER: Yes. Dr. Phil, I'm 5'4". I weigh 100 -- 225 pounds. My ideal weight's 120. I have a stomach digestive delay of 13 to 14 hours. I eat one meal a day. I gained weight due to steroids for asthma and I've also gained weight through some anti-depressants that I had taken in the past. And I cannot get rid of it. What can I do?

KING: Drugs can trigger some.


Listen, what you've got is you have some drugs that are controlling some other diseases that are working against your body chemistry. That doesn't mean that you can't do things to maximize your position. Even if you have these challenges, what you need to do is everything you can. Again, it might be a containment philosophy, to keep yourself in as good a place as you can be.

Are you going to go from your current weight to your target weight of 120 pounds under this medical regime? Probably not. That is probably something that is just unrealistic. But can you make some lifestyle choices to help yourself and improve? And the answer is, yes. You can do that. The choices are harder for you, but one of the things I talk about, Larry, in the book is we need to set what we call our "get real" weight. So many people look and say, Well, what's the lowest I've ever been? That's where I want to go again. I was talking to a woman recently that says, when I got out of high school, I was 5'4" and 104 pounds. I was like a size . That's where I want to get. But the problem is she's now 45 years old. She's post-menopausal. She's had three children, metabolic slow down. All of those things that have happened. You're not going to get back to that weight and all you're doing is setting yourself up for failure. So you got to pick something realistic.



KING: Virginia Beach, Virginia with Dr. Phil, hello.

CALLER: Hi. Dr. Phil, you're a great inspiration and I wanted to know in you book, how do you address addiction to food and compulsive eating?

MCGRAW: Well, everything we talk about in the book deals with addiction to food and compulsive overeating because you're describing a lifestyle. You're describing a habit pattern that has become dominant for you. And what you have to do is deconstruct that and say, All right, let me break this addiction down. Addictions a big word. How does it express itself? Are you eating at certain times during the day? Are there certain foods that are trigger foods for you? Are there things that you're doing that are so controlling of you that you must eliminate them from the environment completely?

And understand this -- we don't break habits. That's a misnomer. That's the wrong words to say we break a habit. What we do is replace one behavior with a new behavior. And what you've got to do is pick something that's incompatible with the thing you're wanting to eliminate. So don't break a habit. Replace it with something new.

KING: Tampa, Florida, hello.

CALLER: Yes, Larry. My question For Dr. Phil is, what advice would you have for parents who want to work with schools regarding school menus and healthier plans for children, and your thoughts on Ephedra, which is found in many weight loss products.

MCGRAW: Well, that's a two-part question.

KING: Both good.

MCGRAW: And both of them are excellent, excellent questions. So thank you.

First off, with regard to the school, we have absolutely got to start pressuring both state and federal to get smarter in the way we're feeding these children. We adopted a food pyramid back in the late '70s and early '80s where we put together the percentages of what we were supposed to have with carbohydrates and proteins. And what we didn't know at the time is that is exactly the food formula that are used by the cattle feeders and the feed lot to fatten up cattle for market. That's the food pyramid that we're using and has been the driver in our school lunch programs and so many of the circumstances. So, we have got to wake up and look at that differently than what we have before.

Ephedra, bad news.

KING: Is it also true that nutrition is a very small part of the medical school curriculum?

MCGRAW: It is. When I talk to internists about their management of weight, they tell me, both individually and collectively, we don't have the opportunities in the medical model to deal with the lifestyle management problem. For the really obese patients, they don't have scales that measure them. They don't have blood pressure cuffs that will get around them.

For those that aren't morbidly obese, but just overweight, this is something that requires a lot of follow up. As I've said, this has to be treated as a chronic disease that is subject to relapse and resistant to change. And that's not the medical model. That's a -- that's an -- most of medicine is acute intervention.

KING: Shreveport, Louisiana, hello.

CALLER: Hello. How are you doing Larry?


CALLER: And hi, Dr. Phil. How are you doing today?

KING: Fine.

MCGRAW: Good evening.

CALLER: I have a 16-year-old daughter that is overweight. She is 5'7". She weighs 250 pounds. And, just wondered what could you suggest for me? I want to help her. She's not living with me at the present time. While I was at home with her, I could control her eating. But now she's away from me. Can you help me?

MCGRAW: There are a couple of things you need to do and the first thing that I really caution people about is that you cannot confuse body image with self image. That's the first thing you need to make sure with he because she's very vulnerable right now.

People that say because I'm overweight, because I don't meet a societal norm, I'm a lesser person. Bad idea. And I didn't write this book to attack the obesity for people who aren't concerned about it. I'm concerned because of the health impact for everybody. But if somebody is motivated to lose weight, if that's a goal and they want to, great. But don't let her confuse her body image with her self image. And as she feels better about who she is, she'll require more of herself on the physical side.

KING: Are you shocked by the amount of people, this humongous amount of people overweight?

MCGRAW: Well, it is....

KING: Humongous amounts.

MCGRAW: Yes. it is -- It has changed so much across time.

If you go to the mall and just look at people walking up and down, first off, you're seeing them walk through a food court and about every third store is cookie, ice cream -- not even on the food court.

So, they're being bombarded but the truth is, we're not nearly as active as we used to be. We're becoming more sedentary. And we can order things on online. We don't walk in our neighborhoods much anymore, because you'll get mugged. We just don't have the activity levels that we used to and it's costing us.

KING: Boy. We'll be back with more of Dr. Phil. "The Ultimate Weight Solution: The 7 Keys To Weight loss Freedom" is the book. It's No. 1 on the "New York Times" list. More calls after this.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Wheels! Wheels! Wheels! You're down. What are you waiting on? Go, go!

I have a saying, second place is the first loser. My kids have to be No. 1.

MCGRAW: I yell at her. Amanda takes this personally.






UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We're not in love with each other. I don't think we even like each other.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My dad has had two affairs.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Most fathers don't cheat on their family, not only once, but twice.

MCGRAW: What's the hook that says, new day, new time, new attitude? You said to me before, you're a hard ass, buddy. You better believe I am. And you better be glad I am. Because I'm not going to buy any of your crap. I'm going to tell you the truth and I'm going to require you to stand up and be the man that it takes to lead this family.

(END VIDEO CLIP) KING: Lest we think Dr. Phil is only about weight, what other kind of shoes, as an example.

MCGRAW: That was an example. We've started a series this year called "The Dr. Phil families." Yes.

It's -- what I have done is said -- we do a lot of things in a fairly quick turn sort of thing; get to the point, make the point move on. What we have done here is said, if you have a family and you're in crisis and you'd like a partner, in managing that family this year, then let me know. And, I'll just be your partner this year.

And what we just saw was a family that we have chosen. And they're from Florida and husband, wife and two daughters. And you have seen some of it. And, what we have done is we've got cameras in their home 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. I have video conferencing. I have a setup in my office at the studio. I have a setup in my home and a setup in their living room and if I want to talk to them, I can push a button and I come up in their home. It's 10:00 at night. So you better have your jammies on.

KING: To help?

MCGRAW: I just pop in. If they near crisis, they can pop back. For example, they have a beautiful, wonderful spirited 15-year-old daughter that is pregnant. And, she's coming up very close. Do they keep the baby? Do they put it up for adoption?

The family itself is in a lot of trouble. That husband and wife, the mom and dad, having real strife. Now, here's the daughter that's pregnant. A little sister saying , what did I do? Fall into a mess here. We're really trying to work with that. And, so that's something we're doing all year long.

KING: Stafford, Virginia, for Dr. Phil hello.

CALLER: Hi, Dr. Phil. My mother is 5'3, 210 pounds. Her ideal weight is 150 pounds. However, she has medical problems with arthritis in the spine, thyroid problems, asthma and she isn't able to exercise. What would be your advice?

MCGRAW: Well, first off, my advice is for her to get with her physician and say, in addition to managing these diseases, I want to actively manage my obesity because if she's dealing with arthritis, then I promise you that is being aggravated by and interacting with her weight. Look at the load being put on the joints, but our medicine is so segmented these days that it's awfully easy to just treat the disease and not the patient so make sure they're treating your mother and not just her arthritis.

KING; Well said. Ottawa Ontario, hello.

CALLER: Well, hi Dr. Phil, Hi Larry. I love both of your programs. Thank you for accepting my call. I live right near Orleans, Ontario, Canada Dr. Phil.

MCGRAW: Great.

CALLER: Okay. Here's the story. I'm a former dental assistant. I'm 41. I'm going to be 42. I have juvenile diabetes. I've had it for 17 years. I have never had optimum health in 17 years. I have never returned to the same state of health. I was 120 pounds when I was diagnosed 17 years ago and I was 5'7. Very active. No body fat. Very athletic.

KING: What is your weight now? What's the question?

CALLER: Well, I developed two other conditions called Fibramyalgia and my myalgic encephalomyelitis. Which is profound fatigue, profound pain.

KING: What is the question?

CALLER: OK. Due to limited exercise with the fatigue and the pain and the juvenile diabetes and the insulin which causes you to gain weight and collect fat differently.

KING: We know that. What's the question?

CALLER: How can I lose even 20 pounds?

MCGRAW: It is a medical condition, and but here's the thing. For people that have medical complications, it is a tougher hill to climb. No question about it. But that just makes the choices that much more important.

If you have limits in terms of what you can do physically, then you just have to be creative. So many people in circumstances that she described do water therapy. You can do things underwater in an exercise pool that don't load you up. Don't tax your spine. Don't tax your knees.

KING: Diabetics can exercise?

MCGRAW: Of course they can. They have to monitor closely but they're supposed to exercise. I tell you there's a good example. We have a show that airs tomorrow that's -- we just call it "Dr. Phil's Confidence School." It doesn't have to do with weight but with people learning thousand have the confidence to set goals and reach for the next level. The next level of thing they want to do, the next level of thing to claim as their right.

And whether it has to do with health or job performance or relationship performance, people need to learn that they have the right to ask for more from themselves and from the world. So tomorrow's a great show for her to watch to have the confidence to reach for more than you have.

KING: We'll be back with the remaining calls and moments. A little surprise. Don't go away.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I met Donald on the Internet. He made me feel like the most beautiful, the most special woman in the world. I had found women on the computer that had Donald slept with. Donald confessed he has a problem and ruined every relationship he has ever had in his life.

MCGRAW: You understand how active he's been in the chat rooms? Do you understand that he's got a web cam that he's been in front of? It is a whole sick, demented underworld and you are the mayor.'



MCGRAW: whole, sick, demented underworld and you are the mayor.




MCGRAW: very different bodies. And know, you keep telling everybody I'm too fat to be writing. Too fat to be writing.


KING: That was not set up, right?

MCGRAW: No. Not at all. I didn't know...

KING: You handled that great. He kids you all the time.


KING: Is corn a good food?

MCGRAW: Corn can be a good food.

KING: I ask that because last week, I'm going to be 70-years-old in November. My wife and her friend Carrie Schnepf of Schnepf Farms in Queens Creek, Arizona, had a surprise for me. And they took me on a helicopter ride. Now look at this. There I am, folks.

MCGRAW: In a corn field.

KING: I'm in a corn field and there's a maze through there. And people can walk through it and answer questions. And we give money to the Larry King Cardiac Foundation. And know, Dr. Phil, a lot great things happen to you, but until you're a corn field in Queens Creek, Arizona, Schnepf Farms you have not made it. Look at that. Must be with computers. That's a corn field.

MCGRAW: Very becoming, too. You look good in corn.

KING: Anyway, it was a lot of fun and a great surprise. MCGRAW: It's huge.

KING: That's me.

Birmingham, Alabama, hello.

CALLER: Yes, I have a guilt complex, you know, I've always had, you know, my entire life. When I eat, too, I'm overweight. I, you know, makes me feel guilty. It's like I eat and it makes want to eat more. I didn't know if you had advice for how I can help myself?

MCGRAW: Well, sure. Think about it. You described a vicious circle. You feel guilty and so medicate the guilt. So, how about instead of medicating with food, you figure out what it is you're feeling guilty about and what you're saying to yourself that makes you feel so bad about it. My dad used to say, guilt's like rocking, it's something to do but you don't really get anywhere. And you're not going to change anything by feeling guilty. What you have got to do is to decide what it is that's if triggering that for you, challenge the thoughts and take away the need. If you didn't feel guilty, would you stop eating, overeating? Probably not because things often start for one reason and then continue for another. Maybe it's just pure habit. But you have got to start by breaking it down

KING: One more call. Winslowe, Maine, Hello.

CALLER: Hi, Larry. Hi, Dr. Phil. I've just bought your book. And...

KING: First step.

CALLER: Pardon?

KING: The first step. What's the question?

CALLER: I'm 5'3" and I weigh 300 pounds. How do I get started?

KING: I don't believe this.

MCGRAW: Well, first off, you went and bought the book which is a first step. And that's the important thing. You have to take the first step. And what I want you to do is actually work through the seven keys that is are there. When it comes to a test, when it comes to an audit, when it comes to an exercise, don't just go past that part, actually write it down and understand that in order to be overweight, something really powerful has to have happened in your life. You're not eating to live. You're living to eat. And you need to figure out what your payoff is for doing that. Because you have sacrificed your health. You've sacrificed your mobility. You have given up a lot to embrace this place in your life and you can change that a step at a time. Again, don't be overwhelmed by being 300 pounds. Don't worry about that. Worry about the first five and then the next five pounds. Don't worry about taking it all one big leap.

KING: Only 30 seconds. Is this an uniquely American problem? MCGRAW: No, it's not, but it is more pronounced in America. France, for example, 25 percent of the obesity rate that we have here. An examination of their entree sizes in French versus American restaurants, 25 percent of the size. We're overfeeding ourselves.

KING: Always great to see you, Dr. Phil.

MCGRAW: Great to see.

KING: It's a new book, the Dr. Phil's new book and it's right here, "The Ultimate Weight Solution," it's no. 1 in the "New York Times".

I'll be back in a couple of minutes to tell you about tomorrow night. Don't go away.


KING: Hope you enjoyed Dr. Phil. Tomorrow night a very controversial figure, a lot people don't like him. He is James Hewitt. Mr. Hewitt was the former lover of Princes Di. James Hewitt, in our studio here with your phone calls tomorrow night.


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