Thursday, January 20, 2011

Jared, the Subway Guy

I like books on health and nutrition, but I never read diet books (no real need for them – I’ve always been underweight). And I certainly never thought I would review one.

But back when I had a television, I saw Subway commercials starring Jared, who was apparently an ordinary guy who had lost a lot of weight by eating Subway sandwiches. So when I saw a book called Jared, the Subway Guy, I had to check it out and see what the hype was about.

The book is subtitled “Winning Through Losing : 13 Lessons for Turning Your Life Around”, but that’s just filler. One of the lessons, for instance, is “the harder you work, the luckier you get”. Basically, it’s the kind of thing that would never sell if it wasn’t attached to the story of how Jared weighed 425 pounds and how he shed over half of that.

There are two things I like about this book, and one I don’t. The first thing I enjoyed was the breezy, self-deprecating style, which made me laugh more than once. Once, Jared tried eating food like broiled chicken breast and green beans. Unfortunately, he was used to such gargantuan portions that he was still hungry after his healthy but relatively small meal.

And my stomach made so much noise I didn’t want to go out. People might think I’d swallowed a midget whole, and he was yelling for help inside my gut.

The other is Jared’s description of his life when he was obese. While some parts of it are probably exaggerated, others seem only too likely – like Jared supplying the punchlines of the fat jokes because he’s heard them all before. People with that condition are often stereotyped or are figures of fun, like Homer Simpson, so this book might help to show how difficult their lives can be. Jared even claims that he chose college courses based on which lecture halls the classes were taught in. Because if the desks were fixed to the chairs, he couldn’t fit behind them.

He tried to lose weight by eating healthy homemade food and TV dinners. It didn’t work, but then he discovered Subway. And after learning that Subway offers sandwiches which contain under 6 grams of fat, he embarked on a completely new diet. Black coffee for breakfast, a turkey sub plus baked chips for lunch and a veggie sub plus baked chips for dinner. Every day.

That was the part I didn’t like. Even if he could stick with the same monotonous food day in and day out, that wasn’t a balanced diet – where were the Vitamin C and calcium, to name just two nutrients? I suppose that if you were used to eating 10,000 calories a day, most of them from Big Macs and pizza, anything would be an improvement, but the part where his doctor approved of the Subway diet seemed dubious at best.

On the plus side, he does make it clear that anyone wanting to lose weight has to find something individual that works for them. Switching to the all-Subway-all-the-time station worked for him, but he exercised as well, after losing about a hundred pounds.

So all in all, this book was an inoffensive (though not informative) read. I’d just have liked it to describe the nutritional content of more sandwiches, because I enjoy eating at Subway’s every now and then. Usually the meatball marinara.

To readers : if you eat at Subway, what’s your favorite sandwich?


kim said...

Hopefully he supplemented with vitamins, but he really lost weight because subway did the portion control for him. He was only eating around a thousand calories, plus walking. It would be good to have a more varied diet but I can see how it would be easier to stay disciplined about it if you get in a routine and stay there, especially if you have such a huge hurdle to pass with that much weight. I was reading something recently how while he doesn't adore the fame he attributes his continued low weight to it and the fact that he doesn't want to be ashamed of gaining it back in the public eye. Good review :)

Unknown said...

I've only been to Subway a couple of times, but I like the meatball marinara too. Weird, yet cool.

So was it just hype that got you to read this?

Anonymous said...

I agree with a lot of what you said, including my affinity for meatball subs. :)

Shannon said...

If you can survive on MacDonalds, you can survive better on Subway! Still, I agree. While it's a move in the right direction and if it works for you, do it, it really shouldn't be a life-long thing. It's better to branch out and make sure you get all the nutrients you need. Always good to read a success story, though.

Marian Perera said...

Kim - The book didn't mention vitamins, though it's possible Jared could have taken them and just not mentioned it. It was long on story and short on science, so I wouldn't be surprised if that were the case.

And I have an idea what he means about not liking the fame. When I did a Google search of his name, I came across a fairly convincing-looking hoax saying he had died from gastric bypass complications.

Neutral Fire - Yes, just the hype. This is probably the only diet book in the world where I recognized the author.

Marguerite Butler said...

I'll publically confess my love for Subway. I like to vary what I get, but my favorite is the turkey on whole wheat with spinach instead of lettuce. Nom!

I usually avoid diet books, but I have enormous respect for anyone who has lost that much weight. I struggle with mine and it's never easy.

Marian Perera said...

livininsanity - Nice to hear from someone else who likes meatball subs! I don't know anyone IRL who eats those, for some reason.

Shannon - It also makes me wonder, did Jared go out with friends, or on dates? If so, did these social events have to be at Subway, or did he just not eat at any other location?

Even if eating only one type of food saved Jared's life, it also strikes me as limiting in more ways than just the nutritional one.

Marian Perera said...

Marguerite - Do different Subways serve different toppings? I don't ever recall seeing spinach offered.

Though now I'd love to have a Middle Eastern-type Subway sandwich with garlic sauce, tabbouleh and pickled turnip.