Extreme Food Obsessions: Kathy

Extreme Food Obsessions: Kathy

When Dr. Phil met with 38-year-old Kathy earlier this summer, she was down to just 68 pounds, and her prospects for survival looked grim. Dr. Phil demanded that she check into a hospital immediately, where she was given only a 10 percent chance of survival.

"I haven't seen her since I insisted that she get to the hospital in July. I'm happy to report that since my visit, Kathy has undergone intense therapy at an inpatient treatment center called Castlewood. She has gained over 20 pounds," Dr. Phil announces proudly.

Kathy gives a summary of her struggle. "When Dr. Phil came to the hospital to visit me, he told me if I didn't get a hold of things, I would b
e dead in six weeks," she remembers. "When I first got to Castlewood, I was really upset about a lot of things and I was really scared."

"She's been amazing. She's been incredibly courageous," says one counselor with a smile.

Kathy has been taking it one day at a time, but sees a definite change. "I feel I've made progress at Castlewood. Some of the main things I focused on was being happy, spending less time alone and having friends," she reports.

Upon leaving Castlewood, Kathy was admitted to The Ranch, an extended care facility. "Kathy will actually prepare her own food here. So when Kathy goes to her home, essentially it's going to be her and the refrigerator. That is a true test," reveals Jenni Schaefer, a counselor who has been a strong source of support for Kathy. "I think Kathy's biggest challenge is making the leap back into the real

"Jenni also has recovered from an eating disorder, and it has been a real inspiration for me to know her. It helps me to see that there really is life on the other side," Kathy says. 

Dr. Phil welcomes to the stage a healthier Kathy, who is greeted by a standing ovation.


Turning to a before-and-after graphic of Kathy, he says, "I know it's hard for you to claim it. I want you to take a look here. Tell me, honestly, which side of that picture looks the healthiest to you?"

Kathy shyly points to her "after" photo.

"It's hard for you to say it, but are you proud of what you've done so far?" Dr. Phil inquires. 

"Yeah, because it's been such a struggle. I have worked hard. I didn't think I could do it, but I wanted it."

"You're doing it," Dr. Phil assures her. But Kathy's struggle is not over yet. Her family now needs to establish a new relationship with her. "Across 16 years, you guys have defined a pathological interaction. One of the thing's that has happened before is you've done well at times," Dr. Phil points out, "but then as soon as you get back in your world, you just get sucked back into it, the disease takes over and there you go. You know I told you from the beginning, that's not even almost an option this time."