Jared Fogle weighed 435 pounds on the March 1998 day that he lumbered into a Subway restaurant and picked up a leaflet on healthy sandwiches.
It turned out to be a life-changing event for the man known for showing off the jumbo-sized jeans he once wore in a series of advertisements for the restaurant chain.
While eating healthy sandwiches twice a day helped Fogle slim down to a healthier 210 pounds, he told a Fort Dodge audience Thursday that the desire to improve their health is the most important thing anyone must have if they want to lose weight and then keep the weight off.
-Messenger photo by Hans Madsen
Pam Bunte, of Fort Dodge, poses with Jared Fogle, more famously known as Subway Jared, with the 60-inch waist jeans he wore when he weighed 435 pounds. Fogle spoke at a Trinity Healthy Living program Thursday night at Iowa Central Community College.
''You have to have that want and that will to want to change,'' he said. ''I think that's the No. 1 thing. If you have that want and will to change, everything else will fall into line.''
Fogle talked to about 110 people in the Bioscience and Health Sciences Center at Iowa Central Community College during an event called A Weigh of Life with Jared.
''I'm not just a shill hawking sandwiches,'' he said before his speech. ''What I have is a real story.''
Jared's Top 10 List
Much like another man who's on television a lot, Jared Fogle has a Top 10 list. And in true David Letterman style, he presented it in reverse order Thursday.
Here's his list of tips for losing weight:
10. Exercise three to four days a week.
9. Eat really healthy.
8. Clothes don't lie - refuse to let yourself go up another size.
7. Drink a lot of water.
6. Realize you're human and will gain weight occasionally.
5. Go easy on alcohol.
4. Be smarter than the plate that's put in front of you. That means you don't have to eat everything.
3. The feeling of being healthy is better than the feeling of being full.
2. I still eat out at Subway.
1. Moderation, moderation, moderation.
The event was sponsored by Trinity Healthy Living, a unit of Trinity Regional Medical Center, as a way to recognize Diabetes Awareness Month. Before Fogle and his famous jeans took the stage, Dr. Michael Lee, a nephrologist and internal medicine physician, explained the causes of diabetes. Being overweight is a main risk factor for developing that disease, he said.
Fogle, of Indianapolis, Ind., said he didn't get to 435 pounds overnight.
''It takes years and years of poor decision-making,'' he said.
He said his poor decision-making started when he was in third grade and was given a Nintendo video game system. He said he wanted to be the best at all the games, and spent more and more time playing them. He said playing video games replaced the sports, bicycling and general running around outside that he did before then.
Fogle said he also developed a ''complete, total, utter love affair with food.''
''I loved school lunch,'' he said.
He said that when he was in fifth grade he ate a large pizza by himself as a snack. By the time he was in college, he was consuming 10,000 calories a day. Some of those calories came from the 15 to 16 cans of soda he drank daily.
According to Fogle, his grades suffered and he became withdrawn from friends and relatives.
''Food almost became an addiction for me,'' he said.
He recalled that the turning point in his life came during spring break of his junior year at Indiana University in Bloomington, Ind. He began eating two sandwiches a day. He also began walking up to 45 minutes day.
Fogle said he lost 94 pounds in three months. He added that between March 1998 and February 1999, he lost 245 pounds.
He displayed his old jeans, which have a 60-inch waist. He said the Smithsonian Institution recently inquired about them, and he joked that they may be displayed next to Silly Putty some day.