Sunday, May 29, 2011

Jared, the Subway Guy

When I read the words, "Subway Guy," on the cover of a nonfiction library book, I grabbed it. Naturally, I assumed the book was set in New York City's subways; I'd lived in New York nearly thirty years. Later, at home, I realized the book featured the guy who lost 250 pounds eating sandwiches from Subway. 


I never would have bothered if I'd known that.

Then I began to wonder what force led this young man to adopt such a strange solution. Curious, I began to read. I followed Jared into the doctor's office when he weighed 425 pounds. The doctor gave him a death sentence. Lose weight or else. This motivated Jared. Just a college student, he didn't want to lose his whole life.

Using his doctor's diet booklet as a guide, Jared went to the grocery store and filled his cart with okay food, shopping in sectionslike producethat he'd hardly ever visited. Then he went home to cook, a rare activity, and to eat smaller portions of food than he ever had. But he just couldn't hack it. Two days later, he scrapped the doctor's diet booklet.

Boy, did I empathize! Now what?

Next he brought home frozen foods, low-calorie, complete meals. The only problem was taste. Lasagna like chalk. Cheese like melted plastic. Dry turkey with bland stuffing. You get the picture.

After that, he began chasing the promises of commercial diet plans. He tried out diet shakes, but ended up pigging out at a buffet. Still he dreamed of weighing less than 200 pounds, he dreamed of being without the health problems that his weight caused him. So he continued to read, but the other diets he encountered made no sense: don't eat protein, or eat only fruit or just rice.

Fortunately, Jared lived in a building with a Subway in its corner. He dropped in for a sandwich. While he waited, he picked up a Subway dietary guide and realized he could lose weight with a careful selection of Subway food. So, as you may know, that's what he did. Black coffee for breakfast, Subway for lunch and for supper.

How clever! I thought, even though I knew Jared's program would never work for me. Eating the same thing day after day after day would bore me. But I admire the way Jared stuck to his goal and, through trial and error, figured out a way of eating that worked for him. He still eats at Subway, so he not only lost weight but he maintained his loss.

Reading Jared, the Subway Guy felt invigorating. I not only satisfied my curiosity, I put down the book with the sense that I'd met a winsome young man. Nice to pass his way. 

And these days, I pass his way frequently. Every time I drop into my local Subway for an illicit dish of Goodrich ice cream, I see Jared, thin as the cardboard that holds him up, displaying a pair of pants nearly as wide as he is tall. I tip my hat. "Nice going, Jared."

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