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Face of frustration: Why joining a gym won't cure your unhealthy ails?

A few days ago, I joined a gym with a friend. He wants to lose weight, particularly his gut. I've been working out consistently for about 10 years; he's never joined a gym, so he reached out and asked for some much needed help.
But before delving into his situation specifically as it relates to exercise, you should know a few things about him first.
He doesn't eat well at all.
He likes to complain when he's tired.
He doesn't particularly like to sweat.

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He does want to lose weight desperately. He's 48 years old and alone. He starts a new job in two weeks, a physically demanding position that is going to require him to step up his exercise game or he'll last less than a week. He wants to lose his gut and begin to tone the rest of his rather uninspired muscles.
His declaration isn't uncommon, nor is his desire to change. But somewhere between wanting and actually doing is where most people lose the luster that is the newly joined gym and simply stop going. The real roadblock is the diet component of weight loss, as most, like my friend, assume that the weight is going to magically disappear just because he is exercising. He'll continue to eat fried chicken strips, French fries, mashed potatoes and fatty hamburgers, while ingesting one sweetened ice tea after another.
Just a day ago (and one day removed from joining the gym), we met for dinner. I had a salad with grilled chicken and a few French fries from his plate, which consisted of buffalo chicken strips, more French fries and a pile of onion straws that looked like Mt. Rushmore. This, of course, was the meal of choice before we hit the gym, but as I explained passionately to him that he can't continue to eat this type of food and expect to lose weight just because he's beginning an exercise program and realistically starting extremely slow with what he's actually doing.
Furthermore, continuing to eat that way is going to sabotage your workout in other ways, too. Namely, you'll be lethargic once that food begins to process. Yes, after the meal, we worked out but it was slow going (because it was our first) and will hardly combat what he had to eat a few hours earlier.
The truth is diet is worth much more for those attempting to lose weight versus just focusing on cardio, weights or anything else the gym has to offer. It won't be your salvation in lieu of paying attention to what you're eating and counting calories very closely.

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