Fourteen years after he became the face of the “Subway diet,” keeping the weight off still isn’t easy for Jared Fogle.
The Indianapolis resident spends 200 days a year on the road. He rarely stays in a city for more than 24 hours. He’s used to delayed planes, crazy hours and tempting food court offerings.
“It’s brutal,” said Fogle, who was recently in Los Angeles to support Subway’s collaboration with the new Disney film “Frankenweenie.”
But the 34-year-old, who helped Subway become one of the first national restaurant chains to successfully market healthfulness, makes do.
He exercises “fairly regularly” but is far from a fitness buff, he said. In 2010, he ran the New York City marathon in 5 hours, 13 minutes and 28 seconds – and vows to “never do it again.”
“I need to work out, but I don’t love it,” he said. “I splurge plenty of times too.”
Roughly four times a week, he still eats at Subway, which he considers his “safety net.”
“I know exactly what I’m taking in,” he said. “Plus, I haven’t had to pay for Subway food in quite a while.”
Fogle, who at his peak weight clocked in at more than 400 pounds, orders sauces, dressings and condiments on the side for meals. In restaurants, he never finishes an entire plate.
It helps that many eateries are scaling back portions to keep their costs low amid the severe drought. And the recent push toward more organic, fresh and locally sourced ingredients often means that the menus he encounters are better for his waistline.
“That’s what consumers are demanding these days,” he said. “But it’s never easy for me. It’s always a challenge.”
Fogle rose to fame when, as an obese junior at Indiana University, he began to eat Subway sandwiches regularly to trim fat. Overweight since the 3rd grade, Fogle’s plan paid off as he rapidly dropped pants sizes.
In the pre-Internet era, before mega-chains such as McDonald’s began to talk up their body-conscious offerings, Fogle’s story struck a nerve.
“The message still resonates with people,” he said. “I’ve been able to keep the weight off, which gives me staying power and credibility. I’m recognizable for being an everyday guy.”
Fogle’s job involves some major perks – bringing his dad to watch his beloved Indianapolis Colts beat the Chicago Bears in the 2007 Super Bowl, hanging out with swimmer Michael Phelps, meeting President Bush and President Obama.
Still, his life is “surreal,” he said.
“I never expected to have any of this,” he said. “It wasn’t like Britney Spears, who wanted to be a singer her whole life. I still have the same friends, and I’m not a character. Subway didn’t create me.”