Al Roker shares weight-loss journey in new book to inspire others

NEW YORK - For almost two decades, Al Roker has spent his mornings in homes across the country as the lovable weather forecaster on NBC's Today Show.

But behind the camera when the microphones were off, Roker fought a personal battle -- one that started at a young age and continued to take over his life.

In his new book Never Goin' Back, Roker details his struggles with weight, a fight that began when he was an overweight child and eventually grew into a food addiction as an adult.

"To me, it's still a battle, every day is a battle," Roker said. "But I'm not giving up."

In his book, Roker shares some of the most intimate moments of his struggle. From a story about his dying father who made him promise he would lose weight, to a feeding incident when his baby daughter thought he could nurse her, Roker wrote about his insecurities and what gave him the uncontrollable urge to eat.

After trying every diet he could -- none of them successful -- Roker realized he couldn't do it alone.

A decade ago, after careful consideration, he underwent gastric bypass surgery. Since then, he has made some major lifestyle changes. Surgery was not the cure-all, he wrote.

These days, he watches what he eats for every meal, and exercises several times a week. He also trusts his scale to keep him in line.

"I weigh myself twice a day," said Roker. "Once in the morning, once at night and I live by those numbers. I'm a little OCD but that's what worked for me, drives my wife crazy but that's what I do."

In addition to his personal challenges, Roker also faced challenges with his wife, Deborah.

"She's a health freak," Roker said. "She runs and works out like a fiend, but she came to the realization that as much as she wanted good health for me, weight loss, she couldn't do it. She couldn't make it happen for me. I had to be at that point. And finally I did get to that point and I made it happen."

Roker said in order for someone to successfully make the lifestyle changes needed to be healthy, it has to be a personal decision.

You can't lose weight for anyone but yourself, he said. Not for your wife, your family or friends. Only for you.

He suggests small changes in your lifestyle to get started.

"When you go to the mall, you can park at the far end of the parking lot instead of driving around for a closer spot," he said.

And if you're on a tight budget, buy frozen fruits and vegetables rather than fresh. They'll last longer and contain just as many nutrients as their fresh counterparts.

"There are ways to do it," Roker said. "You don't have to spend a ton of dough to get healthy."

Bottom line, he said, is to take control and make the lifestyle change for you.

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