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Interview With Dr. Phil McGraw

Aired May 29, 2004 - 21:00   ET


LARRY KING, HOST: Tonight, Dr. Phil McGraw. He shaped up your attitude, and how it's your shape. And when it comes to your health, Dr. Phil says, Get real. And he's here for the hour next on LARRY KING LIVE.
It's always great to welcome Dr. Phil to this program, the host of the highly-rated syndicated daytime show. His new book is "The Ultimate Weight Solution Cookbook: Recipes for Weight-Loss Freedom." There you see its cover. His previous book, "The Ultimate Weight Solution," was a No. 1 "New York Times" best-seller. He is on the cover of this week's "TV Guide." The man has exploded.

By the way, this is Wednesday night. On Monday night, the winner of the "Dr. Phil Weight Loss Challenge" was announced on his show. Let's watch.


DR. PHIL MCGRAW: Jim, I know how competitive you are, and I've only got one thing to say to you at this point. You are the "Ultimate Weight Loss Challenge" winner! All right! All right!


KING: That winner was James -- Jim Toth, a 33-year-old radio sidekick who made a career out of a fat, lovable loser, who started at 360 pounds and ended at 230. And what did he get for winning?

MCGRAW: Oh, man. He made out like a bandit, I'll tell you what! I think the No. 1 thing he got, Larry, was to get his life back and his life in order. When we first met Jim, he submitted a tape, like so many others, that said, I'm overwhelmed. I have so far to go that I just don't feel like I can get there.

He was well over 300 pounds. He was, like, 365, something like that.

And my approach with the "Ultimate Weight Challenge," and the approach in the book, was that it's not about dieting. I think dieting is one of the biggest scams in America today. It's a multi- billion-dollar industry, and it doesn't work.

KING: It's a scam?

MCGRAW: It's a scam. I mean, look, when you go and -- when you're talking to people and you're saying, you know, 30 days to the new you -- those people that are selling that, 30 pounds in 30 days, that kind of thing, they've read the same research I've read, which is that 90-plus percent of the people gain the weight back in a very short period of time, plus some.


MCGRAW: They gain, like, 110, 120 pounds back. Well, think of it. If you -- if you have lifestyle A, and it makes you overweight, so you go to lifestyle B -- a diet -- and you lose weight, well what happens when you go back to lifestyle A? I mean, when you choose the behavior, you choose the consequences. You go on a diet, which means you come off of the diet. And when you come off, you rebound. And -- important point -- people that are on these yo-yo diets are 70 percent more likely to die of some cardiac event than people who never dieted a day in their life. It ruins your health to do that. That's why I say it's a scam.

KING: Now, Doctor, being honest -- and it's Letterman (ph) (UNINTELLIGIBLE) -- you are not underweight. You are not a slim person. Was it a risk for you, who certainly -- what we call in the Jewish faith shtarker (ph) to do this?

MCGRAW: How rude!


KING: Shtarker could be a compliment.

MCGRAW: What is -- oh, that's a good thing?

KING: I would call a -- a defensive lineman could be a shtarker.

MCGRAW: All right. Speak English. This is America.



MCGRAW: No, when I'm -- listen, when I talk about "get real weight" -- I spent my whole life, up through the end of high school, built a lot like you are now. I've seen more meat on antlers than you've got on you now.


MCGRAW: But I was tall and skinny. When I went to college, I changed positions. I was playing football. I changed positions, and they had me in the weight room every day, pumping iron and drinking this nutrient to gain weight. And so I bulked up. And I am a big guy, and for me...

KING: Are you overweight?

MCGRAW: It depends on how you define it. See, that's one of the problems. In America, if you go to the charts that we use today, I would be overweight. Michael Jordan would be overweight. Arnold Schwarzenegger would be overweight. A lot of people that are athletic would be overweight because they have a disproportionate muscle mass. Now, my body fat runs around 18 percent, which is normal and, you know, kind of in the middle of normal, actually.

KING: Yes.

MCGRAW: But my overall weight is high. I weigh, like, 240 pounds, and that hasn't changed in probably 20 years.

KING: But did you run a risk, weighing 240, to have people say, How can someone 240 pounds help me lose weight?

MCGRAW: Oh, I think so because people have this media image of what people are supposed to weigh. You see it when you -- you listen to women talk about it. They -- they look at the stars on television and say, I want to look like her. Or they say, I weighed 105 pounds when I graduated from high school. I loved my shape then. That's my goal.

Well, let me tell you, if you're 45, had three children and are post-menopausal, you're not going to weigh what you did the day you graduated from high school. Get that out of your head. That's a media-driven ideal that you're never going to healthfully obtain. Now, you can starve yourself and you can lose muscle mass and get down to that, but that is not healthy.

What I want people to do is what's healthy for them. And my weight for me is my healthy natural weight. I don't struggle to keep it. My body fat is very low. I run five miles a day, plus play tennis in the afternoon. I'm probably in the best shape of my life...

KING: So you're not, to you...

MCGRAW: ... at that weight.

KING: ... overweight.

MCGRAW: Absolutely not.

KING: All right. So is it all mental? So if I think I'm overweight, am I overweight?

MCGRAW: No. No. You have to look at it a number of different ways. And you know, first off, there are seven keys that I talk about. And when people -- look, I could have sold a lot more books if I'd have said, "Dr. Phil's Miracle Diet: The New You." Easy. You know, Lose weight while you sleep. I didn't say any of that. If you look at my book, what I say in the very beginning is -- what I say in the very beginning is, This is not easy, but it is doable. This is manageable. Because I want people to understand you can do this, but you don't have to starve yourself to do it. You don't have to be deprived to do it. You just have to work at it.

KING: Tell me about the cookbook that follows it. You are not a cook, I understand.

MCGRAW: No. KING: You're a barbecue guy, right?

MCGRAW: Yes. Yes. I -- I...

KING: So how did this come about?

MCGRAW: I throw it on the grill until I torch it, and then I bring it in. But we have a lifestyle in our family, we have a lifestyle where we eat in a way that is consistent with stable, healthy weight. That's what we've always done.

KING: By the way, this book, for the benefit of viewers, just came out yesterday and is in all stores now.

MCGRAW: It is. And what it includes is over 100 recipes that you don't -- 100 recipes that you don't need Wolfgang Puck to prepare. These are things that you can eat at home. They're things that you can cook at home. And they're things that are what I call "high response cost, high yield foods." And there's a real simple categorization of foods. If you don't have to work very hard to ingest food that you're eating, chances -- that's what I call "low response cost" -- chances are pretty good that's not good for you. That means it's highly processed, it's high in fat, it's high in the wrong kinds of carbohydrates. And you can take a bean and sour cream burrito, for example. I mean, you can just inhale those. You don't even have to swallow. You don't even have to chew, you just have to swallow. So the idea is, if you eat a "high response cost" food, it's something that you have to actually -- you have to actually work to ingest. You have to prepare it. You have to chew it. You have to work to ingest the food. It's probably got the fiber that you need. It's got the nutrients that you need. It's fresher. It's less processed. And it's going to be good for you.

KING: Probably a good -- that's a good tip. I just thought of...

We'll be right back with Dr. Phil. The new book is "The Ultimate Weight Solution Cookbook: Recipes for Weight-Loss Freedom." Dr. Phil's our guest. We'll be right back.


JIM TOTH, WEIGHT LOSS CHALLENGE WINNER: I'm pretty close to death (ph) at this weight. I'm very close to a divorce because of my weight. I need help.

They call me "Lumpy" on the radio station. It's me. It's not too much of a character.

MCGRAW: I don't want to change what the scale says, I want to change Jim.

Do you think this is going to work for you?

TOTH: I want it to, but I don't know.

When I came out this time, I fit into one seat, and I did not need the seatbelt extender.

TOTH: That's so great (UNINTELLIGIBLE)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Forty-two. Are you kidding me?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Babe, that's great!

TOTH: It's affected my relationship with my wife in a positive way.

MCGRAW: You've seen him work all seven keys. He's happier. He's healthier. He's...




UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: ... my inside, I feel like I've lost 6,000 pounds.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You have been selected to undergo an extreme makeover!

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If I can look as beautiful as I feel on the inside, for the first time in my life then I'm truly going to be a beautiful person.

MCGRAW: The moment that was unveiled on "Extreme Makeover" on ABC a few weeks ago, but none of the challengers or me have seen her in over three months. Will the new Monica come on out?


KING: Why, Dr. Phil, does it feel so good when you lose it?

MCGRAW: Because people tend to confuse self-image with body image. Now, think about that. I've talked to so many people, men and women alike, that get overweight and their self-esteem just goes in the tank. They think they're judged. They think they're unattractive. They're just not proud of the physique or the figure that they offer when they walk in a room. And so body image and self- image, which are two separate issues, go down at the same time. And when people lose the weight, then their body image comes up and it pulls their self-image up with it.

Now, those two things should not vary together because, I promise you, Monica was the same loving, giving, caring spirit at her top weight as she is at her ideal weight. And that's why I say if you're going to lose weight and keep it off -- now, you can keep telling yourself what you want to hear. You can keep believing the ads. You can keep buying the promises. Or you can simply say, Look, I'm going to do this right one time, and I'm going to recognize that, No. 1, I got to change the way I think. I got to change...

KING: What part of this...

MCGRAW: ... my thinking.

KING: What part of this, Phil, has nothing to do with anything but aging and genes? You notice that some women will get older and their bottoms will get heavier. Men will get potbellies. Is that natural?

MCGRAW: Of course. That's why I say there has to be a "get real weight," and part of your right thinking. You've got to be honest with yourself and realize that your metabolism is slowing down. You simply cannot eat what you used to eat and burn it off because you're not as -- your metabolism's not as efficient. Your activity level may not be as high. Your body is, in fact, slowing down, and it reacts differently to different foods.

So part of the seven keys is to get right thinking. Stop being unrealistic in what you're telling yourself. Stop judging yourself and letting your self-esteem go with you. You've got to get honest and logical and quit telling yourself what you want to hear. That's key No. 1, and that's critical.

KING: How do I use the cookbook? Is this something -- follow it every day? Is it a 30-day plan? Is it -- this is every meal? What?

MCGRAW: Look, here's the thing. People rebel when they go on diets. I mean, you hear people talk about going on a diet, and the first thing they do is get irritated.

KING: Because they don't like what they're eating.

MCGRAW: Well, that's right. They don't like what they're eating and -- I hear people say, You all going on vacation this summer? Oh, what's the point. I can't eat. I'm on a diet. Well, you weren't going over there to just eat, you were going to see the sights, see the people, have a good time, do different activities. But people tie food so much to their quality life. And so what happens is -- diets are restrictive. We put people on diets, and when they're restricted, they rebel, Larry. They rebel. And when they rebel, it's -- it's to binge on the foods that they couldn't have on the diet.

Now, what the cookbook does -- I got together some of the best chefs in the country, and I hooked them up with my wife, Robin (ph), and with myself, the things that we have enjoyed and found stabilizing over the years. And we put together the recipes and we put together the ingredients that guaranteed that these things were high response cost and had a high nutritional yield. Because I'll tell you, there are certain foods that you can eat that are what are called hunger suppressors. They tend to suppress your hunger drive. There are other foods you can eat that are called hunger drivers. They trigger insulin and blood sugar changes and they drive your hunger.

So What "The Ultimate Weight Solution Cookbook" does is put together over 100 recipes, including side dishes. I mean, we've got everything in the world in there. We've got mashed potatoes in there. We've got -- no-fry chicken-fried steak in there, since I'm from Texas. We have so many of these things that you can eat. And if you eat the recipes in this book, No. 1, you're going to lose weight. And No. 2, you're not going to be hungry and you're not going to feel deprived across time. So the idea...

KING: They taste good.

MCGRAW: Oh, they're absolutely wonderful! I've eaten all of these recipes, and they are absolutely delightful.

KING: That's the hardest thing, don't you think, to accept...

MCGRAW: Why, sure.

KING: ... a food you don't like.

MCGRAW: Yes. And that's the thing. That's what I mean. People rebel. But here -- listen, food is an addictive substance for a lot of people. And you have to realize that when you get into an addiction, you're just talking about a powerful, powerful habit. You've learned what you like, and you can relearn to like different things.

When I was growing up in the South, my mother fixed iced tea for us all the time. She would fix it, and in a half-gallon, she would pour in a cup of sugar and stir it up. And you know, today we call that maple syrup. But then we called it iced tea. If I had -- I learned to like that then. If I drank that today, it would gag me. I mean, it's so syrupy sweet, I just couldn't do it. That was a learned habit. I've now unlearned that and relearned these things, and that would be a negative and the healthy foods are a positive.

KING: Like I learned fat-free milk.

MCGRAW: Exactly.

KING: I couldn't stand it. Now I can't drink cream. I can't drink whole milk.

MCGRAW: Yes. Yes. It would feel like you were drinking whipped cream or something.

KING: Yes.

MCGRAW: It would be terrible for you. So you can relearn these things. There is hope.

KING: Is there danger in -- when we go the other way and lose too much?

MCGRAW: Absolutely.

KING: Karen Carpenter syndrome.

MCGRAW: Well, there are certainly eating disorders that can be life-threatening scenarios -- bulimia, anorexia and the combination of anorexia and bulimia, as well as some others. But even before you get to those extremes, people who push themselves too far, you can go into a state of loss that your body begins to convert muscle instead of fat for energy, so you're actually breaking down your muscle mass. And You get into all kinds of health problems when you do that.

KING: We'll be right back with more of Dr. Phil. The new book, "The Ultimate Weight Solution Cookbook," now available everywhere. Don't go away.


MCGRAW: His loss of dignity, his loss of self-respect so crippled him, and he just dug his heels in and said, That's enough.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Since I've began the weight loss challenge, I feel like I've been reborn.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Pork rinds, Cheetos...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I look forward to each day to being able to play with my kid. And I just feel like I'm alive again.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I can put my arms all the way around my dad now.

MCGRAW: He has become a leader in America. He'll never gain this weight back. He would not accept that from himself in the future.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This next song is a Joe Cocker tune.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I couldn't tell you today what I'll be doing a year from now, but I know that I'm going to be happy doing it.




UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm trying to pound it into your head that you are making wrong choices! And you don't get it! And for God's sake, Alexandra, you just seem to think that having sex is like shaking somebody's hand!

MCGRAW: You are the parent here. Your method of engagement is ridiculous. I've been working with you all year, and you go down there and do that!


KING: We ran it -- that could apply to a lot of things, right? Don't yell at people.

MCGRAW: Oh, man! You know, we have spent so much time this year on the show working on people's lifestyles. We've worked on lifestyles with weight, which we've been talking about. We worked on lifestyles with family and relationships because the truth is, you can't have a consistent pattern in your life if you don't have the lifestyle to support it. You can't be overweight if you don't have a lifestyle to support your being overweight. You cannot have a bad marriage or a chaotic family if you don't have a lifestyle that's full of stress, tension, all the things that lead to the conflict. You can't have that kind of bad relationship if you don't have a lifestyle to support that.

And we've been trying to get people to look at their lifestyles, recognize what they're doing to contribute in a toxic way to the results that they're getting.

KING: Now, you said you get addicted to a food and the like. Now, unlike other addictions -- drugs, tobacco, alcohol -- none of those are life necessities. You get onto tobacco, you don't need cigarettes, you get addicted. Food, though, is a necessity of life and also an addiction. So does it compound the problem?

MCGRAW: Dramatically. It is the one substance from which you cannot totally abstain.

KING: Correct.

MCGRAW: You have an 85 percent failure rate for people who go through alcohol rehabilitation: 85 percent of those people will fail in their attempts to maintain abstinence from the alcohol. Can you imagine what it would be if they had to use alcohol again after they had abused it? It would probably go from 85 to 100 percent. That's what you're dealing with, with food. People that go on a diet and they eat in a healthy fashion, now they have to go back and engage food again. They have to go to a dinner party. They have to go to the holidays. The average weight loss during the holidays is 12 to 15 pounds. That's why I included...

KING: Weight gain, you mean?

MCGRAW: Weight gain, yes. That's why I included in "The Ultimate Weight Solution Cookbook" holiday recipes, so you don't have to pig out during the holidays and gain weight. It's all about lifestyle.

And we worked a lot with the family that we just saw a clip of in changing their lifestyle -- not just giving them some isolated tools, but change the entire fabric of their life. And that has to happen in America.

KING: How much begins in what we tell our children? We have an -- obese children in America at an alarming rate.

MCGRAW: It's more than doubled in the last generation, and 70 percent of children that are obese will become obese adults. So that means that it's going to stick around. And in fact, medical experts tell us today that the current generation, our children today, are the first generation that are not predicted to live longer than their parents did. Because of the obesity epidemic that children are facing, we're seeing adult diseases -- type two diabetes, osteoarthritis, essential hypertension, cardiac problems -- showing up in children that heretofore were reserved only for adults, and it's secondary to obesity.

KING: What about portion control? The United States society suffers portion -- they call it "portion distortion."

MCGRAW: Absolutely. And you know why? Because it's the marketing. See, everybody in America's looking for what they call "value." So if you can get a whole lot for your food dollar, then you think that you've gotten a bargain. Like, Supersize this, you know, for only -- for only 50 cents more, you can get a whole trashcan full of popcorn...

KING: All you can eat!

MCGRAW: ... at the grocery store or at the -- at the movie. They can roll it down there on casters for you. And everybody thinks, Oh, that's a great deal. But the truth is that the obesity levels in France, for example, are 25 percent of what they are in America. Now, here's an interesting fact. There was a study done of 1,100 restaurants in France and 1,100 restaurants in the United States. They compared them. And the portion size on average for the French restaurants was 25 percent of what you get in America. And interestingly enough, the obesity level is 25 percent of what it is in America.

KING: So even with the dressings and the wine and the like...

MCGRAW: Even with the rich foods, the portion control over there, which is -- that's just what people expect to get. Again, it's a learned pattern. That's what they expect. They say that's a good value. They eat that and go on.

KING: And your contention is you can unlearn it.

MCGRAW: Absolutely, you can unlearn it. Look, it's all habit. It's all habit. And what I'm telling people is you don't need to just change what you eat. That's what a diet does, OK, changes what you eat. But in fact, you need to deal with what you eat, when you eat, where you eat, why you eat, how you eat. You need to deal with all of those things. If you deal with just the one thing, just what you eat, if you just change the food that you choose, you will never lose weight in a lasting and stable way.

For example, people use food emotionally. I mean, we all know that. That's no revelation, by me. We eat emotionally. We celebrate with food. We medicate ourselves with food. If we're depressed, anxious, we medicate ourselves with food. If we're lonely, we companion ourselves with food. I mean, a pizza's never rejected anybody, right? So they go with that.

KING: Our guest is Dr. Phil. And we'll be right back. Don't go away.


MCGRAW: What point in your life did you just decide, I'll just settle to be the fat girl?

What has impressed me is how she has stepped up to be there for herself.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: These were my pants when I started the challenge. They were tight, too!

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No-fail environment -- that was the hardest key for me.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I was having a Doritos attack here earlier today!

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I would go into these mood swings. I would yell at my sister. Now I can go down and chip (ph) out and not want nothing because I'm truly happy. I'm at peace.




UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm going to get full custody, full custody.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't think so.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I do. I'm sick of you threatening me, you little (EXPLETIVE DELETED)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Rachel, have I threatened your mom?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You take them into work and show them a picture of a Web site some guy I've never met and tell the kids I have boyfriend.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Can I tell you something first. I would like to get your full attention. Would you mind holding my hand while I tell you.

MCGRAW: Do you control people that way? I find that to be an unusual request. You don't need to look down there, I want your full attention.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you control people that way? MCGRAW: Pretty much. I'm just real up front about it.


KING: You need to apply this Dr. Phil, the book is the "Ultimate Weight Solution Cookbook," in so many areas, can't you?

MCGRAW: You really can.

KING: You can take that same guest that was there and related to cooking.

MCGRAW: We just talked about lifestyle. This is a show that we have done that did a series on the anatomy of divorce. Again, I say, you can't have a bad relationship if you don't have a lifestyle to support it. You can't have a bad divorce if you don't have a lifestyle to support a bad divorce.

And so what we did in this series, was to look at the anatomy of a divorce. We broke down this black hole that people go into. We got a 57.7 percent divorce rate in America today. People don't know what they're getting into.

So, we got the lawyers involved and the judge and the court involved and allow us to take our cameras everywhere and look at the dismantling of this marriage. Now, our goal in doing that, again, was lifestyle.

Our goal was to say, if you get a divorce and you have children, you're not ending a relationship you're changing it. You were friends and lovers, you were companions, you were significant others. You're not going to do that anymore, but you will forever be the co-allies of these children and you don't want them in the middle of a war zone. You have to create a new relationship where you're civil to one another and you have a lifestyle that supports the mutual benefit of these children.

It's -- Larry, it's all about lifestyle. I so strongly believe that we are such creatures of habit, that if I can get people to say, look, there are no sacred cows here, there's nothing I'm not willing to question, there's nothing that I'm not willing to examine and consider changing, if it calls for change, then I can get people to move out of this fixedness they have in their lives and start considering new things.

And "The Ultimate Weight Solution Cookbook" is about saying, look, let's learn a new way to eat, just like you need to learn a new way to be married, a new way to be parents a new way to eat.

KING: You have in this cookbook, banana creme pie, enchiladas, barbeque greens, southern style pot roast and mocha fudge pudding.

MCGRAW: Pretty good stuff, don't you think?

KING: But how can you have a banana cream pie?

MCGRAW: It's all about the ingredients that you put in it. Now, first off.

KING: You have to put bananas and you've got to put cream, right?

MCGRAW: Wrong. You have to have bananas, I'll give you that, you've got to have bananas, but you don't have to have cream. You can use, as we do, non-fat yogurt, instead of cream. You can do all of the things that are smart and high response costs by being creative and come out with the same taste experience that you had going in.

All the things you just named are do-able if you're creative enough to do it. And what I did, was got the best chefs in the country and said, I want this done in a high response cost way. The people that eat "The Ultimate Weight Solution Cookbook" menus, there's nothing to rebel against. They're not going to say, I'm dying for a piece of pie. That's fine. Have a piece of pie.

KING: Can restaurants do this?

MCGRAW: Absolutely. They are. We have restaurants all over the country using high response cost, high yield recipes we've been working on with all year long our show. They have those menu items available in their restaurants.

KING: A food you like is tofu?

MCGRAW: I like it. It's OK.

KING: It is an excellent weight product?

MCGRAW: It is an excellent weight product. I don't want it everyday for every meal. But properly seasoned and properly prepared it can be a very satisfying food.

KING: Do you say you can't ever eat pizza again?

MCGRAW: Absolutely not. Look, here's the thing...

KING: You can have a slice or two of pizza?

MCGRAW: Of course. It's the pattern that you get into. What you need to understand is, as I said, there are 7 keys. And one of the keys is exercise. You exercise all the time. You walk?

KING: Every day.

MCGRAW: You're out there chugging along, you get along pretty quick, too. You get your heart rate up. And that's what it's all about. I saw one of the popular diet books the other day, I was in a bookstore. There was the book and it had a sticker on the front of it that said no exercise. You got to be kidding me. You got to be kidding me. You have got to break a sweat. You don't have to become an athlete. You don't have to go do something that intimidates you, but you've to get moving.

KING: No pill works?

MCGRAW: There is not a magic pull pill out there. Now, one of the things I deal with in the ultimate weight solution, is that we have what are called weight loss resistant patients. There are patients, my older sister, Diena, who lives in Evansville, Indiana is one of them. She's a diabetic, so she's on insulin, so she has blood sugar issues. She's on Pregnezone and different types of steroids to handle other health problems she has. She probably has 70 or 80 pounds of water, fluid on her and she's very resistant to losing weight.

Now, that doesn't mean that she can't. In fact, she is. She's lost 30 or 40 pounds in the last few months. And when I finally got her started on the program she could walk for about 30 seconds across a room and she had to sit down. Now, she's doing 30 minutes a day on a treadmill at a brisk pace and doing water aerobics, because she's starting to exercise. So, her inches are coming down, her weight coming down and her health is going up.

KING: I know you're not a doctor of medicine and nutrition, but what do you make of what is certainly the most popular, I don't want to call it a fad, it's more than a fad, low carb?

MCGRAW: Well, you're right. I am not a medical doctor and I'm not a nutritionist. And interestingly enough, obesity, while it is clearly a medical disorder that can create serious other health problems, and in fact, be life-threatening the remedies for it are largely psychological. If you go to an internist today and you have a really overweight patient, they don't have the time or inclination to deal with them. There's been a lot of writing about that in internal medicine, they talk about we're not equipped to deal with these because it's a lifestyle thing.

KING: What do you think of low carbs?

MCGRAW: Low carb is a problem in that you lose a lot of water. If you go on high protein, you're going to lose a lot of water weight. And the first time you take a bite of a biscuit, boom, you will go right back up. You need to be careful where you are when you do that. You have to have a balanced diet. You have to have the right kind of carbs, the right kind of fats the right kind of proteins and it has to all be in balance. Anything that is extreme is probably not in your best interests.

KING: Right back with Dr. Phil. The new book is "The Ultimate Weight Solution Cookbook, just went on sale. Don't go away.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: These are the pants I wore on the video and sent to Dr. Phil. They totally are huge on me. Yay for me.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Achieving the goals I set out to do has been the most amazing experience. I want to prove to other people out there you can be pushing 300 pounds and you can turn it all around if you really want to, with the seven keys, you can.

MCGRAW: Barbara is an absolute star.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I cannot believe where I am today.



DAVID LETTERMAN, HOST, "DAVID LETTERMAN SHOW": This is a list of the thoughts that are going through the mind of this man right there at the Daytime Emmy Awards.

MCGRAW: If I play my cards right, I really think I have a shot with that Ellen Degeneres.

LETTERMAN: Oh, Dr. Phil.

MCGRAW: Because deep down, I crave validation from others as a substitute for the affection that was denied me as a child or some psychobabble like that. I don't know.

LETTERMAN: And the No. 1 thought going through his mind at the Daytime Emmy Awards?

MCGRAW: Me, three Emmy nominations. Freud, zero Emmy nominations! Know what I'm saying?


KING: Do you enjoy the poking fun bit?

MCGRAW: I guess might as well because I don't think it's going away. Somehow I guess it's the southern accent. People just love...

KING: I think it's your size, your approach, your ability to communicate well on the tube, and you -- and the time with Oprah and then extending it, your own -- I mean, you're a -- you are now a major major American personality.

MCGRAW: People sure are having fun poking fun at me. I take it in the right spirit. Look, if you're thin-skinned, if you can't laugh at yourself and have a good time with it, you don't need to be in this industry. You know that.

KING: There is another thing. There is a Dr. Phil doll or whatever. What is Dr. Phil?

MCGRAW: That's not a doll, that's a muppet. That that's Dr. Feel. F-E-E-L.

KING: There he is.

MCGRAW: Dr. Feel is a muppet that has been designed, he sounds like me and he looks like me, except he's got a little more fur on top of his head than I do, that's been designed to help children learn about feelings, to help them learn about how to identify when they're feeling sad, scared, angry, frustrated, all the different emotions that kids go through, because these are abstractions that a lot of children don't have symbols for, they don't have words for. So "Sesame Street," as is their tendency, is to do responsible programming for these children, has created Dr. Feel. He has a show, and he has guests on it, like I do, and it's really a lot of fun.

KING: Back to the week. You set up a no-fail kitchen, too, right?

MCGRAW: Yes. Look, when people want to lose weight, this isn't brain surgery. If you'll just stop believing the promos, everybody telling you it's going to be easy and realize that you're responsible and you're accountable. Research has shown us, No. 1, that we're a product of our environment. If there's a plate of cookies sitting here on the desk and it's just there all the time, we're much more likely to eat those than if they're not there. If they're still at the store or if they're frozen or not in sight all the time.

Not brain surgery, but clean up your environment, where you don't have to fight impulse all the time. Another powerful finding is that people do most of their damage in very isolated windows during the day. For example, some women tell me that they eat right when they get home from work, you know, they're tired, they come in, kick their shoes off, drop their stuff, go into the kitchen and they'll kind of graze around and eat a couple thousand calories before they even start dinner. A lot of them will say that after the kids go to bed and they finally get a few minutes of quiet time, they'll sit down and watch a favorite program and nibble all the way through it. They'll do most of their weight damage during those narrow windows. So if we'll simply design our day so we're doing incompatible behaviors during those times, make that the time you take your bath, do something you can't be tempted with eating, you don't have to be strong all day.

KING: So logical.

MCGRAW: It is logical if you just think about it. That's why we tried to connect it together. What do I eat? In the "Ultimate Weight Solution" cookbook, there's a 14-day rapid start program at the beginning, that if you'll go on that 14 days, it is a great jump-start to get you moving down the road.

KING: How do people who get to be 400 pounds, that's unfathomable. MCGRAW: It is. Most people are very judgmental of that. The truth is nobody ever started out with that objective in mind, but there's something that I call the personal truth, and that's that thing that you believe about yourself, when you don't have your social mask on, when nobody's looking, nobody's listening, it's just you. We all have a personal truth, what we believe about ourselves, and I'll guarantee you, people generate the results in their life that they believe they deserve. If I see somebody that's 400, 500, 600 pounds, I'll guarantee you that's what they believe they deserve in this life. You have to...

KING: Punishment?

MCGRAW: It is either a punishment or a settling. They just settle for it because they don't believe that they are worthy of a great body image, an active lifestyle, a healthy, fun, engaging relationship. They've used food for other than nutritional purposes. But I promise you, if you look at somebody who is in a terrible place in their life, at least in part, they believe that's what they deserve. I'm not talking about if someone is hurt in a car wreck, or they're afflicted with a disease that is not a matter of lifestyle choice, but when you see people who are in a station in life that is a product of choice, they made those choices in concert with what they believe they deserve. KING: We'll be back with our remaining moments of Dr. Phil. It's always great to have him with us.


MCGRAW: Time to make a house call.


MCGRAW: This isn't about starving yourself.

What have you got in your hand there?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: On your mark, get set, go!

MCGRAW: Looking good!

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's so incredible that Ann Marie (ph) was able to get around that track.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Nine bags of clothes that are going to Goodwill for good use.

MCGRAW: I toast every one of you.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I am still going to keep the seven keys right up here because this is not for now, it's forever.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This program has changed my life. I can't put into words what it's meant to me. I'm still overwhelmed by it.




ROBIN MCGRAW, WIFE OF DR. PHIL: If you have chicken fried steak, you never have it without mashed potato on the side.

MCGRAW: Did I hear you say chicken fried steak?

ROBIN MCGRAW: Yes. Yes. You sure did. I have a little secret to tell everyone.

MCGRAW: This is where you kiss the cook.

ROBIN MCGRAW: Everyday when I cook, this man comes in and starts snacking. So here we are, I'm prepared today. Delicious, low calorie snacks from the cookbook. Mini pizzas, sun dried tomatoes, low fat cheese, wheat crackers.

MCGRAW: This a funny shaped potato. Isn't this like where you fast forward and it's all done.

ROBIN MCGRAW: Please don't try to cut my finger off. He is so trying to beat me. I can't believe it. I started it. That's what life is like in the McGraw kitchen.


KING: You're a lucky man, Phil. The book is "The Ultimate Weight Solution Cookbook." Ahh, the word we have not mentioned that came up there, snacks. And you look like a snack grabber.

MCGRAW: Yes. That's the environmental control. I'm a nibbler. So if I have things around that are counterproductive for me to be nibbling on, I'm in danger. So we simply clean up our environment and don't have things around that are counterproductive to be nibbling on. The things that she gives me as snacks are high in fiber, and so they're very filling and they're low in fat. And so they're things that it's really OK for me to eat. She'll put out things it's OK for you to eat that. Robin runs a really good kitchen.

KING: Are you writing this for aesthetics or health?

MCGRAW: It's really about health. I have had so many tragedies in my own family regarding weight. I lost my father years ahead of his time -- to a heart problem, secondary to obesity. He was substantially overweight. I have two nephews that are between 450 and 500 pounds. I had aunts that were like 5'2", 350 pounds. We've buried almost all of them now. I have seen it destroy the lives of so many people and destroy their health. And I know that people are motivated by the aesthetics, but when they find out -- when we did the ultimate weight loss challenge on the show, we had 13 opponents.

We did all their lab work in the beginning and oh my gosh, high in cholesterol, triglycerides, blood sugar, kidney functions were bad, liver functions bad. They were just all over the chart. And we checked them 30 days into the program and all of those labs that were out here in the periphery started centering up. At two months, almost every one of them was totally within normal range. And it absolutely adds years to your life. You can make choices today that will add years to your life tomorrow. And if you will do it, your self-esteem goes up, body image goes up, your quality of life, just because of what you can engage and what you can do goes up. And if you have children at home, you're giving them their parents for many years more.

KING: What suggestion do you give for that first motivation, that beginning, the hardest part of all?

MCGRAW: Days turn into weeks, weeks turn into months, months turn into years, you look back and go oh, my gosh. What I wasn't people to realize the next six months is going to go by whether you're doing something about your weight or whether you're not, the clock is going to tick. It's not about will power. It's not about getting all pumped up and excited, and "rah rah," I'm going to go out there and lose all this weight. It's about making a mature decision that says, look, he's right. I've got to start this. I don't even need -- I don't want people to worry about what they weigh in the beginning. If you go on the rapid start program that's in the cookbook, you will lose substantial weight in the first couple of weeks, in the first month. We did a booty camp. I said, OK, you women, I want four women who want to lose 20 to 30 pounds in six to eight weeks. We picked four, we put them through the program and of course they lost the weight. They said we never believed we could do it. It's just not that hard. You have to set your lifestyle up.

And it begins by work going through the seven keys. Clean up your environment, identify your impulse zones, get rid of all those impulse foods and put high response high yield foods in there and then start living your life consistent with what we line out for you and it happens. It's not easy, it's just do-able. Then you get all this momentum, before you know it, you look like Larry King.

KING: Thank you, Dr. Phil.

MCGRAW: Thank you, Larry. The book, "The Ultimate Weight Solution Cookbook: Recipes for Weight Loss Freedom" by Dr. Phil McGraw, the author of the number one best times seller, "The Ultimate Weight Solution." Free Press the publisher. And the book is now available everywhere. And I'll be back in two minutes to tell you about tomorrow night don't go away.


KING: Thanks for joining us on this edition of LARRY KING LIVE with Dr. Phil. Stay tuned for more news around the clock on your most trusted name in news, CNN. See you tomorrow night. Good night.


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