Inside Al Roker's Dramatic Weight Loss

Al Roker has served as a weather anchor for over half a century, hosted everything from the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade to "Celebrity Family Feud," and even appeared on Broadway in the hit musical "Waitress." And let's not forget the time he broke a world record for the longest live televised forecast (34 hours in case you were wondering).

Roker is arguably just as well-known for his weight loss as his meteorological predictions. Yes, the New Yorker has never been afraid to discuss his eventful journey; from the difficulties he faced in his teenage years to the surgery he underwent in the early 2000s to the diet plans he fastidiously sticks to.

Not only does the "Today" favorite regularly take to social media to post his workouts, but he also wrote a book on the subject. Here's a look at how Roker has weathered all kinds of personal storms over the years, and how he has made it through the other side.

Al Roker struggled with his weight as a child

Growing up in New York City, Al Roker admittedly ate many carb-stacked comfort foods, including macaroni and cheese, vanilla wafers, and bacon sandwiches. "I remember having pancakes for dinner," the anchorman explained to Parade in 2012. "But as kids, we thought, 'Breakfast for dinner? This is great.'"

But the weight Roker gained as a result didn't bother him until a certain Bill Cosby cartoon first started airing in the early 1970s. Indeed, the animated sitcom, "Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids," and its eponymous main character, in particular, caused his 15-year-old self to start worrying about his size: "It was the embodiment of me: a fat Black guy who is the center of attention and the butt of jokes."

Roker went on to add that the show ultimately instigated a "vicious cycle" of binge eating and self-loathing: "[I'd eat, then] I'd get into a funk, so I'd eat more." In an interview with USA Today, the star explained that even when he wasn't in a funk, he would eat out of habit.

Food became the third person in Roker's marriage

Al Roker has been wed to TV journalist Deborah Roberts since 1995. During his 2012 interview with Parade, the weatherman admitted that there was once a third person in their marriage. Thankfully, he wasn't talking about any kind of adultery.

Indeed, Roker's relationship with food remained so unhealthy during their early years that it very nearly derailed his relationship with his wife. "It was this cloud hanging over us," the NBC regular said. "Deborah is very healthy, exercises, eats well. For all the right reasons, she wants her significant other to be in terrific shape, too, and I was ­thwarting her at every move. She was frustrated."

Roberts herself acknowledged how the situation was difficult to handle. "You don't know what to do. You love this person. I felt it was a reflection on me that I couldn't help," she told the outlet. Not wanting his wife, or indeed the rest of the world, to witness his lust for calories, Roker started to consume food in private: "Because you're fat, you feel that everybody's watching every bite you take. So, you closet-eat, and you think because nobody sees you eating, then you're not eating. You know, if you're eating a Big Mac in a closed car, can anybody hear you nosh?"

He underwent bariatric surgery after receiving tragic news

In 2001, Al Roker's father, Albert Lincoln Roker Sr., was told by doctors that he had lung cancer. Sadly, by the end of the year, the former bus driver had died from the illness. But in the period between his diagnosis and passing, he managed to inspire his son to make a life-changing decision about his weight.

Recalling the times he regularly visited his dad in the hospital, Roker told Parade, "We'd talk and joke, and then one day he got serious and said, 'Look, we both know I'm not going to be here to help you with my grandkids, so you gotta promise you're ­going to lose weight.'" Just a few weeks after losing his father, Roker and wife Deborah Roberts found out they were about to become parents themselves again. 

Taking his dad's wise words to heart, the weatherman booked himself to undergo bariatric surgery. Over the following eight months, he lost a remarkable 100 pounds. "I don't know if you've ever had to make a deathbed promise to someone you love, but if you have, you know the kind of guilt and massive responsibility I felt in that moment," Roker later wrote in his 2012 memoir, "Never Goin' Back: Winning The Weight-loss Battle for Good."

Roker warns against the side effects of gastric bypass surgery

Although the gastric bypass — a type of bariatric surgery — did wonders for Al Roker's health, the weatherman has no interest in becoming a spokesperson for the weight loss surgery. Speaking to USA Today in 2012, the New Yorker revealed that he rejected offers approaching the million-dollar mark from certain companies wanting him to endorse the procedure. But under no illusions about its difficulties, Roker didn't want to become a poster boy. 

The "Today" regular spoke about the surgery's dangers in a 2013 Facebook post (via Salon), writing, "Folks need to know the lengths people will go to lose weight. A bypass is no easy answer and has a lot of consequences; some embarrassing, some lethal." In a severe case of TMI, Roker gave an example to Dateline (via Salon) of the former, in which he confessed to defecating his pants at a White House event shortly after the operation: "When you have a bypass and your bowel has been reconstructed, you think you're pretty safe. I probably went off and ate something I wasn't supposed to ... I was panicking. So I got to the restroom of the press room, threw out the underwear, and went commando. It told me that I've got to be very vigilant about what I eat."

He gained 40 pounds back

Al Roker's yo-yo relationship with weight loss continued five years after his late father inspired him to undergo bariatric surgery. And once again, it was the death of a parent which proved to be the catalyst. In his interview with Parade, Roker explained that he had put 40 pounds on by the time his mother died from a long illness: "I was out of my routine, commuting to see her, and feeling guilty — ­either that I wasn't spending enough time with the kids and Deborah, or that I wasn't being there enough with my mom. It was this ­perfect storm, and I consoled myself with food."

The weatherman admitted he mistakenly believed that, unlike his pre-surgery years, he had the situation under control: "I got blindsided and, I think, to a ­certain extent, I got cocky. It's like an alcoholic who's been sober for 10 years and has a drink and says, 'Ah, but I can handle it. Just one or two, I'll be okay.'"

Roker sought nutritional help

One year after gaining some weight back, Al Roker bumped into an old pal who had just lost a similar amount. Instead of resorting to surgery, the friend in question had simply relied upon the advice of a nutritionist, which inspired the weatherman to do exactly the same.

"I think it was fate that she crossed my path at the exact moment that I was ready to hear what she had to say," Roker told Parade in 2012. "For the first time, I realized that I had to change not only the quantity but the quality of food that I was eating. Even more ­importantly, exercise has finally become a big part of my life."

The TV personality traded in his unhealthy eating habits for a meal plan devised by the nutritionist. "I've learned to identify those ­triggers that caused me to binge-eat in the past," he added. Plus, Roker has been more than happy to share the secrets of his success, publishing a book one year later titled "Never Goin' Back: Winning the Weight-loss Battle for Good," full of his tips and own experiences with shedding pounds in the name of long-term health.

He gave advice to others in mixed-weight relationships

Al Roker's size has continually fluctuated throughout his marriage to the slender Deborah Roberts. Thus, the weatherman no doubt felt he had the utmost authority to advise others in "mixed-weight relationships," particularly to the half without a dependency on food. And he certainly didn't mince his words.

In his essay for Today in 2013, Roker explicitly told such parties to "shut up," adding, "We know we're fat. We know we need to lose weight. Your nagging us and pleading with us doesn't help. In fact, in ways it makes it worse. We're not going to change until something clicks within us. Until we say, 'I'm tired of living like this; I want a different life for myself and for my family.'"

Roker, who that same year had also published his self-help book, "Never Goin' Back: Winning the Weight-Loss Battle for Good," went on to further shed light on a bigger person's mentality: "It's not that we don't love you; it's not that we don't care. It's just that right now, we're not prepared to deal with it for whatever reason, whether it's emotionally or physically."

He was advised to actually put on weight

After receiving hospital treatment for blood clots in both his lungs and legs and having his gall bladder removed in 2022, Al Roker was given some invaluable advice by doctors about his weight. But instead of being told to lose a few pounds, the weatherman was encouraged to put some on.

The New Yorker explained on Facebook Live (via Today) that he lost 35 pounds due to his various health issues and was advised to vastly increase his protein intake. "It's been a struggle, but I'm up to 165 pounds [from 155], which I've never been ... I feel good and as I get stronger, I feel better."

So how exactly did Roker follow medical orders? Well, he didn't exactly go crazy: "I'm somewhat limiting fat but I'm trying to do good fats. Last night for dinner, we had salmon, quinoa and roasted brussels sprouts and salad. And at night, I had a scoop of ice cream. As opposed to eating the entire pint, I just had a scoop."

Roker celebrated his gastric bypass anniversary

In 2022, Al Roker took to his social media to celebrate a very special 20th anniversary. It wasn't related to his marriage with TV journalist Deborah Roberts — the pair had actually been wed for 27 years at this point. The milestone had to do with the gastric bypass procedure the weatherman underwent in 2002.

"I wore these size 54 Levi jeans to my #gastricbypass at 340 lbs and here I am today," Roker captioned his Instagram post, in which he showed off the now-ill-fitting clothes in question. "It's still a struggle but I'm never going back. I have setbacks and struggle every day, but I never forget how far I've come"

Many of Roker's "Today" co-workers responded to the clip on the platform (via Today), with Carson Daly quipping, "You're the Yoda to my Skywalker Uncle Al!" Anchor Savannah Guthrie remarked, "You are so inspiring. Every day. Every minute."

Walking became his main mode of exercise

In the summer of 2022, the Today show got behind an initiative designed to boost both physical and mental health named the 31-Day Walking Plan. With his background in weight loss and improving his exercising habits, Al Roker essentially became the face of the challenge and one of its biggest advocates.

In fact, Roker explained on Today how he managed to shed an impressive 45 pounds in just a few months in 2022 thanks to a combination of a low-carb diet, weight training, and a commitment to the type of exercise promoted in the morning show's fitness regime. The New Yorker became so committed that he completed a half marathon via power walking. A modest Roker told viewers, "It isn't setting any land speed records, but it was faster than any of my training walks. There is a sense of accomplishment. It's like, 'Wow, this is something 22,000 people did. Not everybody can do it.' And you do feel like, 'Oh, okay, I did that!'"

Roker also picked up running

If you're impressed that Al Roker power-walked his way through a 13-mile race, wait until you hear about the time he completed the New York City Marathon as a runner. Yes, the weatherman decided it was about time that he got his jogging shoes on in 2010, and within the span of a year, he was trying to give Mo Farah a run for his money.

In a 2013 essay for Today, Roker revealed that this form of exercise not only helped him keep off the weight he had shed with the help of a gastric bypass and nutritionist, but it also helped with his relationship with wife Deborah Roberts. "On a Saturday she'd get up, get dressed to run and I'd be sitting on the couch or making breakfast for the kids and was quite happy about our choices," he wrote. "Once it clicked for me, my wife and I were able to run together, do activities together."

Roker's new-found passion for the athletic life did create one obstacle though, a spot of jealousy. Yes, the NBC regular claimed that long-time runner Roberts became a little "ticked ... off" at seeing her husband work his way up to marathon level in such quick time: "She said, 'Wait a minute, I'm the runner in the family!' But that's a good problem to have."

Roker is a proud advocate of the keto diet

"Today" viewers will already know that Al Roker is a proud advocate of the keto diet, which is a weight-loss method that excludes high carbohydrate foods, such as bread and pasta, while increasing high-fat foods, like cream and butter. After all, the weatherman has regularly shown his prowess in the kitchen by cooking various keto recipes on the show.

Roker is such a fan of the diet plan that he publicly fought with Jillian Michaels over its effectiveness. Indeed, "The Biggest Loser" star revealed she was very much against the diet, describing it as "a bad plan" in a 2019 chat with Women's Health. The New Yorker clapped back on X, "This from a woman who promoted on camera bullying, deprivation, manipulation and more weekly in the name of weight loss. Now those sound like bad ideas."

Roker first became inspired to take up the keto lifestyle by fellow Today anchor Savannah Guthrie. During a 2019 segment in which he cooked sloppy joe sandwiches using keto-friendly bread, he claimed that he lost 40 pounds as a direct result of being keto.

He is determined to keep the weight off

Having spent much of the first 50 years of his life overweight and the following decade fluctuating between different sizes, the new and improved Al Roker is committed to staying in svelte condition for the rest of his life. Speaking to Today about his health in 2013, Roker gushed, "Life is terrific; I wouldn't trade it for a moment. But you always wonder where you would be if 'x' hadn't happened. I'm thrilled that I've finally got to this place at 58 years old. I finally got it figured out. I feel good about it."

Roker is so dedicated to keeping off the pounds that he weighs himself twice every day to ensure he stays as close to his target as possible. He told host Matt Lauer, "Over the New Year's holiday, I gained three pounds, and I'm working back to get that off again. I know I don't want that number to keep going up."