Biking to the White House
Insulin resistance and hormone imbalance is a widespread problem in the US
It’s a problem for me personally. My fasting glucose was at the upper recommended limit. I went to the doctor and got blood tests. And while the doctor wasn’t concerned, I am. And I set out to do something about it.
I’m not alone
The CDC says that nearly half of the people in the US are either diabetic or pre-diabetic. This condition leads to degenerative diseases like heart disease, cancer, kidney failure, dementia and joint pain. Twenty-five percent of the money spent on all healthcare is spent on diabetes (Source: CDC). Around $237 billion is spent annually on caring for people with diabetes.
My doctor said that it wasn’t necessary for me to test my blood glucose levels. But you can just go to CVS and buy a glucose monitoring kit (pricker, strips and bluetooth monitor). I think that learning about your body is worthwhile and the costs are minimal. I also measure my weight, blood pressure, sleep and activity (using an Apple Watch).
|My stats this morning (1/5/22)||Result|
|Sleep rating using the Auto Sleep App||99|
|Hours of deep sleep||3:34|
Actions are simple
A diet of real food, exercise, fasting, and sleep all affect our hormones. If we want to lose weight, like so many of us do, we need to live a healthy lifestyle. In the last 35 days, I lost 20 pounds by minimizing processed foods made with vegetable oils, unbleached flour and sugar. I also chose to do intermittent fasting (IF). IF is really easy to do once you’re not eating sugar. I just have a cup of coffee in the morning. Between 1:30 and 6:30 pm, I eat two meals that include vegetables and may have some meat, dairy and whole wheat bread.
For exercise, I so something active – walk for 3 miles, swim for a mile, bike for 20 miles. I’m not trying to go fast.
For sleep, I go to bed at 10 every night and try to make sure there are no light sources in the room to wake me up.
I not only want to feel better and avoid diseases (heart disease, cancer and dementia) that my parents and close friends experienced, I also want to be a leader, taking on challenges that will help me help others. Even though I’m not an expert, I can still be a cheerleader. And I can be a role model by improving my performance physically, mentally and communally.
The physical demonstration – An iconic trip
Physical changes are easiest. Basically, I want to lose about 6 more pounds. That means I will have gone from 222 to 196. And I want to bike from my house to the White House in one day. My friend texted that I should see “Joe and Jill”. I don’t think that’s going to happen. More likely, I will spend 2 minutes and take a selfie before catching the 6:05 Amtrak train from Union Station back to Philadelphia.
The challenge isn’t just a matter of biking 160 miles in one day. I have to do it at a pace that leaves room for problems, stops, bridge crossings and navigation errors so that I can actually catch the train home. If I leave at 4:00 am, this gives me 14 hours. I’ll probably leave at 3:30 am. After the ride, I’ll get home to Jenkintown, PA around 9:30 pm.
Bike Trip details I’ve thought about
Practically speaking, it would be stupid to just get on my bike and go. Therefore, I will prepare by riding 200 miles within the week before going. This ride will not be a race. I intend to keep my heart rate low. While it’s further than I’ve ridden in one day, I want to have fun.
Given that it is winter and I’d like to go this month, I expect that it will be a bit cold. If there’s moisture on the ground, I’ll buy some fenders. As long as the temperature is about 20 degrees, I’ll go. Prior to going, I need to bike 200 miles and meet two mapping deadlines (my work). If I don’t make it one day for some reason, then I’ll try again another day.
- Two water bottles
- Battery pack, cables for phone, GPS and watch
- Tire kit – cartridges, spare, fluid
- Chain lube
- Garmin GPS
- Multi tool
- Fuselage bag
- Medium seat pack
- Rain jacket
- Ski goggles
- Gloves – bike
- Gloves – warm
- Wool shirt
- Bike shorts
- Fleece pants
- Wool socks
- Head band
- Face mask (for Covid when I’m around people indoors)
The night before
- Bike is loaded
- Tires are pumped
- Bike is clean
- Chain is clean and lubed
- Lights are charged and on
- I have a spare set of lights
- My clothes are set out
- Route is loaded on GPS
- GPS is fully charged
- Water bottles are full
- I’ve showered, shaved and stretched
The Hatem Bridge over the Chesapeake Bay
This will be an experience. I appreciate the advocacy that went into making this crossing possible. The cost is $8 eastbound, but I’m heading west. Once I cross the bridge, I should be almost halfway to DC.
I realize that I’ll be riding on some busy roads. For this trip, busy roads will have to do. Otherwise it would be a much longer two day trip.
When I get to the White House, I really don’t expect to see much. I guess I will have time to ponder what we can to do bring our country together as I ride.
I’ll reserve a spot on Amtrak and head home. From the White House it is 2.5 miles back to Union Station.
Final thoughts about my “Why?”
This bike ride is a personal celebration to acknowledge that I’ve dropped below a 25 BMI. It’s a way for me to bring attention to the fact that health requires getting our hormones in balance.
For someone reading this post – A thought for you
I encourage you to set a goal that is meaningful to you 5-10 years from now so that you can make life-long changes that your future well-being.
Health is a gift to yourself today and to your future self. It’s the foundation of problem solving for a life that serves others.