Dr. Ray Cronise began several self-experiments to lose weight based on the notion that the human body will repair itself in response to stress. He chose to subject himself regularly to brief periods of cold exposure, allowing his body to burn a few additional calories. In this clip, Dr. Ray Cronise shares his personal experiences with cold stress and weight loss.
Ray: To the extreme... Yeah, and you know, there's a lot of misconceptions. People believe that it's much more draconian than it is. And it is socially extreme but it's probably not biologically extreme. You know, we can imagine that in our evolutionary past, there are periods of days or weeks that we didn't have food and the fact that I feel perfectly normal, that we had some conversations earlier there are some things that slowed down a little bit. It's not like you can do everything and words don't come exactly as quickly, but for the most part, it doesn't feel any different than day 1.
And I think one of the reasons I adapt so quickly is because I mostly lived a dietary restriction lifestyle when I'm not doing this. But, anyway, it's interesting that you don't feel hunger, I don't have headaches, I don't feel tired, you know. I just feel like normal me. It's just that food just isn't on the thing to do. So, for us Type As that love to do stuff, you just work and do your thing and you don't have to stop to eat.
Rhonda: What instigated you just to try out not eating for 21 days and what's your...
Ray: Yeah. So, going back part of my own personal problems was I had gained 80 pounds during the time period of when I was at NASA and leaving NASA and the company I had between there for about eight years. And, yeah, I was type 2 diabetic, basically, I had high cholesterol, I had issues.
I lost my weight doing the cold stress and everybody has read my story on that. You know, it's in Tim Ferriss' 4-Hour Body and TedMed Talk out there. But even when I lost weight, all those things still didn't fit. So, I actually had to start looking into diet and I was exercising and I was doing the sort of a body-life plan, six meals a day, cardio alternating with upper and lower body six workouts a week. So, it wasn't like I wasn't doing what they said, but it didn't fix the problems I had.
So, as I started digging deeper, about that time the bow wave of press came with Tim's book and, of course, everybody looked at ice baths because Tim, in a chapter, his self-limits that he put in are all about ice baths. And of course, that's not what I was doing. I did some extreme stuff in the beginning to sort of understand, but I wasn't focused on the ice baths. I was focused on just exposing body to mild cold all the time. You know, I used to say, "Gloves before sweater makes you look better." You know, just always making your body burn just a little bit more calories.
And so, in doing that and getting out there, everybody threw the BS flag. They're like, "You really didn't lose weight that way. The cold you burn more calories." They used to say, and you can find these articles, they used to say, "You burn more calories getting hot." And that's just simply not true. But then, it was said. And so, then started the myths.
And because of the blog and people having questions, and I constantly get inundated with protein, carbs and fat, I want to know how the calorie works. So, fast forward a couple of years, I bought an indirect calorimeter. I had it in the lab, built next to my kitchen. And I just started repeating all the classical experiments. Well, there's this whole body of literature that was done on fasting and it's fascinating.
And, not only as a medical modality that they were actually getting better. Things that get better at the facility on here. People are lowering their blood pressure dramatically, dealing with diabetes, dealing with eczema. You know, I had a guy who is a sweet mate, Hunro [SP], from South Africa that was with me for couple... You know, he was fasting. He was there for a couple of days. He's gone back, but fixed his eczema completely. So, the idea that there's something there that the body when it gets in this really restrictive mode, starts to repair things. That's not so farfetched.
Rhonda: No, it's been shown.
Ray: But it's so long ago. And how do you sell it? Like, people say, "Well how do you sell sitting in a room drinking water?" You know, it sounds crazy. But I think it's something we really need to be ranked at science. I think we need to look at the intersection of this.
So, starting last year, I did a series of experiments where I was changing my diet over a 6-week period. And what I was able to demonstrate is that I was actually able to lose body fat at about the same rate as when I was water fasting, which to me is pretty neat. You know, by just doing some simple changes, that's the kind of thing I used when Penn Jillette lost his weight.
But the point is that in seeing that I could function on so little, it seems like the basis where we start, where your stuff then picks up, which is, "Okay, we get down to this, basically, we're not overly nourished now, what things do we need to deal with? What other kinds of supplements? What kind of things we need so that we don't get the the dietary restriction without malnutrition? How do we add that back? And now, having experienced it, it seems like something that I think will be a part of my lifestyle for the rest of my life.
A bow wave is the wave that forms at the bow or "forward part" of a ship when it moves through the water. As the bow wave spreads out, it defines the outer limits of a ship's wake.
The practice of long-term restriction of dietary intake, typically characterized by a 20 to 50 percent reduction in energy intake below habitual levels. Caloric restriction has been shown to extend lifespan and delay the onset of age-related chronic diseases in a variety of species, including rats, mice, fish, flies, worms, and yeast.
A waxy lipid produced primarily in the liver and intestines. Cholesterol can be synthesized endogenously and is present in all the body's cells, where it participates in many physiological functions, including fat metabolism, hormone production, vitamin D synthesis, and cell membrane integrity. Dietary sources of cholesterol include egg yolks, meat, and cheese.
A collective term for a group of conditions characterized by itchy or inflamed skin with a rash-like appearance. Seven types of eczema have been identified: atopic dermatitis, contact dermatitis, dyshidrotic eczema, nummular eczema, seborrheic dermatitis, and stasis dermatitis.
Indirect calorimetry calculates heat that living organisms produce by measuring either their production of carbon dioxide and nitrogen waste, or from their consumption of oxygen. This can be combined with other experimental methods to investigate numerous aspects of nutrient assimilation, thermogenesis, the energetics of physical exercise, and the pathogenesis of metabolic diseases.
Type A and Type B personality theory describes two contrasting personality types. In this theory, personalities that are more competitive, outgoing, ambitious, impatient and/or aggressive are labeled Type A, while more relaxed personalities are labeled Type B.
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