Lessons from Al

12 03 2013

Chelsea Butters-Wooding

Chelsea Butters-Wooding

A recent interview on Today highlighted Al Roker’s weight loss journey. At the time of his surgery, Roker weighed in at 320 pounds, and after “failing at numerous diets” he considered surgery. Immediately after surgery, Roker dropped 100 pounds and 20 suit sizes, but said it was keeping the weight off that proved challenging. In the clip (http://www.today.com/id/26184891/vp/50378160#50378160) Al talked about weight loss, and maintenance, and many of the lessons he discusses are messages that we promote in the Weight Management Program as well!

Motivation. Years ago, Roker had a conversation with his father that inspired him. After Roker’s father came down ill, he told his son, “I’m not gonna be here for your kids, and you gotta be here for your kids. So you have to promise me you’re going to lose weight.”  After years of failing at diets, this conversation helped him develop a passion for wellness that helps him keep his weight off.

At home, Roker’s family plays a major role. His wife still has concerns for his health, because unhealthy options are so readily available. However, their relationship has benefited from his weight loss, especially since Roker reports feeling sexier now that he is healthier! His kids have learned a lot from Roker’s journey as well. They recognize him as being the same person, but realize that his weight loss journey requires a lot of determination which is inspiring.

Always Learning. Even after surgery, Roker realized this was not the end.  After his surgery he ate through the bypass and gained most of the weight back, teaching him that eating too much or eating the wrong thing has consequences, even after gastric bypass! Even now, after a lot of weight loss, Roker is vigilant about watching what he eats. Roker suggests that his continued education helps to prevent sliding back to his old, unhealthy habits.

Maintenance is key. Roker quickly realized that the problem for him, like many, was keeping the weight off, and maintaining was “killer” for him. Now, Roker has found a balance of exercise he refers to as the slow method. He exercises for 30 minutes, 3 times per week focusing on slow, purposeful repetitions. Strength training is important because it creates lean body mass which burns more calories. In addition, Roker’s maintenance involves eating whole, unprocessed foods. Roker speaks a lot to the idea of finding what works for you and making that part of your lifestyle as well.  On top of time at the gym, Roker stays as active as possible throughout the day, including a treadmill desk and biking to and from work!

Parting words Al’s advice to others aspiring to make change was that it is an individual journey. People should not try to lose weight just because of someone on television or because a wife or mother wants them to. Instead, people should get to a place where they say, “I want this for me. I want to get my life together.” While motivation from others can be inspiring, it is important to find that fire inside of you that keeps you going, that fire that makes you go to the gym even when you don’t want to, that reason for eating fruit when you crave chips!




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