Jared Fogle- The Man The Myth and the Legend

Colonel and Subway by Kenyon Brown //

Jared Fogle - The man the myth and the legend by David Souza //

If someone were to ask you in 1998 who Jared Fogle was, odds are you wouldn’t have the slightest idea. At that time, Jared was an ordinary student at the University of Indiana who had no idea what was in store for him. A person, like many Americans, who struggled at controlling his weight, was seemingly exhausted and discouraged after trying nearly everything on the market. Trying diet after diet, pill after pill, Jared finally decided to begin something new: eating healthy at Subway. This decision radically transformed his small town lifestyle and big time waist size into something he would have never imagined. Many people today look up to him as a hero and role model, becoming a source of inspiration and motivation to many of them proving that losing weight is attainable.

In all corners of our society, there’s a culture obsessed with appearance based on thinness and healthiness. The notion of being thin and healthy has been largely reinforced by the media and society as a whole. Now days, we can't watch a commercial or see a billboard on the road that doesn’t have skinny or fit models. Jared, the formerly shy average height man who wears glasses, felt the discomfort of being overweight and the humiliation and depression that accompanied, and was determined to do something about it. He became the original weight loss celebrity, emerging prior to all of the popular weight loss television shows such as “The Biggest Loser” or “Extreme Weight Loss,” or even the popular “South Beach Diet,” while doing it all on his own. America can’t seem to get enough of him because he always finds his way back on our televisions in Subway commercials and personal appearances.

Jared describes that his battle with weight began at a very young age. He remembers binging in early elementary school. “I didn't just eat a bowl of ice cream, I ate the whole container,” he says. “I didn't eat a slice of pizza, I ate the whole pizza.” It’s difficult to believe how much weight Jared lost with his Subway diet. At the height of his weight in college, he weighed an excess of 425 pounds. Jared is no stranger to public embarrassment as a result of his size. Due to his massive weight, he had a hard time making it through doorways, sitting in desks at school, and often found himself in other embarrassingly humiliating situations. He was someone who had little to no direction on how to lose weight, but had the determination to do so. 

During his college days, he lived five minutes away from his classroom. Instead of taking the short walk, he would take a 45-minute bus ride to avoid it. He concedes, “My whole life was about planning ahead to avoid embarrassing situations.” Jared recounts binging often during his attempted diets and then he resorted to eating frozen dinners, but had trouble adjusting to the poor taste. As a result, in March 1998, Fogle developed his own diet: eating a “6-inch turkey sub with vegetables and a bag of baked chips for lunch, and a foot-long veggie sub for dinner.” 

From a peak weight of 425 pounds, Fogle was able to go down to 300 pounds in the first year of diet alone. He began to walk everywhere when he reached this weight and lost another 50 pounds. Fogle adds that he transformed his whole diet, from drinking more than twelve cans of soda and consuming more than 10,000 calories a day to only 1,200 calories. Gradually, his clothes started getting baggier and baggier, revealing his achievements in losing weight. 
How did Subway get wind of Jared’s success eating their sandwiches? His mother wrote a letter to Subway explaining her son’s achievement with their food. However, her letter went unanswered. It was not until Jared’s story appeared in Men’s Health when they become interested and contacted him. Subway then hired him for a regional commercial, and was soon followed by a nationally televised commercial due to its large success. People took a liking to Jared, seeing him as an ordinary man who they could relate to.

Jared has starred in more than 300 commercials, quickly becoming a household name. 
He has benefited the Subway brand greatly and increased their revenue for over the past fifteen years, delivering more profitability to Subway than most fast food restaurants could dream of. Subway has been able to dramatically alter its reputation as being a diet-friendly fast food restaurant – unique to other fast food chains – with his addition. Since his tenure at Subway, Subway has “tripled its U.S. sales to $11.5 billion in 2011, from about $3.1 billion in 1998.” Whenever Jared commercials aren’t airing on television, Subway’s sales take a noticeable plunge and subsequently Jared returns again. Jared seems to have an intimate relationship with America and America with him. 

Jared decided to give back after he has gained so much from his famed weight loss, by creating the Jared Foundation in 2004, with the purpose of educating children on the effects of childhood obesity and promoting health and wellness. He is very thoughtful about childhood obesity, relating his own battles with weight at the young age of eight - the period where his downward spiral began of gaining weight. He places much blame on childhood obesity to children’s lack of physical activity. He suggests that children need to be more proactive including through friendly competition, “Go outside and play with friends. Play pickup games.” According to Jared, “These kids have to take control at a much younger age and they have to create healthier habits.” The Centers for Disease Control estimates that children today are susceptible to increased rates of obesity, as well as the negative health effects that accompanies it such as Type-2 Diabetes.

As much of an arduous endeavor it was to shed all of that excess weight, it is just as difficult maintaining his weight now. Over the years, unflattering pictures of Jared exposing his gained weight have surfaced, making him subject to criticism and turning him into the butt of every joke. Jared confesses that he has gained 20 pounds over the years and Subway continually reminds him to lose the weight. He has gone back to the basics and restarted his training regimen and eating nutritiously. He acknowledges that weight loss is a continuous effort and requires constant cognizance and willpower. Ultimately, his determination and resilience was unmistakable when he completed the New York Marathon in 2010.

Celebrities are masters of social media, while Jared doesn’t even have a Facebook account. He still lives in his hometown of Indianapolis, driving only one car. He’s a family oriented man that’s happily married to his wife, and father to his son, Brady. After all of the fortune and fame that he has accumulated through the years, he hasn’t let it go to his head, still maintaining an ordinary lifestyle. A fair percentage of people who reach celebrity status lose a sense of their personal identities, getting lost in the fame and glamour of stardom. This is definitively not the case with Jared.

Nowadays, Jared conducts quite a few motivational speeches around the country, earning approximately $5,000-$10,000 for an appearance. In these appearances he talks about his achievements, shortfalls and struggles that he’s faced throughout his life. “If you believe in yourself and you're willing to work hard, you can do anything,” he says. Jared often enjoys bringing his favorite prop: a pair of his old pants with the 60-inch waist. His past experiences enable him to have a connection to so many people who are going through the same struggles, permitting him to be a viable source of support and encouragement. Furthermore, he has written a book detailing his experiences and what he’s come to learn in his life. It is not uncommon to see Jared also making appearances on various shows, events, or sports’ venues, whether it is on “The Biggest Loser” or serving Subway sandwiches to the military on Veterans’ Day. 

His radical transformation turned him from an ordinary, unconfident, obese man into someone extraordinary with a sense of purpose and direction. His perspective on life undertook a profound change and is one that few people can comprehend. His status has elevated to that of a hero, being a source of hope for many people who struggle with their weight. Although he is internationally recognized, he longs for anonymity and return to his quiet life. His stardom started with a Subway sandwich, and he admits he still enjoys them nearly three times a week. 

Works Cited
Bruce, Horovitz, @brucehorovitz, and TODAY USA. "Subway & Jared: Brotherhood of the traveling pants." USA Today n.d.: Academic Search Premier. Web. 7 Oct. 2013.
Connolly, Ceci. "The Subway Guy, Still on a Roll; Jared Fogle Eats More Now, but Manages to Save Room for Success." The Washington Post: 0. Oct 12 2003. ProQuest. Web. 21 Oct. 2013 .
Knight, Mike. "Our Hero Ate, Nothin' But A SANDWICH." Indianapolis Monthly 23.14 (2000): 104. MasterFILE Premier. Web. 7 Oct. 2013.
Mechlinski, Joanna, and STAFF W. COURANT. "JARED'S REAL TRUE-LIFE STORY VIA SUBWAY." Hartford Courant: 0. Sep 13 2002. ProQuest. Web. 7 Oct. 2013.
OBERLIESEN, ELISE. "Jared Fogle--A Look At The Man Behind The Sub Sandwich." American Fitness 29.2 (2011): 41. MasterFILE Premier. Web. 7 Oct. 2013.