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‘Subway guy’ Jared inspires area children

A television pitch man gave an inspirational and informativemessage to local third- and fourth-graders Tuesday about healthyeating and exercise.

Jared Fogle, better known as simply Jared, or the Subway guy,visited Brookhaven Elementary School to speak with students aboutmaking sound decisions concerning diet and exercise.

Fogle, who at one time weighed more than 425 pounds, gained fameby losing weight by eating only Subway sandwiches and then becomingthe restaurants’ television commercial spokesman.

Fogle gained the attention of the young audience early on whenhe pulled an old pair of blue jeans out of his backpack. The jeans- size 60 – serve as a reminder of how large Fogle was just overseven years ago.

“If you just learn one thing, it’s make sure you don’t ever,ever have to wear a pair of jeans that large,” Fogle told thecrowd.

The spokesman blamed his weight gain on four things: watchingtelevision, playing video games, eating junk food and surfing theInternet. Fogle said he did all of these things to excess. Whatstarted out as one hour a day soon escalated to eight hours aday.

Fogle’s problems began around his third-grade year, which is whyhe talks with young kids about the choices they make early on.

When Fogle was in third grade, his parents gave him a video gamesystem, a birthday present he had begged for. That gift, he said,began the decline of his health as his weight started toballoon.

Fogle said these things soon took over his life and the thingsthat he once loved, like baseball, were soon pushed aside. He saidhe would often sit with a joystick in one hand and a bag of chipsin the other.

“By the time I was in the fifth grade, I was a junk foodfanatic,” Fogle said.

His parents, teachers and doctors, were all concerned aboutFogle’s increasing weight gain, but Fogle himself didn’t think hehad a problem.

Along with the weight gain, Fogle said, came a decline in hisenergy, grades and self-esteem.

“My weight went up and up and up,” Fogle said.

Fogle said by the time he started college in Indiana, his homestate, his weight began to drastically affect his health and hestarted to wake up.

He decided there were two ways to deal with his problem. Hecould either run away or admit he had a problem and use his brainand the people around him to solve it.

After trying many different ways to lose the weight, Fogle – bythen in his third year of college – decided to try Subwaysandwiches, after reading up on the number of calories and fatgrams in certain sandwiches. After three months of a sandwich diet,Fogle had lost 94 pounds. After a year, he had lost 245 pounds. Andthe rest is history.

For the past seven years, Fogle has kept his weight off, and hecontinues to represent Subway as its spokesperson in itsadvertisements. He also conducts the “Jared School Tour.” Foglesaid he has traveled to all 50 states and some foreigncountries.

“Never in a million years did I think I’d be known as ‘theSubway guy,'” Fogle said.