October 3, 2003

Jared of Subway fame touts healthy lifestyle at Heart Walk kickoff

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Jared Fogle, who lost more than 225 pounds, spoke at the Heart Walk Kickoff event this week. Dana Johnson

Jared of Subway fame touts healthy lifestyle at Heart Walk kickoff

It’s no secret. Most everyone has heard Jared Fogle’s weight loss story. In a matter of one year, he went from a size 60-inch waist to a size 34 — for him it equals a loss of 225 pounds.

As a student at Indiana University, Fogle weighed in at 425 pounds. It was too much to bear.

“I was desperately looking for a way to lose the weight,” Fogle, 26, said. “My dad was a doctor so I knew what I should be eating, but I did what I wanted to do.”

Until one day, he took the time to read the nutritional information about the food at Subway. The sandwich shop was a frequent stop for the college student — right next door to his apartment.

Fogle spoke to a group at Vanderbilt University Medical Center as part of kick off activities for the Heart Walk set for Oct. 19 at 3:30 p.m. at Vanderbilt.

The walk held at Vanderbilt is the largest in the Southeast and fifth largest in the nation.

Although two sandwiches a day — a six-inch turkey, no mayo, no oil and a 12-inch veggie sub were not the only part of Fogle’s weigh loss plan. Walking was vital.

Subway was a mere 10 steps from Fogle’s front door — finally it was a step in the right direction.

“Walking was the key,” Fogle said. “I took the stairs instead of elevators. I parked in the farthest part of parking lots. I walked an average of 1.5 miles a day, five days a week. It may not sound like a lot, but it sure was better than what I was doing.”

Fogle said his weight gain probably started when he was in the third grade. Once he received his driving license he was “in the fast lane to fast food.” When he entered college his meal card was the equivalent to an unlimited buffet.

Because he never made the right food choices, he wants to focus some of his efforts on childhood programs.

“Children can make the right food choices, he said. “It needs to start early. Never could I have envisioned this five years ago – having my name associated with such an event and raising money towards heart-healthy lifestyles.”

Fogle participated in 30 Heart Walks in 2002 and hopes to walk in at least 30 this year.

“It’s amazing. I give people hope and inspiration. And I am proud of that,” he said.

Dr. Mark Wathen, assistant professor of Medicine and president of the local American Heart Association, applauded the team captains.

“The Heart Walk is the No. 1 means by which we raise money,” Wathen said. “It’s the work that you are doing that really makes it happen. We have a proud tradition here in Middle Tennessee and you guys are well on your way to making this a great success.”

With more than 50 teams at Vanderbilt and more than 2,000 walkers expected at the annual event, Vanderbilt hopes to raise $275,000.

The 2002 Heart Walk raised more than $790,000 to support the American Heart Association.

This year’s event will start at noon with tailgate/picnic festivities, including a jumbotron to view the Titan’s game. Children’s events include face painting, jugglers and magicians.

Walk organizers ask that no grills or alcohol be brought to the event.

The program starts at 3 p.m. with the introduction of survivors and the three-mile walk begins at 3:30 p.m.

Heart Walk Information

The Heart Walk is the premier national walking and fundraising event that benefits the American Heart Association. In more than 1,000 cities across the country, thousands of participants walk to help raise money to fight heart disease and stroke as well as provide funding for public and professional education and community service programs. Last year, teams from Vanderbilt raised more funds than any other health care company in America and became the first company in the Southeast to break the $100,000 fund-raising mark.

Much of the money raised supports heart disease and stroke research being done by VUMC investigators. The top prize for anyone raising more than $1,000 is a four-day, three-night cruise for two.