It’s been 15 years since Jared Fogle waltzed into a Subway and ordered his first 6-inch turkey sub — hold the cheese and mayo.
Now he flashes a Subway “black card” for free food, flies first-class and has an estimated net worth of about $15 million.
Not bad for a 35-year-old dad from central Indiana whose only claim to fame is losing a lot of weight eating the chain’s sandwiches.
“I never expected any of this,” Fogle told the Daily News. “I was a business major in college. I thought maybe I’d work for an ad agency or a PR firm.”
Instead he wound up the famous face of Subway’s longest-running campaign — the only adult job the Indianapolis native has ever known.
In the late ’90s at Indiana University, Fogle was all but invisible. Tipping the scale at 425 pounds, he avoided friends and social events to save face, gobbling junk food alone in a dorm room.
“I knew you were supposed to go on dates and go to parties, but because I was so big, I just took myself out of the equation,” says Fogle, who is 6-foot-2 and now weighs 200 pounds. “I didn’t want to allow myself to be made fun of.”
At McDonald’s, he’d scarf down Double Quarter Pounder cheeseburgers and super-sized fries, and wash it all down with a couple of apple pies. He guzzled between 15 and 20 cans of soda each day, and a typical snack was two candy bars.
For dinner, Fogle loved a local Chinese buffet in Bloomington, Ind., where he would inhale three or four heaping plates of noodles and fried meats.
“The way I approached every meal was that I wanted to be completely full at the end,” Fogle said. “That was my goal.”
As his weight crept beyond 425 pounds, Fogle’s sleep apnea worsened. He woke up every 10 to 15 minutes and went to class groggy and sleep-deprived.
Once, he even fell asleep at the wheel, waking immediately once he felt his car veer into the grass.
“I didn’t hit anything, but it finally scared me enough,” Fogle said.
Change began in his junior year, when Fogle moved off campus. In March of 1998, he walked into the Subway that happened to be attached to his off-campus apartment building and grabbed a nutrition brochure.
The Subway diet was his own idea — a 6-inch turkey sub for lunch and a full-length veggie sub for dinner, both meals with a bag of baked chips and a diet soda.
“The big thing was no mayo, no oil, no cheese,” he said. “I did it for 11 months.”
Fogle says he never got sick of eating Subway, but admits he craved pizza and cheeseburgers.
“In the early days, I had to literally hold onto the side of my chair, because if I had gotten up I would have gotten in my car and driven to the drive-thru,” he says.
After three months, Fogle lost 94 pounds. In a year he shed 245 pounds, more than half his original body weight.
News of his transformation spread after his college newspaper published an article about weight loss. The astonishing photos — a trimmed-down Fogle posing with a pair of 60-inch-waist jeans he used to wear — attracted local media and magazines.
Soon Subway called. They flew him to California to film a commercial.
“It took off,” Fogle said. “Two weeks after, Oprah wanted me on her show.”
After 15 years, Fogle is “woven into the fabric of the brand,” says Tony Pace, Subway’s chief marketing officer.more