Metabolic Resets

Women eating a snack on a mountain

If you have spent months, or even years, dieting and reducing your calorie intake with little to no results, you are probably feeling frustrated and ready to throw in the towel. But perhaps taking in more calories is actually what you need in order to see weight loss. A metabolic reset might be what you need in order to kick start your body into seeing the weight loss that you want to see. A metabolic reset will give your body a break from dieting, while teaching you how to have a more balanced lifestyle when it comes to eating.

What is a metabolic reset? Simply put, it is a way to “reset” your metabolism by following a plan to first, increase the amount of calories consumed on a daily basis while keeping your body at its current weight for a certain period of time and then dropping your caloric intake in order to bring your body back down to a weight loss phase. Consume more calories in order to lose weight? It certainly sounds different than the “eat less” mentality we are used to hearing.

Here is why it works:

Each person has a BMR, or Basal Metabolic Rate, which is the number of calories our bodies need each day in order to function properly even with no activity. To calculate your BMR, use a calculator such as this one. When our bodies become used to dieting or calorie restriction, the message is being sent that our metabolism needs to slow down and conserve energy. On days where more calories are being consumed, the body will hold on to those calories and convert them to fat since it doesn’t really know when it will receive the proper amount of calories again.

Each person also has a TDEE, or Total Daily Energy Expenditure. It is a number based on your BMR and your activity level. Your TDEE is the number of calories you should consume on a daily basis in order to maintain your weight. You should never consume below your BMR. Remember, this is what your body needs just to function properly!

If you have been restricting your caloric intake for a while and consuming below your BMR, then your metabolism needs to be reset. You should aim to consume TDEE by slowing increasing your caloric intake. Adding an extra 100 calories a day until you reach TDEE is a good goal. Once you are consuming the correct amount of calories each day to simply stay at your current weight, your body is now in a maintenance phase. Your metabolism is able to begin resetting itself. After a certain amount of time at this stage, you can begin cutting your calories (but not below your BMR!) in order to see weight loss. You can cut anywhere between 15-20{e1d1da273b635f16417ba655440684ad637b1b2ba84c62680fba63d76bda128b} of your calories and your body will begin to burn fat.

Let’s look at an example. Mary is a 45 year old female. She is 5’4 and weighs 165 lbs. Her BMR is 1,380. Even if she stays in bed all day, her body needs 1,380 calories each day just to function. She works behind her desk for most of the day, but she does make sure to go for a brisk 30 minute walk each day after she gets off work. When her BMR is calculated alongside her activity level, her TDEE is 1,748. Mary needs to consume 1,748 calories each day just to maintain her current weight. Since she has been restricting her diet for years to only 1,200 calories a day, she has been consuming below her BMR. She hasn’t seen weight loss in a while and feels frustrated and needs to reset her metabolism. She begins to slowly increase her caloric intake in order to jump from 1,200 to 1,748 calories. She stays at this phase for a month in order to give her body a break from the physical and mental stresses of dieting. After a month, she cuts her calorie intake by 15 percent. She was consuming 1,748 calories a day, but now reduces that number to 1,486. Her metabolism has been reset and she should begin to see weight loss. If she has a day where she has an increased activity level and burns more calories than usual, she is going to make sure to add an extra snack in her day to keep her calorie intake above her BMR. After a couple months, she not only finds that she has been able to lose weight again, but also has more energy and a healthier relationship with food.

If you have been punishing your body for a while by restricting your calories to too few calories a day, your metabolism needs retraining. Consult with your doctor and see if resetting your metabolism and training your body to consume calories properly is what you need!


“Eat More to Weigh Less – What is TDEE and BMR? Part 1 of 2” YouTube, uploaded by Eat More 2 Weigh Less. 30 April 2012.

“IIFYM TDEE Calculator”. IIFYM. Accessed 4 August 2017.

“The Metabolism Reset Guide”. Eat More 2 Weigh Less. Accessed 3 August 2017.

“Metabolism Reset Series: Take it Slow”. Eat More 2 Weigh Less. Accessed 3 August 2017.

“Metabolism Reset: What is it? Do you need one?” YouTube, uploaded by Eat More 2 Weigh Less. 29 April 2012.

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