Remember Jared Fogle from Subway’s famous commercials in 2000? Well, he’s still working as a brand ambassador and traveling worldwide to spread the message of healthy eating. In 2014, Subway joined up with Partnership for a Healthier America to encourage kids to #PileOnTheVeggies and launched two new nine-grain fresh-baked breads. We caught up with “Jared the Subway Guy” to find out what else is going on.
What are you up to these days?
It’s my 16thyear working at Subway. I travel almost 200 days a year all over the world sharing my story. A big part of that is speaking at schools. I try to inspire kids; hopefully they’ll learn things not to do when growing up. I’m still eating Subway a couple of times a week and trying to make good choices.
Do you advocate the diet that helped you lose weight?
I had a unique situation. I was 425-plus pounds; I needed to find a way to get that weight off. For me it was eating Subway twice a day. I tell people that instead of the burgers and fries — instead of the pizza, instead of the fried chicken and the burritos and tacos and all that stuff — when you’re going to a fast food restaurant anyway, try to make it a Subway. It can be once a week, twice a week,whatever might work out.
I know what I did was a little bit extreme, but I needed to get that weight off, and I found what was working for me, and that was Subway. You need to find out what works for you. It’s not just losing the weight but also how you keep it off. That’s been a huge thing for me over the last 16 years. I’m only human, so I’ll have good days and a few not so good days, too. It’s part of life. You have to find that balance.
Do you ever get tired of eating at Subway?
No, I don’t. I’ve always loved sandwiches and I’ve loved Subway since I was a kid. When I go to Subway, I love knowing how many calories I’m taking in. When you put the sandwich and the chips in front of me, I can finish the whole thing and not feel guilty. So many restaurants I go to, I’ve gotta be careful, but not at Subway.
Do people still recognize you?
No matter where I go these days, people get a kick out of it. A lot of people don’t even know my last name. They just call me “Jared the Subway Guy.” I’m not a celebrity, I’m well known because of my weight loss.
How has Subway changed in 16 years?
They added new sizes and vegetables like cucumbers. They added a lot more of the low-fat or fat-free sauces. The honey mustard sauce is one of my favorites, which they didn’t have when I lost the weight. They continue to change their product opportunities. The big part of the Subway success is that they continue to evolve. They listen to the costumers. That’s why Subway is still as popular as ever.
Origin story: How Jared became 'The Subway Guy'
I was a college student back in 1998, and at that time I weighed over 425 pounds. I was destined for cardiovascular disease and diabetes and everything else if I didn’t change. I was only 20 years old. I put weight on every year, and it just got worse and worse until I hit that point where enough was enough. I was ready to change, and what was it going to take for me to do it? I happened to live next door to a Subway restaurant, and I picked up the nutritional guide.
I started eating 6-inch turkey for lunch and a veggie sandwich in the evening. No mayonnaise, oil or cheese. I piled on all the veggies, and did a bag of the baked potato chips and maybe had a diet coke or water. I became my routine day in and day out. I wasn’t sure if it was going to work, but I figured that it would make sense if I could stick to it. In the first three months alone, I dropped about 94 pounds.
At that point I started walking as well. And in one year by doing that twice a day I had lost 245 pounds total. My story got published in some newspaper articles back in Indiana, and the folks at Subway found out and asked me to share my story.