A lot of my clients ask me numerous questions about nutrition, weight loss and gain, but one of the most prominent ones is surely when do calories reset.
Most people inquiring about this question are looking to change their eating habits or diet plan, so I understand why it’s so important to them.
The answer may surprise you; the body doesn’t reset calories on its own, it’s you who determines when your caloric intake resets!
This will be explained in detail in a later section.
Table of Contents
- What Are Calories?
- Do Calories Reset At Midnight?
- Do Calories Reset After Sleep?
- When Do Calories Reset?
- When Should I Reset My Calorie Count?
- The Science Behind Diets And Calorie Reset
- Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
What Are Calories?
Let’s cover the basics before we move on to the main question of this article.
Calories are basically energy expressed in numbers understandable to everyone.
Calorie sources are divided into three main subgroups: carbohydrates, proteins and fat.
Carbs and proteins contain 4 calories per gram, while fat is more than double that number, 9 calories per gram.
Some scientists also include pure alcohol as a fourth calorie source, averaging between 5 to 6 calories per mL consumed.
The latter is important because many people consume a lot of “empty” calories, without ever being aware that it may be the reason why their weight loss is hindered.
Do Calories Reset At Midnight?
Only if you choose to reset them at midnight.
The thing is, while the body has a 24-hour oscillation that happens every day, called the circadian rhythm, it doesn’t differentiate between midnight and noon.
What does that mean for us?
It means that calories don’t reset at a set period of time, no matter what time you imbue them.
The important thing to remember is the measurement of caloric intake throughout a 24-hour period.
This means that if you weigh yourself at 8am in the morning, this is when your caloric count resets.
What I’m trying to get at, your caloric reset depends entirely on you.
Do Calories Reset After Sleep?
Once again, it entirely depends on you. Most people weigh themselves in the morning and start their calorie count from that point, but that doesn’t always have to be the case.
People working night shifts or at other “weird” times may have an entirely different caloric reset time.
Others opt for weighing themselves before work, as they skip breakfast and only start eating during their lunch break.
The key point to get from this is that calories don’t reset at any given point in time, but are determined by your own decisions and lifestyle.
When Do Calories Reset?
Calories don’t reset at midnight or in the morning as many people suspect, although they might. For the body, it doesn’t make any difference at all.
This means that you’ll have to take the wheel and determine what the best time to reset your calories is.
For example, let’s say that you don’t really eat breakfast or lunch due to a hectic work schedule.
You come home and have a big meal in the afternoon. What do you think the best time to reset your calories would be?
That’s correct, right before your big afternoon meal.
This all tells us that there is no universal calorie reset count determined by the body, you just have to pick a time and consistently stick to it.
When Should I Reset My Calorie Count?
This is a very interesting question for a couple of reasons.
In my professional experience, I find that people have the most success resetting their calorie count in the morning.
You’re probably asking yourself why and the answer is quite simple; the body processes and digests all the foods you eat during the day while you sleep.
That’s why it makes the most sense to reset them in the morning, when you’re fresh and about to have breakfast.
This doesn’t mean that resetting them before your workout or work is wrong, just that resetting them in the morning is the most convenient time for a majority of people.
Naturally, if it’s not possible for you to reset your calorie count in the morning or you’re having trouble maintaining that routine, you’ll simply pick an option most suitable for you.
I’ve heard of people resetting their calorie count right after they go to sleep and remember, there’s nothing wrong with that, so long as you can consistently stick to that schedule.
The Science Behind Diets And Calorie Reset
Some diets work better when you reset your calorie count at a certain period.
For example, if you’re doing IM (intermittent fasting) for eight hours a day, you can easily choose to reset your calorie count either at the beginning or end of your eating period.
The other 16 hours you’re fasting don’t play much of a role, since you’re not eating at all, so it wouldn’t make sense to reset them during that time.
The takeaway is that you’ll have to adjust your calorie reset according to your diet, lifestyle and work.
Taking all this into account, you’ll be able to choose the perfect time to reset your calories and start your journey towards the best version of yourself!
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Does your calorie intake reset at midnight?
No, it resets whenever you make an active decision to start measuring your calorie count.
How long does it take for a calorie deficit to show?
It depends on the person and their current weight. Some people experience rapid weight loss right at the beginning, while others have to wait a couple of weeks for results to show.
How often do you recalculate your calorie deficit?
It entirely depends on how much weight you’re losing. My recommendation is to recalculate it every time you lose five pounds. That ensures your caloric deficit won’t turn into weight maintenance.
Is there a calorie deficit before or after calories are burned?
Calories are burned naturally by the body each and every second you’re alive. It takes energy to maintain homeostasis in your body, so there’s no “before” or “after” in this equation.
How long can you stay in the same calorie deficit?
For most people, it’s about two to four weeks, but that may be different depending on your starting weight and amount of weight loss you’re experiencing.