"I can't even walk because I'm too large," says Kevin, who weighs in at 716 pounds. "I miss out on taking my son bowling, I miss out on taking my wife to a movie, I miss out on " I miss out on life. If I don't change things now, I do not feel I will make it to my 45th birthday."
"My husband, he has given up," says Kevin's wife, Melissa. "He has lost hope. I don't want to lose him."
"As far back as I can remember, I've always been large," says Kevin, who at 16 weighed 400 pounds. By the time he met Melissa he weighed 450. But his major weight gain started when he lost his job.
"About five years ago I became disabled, and I was no longer able to work," he says. "The depression caused me to sleep a lot and not want to do anything. Since then I have gained 75 pounds a year."
Kevin can only take about five steps before he's in pain or exhausted, and he wears a mask at night to help him breathe. Melissa has to help her husband with personal hygiene. She says, "Kevin can't bathe himself or put on his shoes or socks." He also requires help for trips to the bathroom.
"I feel like Jell-O when I stand," says Kevin. "I feel like I'm going to fall at any time. I believe I am a food addict. I consume an average probably 4- to 5,000 calories a day," he reveals. "One night, I had a frozen pizza, four pieces of frozen chicken, three servings of mashed potatoes, and several snack cakes."
Kevin hadn't left his house in almost two months, but he managed to travel to Hollywood, California for his meeting with Dr. Phil.
As his wheelchair goes down a ramp at the front of his house he says, "I feel anxious. I feel nervous. I'm a little bit scared, how difficult the trip's going to be, how long the trip is going to be." His wife helps him out of the chair and into the back of a white van. "It's very tiring to move. I'm out of breath. I get exerted so easily."
Arriving at the airport, Kevin struggles to exit the van. His wife provides help to move him from van to wheelchair.
Kevin's determination is apparent as he boards the plane. "I've never flown before. I'm a little bit anxious about that. I will do anything to get help to lose weight. I have to make this happen," he says.
The wheelchair doesn't accompany him to his seat, so Kevin has to make the walk on his own. He squeezes past the flight attendants, who greet him cheerfully.
"I was getting very weak right at the door. I was worried whether I was going to make it or not," he says, settling into his seat. "It wasn't a long walk, but a little bit of a painful walk."
Four hours later, the plane touches down at Los Angeles International Airport, and Kevin struggles out of his seat.
"I guess because I'm sick of being this size," says Kevin. "Being the size that I am, it's difficult because everybody around you judges you, and you don't have a life. There's so much you can't do when you're somebody who just lies in bed every day, when you can't get up and go do anything. I have a son I can't do anything with. I worry about what damage I've done to him. I hope he doesn't resent me. Before now " I'd almost lost all hope. I've been trying for so long to get help, and where I live now I can't even get people to talk to me. It's just, 'Well, you're fat. You need to lose weight.' Well, I know I need to lose weight."
"Are you still in there?" asks Dr. Phil. "I mean, you know who Kevin is. Are you still in there?"
"I don't know anymore," he replies. "I've lost my way so badly, I don't know. I'm afraid I'm so far along I can't get back where I need to be."
"And if that's true, then your life is over," says Dr. Phil.
"Yeah, what I have of it is over," says Kevin. "I pretty much don't have a life. I have a bed and a bedroom. That is no life for a person. It's not a life that somebody should have to lead."
"Yes, I do," says Melissa.
"And you do know that you are over-feeding him."
"Yes, I do," she says, "but there are times when he gets upset with me or gets really mad at me that I just can't take him to be mad at me."
Dr. Phil feels that Melissa enables Kevin, but says, "I get that that's a lot easier for me to say, sitting here on this stage, out in Hollywood, California, than it is for you to live with and deal with inside that house, with this man, on a day-to-day basis, and you're in over your head. You can't deal with this alone." Dr. Phil turns to Dr. Stork. "We know this is a lifestyle issue. Is it too late? Can this man return to health?"
"Absolutely," he replies. Addressing Kevin, he says, "This is the first day of your new life. Right here, right now. The only hope is for you to take the first steps yourself. Number one, 5,000 [calories] a day for you when you're lying in bed all day is going to do nothing but add weight over time."
Dr. Stork continues, "And the reason that you're taking 600 units of insulin and you're on 21 medicines is because you're so overweight it's exacerbating all of your conditions, including high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and the reason that you wear the [oxygen] machine at night is all due to your obesity. But the beauty is, it's not too late, and by being here you've proven to me that you want to make a change."
Dr. Phil looks Kevin in the eye. "Theory is one thing," he says, "but when you're left to your own devices at home, and it looks like Mount Everest for you to climb " I mean, you are so far overweight it's got to look like it is an insurmountable problem for you to handle. And I think it is insurmountable for you to handle by yourself. You don't have the help, you don't have the resources, you don't have the guidance, but that's going to change. Help for Kevin is on the way.
"Now, look, Kevin, here's the deal," says Dr. Phil. "We can come in here, and we can have this conversation, and you can get all fired up, and I can motivate you and say, 'Come on, you can do this! I believe in you! Come on, buddy! You can do it!' That's willpower. That's where you say 'All right, I've got the willpower, I've got the commitment, I had my eyes opened in Hollywood, California! I'm going to go home and get skinny.' About the third day you're home you're going to be saying, 'Well, that's just an echo in my head, and now I'm left with the same challenges, the same problems that I've got. So I don't want to give you some rah, rah speech here.
"What I want to do is tell you that you are trapped in a body, and we've got to get you out. It is not going to be easy. It may or may not involve surgery at some point, when you become a candidate for surgery, but you do have to start changing your lifestyle."
"I can't solve it for you. Nobody can solve it for you. But if you had the tools, if you had the resources, would you do it? Would you avail yourself of it?"
"Yes," says Kevin, but he adds, "I've always been told the only way out was bariatric surgery."
"Not true," says Dr. Phil.
"And you keep talking about the surgery," says Dr. Sears. "The doctors don't want to do the surgery on you because they don't want to be the one who kills you, and there's a really, really good chance you would not survive the surgery in your current state. "
"You've got to start doing the stuff that you've got to do to make yourself a candidate," says Dr. Phil, and we're going to help you with that." He reveals that Bistro MD will deliver meals to Kevin's home to help get his weight back on track. The service was developed by doctors specializing in weight loss.
He turns to Dr. Caroline Cederquist of Bistro MD, who adds, "It's a home diet delivery service that I use in my own clinical practice, 10 years of experience helping people lose weight."
"You've got a good deal of resources," Dr. Phil tells Kevin, "and we are going to watch you like a hawk, OK? We're going to do this together."