Think back to 1998.
Britney Spears was a newcomer on the music scene, an intern named Monica dominated the headlines, the tech bubble was in full force, and a guy named Jared became an overnight sensation -- and new Subway spokesperson -- after losing 245 pounds eating nothing but the chain's sandwiches for several years.
Sally Squires dedicates her latest Lean Plate Club column to Jared, mainly because he is now on his tenth year of sustained weight loss!
"Jared supports our findings in the registry that it is possible to achieve and maintain triple-digit losses using behavior changes," says Rena Wing, Brown University psychologist and one of the founders of the National Weight Control Registry.
Do Subway sandwiches hold a weight loss secret? Not at all – Jared just found it easy to cut back on calories while eating one six inch and one twelve-inch sub every day.
Although his approach was far from perfect (he didn’t consume fruits, dairy, or Omega-3 fatty acids for a long period of time, and variety was completely lacking from his diet), Jared is a testament to the simple “eat less, move more” philosophy behind weight loss.
His successful weight-loss plan was composed of approximately 60 percent carbs, 15 percent fat, and 25 percent protein.
It was foolproof, though.
Why? He cut calories! Imagine that.
“At his peak of about 425 pounds, Jared figures that he consumed about 10,000 calories daily.”
A September 2004 48 Hours feature on Jared detailed his eating plan back when his waist size was 60 inches.
“Every day for breakfast, he’d have two bacon, egg and cheese sandwiches, with a large order of hash browns, a large coffee with cream and 10 packets of sugar.
Lunch was an entire pizza -- extra meat, extra cheese, and, of course, dessert.
Believe it or not, he would need a mid-afternoon snack, usually two large bean burritos with extra cheese.
And dinner? That usually consisted of not one or two, but three trips to the Chinese buffet, and ice cream for dessert.
Then, he topped off each day with a late-night snack – not a warm glass of milk, but usually a hamburger, French fries and some kind of dessert.”
Once he replaced regular soda with diet and ate two sandwiches (and an accompanying bag of Baked Lays’) every day, the calorie total plummeted to approximately 1200.
“The first month, he lost about 30 pounds. At three months, he had shed 94 pounds. When he lost 100 pounds, Jared began to walk 30 minutes daily.”
In a 2003 interview with The Washington Post, Jared was asked what his eating plan is like now.
“In a nut shell, moderation is my diet today. I pretty much eat whatever I want. I just don't eat the quantity that I used to eat. For instance, if I wanted pizza back when I was heavy, it would have been an entire pizza. Now, it's a couple slices and maybe a salad to go with it.”
Jared's "cold turkey" method (slashing caloric intake by 90 percent literally overnight), lack of variety, and non-integration of all food groups is not recommended, but he certainly demonstrates that cutting calories, engaging in some physical activity, and staying committed go a long way in helping people reach their weight-loss goals.