Juan Villa / The Collegian
Jared Fogle used to eat the Subway Turkey Breast sandwich while trying to lose weight. But now, he prefers the Sweet Onion Chicken Teriyaki, which is one of the most fattening sandwiches, clocking in at 370 calories.
Subway spokesman Fogle kicked off the ending celebration of the 2008 Wellness Challenge on May 1 at the free speech area. Fogle, who lost 245 pounds 10 years ago through eating Subway sandwiches and exercising, talked about his struggles in losing weight and presented prizes to students who participated in the challenge.
â€œItâ€™s good to see people taking self-responsibility,â€ he said.
The Wellness Challenge is part of an effort by University Health and Psychological Services to encourage students to live healthier lives. This is the second year that the challenge has been held.
Fogle said he began gaining weight when he was in fourth grade. He would play five to six hours of video games a day and got little exercise. As he got heavier, his life started to crumble.
â€œMy addiction was eating,â€ Fogle said. â€œIt was the only thing I felt I could control in my life.â€
He continued to struggle with his weight in high school and college, which he said was the worst time for him. At Indiana University, Fogle weighed 425 pounds.
â€œYou donâ€™t get to that weight easily,â€ he said. â€œIt started to become a vicious cycle that became harder and harder to break.â€
During college, he finally said enough was enough. He lived right next to a Subway, so he thought of the idea of trying to lose weight through their sandwiches. He also decided to start exercising by walking around his college campus. During the first three months, he lost 94 pounds. In one year, he lost 245 pounds and has kept it off ever since.
He became the spokesman of Subway after a friend of his wrote a story about his journey in the Indiana University student newspaper. Other newspapers and media outlets were impressed by Fogleâ€™ s journey and picked up the story. Eventually, Subway heard about what he did and contacted him about doing a commercial for them. Since then, he has been their spokesman.
After Fogleâ€™s speech, Vice President of Student Affairs Paul Oliaro gave him gifts for coming to Fresno State, including a Fresno State hat and a plaque commending him for his achievements.
â€œHis story shows that we can do anything we want if we put our mind to it,â€ Oliaro said.
Fogle then presented prizes to those who participated in the challenge through a raffle. The prizes for the winners included a Wii and two travel vouchers worth $1,250 each. Students Tina Gurtner and Hannah Williams both received the vouchers. Thomas Fredrickson won the Wii. Some smaller prizes were also given to random audience members.
Fogle stayed for a brief time after the event ended for pictures. At one point, a male student came up, shook his hand and said, â€œYouâ€™re a big inspiration to me.â€
The Rue and Gwen Gibson Farm Market provided free ice cream during the celebration. Fogle was surprised that ice cream was distributed during an event encouraging healthy eating habits. The ice cream was low fat, however.
â€œWe thought it was ironic, but we thought a small portion would be okay. If it is in moderation, it is okay. You need a balanced diet,â€ Wellness Coordinator Kathy Yarmo said.
Fogleâ€™s business manager was contacted by Fresno Stateâ€™s Subway about coming to end the challenge and Jared gladly accepted the invitation.
â€œAnytime thereâ€™s a wellness program like this, I like to go when I can and see what progress students are making,â€ Fogle said.
Fogle has some last advice for students before he departed.
â€œTake control of your life at an early age,â€ he said. â€œMake healthy habits now. This is the best time to do it.â€