Verne and Patrick

"How do you tell your kid he needs to lose weight when you're not doing it yourself?" Verne asks on videotape. "I'm 100 pounds overweight, and my son, Patrick, is more than 100 pounds overweight. I'm 53 years old, and I want to see 90 years old, but I also don't want to bury my son before I die."

Patrick explains why he started to pack on the pounds. "When I was younger, my parents always told me, ‘Make sure you finish your plate, and then you can have dessert,'" he says. "Now I really finish my plate. I have a little voice inside my head that tells me sometimes, think of the starving kids."

The father and son join Dr. Phil in his studio. "You guys have made it all the way to the semi-final stage," Dr. Phil announces.

"Fantastic!" Verne says.

"We're excited," Patrick adds.

"Why should you guys be in the next round?" Dr. Phil asks.

"We're not going to fail. We're from Duluth, Minnesota. This is the opportunity of a lifetime for us," Verne replies.

"What kind of leadership have you been providing him?" Dr. Phil asks Verne. He turns to Patrick. "You are 21 years old. You're 315 pounds. I have two boys, and combined they don't weigh 315."

"I'm the cook in the family," Verne explains. "When he was growing up, I was scared to death to say too much about his weight, because I didn't want him to have an eating disorder," Verne says.

"This is an eating disorder," Dr. Phil stresses. "You know, the way things are going right now, he is likely to not live as long as you."

"That scares me to death," Verne says, his words clogged with remorse. "I have failed there. I need to lose weight. This boy, my son, needs to lose weight."

"You used to weigh 175 pounds, right?" Dr. Phil asks.

A photo of a slimmer Verne in swim trunks is displayed on the monitor. Several women in the audience applaud and whistle appreciatively.

"You give us this opportunity to save our lives, and we'll do the work," Verne pleads with Dr. Phil. "We will make you proud to say you gave us this opportunity."


Dr. Phil wants to make sure that the men are willing to do the work. "Sounds to me like you talk a really good game, but can you play a good game?" he asks Verne. He addresses Patrick. "Are you serious about this, or are you here because he feels guilty about what kind of example he set for you?"

"We're both here, because we both need to do this," Patrick replies.

Dr. Phil points out that both men are pre-diabetic. "This is a chance to add 14 years to your life, and it's a chance to give this kid an opportunity to take some pride in his body image, walk into a room proudly, instead of trying to cover up, and be a responsible young man with his health and his future," he tells Verne. "Is that a gift you're willing to give him?"

"That's a gift I'm more than willing to give him," Verne says with tears in his eyes.

"Well, let me give you one. You guys are in," Dr. Phil announces, as the father and son hug.