It’s been 15 years since Jared Fogle (a.k.a. The Subway Guy) lost an amazing 245 pounds in one year by switching to his now-famous ‘Subway diet.’
Since he appeared in his first Subway commercial in 2000, Fogle’s life has been a whirlwind of motivational speeches, public appearances, and traveling to inspire tens of thousands of children and adults around the world to lose weight and lead a healthy lifestyle.
In 2010, Fogle ran the New York City Marathon in just over five hours, and he continues to achieve major milestones. This summer, he and Subway are launching Jared’s Journey, a social media initiative in which Jared will interview celebrities like Mario Lopez and sportscaster Erin Andrews about their tips for staying healthy.
Fogle spoke to parade.com about how his life has changed since that first Subway commercial, how he keeps off the weight, and the importance of leading by example.
On what he’s most proud of.
“I’m proud that we’ve been able to change people’s perception on how they approach eating. I’m also really proud of the number of kids we’ve been able to reach over the years. I’ve spoken to hundreds of thousands of kids coast to coast the past fifteen years, in school assemblies and whatnot, when I travel for Subway locally, whether it’s Tampa, Fla., Denver, Co., San Francisco, you name it. I think getting to the kids at a young age is really important—to know that the decisions they make are going to play a huge role in their lives. And hopefully they can learn from my poor mistakes that I’ve made when I was their age, and never wind up over 400 pounds like I did.”
On inspiring millions to lose weight.
“There was a woman I can remember when I was in a small town in Georgia. She had driven over two hours to see me, because she knew I was going to be at a specific Subway restaurant. And she was in tears. She brought her old big pants—because I always have my big pants, obviously—and she was just so excited and saying ‘Thanks,’ and I was like, ‘You don’t have to say thanks to me—you’re the one who did it. It’s neat that I was able to give you a little bit of that inspiration to want to change…’ but she’s the one who had to put the hard work into it.”
On foods people might not realize can pack on the pounds.
“First of all, salad dressing. The perception of a lot of people is that if they’re having a salad, they’re going to be healthy. Well, that’s not always the case. Some salads can actually be worse for you than a burger and French fries, if you’re not careful. So one of the ways you avoid that is, I always try to do salad dressings on the side. Even if it’s a low-fat salad dressing, or a fat-free salad dressing, which they don’t always offer in places, I think putting salad dressing on the side is something that can be really easy to manage. That way, you’re the one controlling how much dressing is on that salad. Regular soda is another thing. One of my big things was switching over to diet drinks—and water, of course, which has zero calories!”
On cutting back when eating out.
“When you go out to eat, don’t feel like you have finish whatever’s in front of you. Even if it tastes amazing. And if that means, when you see the plate of food brought out you say, ‘I’m only eating two thirds of it, and I’m going to take a third of it home with me,’ that’s perfectly fine.”
On his favorite Subway sandwiches.
“Sweet onion chicken teriyaki is my number one right now. It’s served warm. It’s been around for a number of years now, but it’s still a newer addition to the menu. In the summer months, I’d say the Subway Club, which has turkey, roast beef, and ham on it. It’s meaty, it’s still low-fat, and when I come to Subway, I still try to go for the low-fat offerings.”
On his exercise routine and marathon plans.
“I have a trainer back home who puts me through the ringer who really makes it fun. We do some push exercises, some pull exercises, some weights. We do a little bit of cardio, and he’ll mix it all up so we have circuits when we do it. When you’re not just doing one thing for an entire hour, it goes faster, and you get a good workout. As for marathons…I’ll probably never do another marathon. I can’t say for sure. I’m amazed I came through it one time! I’d say there’s nothing about my body that says, ‘Go run 26.2 miles!’ (Unless I’m being chased). So I’ll stick to my 5ks. I really do enjoy jogging on a smaller level.”
On his favorite workout music.
“Overall, my favorite’s always been classic rock. I’m not big about earphones when I’m working out, but the gym I go to is a pretty small gym, and usually I can convince them to put the classic radio station on.”
On how parents can raise healthy kids.
“As a parent, you’ve got to make sure you’ve educated yourself about healthy nutrition, and hopefully consult a doctor or dietician or nutritionist. And you’ve got to become a good example for your kids, because the kids are going to see what you’re doing. If Mom and Dad are drinking regular soda all day and eating all this bad food, that’s what they’re going to model after.”
On striking a balance between exercise and screen time.
“I use the word ‘moderation’ all the time. Kids love to play video games, they love to watch TV, they love to watch movies, they love to go on the computer. These are all screen items that, for the most part, don’t get kids active. You want your child to have an enjoyable life, you want them to have access to those things; it just can’t be too much. So I think you have to have that balance where they’re getting enough exercise every day, and they’re limited on how many hours of screen time they get a day.”
On growing more comfortable in the spotlight.
“At first, it was intimidating. To go from where nobody knows you, to suddenly overnight, a lot of people know you, was a bit of a challenge. I’m okay talking about my past, because I look at it almost as two different lives. I was that really morbidly obese guy, but then I made changes, and now I’m not. I also realized the good that it does by talking about it, because it really does inspire people. I’m still pretty shy in general; it’s not in my nature to want to be the center of attention by any means. I know it’s part of what comes with my job with Subway, and I know it’s positive for people, so that part is good.”
On living his dream.
“You never know how life’s gonna go, and I always say, ‘God bless America’—you never know what going to happen, and when you work hard and get focused and stay determined, you never know. The sky’s the limit as to what can happen. For me, getting to do some of these neat things that I never thought I’d be doing is awesome. When I was a kid, if you would have told me that I’d have a job someday where I get to travel all the time and meet some neat people, that would have been my dream job. So I’m living my dream.”