“Extreme solutions do not add up to lifestyle change.”
An Afternoon with Rich Roll
This afternoon, while skimming through previous episodes on the Rich Roll Podcast, I stumbled across one of the more interesting interviews Rich has conducted. There is nothing better than lounging around with flip-flops and a cup of tea on the veranda, catching an episode in sunshine bliss.
My search did not disappoint! But, how could I have missed it?! There it was, posted back in February of this year, a podcast with Ray Cronise, one of the leading experts on weight loss, health, and longevity. Better yet, Cronise also eats a plant-based diet! Double score!
I did not know much about Ray Cronise before today. One of my colleagues raves about “Cronise Wisdom,” wisdom clearly backed by experience as a leading scientist in his field. He is also quick to remind his readers that his opinions are backed by solid peer-reviewed evidence. Ray Cronise is no doubt the quintessential “anti-pseudo-scientist.” That is seriously appealing, as nothing bothers me more than the “quick to believe anything” movement that pervades.
I listened eagerly to the first several minutes of the podcast, feeling quite exhilarated while searching for gems in the interview. Unfortunately, my excitement quickly turned to dismay.
What Cronise Believes
Cronise promotes four approaches to weight loss:
1) Utilizing lower body temperatures to increase metabolic efficiency.
2) Water fasting.
3) Lowering caloric intake.
4) Diet is king! Exercise may not be the least bit necessary to achieve a healthy weight.
Cronise is his own subject. He has completed several fasts, the longest reported at 24 days. In fact, while fasting, he only consumes filtered water. Now, if you thought juice fasting was over the top, a filtered water fast pushes that limit right over the edge. Cronise states that as a culture, we consume far more nutrients than we need, well supported by literature indicating we could easily cut 30% off our caloric intake for improved health and longevity.
At one point during the interview, Cronise becomes ironically critical of the extremes. He argues two primary forces making weight loss not achievable to the masses, the “extreme” athlete movement and the restaurant industry – Promoting athletics and food culture is ultimately discouraging, and only serves these multi-billion dollar industries.
I was actually uncomfortable listening this portion of the interview, knowing that Rich Roll is an extreme athlete himself (multiple Ironman races in a row, etc.).
What I disagree With
Fasting is extreme! Fasting for 24 days is out of this world! I say this, not because I believe fasting is impossible to achieve. However, I look back at promoters of the juice fasting industry, folks like Joe Cross, who admit that going weeks without food is daunting. Joe discovered that once he stopped his fast, the one that made him famous in “Fat Sick and Nearly Dead,” weight slowly crept back on.
Extremes do not work. I think that Ray Cronise is correct about that. However, he fails to see the extreme unsustainable nature of this own approach, an approach that he profits from.
If you want to lose weight, and keep it off, you must accept the journey. Weight loss is an overhaul of your life and your very way of being. The overhaul takes not just days, weeks, or months…it takes a lifetime!
Have a listen for yourself. In the spirit of good science, I encourage you to listen to the entire three-hour interview and form your own opinions. You will not hear any “pseudo-science” here! That rocks! However, what you will hear, is a scientist using data to promote an unsustainable approach to weight loss, specifically fat.