Celebrities and Bariatric Surgery: Al Roker

Celebrities and Bariatric Surgery: Al Roker

For years, he was known as the lovable, overweight weather man on NBC’s Today Show. Viewers enjoyed waking up to his morning weather predictions and friendly smile. But while audiences seemed to have no qualms about Roker’s weight, the TV personality was hiding a long-time struggle of weight gain and failed diets. At his heaviest, Roker weighed 320lbs. Although he knew that his weight was having serious consequences on his health, it wasn’t until he got a wake-up call from his father that he decided to undergo bariatric surgery.

The Decision to Undergo Bariatric Surgery

While Roker had remained quiet about his struggles to lose weight, his dramatic weight loss following gastric bypass surgery in 2002 instantly made him a poster child for the weight loss surgery. Ironically, Roker had tried to keep his surgery a secret rather than step into the role. However, after dropping from 320 pounds to 204 pounds in a short time, Roker opened up to the media about his decision to undergo bariatric surgery. In interviews, Roker recalled that he had always been overweight and always had a love for food. Throughout his teens, he consumed large amounts of food and exercised very little. When he reached college, and had access to even more food at the dining halls, his weight reached 300 pounds.

Although he tried nearly every diet he could think of, they never seemed to work for him. Roker has said that it was his ailing father’s request that he lose weight so that he could care for his children that finally made things click. After his father died a few weeks later, Roker vowed to grant his father his last wish and get healthy. Following much research and contemplation, he made the decision to undergo gastric bypass surgery. Viewers and coworkers quickly noticed Roker’s shrinking size and commented on his new, healthy look. After going through the surgery, Roker reached 204 pounds, and said that he hopes to reach 199 pounds just to be able to say that he weighs less than 200 pounds.

Life After Bariatric Surgery

Since Roker was one of the first public figures to undergo gastric bypass surgery, viewers and the news media were eager to hear his story. Although he was reluctant at first, Roker decided to share his experiences with bariatric surgery to give people a realistic idea of what the experience is like. One thing that he has stressed is that bariatric surgery is not a quick fix and it isn’t an easy way out. Roker has also been adamant about the risks involved in this type of surgery, and encourages others to be well educated on the subject before making the decision.

He also admits to suffering a temporary setback in which he gained 40 pounds after not remaining committed to his lifestyle changes, and reminds others that the surgery is real work. Following surgery, he has stated that he is now more conscious of what he eats, and that he eats much less. “I really believe I appreciate food far more now, because I have to make what I put in my mouth count,” he told NBC in 2004. “So it had better be darn good. Before, it was just you know, open my mouth.” Roker has also made exercise a part of his daily life, running several times a week prior to taping The Today Show. In fact, in 2010 Roker completed the NYC Marathon with fellow Today Show reporter Meredith Viera. He noted that finishing the marathon simply would not have been possible at his previous weight.

In addition, Roker has incorporated therapy and support groups into his life to deal with the problems that used to cause him to overeat. He has admitted that it was difficult to separate himself from his identity as the “fat and funny” weatherman. “The surgery doesn’t change… whatever made you gain weight to begin with,” he said. “You have to do some psychological work.” Since Roker’s experiences with bariatric surgery have been so public, he is often associated with the procedure. He has used this as an opportunity to educate others on the importance of having realistic expectations regarding the surgery. He also provides hope to those who have struggled with weight and are considering bariatric surgery.

Our Dallas bariatric surgery practice offers gastric banding and gastric bypass surgery in Dallas. If you believe you may be a candidate for bariatric surgery and are interested in learning more about the procedure, contact Minimally Invasive Bariatrics today.

Overview

At Minimally Invasive Bariatrics, we focus on thoroughly educating our patients, offering a wide range of surgical options, and providing comprehensive follow-up care. We believe that these are the factors that can make the difference between a successful procedure and one that does not produce the desired result

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