Al Roker celebrated two decades of improved health on Tuesday, and fans celebrated with him. Roker took to Instagram on the 20th anniversary of his gastric bypass surgery, reflecting on how his life has changed since losing all that weight. Fans praised the meteorologist for staying healthy and inspiring others to do the same.
Roker posted three photos to Instagram on Tuesday, the first of which showed him holding a pair of jeans about twice as large as his waist. In the two photos that followed, he tried to put the jeans on, stretching them out to show that there was practically enough room for a second person at the waist. He wrote: “Hard to believe it was 20 years ago today I wore these size 54 Levi jeans for my 340lb gastric bypass and here I am today.”
“It’s still a fight, but I’m never going back,” Roker continued. “I have setbacks and I struggle every day, but I never forget how far I’ve come.” The post garnered over 100,000 likes and many commenters let Roker know how much his public journey meant to them.
“YAY AL! YOU ARE AN ANGEL ON THIS PLANET!” wrote meteorologist Hollie Strano. “THANK YOU FOR INSPIRING ME AND MORE PEOPLE THAN YOU CAN EVER IMAGINE. I LOVE YOU! AND I’M PROUD TO HAVE THE PRIVILEGE OF KNOWING YOU!” Roker’s TODAY Show Her colleague Savannah Guthrie added, “You are so inspiring. Every day. Every minute,” while Hoda and Jenna’s official account wrote, “No one is better than our homie Al” with a heart emoji .
Roker was born in 1954 and began his broadcasting career in 1974, joining The show TODAY full-time in 1996. He has held the position continuously since, so national audiences have followed his journey to better health in real time. Roker underwent total knee replacement surgery in the summer of 2001, and in March 2002 he underwent gastric bypass surgery in order to lose weight.
With the public’s attention on him, Roker has been candid about his previous attempts to lose weight without surgery. He admitted that he had tried unsuccessfully to stick to many diets, and he did not advise others to go straight to surgery without trying other methods first. He is said to have lost over 100 pounds in the 8 months following his operation.
Roker wrote about her weight loss and her unique perspective on health in her memoir Never Go Back: Winning the Weight Loss Battle for Good. It was published in 2013. The book is now available in print, digital and audiobook formats wherever books are sold, and Roker himself narrates the audiobook version.