I ran out and bought the Al Roker book after his interview on Dateline. I've always loved Al Roker and after his interview I was very excited to read his take on regain, getting the weight back on and then taking the weight back off. I've devoured the book. It was an easy read, very honest, very insightful, and in a tone that was well received.
I really enjoyed the content of the book. He spoke about his weight gain initially and what led him up to surgery. I related to his yo yo dieting, his many types of dieting, and the feeling of never getting anywhere. I related to his need to eat to feed himself rather than dealing with feelings. I related to his emotional eating throughout his young life and into adulthood and how he has to fight to not go there even today. I totally embraced why he ate emotionally and I ate for the same reasons. I ate to not feel. I ate to relieve pain. I ate for boredom. I ate to eat because it was there. Al Roker I commend you for stating why you ate because you made me feel normal! You made me real. You made me be able to say I was and am an emotional eater and I have to fight each day not to go there. I have to deal with my feelings and not go to food.
He also spoke about why he had WLS. His journey was different, his journey was unique, his journey was HIS - but I can relate because each of the journey is ours - it is unique. I really enjoyed reading why he did it and how he really came to learn why HE needed it, not because someone else did or even for the promise for his Dad, he did it for himself. The interesting thing about his journey was that he didn't share with many people that he had WLS. He was scared he was going to fail. He was scared he wouldn't lose week even after the surgery. He was worried that he would lose the "fat happy weatherman" and the likability he had, but in reality he had to slowly share his story because "people began to notice" and "talking" became a loud chatter. I can relate to his worry about not losing. I can relate to his worry about being failure, but I can't relate to not sharing. For me - and this is part of my journey- I had to be open and honest about my whole process - transparency was key, but again I'm not a news anchor and I'm not a public figure.
I think the most poignant part for me was when he talked about regain. The scary word that every WLS patient fears - REGAIN. It leads to the fear of being a failure. It leads to the fear of your clothes getting tight, your emotional eating behavior, negative emotions on yourself and from others, and the stigma of regain that exists in the WLS community. When he regained he had a trigger. His mother's passing caused him to emotionally eat. He allowed himself to indulge. He allowed himself to come off his track, but this is life. He was real. He was honest. He didn't shame himself in the book, but you could hear he felt like a failure. He realized his emotionally eating past couldn't dictate his future. He remembered why he had the surgery in the first place and I commend him on stating that he had to use the tool!
Regain for me is a sensitive subject, but his honesty was needed. His truth comforted me. His story helped me put into perspective that I love myself enough to keep going. I love myself enough to recognize why I regained (with my RH), and I am able to control it because I have the tool, I have the tools to work with the tool, and I can do it with hard work. I don't know if I would ever do what he did with his detox and his new nutritional plan, because it isn't something that my surgeon or nutrition "goddess" would support, but I do recognize that this plan he had worked for him. His support and his doctors were on board. He was able to say this is the structure I need and that structure would lead him to be better, healthier, and be back on track.
It is no shame to regain. It is life. It is not shameful to admit why you regain. It is real. It is not shameful to get back track and try again because life is all about the cycle of ups and downs. Al Roker presents a real life picture of WLS and regain. He also presents a real life picture of losing and creating a program of structure that works for him. It is important to remember that each of us have a unique journey and that we need to do what is good for our journey.