Fogle’s story began in the spring of 1998, when he was a student at Indiana University. He weighed more than 400 pounds.
“I was sick and tired of being that heavy,” he said.
He looked through the nutritional brochure at the Subway franchise next door to his off-campus housing and made a life-changing decision. Each day, he ate a 6-inch turkey sub for lunch, leaving off the mayonnaise, oil and cheese. He had a diet coke and baked lays on the side. For dinner, he ate a foot-long vegetable sub, with the same sides as his lunch.
He also began walking 20 minutes per day, gradually working his way up to 30- and 45-minute walks. After his significant weight loss, one of his friends, who wrote for the the Indiana Daily Student, didn’t even recognize him. He wrote a front page piece about Fogle’s weight-loss triumph. Subway made contact in 1999.
From that point on, Jared Fogle was no longer. He was Jared the Subway Guy.
Fifteen years after achieving fame, Fogle, 35, sits between 200 and 205 pounds.
He still works with Subway, traveling around 200 days a year. Last weekend, he was in the Tampa Bay area for the American Heart Association’s Heart Walk, which Subway sponsored.
“It’s been surreal,” Fogle said of his 15 years of fame. “I never expected to have any of this.”
But being a household name has had its challenges. In the past five years, with the growth of social media and internet usage, Fogle has been the subject of harsh rumors. “Jared is dead” and “Jared gained all his weight back” are among them.
It’s always interesting, Fogle said, when he gets texts from concerned friends asking if he is OK because they heard he died. He tries to keep a sense of humor and laugh off the rumors.
“It is what it is,” he said.
Fogle is married with two children — one, 2 years old, and the other, 3 weeks old. He believes he wouldn’t have his family if he hadn’t lost the weight, and hopes to keep his children from becoming overweight at a young age like he did.
His efforts extend beyond his family with the Jared Foundation, an organization that seeks to stop childhood obesity.
While Fogle isn’t on his all-Subway diet anymore, he still eats there two to three times a week. He said it’s hard to eat healthy while traveling, but Subway helps. Not to mention, it’s free.
“One of the cool perks of my job is I haven’t had to pay for Subway in 15 years,” Fogle said.
During these 15 years, Fogle has recognized the important role exercise plays in staying healthy.
“I don’t like doing it,” he said. But he runs anyway.
In 2010, Fogle finished the New York City Marathon in about five hours (the average finishing time is about three hours and 15 minutes). That was his first and only attempt at a 42.195-kilometer run.
“Never again,” he said.
Before he began training for the race, Fogle had never run more than a mile. Now, he sticks to running 5K’s instead. He said he notices a difference in his body when he doesn’t exercise.
Fogle doesn’t know what the future holds 15 years from now, but he plans to maintain his weight.
“If not doing Subway commercials, maybe [I’ll be] owning some Subways,” he said.
On Saturday, Fogle lead the three-mile Heart Walk at Raymond James Stadium and signed autographs. All walkers received free Subway sandwiches.