The first time Rep. Mike Simpson, R-Idaho, visited with our editorial board in 2015, I had begun to notice something was either out of place or, eh, missing.
I knew I hadn’t seem much of Simpson since his re-election victory in 2014. But on this day, when we had arranged to discuss the status of his Boulder White-Clouds legislation, I started paying closer attention.
Suddenly it dawned on me that, yes, I had been seeing less and less of Simpson. He had obviously lost weight. And he seemed reticent to reach into the candy dish that had become a temptation ever since we planted it in front of him.
Mike Simpson’s workout playlist: Bruno Mars, Adele, John Legend, Coldplay, the Beatles, the Beach Boys.
Though we on the board are hit-and-miss about putting out that dish for guests, we took some perverse pleasure observing the interaction between a trained dentist and leftover fun-size Halloween treats with questionable expiration dates. So when the nine-term Congressman was scheduled to come in — well, we were ready for him.
On this day, though, Simpson was not only restrained, he addressed the diminishing elephant in the room. He talked about shedding a few pounds (about 25 at the time). He explained he’d been wearing an activity tracker since Congress reconvened in 2015, and he was making progress walking all over the U.S. Capitol, to and from his Rayburn House Office Building and to other destinations in Washington, D.C.
I was motivated to get one of those trackers, a Fitbit, not long after. But I have to tell you, I have yet to see the results Simpson has: down nearly 70 pounds and counting. Kudos to him for losing a couple of spare tires off his girth and cheating all those middle-age maladies — not only that, but sharing his experience and using it to motivate others.
My problem, I think, is that I have been looking at the digital readout on the device with guilt instead of a goal — and Simpson has thrown down such a challenge: the Idaho STEP Challenge, a (I love this) “nonpartisan, nonpolitical interactive event open to the public.”
Stopping short of just coming out and saying we should “Be like Mike” — and some of us should — Simpson is inviting us to walk the virtual miles between Washington, D.C., and Boise over the next 14 months, beginning June 1. According to my rough calculations by crunching some Fitbit data, that amounts to 6,648,000 steps.
OK. What have I got to lose? I’m in — with a couple of exceptions. Congressman, I looked at the map of the virtual route you are taking from D. C. to the City of Trees, and there is no way I’m passing anywhere near Philadelphia and/or Cleveland in July — especially not during the Republican and Democratic conventions.
Do I still have a Snickers every now and then? Yeah. But I don’t drink as many Cokes as I used to, not by a long shot.
Rep. Mike Simpson
Not happening. My virtual path from D.C. is going to join up with the Appalachian Trail, then jog over to Route 66 and then up toward Colorado, and then zigzag my way across some Fourteeners, and then through Park City, Utah, and on back to Boise.
Simpson says he wants to continue to lose weight, and I wish him well. But to apply one of his oft-used appropriations/budget-cutting quotes to weight loss: “Once you have cut through all that discretionary spending, the only thing left are the entitlements.”
The easy stuff is over, congressman. May the best man lose.
How did he do it?
Rep. Simpson lost nearly 70 pounds by eating smaller portions and walking regularly.
Breakfast: Chobani Greek yogurt.
Snacks: Bananas, nuts and Clif Bars.
Meals: Simpson still eats food he enjoys, just less of it.
Favorite recipe: Oven-roasted asparagus
Workout routine: This varies greatly based on his schedule. When in D.C., Simpson works out on his treadmill doing interval training at various times, most often late at night. Home in Idaho, he gets up early and walks in his neighborhood or hits the treadmill.
Rep. Simpson and his office are launching this 2,963-mile challenge next week. Get updates on Simpson’s progress, info on how to sign up for the challenge and details on how to participate in the #HikewithMike campaign.
Source: Office of Rep. Mike Simpson