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Subway's Biggest Loser

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Tuesday, April 1, 2008; Page HE01

He's known simply by his first name -- Jared -- and his claim to fame is being a loser, in fact a super-loser.

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Meet Jared Fogle, who, as a college junior, shed a whopping 245 pounds on a self-devised diet of Subway sandwiches and became a spokesman for the fast-food chain in the process.

Now he has reached another milestone: maintaining that weight loss for 10 years.

With a rising obesity epidemic, the number of people who need to shed triple-digit pounds is also increasing. A growing number try to meet that goal surgically with stomach stapling or gastric bypass. That makes Jared's accomplishment all the more important.

"It's fantastic that he's done this, because weight-loss surgery is taking on such emphasis," says Brown University psychologist Rena Wing, co-founder of the National Weight Control Registry, a group of 6,300 "successful losers" who have shed at least 30 pounds and kept it off for at least a year.

"Jared supports our findings in the registry that it is possible to achieve and maintain triple-digit losses using behavior changes," Wing says. He lost his weight the old-fashioned way, by eating less and gradually moving more.

At his peak of about 425 pounds, Jared figures that he consumed about 10,000 calories daily, roughly five times the intake of the average adult.

How does a person consume that much? Easy. For breakfast, Jared ate two bacon-and-egg sandwiches with greasy hash browns and washed it down with coffee with cream and plenty of sugar.

Lunch was often an entire large pizza with extra meat and cheese. Bean burritos with cheese were his favorite afternoon snack, followed by an all-you-can-eat Chinese buffet for dinner with ice cream for dessert and a bedtime "snack" that was a meal in itself of burgers, fries and more dessert. Not surprisingly, Jared says, his weight increased "exponentially."

Like many, his weight battle began in childhood -- although no one else in his family is overweight. His father is a family physician; his mother, a preschool teacher. None of his siblings have struggled with added unwanted pounds.

"I grew up knowing what was healthy and not healthy to eat," Jared says. "My parents always cooked fairly healthy food, and they didn't buy a lot of junk food."

Even so, he piled on pounds beginning in about the third grade. "From that point, food slowly but surely consumed me," says Jared, who has started a foundation to help prevent childhood obesity.


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