People 19 February 2017
Although she's married to arguably one of the most famous psychologists in the world, Dr. Phil's wife Robin McGraw has burnished her own path throughout an unexpected life in the limelight.
In the past 15 years, Robin, who has a recurring role on her husband's daytime television program, has written multiple books, launched a female-focused lifestyle company and founded a charity organization inspired by the women she's met through the Dr. Phil Show. During their 40-year marriage, Robin and Dr, Phil have been a solid unit, boldly championing and complementing each other's business pursuits.
The secret?“He doesn't 'Dr.Phil' me," says Robin, of her psychologist husband whose show has been on the air for 15 years. “He asked me one time to be a faux patient for psychological test. I got into three or four questions in and I thought 'wait a minute, are you grading this?' [When I realized he was] I said this test is over. I will never be your patient again. That was the first and last time."
Robin and Dr. Phil, who have two sons, Jay, 37, and Jordan, 30, and two young grandchildren, met the summer after high school through his sister. Since then the couple has been inseparable.
“It always was my mission to be a wife and mother," says Robin. “I was a stay at home mom and very thankful. Now I am thankful I can say I am a grandmother."
Beyond being a wife and mother, Robin has also come into her own as an entrepreneur. Her inspiring business and charitable pursuits are each dedicated to the people she has met in her life and through the show, which this bubbly southern lady counts as one of the biggest impacts of her life.
“At the end of the day when you want to be successful and work really hard, I believe the true celebration is what you have done for someone else," says Robin.
The Dr. Phil Show
After a successful run as the resident expert on human behavior on The Oprah Winfrey Show, Dr. Phil was offered the chance to star in a new program, created by Oprah, that would focus on the clinical and forensic psychologist's “life strategies" and frank approach to counseling.
“I've always been so proud of my husband. I always thought he was so brilliant when he was on Oprah. I always saw in him what Oprah saw in him."
In 2002, Robin and her family moved from Texas to California so that her husband could start shooting The Dr. Phil Show. At the time, Robin was an at-home mom caring for her children, who were in college and high school at the time. She went to the set to watch her husband's debut episode, and her life took a surprising turn towards the spotlight.
“I watched him in his first show and I was just so proud of him," says Robin, who was sitting in the front row of the audience. “He looked over at me and I was probably crying. He walked up to me thinking the cameras were off and said 'what did you think of it'? We started talking about it and walked off."
That impromptu moment between the doctor and his wife gave the show's executive producer, who hadn't yet decided how to end the show, an idea.
“The producer came up to me and said 'what we just saw took him from being a very serious doctor helping solve problems to being who he is when he's not doing that. We saw the real Phil,'" says Robin. “They asked me to come every day after that."
After becoming an unplanned recurring character on her husband's show, Robin said a cult community of women began forming around her.
“The viewers who watch the show see me like a girlfriend even though we never met," says Robin. "They would write me thousands of letters asking what shampoo I use, what color nail polish I'm wearing, what my skin care regimen is, and where I get my clothes."
After years of feedback from these female fans, McGraw wrote five books, including Inside My Heart and What's Age Got To Do With It? to answer questions and help give advice. Soon Robin began to see white space that would not only give back to these women she was interacting with, but also fulfill her passions for philanthropy and entrepreneurism.“I've been to over 2,500 [Dr. Phil] shows over 15 seasons," says Robin “I have to say the shows that have moved me the most have been on domestic violence and sexual assault. It is very hard to hear those stories. We've had such strong amazing women come on who been through it and survived, and I always want to help those who need rescuing."
In 2013, Robin launched When Georgia Smiled: The Robin McGraw Revelation. The organization (which is named after Robin's mother) is dedicated to helping the victims of domestic violence and sexual assault by giving them access to support in times of crisis. The organization was inspired by assault survivors she met on The Dr. Phil Show.
“I thought I cannot sit here another day and not do something to help."
As part of her philanthropic efforts, Robin has also released the Aspire Initiative and The Aspire News App, a free virtual lifesaving app, that serves as an emergency contact system designed to reach friends, family or the police should someone need protection at the hands of an abuser.
The app, which was recognized on Capitol Hill for its ability to help end domestic violence, has been downloaded more than half a million times across the country.
In addition to her revolutionary tech breakthrough, Robin is also a businesswoman with a particular passion for the beauty industry. In 2014, she launched Robin McGraw Revelation, an anti-aging skincare, makeup and lifestyle line, which became a hit on HSN almost immediately after its launch. In 2016, Robin introduced her newest luxury skin care line, in collaboration with dermatologist Dr. Jessica Wu. As a founder, Robin says she is extremely hands-on with the business, from picking the packaging to overseeing the product formulas.
“Women are busy, so I wanted something they can use and get back to their jobs and families," says McGraw, who named some products after people in her family. “And I want it to be effective. I wanted them to see results."
According to Robin, Revelation will continue expanding into lifestyle, fashion and accessories, everything of course with the end consumer in mind.
“My true philosophy for my company, for my foundation, for anything that I do is to create anything that helps women," says Robin. “I'm not an expert at a lot of things but when I share with other women and try to inspire them it's about what I've learned and what's helped me through my life. Everything comes from my heart."
When talking to Robin about her journey, it's hard not to talk about Oprah. Oprah, of course, gave Dr. Phil his start on her show in 1995 after his legal consulting firm was hired to help her win her now famous Amarillo Texas beef trial. Robin still considers Oprah like family, and says she is in constant communication with the media marvel.
“I talk to her all the time," says Robin, of Oprah. “She's just precious. I can email her now and get a response in 15 minutes. She's like family and she cares. She's very humble. I love and adore her."
“Every chance I get to tell anyone what an amazing down to earth real woman Oprah is I do it," says Robin. “She is like a mother hen."
In addition to her successful ventures, Robin's 40-year marriage is something else she is very proud of. We asked her the secret to keeping the spark alive after four decades.
“Before we got married, I'm proud to say we did our homework," says Robin. “We had lots of conversations what would work for us and what doesn't work. It's an ongoing conversation we've had over 40 years and still have."
According to Robin the secret is simply to find out what your partner doesn't like, and then don't do those things.
“I was the youngest so what always worked for me at home with my father was pouting, but with Philip it didn't work. He told me 'just tell me what I did that upset you and I won't ever do it again," says Robin. “So my advice is to find out what they don't like and don't ever do it. Don't use what you know will upset them against them. I know what I can do to push Phillip's buttons but why would I do that? Find what makes them happy and do that instead."
The Quick 10
1. What app do you most use?
2. Briefly describe your morning routine.
The first thing I do the moment I open eyes is I pray and say thank you.
3. Name a business mogul you admire.
Sheryl Sandberg. She is not only an inspiring business woman, but she is a woman who comes across as real and down to earth.
4, What product do you wish you had invented?
The Wolford body shaper. It's very thin, but it holds everything you want to tuck in. I love it.
5, What is your spirit animal?
A bird in the air flying.
6. What is your life motto?
There's a quote in the lobby of my office that says in neon lights: “There is no force more powerful than a woman determined to rise." That's my motto.
7. Name your favorite work day snack.
I'm a big carb eater. Toasted Trader Joe's cinnamon bread is my favorite.
8. Every entrepreneur must be what to be successful?
9. What's the most inspiring place you've traveled to?
Notre Dame. I went in and lit a candle.
10. Desert Island. Three things, go.
My family, 50 Fierce Broad Spectrum SPF 50 Moisturizer & Sunscreen, and a bible. But to be practical, a fishing pole so I can get some food.
3 Min Read
With a lack of certainty surrounding the future, being and feeling healthy may help bring the security that you need during these unpredictable times.
When it comes to your health, there is a direct relationship between nutrition and physical activity that play an enormous part in physical, mental, and social well-being. As COVID-19 continues to impact almost every aspect of our lives, the uncertainty of the future may seem looming. Sometimes improvisation is necessary, and understanding how to stay healthy and fit can significantly help you manage your well-being during these times.
Tip 1: Communicate with your current wellness providers and set a plan
Gyms, group fitness studios, trainers, and professionals can help you to lay out a plan that will either keep you on track through all of the changes and restrictions or help you to get back on the ball so that all of your health objectives are met.
Most facilities and providers are setting plans to provide for their clients and customers to accommodate the unpredictable future. The key to remaining consistent is to have solid plans in place. This means setting a plan A, plan B, and perhaps even a plan C. An enormous amount is on the table for this coming fall and winter; if your gym closes again, what is your plan? If outdoor exercising is not an option due to the weather, what is your plan? Leaving things to chance will significantly increase your chances of falling off of your regimen and will make consistency a big problem.
The key to remaining consistent is to have solid plans in place. This means setting a plan A, plan B, and perhaps even a plan C.
Tip 2: Stay active for both mental and physical health benefits
The rise of stress and anxiety as a result of the uncertainty around COVID-19 has affected everyone in some way. Staying active by exercising helps alleviate stress by releasing chemicals like serotonin and endorphins in your brain. In turn, these released chemicals can help improve your mood and even reduce risk of depression and cognitive decline. Additionally, physical activity can help boost your immune system and provide long term health benefits.
With the new work-from-home norm, it can be easy to bypass how much time you are spending sedentary. Be aware of your sitting time and balance it with activity. Struggling to find ways to stay active? Start simple with activities like going for a walk outside, doing a few reps in exchange for extra Netflix time, or even setting an alarm to move during your workday.
Tip 3: Start slow and strong
If you, like many others during the pandemic shift, have taken some time off of your normal fitness routine, don't push yourself to dive in head first, as this may lead to burnout, injury, and soreness. Plan to start at 50 percent of the volume and intensity of prior workouts when you return to the gym. Inactivity eats away at muscle mass, so rather than focusing on cardio, head to the weights or resistance bands and work on rebuilding your strength.
Be aware of your sitting time and balance it with activity.
Tip 4: If your gym is open, prepare to sanitize
In a study published earlier this year, researchers found drug-resistant bacteria, the flu virus, and other pathogens on about 25 percent of the surfaces they tested in multiple athletic training facilities. Even with heightened gym cleaning procedures in place for many facilities, if you are returning to the gym, ensuring that you disinfect any surfaces before and after using them is key.
When spraying disinfectant, wait a few minutes to kill the germs before wiping down the equipment. Also, don't forget to wash your hands frequently. In an enclosed space where many people are breathing heavier than usual, this can allow for a possible increase in virus droplets, so make sure to wear a mask and practice social distancing. Staying in the know and preparing for new gym policies will make it easy to return to these types of facilities as protocols and mutual respect can be agreed upon.
Tip 5: Have a good routine that extends outside of just your fitness
From work to working out, many routines have faltered during the COVID pandemic. If getting back into the routine seems daunting, investing in a new exercise machine, trainer, or small gadget can help to motivate you. Whether it's a larger investment such as a Peloton, a smaller device such as a Fitbit, or simply a great trainer, something new and fresh is always a great stimulus and motivator.
Make sure that when you do wake up well-rested, you are getting out of your pajamas and starting your day with a morning routine.
Just because you are working from home with a computer available 24/7 doesn't mean you have to sacrifice your entire day to work. Setting work hours, just as you would in the office, can help you to stay focused and productive.
A good night's sleep is also integral to obtaining and maintaining a healthy and effective routine. Adults need seven or more hours of sleep per night for their best health and wellbeing, so prioritizing your sleep schedule can drastically improve your day and is an important factor to staying healthy. Make sure that when you do wake up well-rested, you are getting out of your pajamas and starting your day with a morning routine. This can help the rest of your day feel normal while the uncertainty of working from home continues.
Tip 6: Focus on food and nutrition
In addition to having a well-rounded daily routine, eating at scheduled times throughout the day can help decrease poor food choices and unhealthy cravings. Understanding the nutrients that your body needs to stay healthy can help you stay more alert, but they do vary from person to person. If you are unsure of your suggested nutritional intake, check out a nutrition calculator.
If you are someone that prefers smaller meals and more snacks throughout the day, make sure you have plenty of healthy options, like fruits, vegetables and lean proteins available (an apple a day keeps the hospital away). While you may spend most of your time from home, meal prepping and planning can make your day flow easier without having to take a break to make an entire meal in the middle of your work day. Most importantly, stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water.
Tip 7: Don't forget about your mental health
While focusing on daily habits and routines to improve your physical health is important, it is also a great time to turn inward and check in with yourself. Perhaps your anxiety has increased and it's impacting your work or day-to-day life. Determining the cause and taking proactive steps toward mitigating these occurrences are important.
For example, with the increase in handwashing, this can also be a great time to practice mini meditation sessions by focusing on taking deep breaths. This can reduce anxiety and even lower your blood pressure. Keeping a journal and writing out your daily thoughts or worries can also help manage stress during unpredictable times, too.
While the future of COVI9-19 and our lives may be unpredictable, you can manage your personal uncertainties by focusing on improving the lifestyle factors you can control—from staying active to having a routine and focusing on your mental health—to make sure that you emerge from this pandemic as your same old self or maybe even better.