Fifteen years ago, Today show weatherman Al Roker made headlines for losing an astonishing amount of weight. Weighing in at 340 pounds in 2003, the star decided to undergo gastric bypass surgery in order to shed more than a hundred pounds. After his operation, the Queens, NY native slimmed down to 190 pounds, but he's still had his run-ins with weight fluctuations over the years. Finally though, after over a decade, it seems Al's weight loss is here to stay. Scroll down to see exactly how Al lost weight!
Gastric bypass surgery
After struggling with his weight for years and trying a million and one different diets that never stuck, the 63-year-old decided to undergo gastric bypass surgery after having a conversation with his father, who was dying of lung cancer. "[My father] said, 'Look, I'm not going to be here for your kids. And you've got to be here for your kids. So I want you to promise me you're going to lose weight,'" the morning show staple said during a 2013 interview.
Al with his wife in 2001.
Initially, Al lost 115 pounds from the surgery. However, the father-of-two knew that the weight loss surgery wasn't necessarily a "magic bullet" to better health. Sure, he dropped weight, but he also needed to change his relationship with food. During another interview, he revealed that any reputable surgeon always recommends psychological counseling following the surgery.
Redefining his relationship with food — and himself
Unfortunately, Al learned the hard way that his weight loss didn't equate a healthy relationship with food. After his surgery, the lifelong dieter gradually regained 40 pounds. Al — who authored the book Never Goin' Back: Winning the Weight Loss Battle for Good — told US News and World Report, "After gastric bypass surgery they make you go through therapy, but a realization that came to me after writing my book was that I should have gone to the support group they offered. I knew I needed to make some very basic changes in my life." Despite all the successes in his life, Al admitted that he didn't necessarily feel he deserved to be in his position. “It was one of those things where, to a certain extent, you don’t feel worthy… you’re going to be found out as a fraud, you’re not as good as you think you are, all those different things combined,” he told Matt Lauer in an interview.
After he gained 40 pounds, Al decided to jump start his weight loss with a cleanse. Before permanently overhauling his diet and exercise habits, the weatherman embarked on a 28-day detox, where he went cold turkey on caffeine, alcohol, sugar, dairy, and gluten. By the end of the four weeks, he was down 28 pounds. "After my detox cleanse, my choices were more limited, but now I've expanded my diet to include a variety of healthy foods," he said.
Changing his diet
After cleansing, Al knew he had to change his diet for good — so that's exactly what he did. Today, the Today show star only eats whole, unprocessed foods that are high in protein and low in carbs. He is also militant about exercising portion control. "I used to look at a pint of Häagen-Dazs and call it a serving size," he once said. "Now I know that I can have a couple of spoonfuls and I'm done. I'm more in control — and I'm controlling food."
Al after his weight loss in 2017.
Adding exercise to his routine
Not surprisingly, in addition to changing his eating habits, Al added an exercise routine to his repertoire, as well. Instead of going hard in the gym every day, the author uses a "slow method” workout regime that involves three 30-minute exercise sessions each week. The idea is that strength training creates more lean body mass, which helps burn more calories. "I know I need to exercise. For some people, exercise is like breathing; for others, like me, it takes effort," he revealed. "Exercising is what I need for my metabolism and for a better sense of well-being.