Six years ago, few people had even heard of Phil McGraw. But today, "Dr. Phil," host of his own TV show, is watched by 60 million people.
McGraw is urging America to "get real" about battling the bulge in his new best-seller, "The Ultimate Weight Solution: The 7 Keys to Weight Loss Freedom."
The self-help also has a new line of food products. Katie McGee from CBS station WCBS-TV in New York spoke with McGraw about his views on weight loss.
"Obesity has taken over smoking as the number one preventable cause of death in America," McGraw said. "It is such a raging epidemic that you have to address it."
Part of the reason McGraw feels so fervently about fighting fat is because it's a battle he's personally dealt with.
"I've had obesity in my family on both sides for generations," he said. "My dad passed away in 1995, secondary to obesity. It' seen all through my family through the years and so I've watched that and been frustrated."
Dr. Phil's no diet plan is based on seven steps.
- The Right Thinking - Changing the way you think about weight.
- Healing Feeling - Stop self-sabotage and emotional eating
- No Fail Environment - Eliminating the easy access to food and food reminders and learn what is triggering your cravings
- High Response Cost Nutrition - Design your plate at each meal with easy to remember healthy foods.
- Intentional Exercise -You've got to move to lose.
- Circle of Support - Surround yourself with supportive people that you can call on to keep you on track with managing your weight.
"You've got to set a realistic goal. You've got to put it against a timeline and then have you to come up with a solid plan that you're going to work on a day-to-day basis," McGraw said.
What surprised him the most, after doing the research for his book, was that childhood and adolescent obesity is skyrocketing, he notes.
In fact, more than 15 percent of children ages 6 through 19 are overweight.
"You can't be overweight unless you have a lifestyle to support it. You have to work to be 100 pounds overweight. It's a lot of work, and a lot of money," McGraw said.
It is a strong message about weight loss from a doctor of psychology. But McGraw said he did his homework on the subject.
"I got consulting psychologists, physicians and nutritionists to do the most massive literature reviews probably ever done," he said.
During the second season of the "Dr. Phil" show, a handful of viewers will undergo a year-long weight loss challenge — to try and help Americans get off the dieting roller coaster.
"The criteria for picking them was that they were the hard cases," McGraw explained. "These aren't people that are feeling a little full this morning [or] a little chunky. These are people that have been on every diet plan you can imagine. They've done it all to no avail."
The chosen few will make regular appearances on "Dr. Phil." They will be followed closely by cameras, even in their homes. And of course, they'll be "weighing in" regularly. McGraw said his formula will work for many of the challengers and folks at home.
He predicts it will be the loudest efficient wake-up call yet. The facts are 64 percent of all Americans adults are either overweight or obese, so there will be lots of people paying attention to everything that Dr. Phil has to say.