What Are the Risks and Benefits of the Body Reset Diet for Weight Loss?

When celebrities report losing considerable amounts of weight, naturally, their followers want to know how they did it. This is what happened when Jessica Simpson took to Instagram in 2019 to announce that she lost 100 pounds in six months after giving birth to her daughter Birdie Mae. In an interview, Simpson's trainer, Harley Pasternak told Us Magazine the former pop star made diet changes based on his book "The Body Reset Diet."

Per Pasternak, "It's three meals and two snacks a day, and each meal has protein, fiber, and fat, and snacks are protein and fiber or protein and fat," said Pasternak, explaining the gist of the diet. "It's about balancing in a way that doesn't make it painful or too much of a departure from your life before that."

Here's the lowdown on how the body reset diet is structured and what to be aware of before you give it a try.

What Is the Body Reset Diet?

According to Pasternak's website, the Body Reset Diet "offers a proven program to hit the reset button, slim down, and get healthy in just fifteen days." Within those 15 days, the diet program is broken up into three phases. Each phase lasts five days and varies in the number of times per day you eat and the foods allowed. Each phase also includes an exercise regime.

First Phase

The first lasts five days, and you're directed to eat five times a day and consume only smoothies and snacks—specifically three smoothies and two snacks.

The smoothies are made from a combo of a liquid base (dairy or non-dairy milk or water), protein (from a powder or plain non-fat Greek yogurt), healthy fat (from nuts, seeds, or avocado), and high-fiber carbs (from fruit and/or veggies). There are plenty of smoothie recipes in the book.

As for snacks, there are several to pick from, like low-fat popcorn, celery sticks with almond butter, or a pear with sliced turkey. The snacks have guidelines around calorie, fiber, and protein content, which are outlined in the book. All of the snacks should be about 150 calories and contain at least 5 grams each of fiber and protein and less than 10 grams of sugar.

Phase one also involves light exercise—walking only (no boot camp classes or other hardcore workouts), at a minimum of 10,000 steps daily.

Second Phase

During phase two, on days six through 10, you drink two smoothies and eat one solid meal plus two snacks per day.

Meals include salads, sandwiches, soups, stir-fries, and other simple dishes. Meal prep is encouraged, and recipes are provided. You also add a five-minute at-home, no-equipment workout three days a week, in addition to the 10,000 steps.

Third Phase

In phase three, days 11 through 15, smoothies are limited to one per day, plus two meals and two snacks. The workouts also ramp up a bit.

Beyond day 15, the book includes "rest of your life" advice (which sounds similar to the diet Simpson followed). In this advice, Pasternak advocates continuing to eat five times a day—specifically one smoothie, two snacks, and two solid meals—with two "free" splurge meals per week, which may include some alcohol. The 10,000 steps a day is advised seven days a week for life, along with brief resistance training sessions five days a week.

Other Notes About the Body Reset Diet

As of the second edition of the book, published in January 2021, the diet plan program added 12 recipes (including four hot soups intended for optional smoothie replacement); grocery shopping lists; and information about sugar in regard to the plan. Pasternak also said in the second edition that starting with the first phase was not necessary if it did not work for your lifestyle at the time you wanted to begin the diet.

Can You Lose Weight?

Health can't say for certain if the Body Reset Diet will help you lose weight—though aspects of the Body Reset Diet may be helpful for weight loss.

For example, one Current Research in Nutrition and Food Science study published in August 2018 noted that smoothies could typically help people add more fruits and vegetables to their diets. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, eating more fruits and vegetables can help you manage weight by making you feel fuller and preventing you from consuming too much fat or calories.

However, Pasternak doesn't have data on the results, either short-term or long-term, and it ultimately depends on someone's starting weight, previous diet, age, and other factors.

In the long term, you're encouraged to do many of the things you've probably heard about from other weight-loss plans, including planning ahead, eating more slowly and mindfully, and sticking to a schedule, all of which is solid weight-loss advice.

The Body Reset Diet isn't a drastic or fad diet. It encourages making healthy choices and developing lifestyle habits. In a nutshell, it takes many solid eating and exercise recommendations and puts them into a concrete, easy-to-understand structure.

The book is straightforward, the strategy is easy to follow, and the advice is reasonable and actionable long term.

Body Reset Diet Downside

The book was first published in 2013, and some of the recommendations seem dated compared to later nutrition science and trends. For example, the plan encourages low-fat and fat-free foods, eggs without the yolk, and some more processed products, like deli turkey, crackers, and pita. In 2022, revised nutrition thinking is focused on whole rather than processed foods and quality fat over total fat.

And while there are options for vegans, vegetarians, and those who follow a gluten-free or dairy-free diet, they aren't readily tagged. You'll have to look through the recipes, and you may need to make substitutions based on the diet you personally follow. For example, if you're vegan you could make some chicken broth soups with vegetable broth instead.

The plan also requires calorie counting or tracking. Many clients find this to be cumbersome or even stressful. But because the Body Reset Diet involves eating five times a day, it would be important to monitor calories to prevent over-consuming if you decide to follow this plan.

The more meals, the higher the chances are that you may overdo it on the calories, even just a bit, which can add up to enough of a surplus to stall weight loss.

A Quick Review

Nutrition is always evolving, making following a book like this from a specific date challenging. While the structure of this plan, a balanced diet, and regular times meals, holds up, if you decide to try it, go for updated versions of foods within certain categories, like grass-fed if you eat dairy, pasture-raised whole eggs for egg eaters, no artificial sweeteners, and simple, clean ingredient packaged foods.

Also, consider ditching the beef, upping seafood if you eat it, and cranking up the number of plant-based meals. Finally, it's unclear how much weight you might lose in 15 days on this plan—or even how much weight you'll lose in six months, like Simpson.

But one thing is certain: losing weight and keeping it off does require finding a strategy you can really stick with, and one that makes you feel well both physically and emotionally. Whether that's this exact plan, or your own modification, in the long run, healthy, sane, and sustainable always wins out over fast and furious.

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