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What Is The Metabolic Reset Diet And Can It Help You Lose Weight?

What Is The Metabolic Reset Diet And Can It Help You Lose Weight?


Personally, I could use a reset button for a lot of things: like for that time I chopped all of my hair off, or for the cringeworthy prom dress I wore circa you don’t need to know.

Another thing people often wish there was a reset button for: their metabolism. That’s why the metabolic reset diet—popularized by former NFL player Steve Weatherford—is so damn appealing. (Also, have you seen Steve? He’s basically a real-life Captain America.)

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Steve’s plan claims that anyone can reset their metabolism to see results, and his web site uses some pretty intense adjectives—“eviscerating,” “shredding,”“detoxifying,”—to really bring the effectiveness of the plan home. Even more: the diet promises to reveal comprehensive results after a mere 30 days—everything from weight loss and improved gut health to bigger muscles.

But before you whip out your credit card, let’s take a deeper look at this whole metabolic reset diet thing; I asked Brigitte Zeitlin, R.D., owner of BZ Nutrition to weigh in on this miracle diet and whether it can actually help you lose weight.

Start from the beginning: What is the metabolic reset diet, anyway?

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There are several versions of the metabolic reset plan (so Steve’s plan isn’t the only one), but they all promote the idea that you can trick your metabolism into speeding up (a.k.a. burning more calories).

“The diet pattern will vary from plan to plan, but they all restrict your calorie intake—your whole grains, dairy, and fruit—and focus on increasing your protein intake,” explains Zeitlin. “The diet lasts for about one to two months, depending on the plan, and proclaims serious weight loss.”

Steve’s plan, for example, offers: a specific nutrition plan that focuses on carb cycling (boosting carbs somedays, limiting them others), a daily workout schedule of just 10 minutes of HIIT training a day, and a supplement regimen to follow.

Sounds interesting; how does the metabolic reset work?

The diet focuses on altering your metabolism, or the rate at which your body breaks down the food you eat and turns it into energy. Faster metabolisms, naturally, burn more calories than slower ones.

If you’ve been told you have a slow metabolism, speeding things up might seem like an easy way to burn more calories. But Zeitlin says the speed of your metabolism has more to do with genetics and physical activity levels than anything else.

“The myth of the metabolic reset diet is that your metabolism needs to—or even can be—reset,” she explains. “There is no research to indicate that our bodies need to ‘reset’ our metabolism to more efficiently burn calories, or any research to indicate that ‘resetting’ your metabolism will keep it running at a faster pace long-term.”

Okay, but will I lose weight on the metabolic reset diet?

Zeitlin admits that the plan may help you lose weight, though it won’t be the kind of weight loss you’re looking for (i.e. long-lasting). The diet is only meant to last a month or two, so the dramatic lifestyle changes—and their results—are not sustainable.

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“What typically happens with these overly restrictive fad diets is that you lose weight quickly, because you are drastically cutting out food groups and calories, only to regain the weight later on when you start to eat normally again,” she says. “And, typically, you regain more than you initially lost.”

In other words, if you’re looking for a quick weight-loss fix, the metabolic reset diet may deliver—but only in the short-term; restrictive diets like this are rarely sustainable in the long run.

Yikes, is the diet even safe?

Though evidence doesn’t support the theory of a metabolic “resetting,” you may still be looking at those before-and-after photos of Steve (see ’em below) and thinking about giving his diet a try. As long as you’re consuming at least 1,200 calories per day from whole foods, Zeitlin says, the diet may not technically be unsafe, but it’s still not your best option.

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“No one is a good candidate for a restrictive diet. The healthy part about weight loss is being able to maintain it for a long period of time,” says Zeitlin. “That is where the health benefits come from: a sustained healthy weight.”

What should I try to speed up metabolism instead?

Rather than suffer through the side effects of a deprivation diet—no one likes to be irritable and hungry all the time—there are easier and healthier ways to actually speed up your metabolism (without a total overhaul), says Zeitlin. “You can increase your physical activity, eat breakfast and not skip meals, get adequate sleep, and increase your water intake,” she recommends.

Focusing on those (totally easy, absolutely doable) tips to speed up metabolism will also help you set up long-term lifestyle habits for better, more sustainable results. “Filling [your] meals with fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein (and cutting back on refined sugar and processed foods) will help boost your weight-loss game, no excessive restrictions required. The weight will come off slower, but it will stay off: the true win!”

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