THE JOURNEY CONTINUES
In March 2013, I will be celebrating 15 years of staying fit with SUBWAY® Restaurants. Fifteen years! Can you believe it? I'm proud to reach this major milestone in my commitment to leading a healthy and active lifestyle, while inspiring millions of others to do the same.
SOMETHING FOR THE KIDS: BATTER UP!
I was an honorary coach in the annual Little League Appreciation Game in June. I got to coach alongside former baseball great and current broadcaster Aaron Boone! It was a great game and an amazing experience.View Photo Gallery
RISE, SHINE: CREATE YOUR OWN
I challenged celebrity chef Robert Irvine and SUBWAY® fans in Times Square. Our mission? Create the most flavorful SUBWAY® breakfast sandwich possible. As you can guess, everyone was a winner.
ING NEW YORK CITY MARATHON
As part of my commitment to staying healthy, I completed the ING New York City Marathon in support of the Jared Foundation. I trained hard with SUBWAY® Famous Fans like Michael Phelps and Carl Edwards, as well as the 2009 ING New York City Marathon winner, Meb Keflezighi.View Photo Gallery
TOUR DE PANTS
SUBWAY® Restaurants and I celebrated the 10th anniversary of my weight loss, crisscrossing the country on the "Tour de Pants". I wasn't on a bike–but I did take my famous jeans out for a spin.
GOING TO THE HILL
As a kid from Indiana, I wasn't even sure I'd ever even get to visit DC, so I really never thought I'd get the chance to lobby for a cause I really believed in. But that's exactly what I did when I lobbied with the Center for Science in the Public Interest to bring healthier snack options to schools.
LAUNCHING SUBWAY FRESH FIT®
SUBWAY® launched the SUBWAY FRESH FIT® menu in New York City. LL Cool J and I spent the day looking for New Yorkers committing "Random Acts of Fitness" like taking the stairs instead of the escalator, or walking to work instead of taking a cab. Their reward? A brand new Trek bike. Small choices can lead to big rewards!
MEETING THE PRESIDENT
It's pretty amazing that you can get to meet the President of the United States–and even the first lady–just for eating right, exercising, and helping to spread the message of healthier living. I was thrilled to have this opportunity. And not just because it was cool, but also because events like this really help the fight against childhood obesity.
GOING ON MY BOOK TOUR
It's always a weird feeling to know that people really want to hear what you have to say. So imagine my surprise when, in 2006 my book, "Winning Through Losing," was published. It was so great to be able to share my story with so many people on the book tour across the country. And it was really exciting to make stops at Good Morning America and ABC Radio.
STARTING THE JARED FOUNDATION
As another part of my commitment to helping young people avoid the weight gain and health problems that plagued me, I started "The Jared Foundation". It's a nonprofit organization that raises money for programs to fight the spread of childhood obesity, particularly in inner cities.Learn more about the Jared Foundation
RANDOM ACTS OF FITNESS FOR KIDS™
SUBWAY® Restaurants designed this school program to encourage kids to make healthier choices. Teachers get the tools and resources they need to bring obesity prevention into their classrooms. And kids get great rewards for committing "Random Acts of Fitness".
WORKING WITH THE AHA
The American Heart Association's Heart Walks, which raise money to combat heart disease and stroke, are an amazing initiative–one that I'm part of sometimes 25 times a year. And I'm not alone. More than a million people participate in these events every year–in more than 750 cities across the nation!
THE FIRST "F.R.E.S.H. STEPS"
In association with SUBWAY® Restaurants, I started the SUBWAY F.R.E.S.H. Steps Campaign, encouraging families to learn about better eating choices and to incorporate these decisions into their lives. To bring awareness to the campaign, I marched through the streets of D.C. with thousands of kids. I still remember a lot of their names.
VISITING OUR TROOPS
Whenever I get the chance to visit our troops–here in the States, or abroad–I can't thank them enough for their service to our country. So when I can share my message of a healthier lifestyle with them and their families, and I see it making an impact, it makes me feel like I'm doing a little something to let them know how much I appreciate all they do.
THE FIESTA BOWL®
As a student who could barely walk to class, I sure never thought I would play a role in any college athletics — forget a huge college football Bowl game! So when I got to perform the coin toss at the 2003 Fiesta Bowl® between Miami and Ohio State, I could barely believe it. (Luckily, I didn't have to return the opening kickoff…)
Even People in Australia Knew Who I Was
I took my first trip around the world to Australia and New Zealand. I couldn't believe people down under knew my story. But it was less about them knowing me, and more about me now having a chance to see all the people who could really be impacted—and inspired—to lead healthier, more active lives. It was no longer an Indiana thing, or even an American thing. It was now a global opportunity to connect and inspire.
CARRYING THE TORCH
None of my public recognition can ever compare with the time I was asked to carry the torch through Indiana, on its way to Salt Lake City. The Torch! Maybe the single greatest symbol of athletics, fitness, and sportsmanship. And it's something I was able to do because four years earlier, I had taken the first steps toward a healthier life.
I was asked to be the Grand Marshall at the SUBWAY® 500 NASCAR race. Imagine it: the roar of 100,000 screaming fans, and the anticipation of the world's best drivers. All waiting for me to say the four words that would electrify Martinsville, VA: "Gentlemen, start your engines!"
BRINGING MORE SUCCESS INTO THE SPOTLIGHT
Letters continued to pour in from people who had also lost weight by eating at SUBWAY® Restaurants and being more active. So when some of those folks started making it into commercials, I felt like I was really making a difference.
WORD SPREADS AND THE INSPIRATION BEGINS
I spread the message of better eating to an international audience for the first time in Canada. For a kid from Indiana, it was a big enough deal to be known here in the States. So I still can't believe how so many people–even in other countries–are inspired by my story!
MY FIRST COMMERCIAL
As it turns out, SUBWAY® headquarters was getting dozens of letters from their franchisees asking about me. There was so much buzz that the advertising agency that handled the SUBWAY® account called and asked if I wanted to be in a 30-second spot. Next thing I knew I was off to LA to shoot my first commercial.
MEN'S HEALTH PICKS UP THE STORY
When you once weighed 425 pounds, you never imagine being featured in Men's Health magazine. But that's exactly what happened after Men's Health bought the rights to the story, and told Ryan and me that they planned to run it nationally. And I thought the front page of the college newspaper was exciting!
RECOGNIZED BY MY COLLEGE NEWSPAPER
When you sit down for an interview for a college paper, you just hope someone other than your parents read it. But when Ryan Colman interviewed me in April 1999, my story ended up on the front page with the headline: "From Thick to Thin." You couldn't miss the 'before' and 'after' pictures of me; I looked like two completely different people. To be honest, I thought that was as big as the story would ever get.
IT ALL STARTED WITH A PROMISE
As a freshman at Indiana University, my weight peaked at 425 pounds. It got to the point where I could barely function as a member of society, forget being able to act like a normal 20 year-old. Walking across campus? Forget it. I was even scheduling classes based on how the walk would be. That's when I knew I needed to make a change.