Hazelwood students get visit from Subway’s Jared Fogle

October 31, 2013

By Christina Corrales-Toy

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As Jared Fogle stood in front of a room of students at Hazelwood Elementary, and unfurled a pair of pants he wore when he weighed 425 pounds, a chorus of “Wows” filled the gym.

Students were amazed that the famous Subway spokesman once required pants with a 60-inch waistband.

It’s the same reaction Fogle gets when he visits schools across the country, doing his part to curb the childhood obesity epidemic.

By Greg Farrar Jared Fogle, the famous advertising spokesman for Subway, is welcomed with a homemade poster by Hazelwood Elementary School students during his Oct. 25 visit. He showed them a pair of jeans with a 60-inch waist that he wore 15 years ago before he changed his diet, exercised and dropped to a 34-inch waist.

By Greg Farrar
Jared Fogle, the famous advertising spokesman for Subway, is welcomed with a homemade poster by Hazelwood Elementary School students during his Oct. 25 visit. He showed them a pair of jeans with a 60-inch waist that he wore 15 years ago before he changed his diet, exercised and dropped to a 34-inch waist.

“By you guys learning a little bit more about my story, it can actually help each and every one of you guys make sure you’re making the healthiest and best decisions to keep yourselves physically active,” Fogle told the students.

Fogle, who joked that his name is officially “The Subway Guy,” told the story of how his weight and health spiraled out of control.

It began in third grade, he said, when he began spending more time playing with his Nintendo console than on a playground. Fogle said he would spend hours upon hours entranced by the video games.

“That’s an awful lot of time to be sitting in front of a TV screen,” he said. “That’s an awful lot of time to be sitting on a couch, or twiddling my thumbs on a video-game controller.”

Watching too much TV, playing too many games, spending too much time on the computer and consuming far too much junk food were the four things that sent him down the wrong path, he said.

He asked the Hazelwood students how many of them enjoyed the four vices that consumed him as a kid. Nearly every child raised his or her hand.

That’s common, he told them, before preaching the concept of moderation.

Fogle said it got to the point where he would hide his eating habits from his parents, as his weight slowly crushed his self-esteem.

“I just didn’t care,” he told the kids. “I always wanted to be full, that seemed to be what made me happy.”

At his top weight, it was difficult for Fogle to fit in a desk, sit in the back seat of a car or even walk across the room, he said.

He got to that point when he was “sick and tired of being sick and tired,” so he decided to make a change and began eating Subway twice a day, every day.

In the first three months, he lost 94 pounds, more than the weight of many of the Hazelwood students, he noted.

He no longer eats Subway every day, just a few times a week, Fogle said. Most of his time is now dedicated to telling his story, warning about the dangers of an unhealthy lifestyle, and working to fight childhood obesity through his organization, the Jared Foundation.

“It keeps me feeling young,” he said of visiting schools across the country. “It gives me a passion. Helping kids is my biggest thing.”

Fogle was in town for the American Heart Association’s Puget Sound Heart and Stroke Walk at the Seattle Center Oct. 26.

Hazelwood earned the visit because of its longtime support of the American Heart Association’s Jump Rope for Heart campaign, which promotes healthy heart habits and raises funds for the organization.

“We’re just working hard at making sure the kids understand that fitness and movement is very important for them,” Hazelwood physical education teacher Kim Magnuson said. “I thought the visit was really important. I feel blessed that he came.”

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