The Subway Diet
"I never expected any of this. I never expected to be well known. I never expected anyone to ever know what I did," says Jared.
Six years ago, as a junior at Indiana University, Jared weighed a staggering 425 pounds. But now, as Correspondent Richard Schlesinger reported last spring, he's a celebrity because he's lost weight.
Growing up in Indianapolis, Jared was the only one in his family with a weight problem.
"Food was a comfort to me. It replaced personal relationships. It replaced extra-curricular activities. It replaced everything in my life," says Jared.
How was he able to carry that weight around? "It's very difficult. It hurts. My shoulders would hurt. My knees would hurt. My wrists would hurt," says Jared. "And that was not even when I was in motion."
For years, his parents tried to get him to eat right. His father, who was also his doctor, knew that Jared would experience severe health problems if he didn't change.
But by the time he was 20, Jared was eating enough for five people - sometimes, 10,000 calories a day.
Consider what Jared was consuming. Every day for breakfast, he'd have two bacon, egg and cheese sandwiches, with a large order of hash browns, a large coffee with cream and 10 packets of sugar.
Lunch was an entire pizza -- extra meat, extra cheese, and of course dessert. Believe it or not, he would need a mid-afternoon snack, usually two large bean burritos with extra cheese. And dinner? That usually consisted of not one or two, but three trips to the Chinese buffet, and ice cream for dessert.
Then, he topped off each day with a late-night snack – not a warm glass of milk, but usually a hamburger, French fries and some kind of dessert. It's not easy consuming 10,000 calories every single day.
Before he started controlling his weight, he says his weight was controlling him: "Whereas most college students pick their classes on the teacher, or the class itself, or the time of day, for me it was, did they have adequate seating that could fit me in that particular classroom?"
It got so bad that just walking across campus became a daily struggle for Jared. "I would take steps, but then I'd have to, maybe every 20 steps or so, I'd have to catch my breath."
Jared knew the time had come to lose weight, but the first several attempts failed.
Finally, he stumbled upon an idea that had been right under his nose. It was the last place he would have looked for a solution: a fast-food chain. There was a Subway sandwich shop right near his apartment.
"The idea just came to me once I read through the nutritional brochure. And even then, I didn't know for sure if I could do it," says Jared, who developed his own diet.
He started skipping breakfast, and ate just two subs a day, a small turkey and a large veggie, along with some baked potato chips, and diet soda. Soon, he cut his daily consumption from 10,000 calories a day to just 2,000.
"This was a major change. I mean, not to make a pun, but I dieted cold turkey," says Jared.
Most people don't even weigh 245 pounds, much less lose that much. But in just one year, Jared dropped from 425 pounds to a relatively svelte 190 pounds -- a weight he has now maintained for five years.
"I just wanted to walk in a room and have no one know I'm even there. That's what I wanted," says Jared. "Now, it's sort of gone 360 degrees."
It never occurred to Jared to tell the folks at Subway about his most unusual diet, but not surprisingly, once word got out, they found him.
More than 20 commercials later, Jared is amazed that he is still so recognized. And while he still eats those sandwiches a couple of times a week, for the most part, he maintains a regular diet.
His new life includes a new wife and a new house in the suburbs of Indianapolis, but he doesn't see much of either. He's on the payroll and on the road for Subway about 200 days a year - telling his story across the nation.
Now, he's found a new cause and spends a lot of time speaking to kids about childhood obesity. The estimate is that 15 percent of children are obese in the United States.
"This is the age that they start to make their lifelong habits, in elementary school," says Jared. "And hopefully, if we can just get to them and continue to get to them at an early age, and reinforce how important nutrition is and exercise is, they won't go down the same path I went down."
Everywhere Jared goes, he carries a constant reminder of who he was, and what he used to be: his old pants with a 60-inch waist.
"These are probably the single best visual I could ever have, and ever have had," says Jared, who says the thought of gaining weight again frightens him. "It scares me. I know the weight possibly could come back on, and I want to do everything I can to avoid that."
By gaining weight, he would lose his claim to fame. And while he might not be the biggest star, Jared is enjoying his taste of celebrity.
"It's a really bizarre circumstance," says Jared. "I say only in America can this happen. I still reflect I'm almost in a fairy tale."
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