Fifteen years ago, 425-pound Jared Fogle shed more than half of his person on the Subway diet.
From then on Fogle was inextricably linked to the national fast-food chain’s brand, appearing in more than 300 commercials and, for better or worse, becoming the grinning, bespectacled face of weight loss in America.
Following in Fogle’s footsteps is Dov Abramovsky, a 29-year-old former lawyer who was once heavy enough to elicit complaints from his fellow airplane passengers.
“I can’t even express to you how hurtful that was,” Abramovsky said. “Someone would just lean over and say, ‘You know, you sitting next to me stole my flight.’”
When Abramovsky’s mounting food addiction put him at 380 pounds in late 2010, he decided to “fight (it) like cancer.”
Through Subway’s Fresh Fit diet, Weight Watchers and meticulously crafted portions, Abramovsky lost more than 200 pounds in less than two and a half years, his affinity for the franchise building steadily. It grew so intense, in fact, that he quit his day job this past January to buy an underperforming Subway restaurant in Western Lights Plaza.
Now Abramovsky wants to build a Subway in Syracuse’s economically distressed South Side.
Quick-service restaurants are “where the jobs are going,” he said, and the restaurant would easily employ 10 people. Plus, he insists, it could attract other small businesses to the neighborhood.
“Ball’s in your court, City of Syracuse, federal government and whoever it is that comes up with the loans you keep (hearing) about on TV,” he said. “Somebody give me one. I want to build.”
He still hangs onto his “before” pants with a 52-inch waistline, a desperate purchase from the Big & Tall section of Charney’s Men’s Clothing.
Without being prompted during a recent visit to his restaurant, Abramovsky cheerfully hoisted them up alongside his now size-30 waist and delivered the Subway slogan:
“That’s right — eat fresh, fools.”