Al Roker loves food. Always has, always will.
But with the help of gastric-bypass surgery in 2002, the famed Today show weatherman is no longer “round,” as he used to call himself. Now it’s all about upkeep as he writes in his book, Never Goin’ Back: Winning the Weight Loss Battle for Good (New American Library, $26.95). Roker will sign copies at Books and Books Coral Gables at 6:30 p.m. Friday.
He is so disciplined these days he can even attend the South Beach Wine & Food Festival, where he plans to nibble at the Bubble Q and Burger Bash.
“Those portions are small. Three bites and you’re out,” he says, reasoning that “the first taste of anything you love is spectacular. Then it’s all diminishing returns after that.”
Who’s he kidding? Roker, who at his roundest weighed 320, was a big kid, and teased with the unfortunate nickname “Fat Albert” growing up in Queens, N.Y. After the operation, he lost 100 pounds but has since gained 40 back. Suit size: now a manageable 42.
Instead of throwing down Whoppers and fries, Roker now goes for lean protein and vegetables. In between meals, snacks are more along the lines of turkey jerky, almonds, or chickpeas.
Still, it ain’t easy.
“Every day is a battle,” the married father of three admits (wife is journalist Deborah Roberts). “If you’re an alcoholic or a smoker or you abuse drugs and you go on the wagon or do 12 steps, you should never touch that substance again. You can exist quite nicely without it. If you abuse food you have to live with it and consume it every day — the very thing that is your undoing.”
Like most people, Roker loves sweets, so he’ll steer clear of any dessert stations.
“Why put yourself in harm’s way? That’s just asking for trouble.”