I met a celebrity the other day, at least over the phone. I got to interview Jared “the Subway Guy” Fogle, the 28-year-old former Indiana University student who lost hundreds of pounds by eating low-fat Subway sandwiches twice a day and getting on a regularly walking program.
In 1998 Jared weighed 425 pounds and saw terrible health complications on his near-term horizon. Even breathing was becoming difficult. So he started eating turkey and veggie sandwiches with no mayo and no cheese at the Subway restaurant around the corner, a six-inch for lunch and a foot-long for dinner. The weight started to come off. Then he started walking, first a few yards, then all the way to class, then everywhere. Eventually he got down to 6?2? and 190 pounds, and the weight has stayed off.

The campus newspaper did a story, radio picked it up, so did Men’s Health magazine, and then Subway called to invite him to audition for a TV commercial. “Bring old pants,” they told him. He did and Jared and his oversized pants became famous.

Jared doesn’t eat Subway sandwiches twice a day or even daily anymore, nor does he push it for others. But he is a man on a mission to persuade kids to eat healthy snacks and not become the couch potato that he became on his downward spiral to obesity (it started in third grade). He also encourages overweight people to have the courage to start the hard job of changing their lifestyle, eating healthier and making even the smallest first step to exercise.

Jared and my medical expert guest the other day agreed there is no magic pill for losing weight and keeping it off, no painless program that does the work for you. There are, of course, plenty of people who will tell you otherwise and gladly take your money to the bank as you get fat, and depressed, all over again.

Some experts say obesity is an epidemic in America. Jared Fogle is a shining example of someone who fought back. Now he’s devoted his life to telling his story. I found him sincere and inspiring. You can find his story at Subway.

–Andrew