Update on Weight Loss Program for Dr. Phil's Sister

Reporter: Shannon Samson

Tuesday at 3pm CST on WFIE channel 14, Dr. Phil kicks off a program called Staying Alive in 2005.

Guests will step up to the scale and vow to change their unhealthy lifestyles. Last year, two of Dr. Phil's sisters took part in the Ultimate Weight Loss Challenge. One of those sisters lives in Evansville.

You're not going to see Dr. Phil's older sister Deana on the show Tuesday, because she says she's not quite ready yet to go on national television. She wants to get a little closer to her goal. But she was gracious enough to let us check in on her, fourteen months after starting an aggressive weight loss plan that has become her life line.

These days, Deana McGraw steps up to the salad bar at the Old Country Buffet. There was a time that she would have made a bee-line for the mac and cheese. But that kind of unhealthy eating had eventually taken its toll on her health. In fall 2003, it was time to straighten up with the help of her straight-talking famous younger brother.

At that time, on his show, Dr. Phil told her, "You've got to give up the idea of being a victim. You've got to get up and get in the game and you started doing that."It was definitely a huge undertaking for someone who detested exercise.

Deana says, "You know if I had an opportunity of sitting on the couch and getting hit with a stick for 30 minutes or exercising, I'd take the stick."

At the beginning of 2004, all that hard work was just starting to pay off. She was 17 pounds lighter and getting stronger by the day. Now, she begins 2005 45 pounds lighter and four dress sizes smaller. She credits Dr. Phil's famous book and of all things, large plastic garbage bags. "You get them. You open them up and you take everything out of your house that you can't eat, you put it in that black bag and you carry it out to the curb."

The dietary overhaul has also enabled her to stop taking her five daily doses of insulin for diabetes. The overwhelming difference isn't just physical, it's emotional too. "I'm healthy. I can walk like everybody else, to not feel like a victim, to not feel like a patient. I'm not a patient anymore."

Before when Deana would visit her brother, she used to have to fly out to Los Angeles and hop on a scooter to make her way through the giant airport. This Christmas, she's happy to report, she not only walked all over LAX, but the Cincinnati and Evansville airports too.

And I should mention, her husband has lost 67 pounds and has been at his goal weight for eight months now. What's Deana's goal? 55 more pounds for a total of 100. She thinks she'll get there by 2006.