Nearly 1,000 lost pounds later, the challenge wraps up with a surprise-filled finale on the "Dr. Phil" show on Monday.
Dr. Phil tells The Early Show co-anchor Rene Syler his goal was for the people participating in his program to start a movement in America with the hope of encouraging others to lose weight as well.
He says, "We use them as teaching tools. They got great results on their own, but they've inspired millions in America."
Asked what inspired him to take on this challenge as well as writing "The Ultimate Weight Solution," a food guide and a cookbook, he says, "All of this came from my personal experience with obesity in my family.
"I lost my father years ahead of time, secondary to obesity. I have sisters that are overweight. I have nephews that are 500 pounds. I have lost aunts that were all over 300 pound. It's just been all through my family. I've seen what it does to destroy lives and I've worked with the obese population for over 30 years, and I said, I've got to use this platform to try to start a Movement in America. We couldn't be more thrilled with the response."
He notes most people look for a quick fix and there really isn't an easy way.
"I could have sold a lot more books if I would have said, 'Dr. Phil's Miracle Diet.' that's what everyone wants to know," he says. "But people who diet gain more weight year to year than people who don't diet, because what happens, if you go on a diet, then you lose weight. When you come off the diet, you rebound and gain it all again. You binge on all the food you couldn't have on the diet.
" You've got to change your lifestyle. You got to change not just what you eat, but where you eat, when you eat, why you eat, how you eat, in addition to what you eat. It's a lifestyle thing. If you'll do that and set your lifestyle up to support being an ideal bodyweight, then it really is very manageable."
And though this is a noble cause, Dr. Phil has been target for criticism because he endorsed some supplements along with this plan.
He says, "I've learned in becoming highly recognizable is that you are going to be targeted. You are not going to make all the people happy all the time. When I did that endorsement, it was 100 percent for charity. This isn't something that I did as a commercial endorsement. I did this to raise money to fight childhood obesity through the Dr. Phil Foundation. They are great products, but I don't endorse them any longer. I did it for a short period of time, and it just goes with the territory. You are a target."
As for rumors of his wife branching out and starting her own show, Dr. Phil says it is not true.
He says, "She has no interest in getting her own show. I have no interest in her getting her own show. We're going to continue doing just what we're doing. She's been to every show that I've ever done. That's really important to me. And she's been really helpful in putting together the 'Ultimate Weight Loss Solution Cookbook' and working with the people that have had questions along the way - some of the women plateauing and the women's issues and the weight challenge. But we are excited. And today's show is so much fun. You are not going to believe it."
"The Ultimate Weight Loss Solution" book and cookbook are published by free press, a division of the same parent company as CBS.