Customer Reviews: Never Goin' Back: Winning the Weight-Loss Battle For Good
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Although this might appear at first glance to be another celebrity weight loss book, it is really a book about life. Instead of the usual "This is how I did it and you can do it too", it is more of a "I ate my way through life until I was ready to explode". Starting with the death bed promise to his father in 2001, Al takes us on a journey of personal challenges and self discovery that made me think about my own life.

This is almost an autobiography of Al's life. He talks about everything, from growing up in a lower, middle class family in Queens, to his career and marriage. At the heart of the book is Al's life long struggle with his weight. Being in the public eye, there is no way to hide it, and to Al's credit (and our reading enjoyment) he is completely open about everything in his life - especially his feelings. He talks about being a "closet eater" and not feeling good enough. The "Jolly Fat Weatherman" was not really the image he wanted.

At 5 foot 8 inches and 340 pounds, he worried about his health. In 2005, he underwent bariatric surgery, resulting in a 100 pound loss. Dealing with his mom's illness and death caused him to gain back much of the weight. It wasn't until he really came to grips with his emotions and eating, that he realized he had to change not only how much he ate but what he ate. Thanks to a friend's nutritionist, Al has had a major shift to "clean" food. He tells us what his typical menu is now, and ends the book with a section on healthy, delicious looking menus.

The key for Al's success was getting in the right mind-set. If you are not ready or you're doing it for someone else, you will fail. His two rules are:

Rule 1: You must do this for you.
Rule 2: See Rule 1.

This is an easy book to read, Once I started it, I couldn't put it down. I really enjoyed Al's writing style. It was not at all like a journalist as I had expected. It was more like a personal conversation with a friend. I think everyone can relate to his openness and honesty. In the end, it is a feel good book about embracing life and feeling good about yourself. As Al says about his surgery, "Losing weight will not take away your problems any more than it will make you more popular, funnier or more successful, or fix your relationship. If you were a miserable fat guy, you will be a miserable thin guy".

Bill Cashell - Author of "The Emotional Diet - How to Love Your Life More and Food Less"
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on January 2, 2013
I really enjoyed this book. Al's writing style is easy-to-read and at times, I felt like he was having a conversation with me. He starts the book with the passing of his father and from there, delves into his weightloss struggles which started in his childhood.

In the book, Al sounds exactly like he does on the Today show. We learn a little about his family, but the focus is really on him and his weight. He gives detailed information about his eventual surgery including why he selected that particular surgery and physician. He also gives details about his cleanse program, exercise regimen and the experts he hired to help him with those. He ends the book with a number of his favorite recipes.

This is a quick read - I finished it in one evening. Those of you reading on the Kindle may be surprised to see that you're only about 60% of the way through the book, but the narrative is over. The last 40% of the book is dedicated to the recipes.

I would recommend this to anyone who struggles with their weight, or is just a fan of Al.
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on January 2, 2013
Interesting biography about Al Roker's personal struggle with food addiction. Weight loss surgery isn't for everyone, but this account could be very helpful to those considering bariatric intervention.
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on March 24, 2013
TODAY SHOW's Al Roker has a story to tell. Here is personal journey from being a real-life "Fat Albert" to losing over 150 pounds through a gastric bypass. The amazing part of Al's journey is not the life-changing surgery but the life-changing emotional and physical breakthrough that has let him manage his weight loss for 10 years.
Anyone who has suffered with morbid obesity will find truth in Al's story. Many people have been on the same journey and each have take different paths.

The first 100 pages are the real meat of Al Roker's life. We follow Al through his childhood and through a very successful TV career despite his excess weight. Along the way are three marriages and two divorces and the constant dieting and weight gain that so many have experienced. Al learned to maneuver through life as the jolly fat man hiding deep feelings of insecurity. It was his third wife, fellow journalist Deborah Roberts, who was the catalyst for his change. Ironically, Al married his exact opposite - a slender and athletic person with no eating problems. His weight did cause friction in the marriage and finally he took the plunge and had the gastric bypass.

Post surgery, Al finally incorporates an exercise regime and healthy eating to keep the weight from back. He warns of the saboteurs who can foil a successful weight loss journey because of their own fears and insecurities. He does extol the virtues of Melissa Bowman Li and her cleanse and detox program that encourages healthy eating and the avoidance of processed foods. Maybe here is a key to weight loss or preventing weight gain. Al finishes his book with close to 90 pages of healthy recipes that are part of his eating regimen.

NEVER GOIN' BACK will resonant more to readers who have dealt with serious weight issues. Anyone who has been there can relate to Al's journey. For the me, the big disappointment of the book is that he does not go into even more detail about his life and his struggles. Yes, he opens up, but we are left wanting more. He tells his story with honesty so more examples of what he experiences would be very much appreciated. Al Roker is well-loved and respected so his story has more appeal.
A little more than 1/3 of the book is dedicated to his journey and another 1/3 is recipes and the middle 1/3 is a mixture of his diet (the cleanse program), his exercise routine and the joys of no longer being "Fat Albert."
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on June 12, 2013
This is a great book! It's good to know I'm not the only one who suffered from lack of willpower and consistency. I'm not Al's size but have been obese (according to my doctor - what an awakening! I was especially happy to find the recipes at the end .... Bonus!!
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on January 21, 2013
Very well written, filled with all the warmth & humor we've come to know from Al Roker. Unfortunately, it is just another, "How the Rich Lose Weight" book. For us middle class folks who can't afford a diet guru, all the high-dollar gourmet food & a personal trainer, it isn't very relatable in the long run.
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on March 4, 2015
I was surprised at the very open and honest details that Mr. Roker shared. I appreciate that he shares the ups and downs of weight loss(no pun intended). I wish he had gone into more detail about the post-op days following the surgery. I like that he acknowledges that food, or rather compulsive over-eating is an addiction. And he explains what a difficult addiction it is to overcome. It was disheartening when he started to gain back weight after the gastric bypass. He went to a Registered Dietitian who put him on her PhysioCleanse and Detoxification program. I agree with what she taught him but not everyone would have the financial means to have a personally-designed weight-loss program. And actually his continued success and maintenance is very much attributed to his R.D.'s program. Being a gastric bypass candidate and hoping to have the surgery, I am worried that I could fall into the same pitfall of regaining weight. And I wouldn't have the luxury of having a personal R.D. to customize an eating plan and assist me. The book does give details on how he did his cleanse. I see Mr. Roker every weekday morning on "Wake Up With Al" on The Weather Channel and he looks great. Overall it is inspiring but also shows that surgery is not a quick fix but that one has to change their whole eating habits for life.
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on February 11, 2013
I thought he would talk more about his journey to conquer his eating disorder. Didn't really speak to the regular person that may not have the resources to hire a personal trainer, or who could afford such a specific and personalized diet plan. This should have been billed more of a cookbook since over 30% of the book are recipes, while another 10% vaguely outlines a workout routine that you need a personal trainer in that field to accomplish.
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on January 25, 2013
Mr. Roker empasizes the necessity for the person who wants to lose weight to internalize his/her desire and need to lose weight and to commit to a life-long practice of eating sensibly and to exercise. I liked that he acknowledges that there will be moments when one will lapse but that it does not need to be the end of the weight control process. He does allude to the psychological aspect for the initial loss of weight control but does not really develop this area which could be a major stumbling block if not addressed. Basically, Mr. Roker does identify the four major aspects of long term weight control: internalized desire, diet, exercise and psychological perception of self.
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on March 4, 2013
Having been obese since I was 8 I can relate to Al Roker and his battle of the bulge. I appreciated his honesty about how he felt growing up and becoming an obese adult. I too have felt all those pains of anguish at being teased, about the failure of yo yo dieting, and I found myself cheering for him when he was able to finally climb out of the hole of despair and take charge of his life. I'm in my mid-50s and I'm still struggling. Through reading his book I found I have not yet released the old triggers to be successful. So thank you Al for helping me rediscover what I need to do for myself emotionally and spiritually before returning to the eating program that I know will work for me.
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