Overweight Teens Fight Back: James and Jenn

Father Knows Best?
Jenn is a teen who says her father, James, bombards her with e-mails to scare her in to losing weight.

"It's like watching a trainwreck in slow motion [that] I try to prevent, but I can't," James says.

"My dad is a health nut," Jenn counters. She says her father is the food police, who stops in unannounced to load the refrigerator with healthy foods. However, when she suggests ‘fat camp' she says her father refuses to let her go.

"I highly doubt Jenn would follow through, and that's the bottom line why we didn't send her to camp," James says. "Jenn has let me down by letting herself down."

Dr. Phil asks James what he's learned so far from the show. He doesn't answer.  He does say he always had the American Dream that included healthy children. He says he's taken her to specialists who say that his daughter is well-adjusted in all other areas.

"Do you think you're controlling?" Dr. Phil asks. "Are you trying to control this conversation? I asked you a question which you completely ignored and gave me a speech about your virtues."

[AD]Dr. Phil re-reads his question for James, and the father interrupts.

"Excuse me!" Dr. Phil says. "You then tried to interrupt me twice to control it further. I'm just curious if you consider yourself controlling."

James starts to speak on and out of turn, and as the audience laughs and Jenn pleads for him to answer Dr. Phil's original question, he says "Yes, I was sympathetic to what I heard. I saw myself in that mom [Kim]."

With that statement, Dr. Phil hugs Jenn.
"That's the thing, whenever we try to have a conversation, it just turns in to a long speech," Jenn says.

Jenn says she sympathizes with the previous guest, Brooke. "I know how it feels to be overweight, and it's horrible. People don't understand what it feels like to not be able to get out of a desk at school " to not even want to go to school. There are so many things you have to worry about: walking down hallways wondering who's looking at you."

James says it shocks him schools don't have larger desks.

"They have an image about what everyone should be like," Jenn says.

[AD]Dr. Phil asks her about the realities of being overweight.

"When your shoe comes untied?" Dr. Phil says.

"You don't want to bend over," Jenn says. "Sometimes I would just let it go " I would just wait until there's no one there … Shaving your legs … you can't even do that right sometimes."

Dr. Phil asks Jenn the things that she finds the most offensive. She says it's when her dad violates her space, comes in to her home and leaves fruits and vegetables. James attempts to explain, but Dr. Phil clears the air.

"If you're so smart, why can't you fix this?" Dr. Phil asks. "You're saying she doesn't know. You need to control it. Her mother doesn't understand " she's making mistakes. You're the one with the right answers. If you're so smart about this, why are we here?"

Jenn says she's the least important member of her family.

"What you are doing here is not working," Dr. Phil says. "You have spyware on her computer. You're going in to the house where you don't live putting the right foods in there thinking she'll open the door and say, ‘Wow, all I needed was some fruit. I'm fixed! The fruit fairy came and now I'm going to be skinny!'"

After discussing a weight loss camp, where in 60 days Jenn can have a return to health, he asks her, "Are you ready to do this for yourself? Are you ready to take control here?"

Dr. Phil tells Jenn that at some point all the blame in the world isn't going to help her solve the problem. He says she has to be willing to modify her life on her own terms.

Jenn says going to the beach is a miserable experience, as are amusement parks, where the last time she visited, they told her she was too big for the rides.

[AD]"He [James] loves you " he only questions your commitment and ability," Dr. Phil says as he explains to her The Structure House, a residential program that focuses on Jenn's exact situation.

Dr. Phil says a program like The Structure House is a serious commitment, but it will educate, motivate and transform Jenn's way of life.

Jenn tearfully accepts Dr. Phils offer to send her to The Structure House. While her father rambles on about her addiction, Dr. Phil interrupts.

 

"Just say thank you," he says.