.OB - The Michigan Daily - Weekend Magazine - Thursday, November 13, 2003
The Michigan Daily - Weekend MagZaie-
Follow the blind man: Dr. Phil's weight-loss plan
Ey Scott Serilla
)aily Arts Editor
Here's what I'm trying to figure out:
s Dr. Phil a huge jerk or genuinely evil?
When I agreed to read Dr. Phillip C.
4cGraw's newest bestseller self-help
irade, "The Ultimate Weight Solution:
[he 7 Keys to Weight Loss Freedom," I
was under the delusion the guy was just
annoying. I remember occasionally see-
ng the good doctor make spendaholics
ind control freaks cry on "Oprah" dur-
ng high school. I assumed he was just
mother harmless pawn in Queen
)prah's vast, squishy new age empire.
But it seems Dr. Phil has carved out a
lice little fiefdom of his own in the
Eealm of Self-actualization. Although
* surely still pays tribute to his fairy
godmother, Dr. Phil has built his own
lucrative, eponymous brand: a syndicat-
ed afternoon talk show, personal appear-
ances, Dr. Phil apparel and self-help
books with companion workbooks and
audio recordings like they're Spanish
Dr. Phil operates on the theory that
everyone needs their own personal
tough-love Pee wee football coach with
popping forehead veins to criticize their
slip-ups in a low Texas growl. "Hey, hey
you're not listening!" he screams every
afternoon at millions of devotees, who
ironically hang on his every word.
Actually, Dr. Phil reminds me a lot of
my dad. Except, my dad doesn't shout at
middle-aged housewives for a living.
Anyway, Dr. Phil has a moustache,
my dad has a moustache. Dr. P's bald,
my dad's bald. Both look eerily like Rob
Reiner, and both seem to enjoy berating
me for not having formulated a concrete
life plan and not taking responsibility for
my actions. Unfortunately, neither my
dad, Dr. Phil or even Meathead himself
can be around to yell at me all the time.
Luckily there's this book, which is really
just yelling in print form!
I've seen Letterman play ridiculous
sound bites of Phil's senseless psychoba-
bble. It was funny, but it seemed mildly
unfair to de-contextualize little snippets
like that. Then I read "The Ultimate
Weight Solution" and realized this guy
talks like that ALL THE TIME.
Ladies and Gentlemen, only in Amer-
ica could a blubbery walrus of a man be
a best selling author of a weight loss
guide. This guy's body isn't exactly a
wonderland; his gigantic melon of a
head must weigh 30 pounds alone.
"Ultimate Weight Solution" is her-
alded as the anti-fad diet, a way to get people off.
off the roller coaster weight-loss I'd find this shaky brand of tough
schemes and start facing "personal talk and realism easier to shallow if Dr.
truth," i.e. shedding pounds isn't Phil wasn't profiting from
easy, in fact it's hard work. If you manipulating the same insecure
need a book to tell you something body images that he claims to
this oblivious, then Dr. Phil be rallying against. What kinda
deserves your money. psycho enjoys yelling at
Most of the famed "7 people for not having any
Keys" are likewise self-esteem? Stop scream-
painfully self-evident ing at us and maybe we'll
and appear lifted from feel better about ourselves
back issues of Mrs. Phillip! Want people to
Phil's old Redbooks. live responsibly and to
"#1-Right Thinking," show some determination?
"#2-Healing Feel- Stop talking to us like we're
ings," "#4-Mastery children.
over Food and Impulse There is no worse con than
Eating." Are these sci- pretending to be safeguarding
entific super-secrets the weak against other con
worth $26? artists. I fully agree with Dr. P
Our gruff doc also that we're a nation eating itself to
points out up front that his death. But if you have a weight
readers need to scale back problem, I don't think this book
their weight-loss expecta- will genuinely or automatically
tions, taking small, steady help you anymore than the Atkins
results over dramatic drop- or the South Beach diets will.
ping of pounds. To some, it The underlying message here is
might sound like Dr. P's just that you shouldn't believe for a
keepin' it real, but for me, his ' second that Dr. Phil's weight loss
"Get-Real" target weights and system is inherently better than
"Get-With-It" goal setting going on the All-Popcorn diet or
sounds like a cop out, a drinking Slimfasts twice a day,
cheap way for Phil to Dr. Phil just because it's dressed up in
absolve himself if your lard says, "Scottie-do." classier packaging. The same
is still firmly in place after goes for the doc himself, who
undergoing his "Solution." isn't any more informative or helpful
Oh, the book didn't help you lose than Jerry Springer just because of his
weight as promised? You should lower degree.
your expectations. "Accept your God- Now if you'll excuse me I have to go
given uniqueness," the book tells us. eat at Subway with the only honest man
Not before you accept you're ripping left on earth, my friend Jared.
THE JOHN MARSHALL
T he John Marshall Law School invites you to attend an open
house to learn how flexible schedules, groundbreaking specialties
and 21st century curricula can help you in your career.
Saturday, November 22; 10 a.m. to noon
Students and faculty will share their insights into John Marshall's
day and evening programs, give tours of the facilities, and
answer your questions about the law school.
B R I A R W O O D the evolution of shopping
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