Calories In-Calories Out approach...will it work for me?

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kmunson

Joined: Apr 13
Posts: 89

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Posted: 07 Aug 2013, 22:40
OK to try to give people a chance to state their case to new people to the site...this thread is for the CICO people to tell new people why this is the diet for them.

NO Low carb people should post on this thread! This is strictly for the CICO people ONLY! Wink The other side will have their own thread to make their case on. This is for CICO questions only.

I am a sponge...tell me what benefits there is to using this method of weight loss...Exclamation
kingkeld

Joined: Sep 09
Posts: 1,986

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Posted: 08 Aug 2013, 02:15
I think this is a GREAT question, and a GREAT initiative. And I'll be happy to be the first one to pitch in.

Let's see...

When I started my weight loss journey, I was morbidly obese, at 360 lbs. I was 41 years old, and I am VERY sure I already had one foot in the grave.

I knew I had to do something, and I had to do it now.

I needed to do something efficient, and not waste my time.

So, I decided to go online and research what works and what doesn't work.

It honestly didn't take me long to realize that it's a jungle out there, and there is SO MUCH different information. So, instead of reading through gazillions of diets and systems, I decided to find people WHO HAD ALREADY SUCCEEDED and take a long hard look at what they were doing.

One of the places I found was FatSecret. I started talking to the "seniors" here, and started looking at their approach.

What they pretty much ALL had in common was this:

They all counted calories. They all went for a smaller calorie deficit. Nothing too crazy, but 500-1000 calories lower than their calorie burn.

They all lost weight fast, and most important, it seemed that they were able to maintain it.

I'm happy to say that most of these people are no longer on fatsecret, and I assume they are just living their happy, healthy lives, just as they should be.

So, I started copying their approach. I lost weight. Fast. Actually TOO fast, as I started pushing harder and harder, going lower in calories. Then I stalled.

I was stalled for a few months until I upped my calorie intake, developing what I like to call the Indulgence Day Diet. It's basically shifting the calorie intake around now and then, and STILL counting calories and overall create a calorie deficit of an average of 500-1000 per day. No magic whatsoever.

I have now lost the weight I need to lose. Sure, there have been bumps and holes in the road I chose for my journey, but the number of days that this has been TRULY hard to do has been very limited.

Looking back, I don't feel that I ever truly struggled. I always felt that I was in control. I always felt that I knew what I was doing. I always felt that I could eat anything I wanted, as long as it was within my RDI.

If you only KNEW how many gallons of ice cream, how much bread, how much candy and chocolate I have downed through my weight loss journey, and STILL lost the weight I needed to... You'd be SHOCKED!

If you ask me, it's ALL about keeping your weight loss journey simple, keep your calorie intake a little lower than your calorie burn, and it's all good.

Sure, you learn that some foods makes you satisfied longer time than others, and some foods even can make you feel hungrier than you were before you started eating.

We learn to identify these trigger foods or helper-foods as we go. By counting calories we see the caloric cost of what we eat, and we learn to adjust accordingly.

You learn that some foods trigger urges to eat more. And you can TOTALLY give in to this AS LONG AS YOU STILL HAVE A CALORIE DEFICIT! Work out a little more, have a salad for dinner, or heck - compensate tomorrow! It's all good.

Doing my research, I also learned that essentially ALL diets, Low carb, Atkins, Paleo, Dukan, everything else under the sun, essentially work because they in different ways nudge us to lower our calorie intake and/or move more. It's common sense. We all know it and we've all heard it through our entire life.

So if I know that it's ALL about lowering the calorie intake, why go different other directions to make it more complicated and more restrictive simply to accomplish this what is obvious and right in front of me?

Why restrict carbs, or what ever else some random diet dictates, when you can simply go to the source of the issue and just start learning about what you're eating and adjust it to your new lifestyle? It wouldn't make sense to me to NOT simply lower my calorie intake.

Again, take a look at those who are at the finishing line of their weight loss journey. Learn from them. You will see that most of them are going for a calorie deficit rather than anything else.

I am now one of the "seniors" here on Fatsecret BECAUSE I have learned from the other seniors who succeeded. I owe my success to them. Hopefully, I can help others to success too.

I truly believe in paying it forward, and there is simply no better way.

Keld.
"Losing weight is never about eating as little as possible"
- Kingkeld.
"You wouldn't worry so much about what others think of you if you realized how seldom they do.
― Eleanor Roosevelt
"Do. Or do not. There is no trying."
- Master Yoda.

I went from morbidly obese to being the owner of TABDIG - a weight loss coaching service that helps people worldwide losing weight. It's been an amazing journey. From October 4th 2010 to April 3rd 2012 I lost half my body weight - 80 kilos/170 lbs. Since then, I have had two cosmetic surgeries to remove excess skin. I have now quadrupled my strength, gained several kilos in muscle mass, and today I focus on building muscle, optimizing my diet, living healthy and helping people to reach the very same goals. I am stronger, healthier, thinner, happier! If you feel that you need help losing weight, don't hesitate to send me an inbox message.
riocaz

Joined: Jun 12
Posts: 654

      quote  
Posted: 08 Aug 2013, 02:27
Keld pretty much said it all. CICO works. All other diets are essentially a way of hiding the CICO from you either to make it easier. Or as a cynical way of selling their products or weekly classes.

42" jeans(25/01/2013) 40"(28/02/2013) 38"(20/03/2013) 36"(25/05/2013)
Down from 60" waist jeans since June 21st 2012.

Still keeping to my 26" jeans, but they are too tight for comfort. too many tasty things in the US, and over Xmas.

Onwards and Downwards! Smile
http://www.menu52.com/
eKatherine

Joined: Aug 12
Posts: 1,266

      quote  
Posted: 08 Aug 2013, 07:25
I'm starting to understand the issue here, which is a misunderstanding to think that CICO is a specific weight loss diet or system. It is not.

CICO is a theory that states that when the net calories consumed are greater than the calories burned a person will put on weight, and if net calories consumed are less than those burned, the person will lose. It says that when a person is gaining weight, it must be that they have consumed more calories than they burned, and if they are losing, they must have consumed fewer calories than they burned.

CICO has been simplified to suggest that for any and every person to lose weight, all they need to do is eat less and move more.

CICO itself makes no value judgment on one type of weight loss diet being superior to another. The high carb diet is governed by CICO, as is the low carb diet. As also are high protein, cabbage soup diet, Hcg, South Beach, Dukan, and any other crazy or sensible weight loss diet a person might undertake. As are diets that aren't intended to result in weight loss, like vegan or paleo.

All the weight I lost I lost because I consumed fewer calories than I burned, sometimes keeping my portions small visually, sometimes tracking this or that and/or the other thing. Sometimes controlling for one thing or another.

A couple of years ago I lost 30 pounds by limiting my eating to a 6 hour window and going on long walks. I wasn't expecting to lose weight. I wasn't intending to. But it happened, and was a reflection of how CICO works.

CICO does not even imply calorie counting, tracking, or exercise. Restriction by portion control rather than counting calories is still governed by CICO. Restriction by eliminating foods that a person may consider empty calories is governed by CICO. Weight loss by exercise alone or by restriction alone is governed by CICO.

So the question here is a bit weird. No matter what strategy a dieter is using, if it works for them, it is CICO in action. If it doesn't work for them, it is CICO in action as well.
kingkeld

Joined: Sep 09
Posts: 1,986

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Posted: 08 Aug 2013, 08:44
eKat - since there no "like" button here, allow me to send this your way:



You got it EXACTLY right. CICO is not a diet. It's simply a physical fact. Our body abides to it whether we try or not.

Eat less than you burn and you'll lose weight.
Eat more than you burn and you'll gain weight.
Eat the same as you burn and you will maintain your weight.

Simple, isn't it? Smile
"Losing weight is never about eating as little as possible"
- Kingkeld.
"You wouldn't worry so much about what others think of you if you realized how seldom they do.
― Eleanor Roosevelt
"Do. Or do not. There is no trying."
- Master Yoda.

I went from morbidly obese to being the owner of TABDIG - a weight loss coaching service that helps people worldwide losing weight. It's been an amazing journey. From October 4th 2010 to April 3rd 2012 I lost half my body weight - 80 kilos/170 lbs. Since then, I have had two cosmetic surgeries to remove excess skin. I have now quadrupled my strength, gained several kilos in muscle mass, and today I focus on building muscle, optimizing my diet, living healthy and helping people to reach the very same goals. I am stronger, healthier, thinner, happier! If you feel that you need help losing weight, don't hesitate to send me an inbox message.
Nimm

Joined: Dec 10
Posts: 669

      quote  
Posted: 08 Aug 2013, 08:50
eKatherine wrote:
CICO does not even imply calorie counting, tracking, or exercise. Restriction by portion control rather than counting calories is still governed by CICO. Restriction by eliminating foods that a person may consider empty calories is governed by CICO. Weight loss by exercise alone or by restriction alone is governed by CICO.


eKatherine beat me to it. Defining the terms here is important, as the flamewars happening in the related threads demonstrate - strawmen are everywhere. People use "calories in, calories out" as a shorthand for many different ideas, some of which make sense and others of which do not.

I do not consider CICO to be a diet strategy. It's a simple physical truism, no longer really debatable, and supported by decades of well-controlled research. We will expend a certain amount of energy over a given time. If you consume and digest and absorb less food energy than you expend, then the difference must be made up from somewhere, namely the energy stored in our bodies. If we consume, digest, and absorb more energy than we expend, our mass will increase. When we test this in the lab and control the amount of food consumed - instead of relying on notoriously inaccurate self-reporting, or free-living conditions - and accurately measure energy expended, as in metabolic ward studies, this rule is always confirmed.

Not a single study under controlled conditions has ever found an increase in body mass during an energy deficit, regardless of the percentage of carbohydrate, fat, or protein in the diet, and not a single study under controlled conditions has ever found a decrease in body mass during an energy surplus.
(For a little more detail in plain English, see Why Calories Count)

The idea that reduction in body mass can be explained solely by a reduction in carbohydrate, without a calorie deficit, is not supported by the existing research. See, for example, Relatively high-protein or ‘low-carb’ energy-restricted diets for body weight loss and body weight maintenance?
In that study, the researchers gave subjects four different diets with the same amount of calories: 1) a normal protein, normal carb diet, 2) a normal protein, low-carb diet, 3) a high protein, low carb diet, and 4) a high protein, normal carb diet. Remember, each diet had the same amount of calories. If lowering the carbohydrate content of a diet is responsible for weight loss but total energy is not, then you would expect that more weight would be lost in the low-carb conditions, than when more carbs - but the same total calories - were consumed. This did not happen.
It was instead the high protein conditions that caused the most weight loss. When protein and calories were held constant, changing the fat/carb composition of the rest of the diet did not affect weight loss.

Having said all that, the fact that we need an energy deficit to reduce our body mass doesn't mean much else. As eKatherine said, it doesn't even imply calorie counting, let alone a particular diet composition or exercise routine. It doesn't imply crash dieting or starvation. It certainly doesn't imply a high-carb diet.

Even though an energy deficit is a simple idea, it can be very difficult in practice. It takes patience or a lot of sophisticated equipment to get more than a rough estimate of how much energy we expend. And then tracking calories and measuring food to ensure we are below that number is fraught with difficulties - calorie labels are estimates with an allowable margin of error. More importantly, we each absorb and digest food imperfectly. For example, eat peanuts without chewing them much and you might notice they pass through without much digestion. Unabsorbed calories don't get added to the equation, but it's hard to know exactly how much of what we're eating is simply passing right through us. So there's a lot of room for error when trying to count calories, and those errors can frustrate progress.

This is where individual diet strategies such as low-carbing come into play. There are many, many ways to create and sustain an energy deficit, and low-carb is one of them. For that reason, I think of it as merely a subset of "CICO," and the two ideas do not have to be in tension. Because while the quantity of food energy consumed will determine the amount of your body mass, the quality of the diet will affect your health, body composition, mood, energy levels, and general ability to adhere to your diet. And at the end of the day, the only diet that will "work" for you is the one you can adhere to. For some people, that means low-carb. Some people report that it reduces their hunger and improves their mood, making a convenient lifestyle change that allows them to reduce mass without struggling, without undue hunger, and without calorie counting.

Other people, however, find low-carbing intolerable. They can't tolerate it physically and/or as a lifestyle. That's up to you, though. Nearly everyone, however, finds that hunger is more easily managed with a diet that is heavier in protein and whole or less-processed foods. You may be able to lose fat on the infamous Twinkie Diet, but it wouldn't be the healthiest for you, or very pleasant to be battling the hunger all the time.

CICO is an inescapable truth, whether we want to believe it or not. It's not a matter of "everyone is different, who's to say?" or on which the evidence is conflicting. Decades of controlled lab results are unanimous. But of course, the free-living studies are not - because there are many different paths to a sustainable and healthy energy deficit, and what is sustainable for one person might not be for someone else.

So, when you ask if CICO will "work" for you - the answer depends on what you mean. Will you reduce your body mass by consuming less food energy than you expend? Yes. Absolutely. The more pertinent question, though, is how you achieve and sustain that energy deficit. And on that point, there is no single "CICO approach." You don't need to starve or measure and track calories to take in less energy than you expend. Calorie counting is one way. Eyeballing everything and just eating 2/3 of what's on your plate might be another way. Atkins and low-carbing are another way. And so on. What "works" the best is whatever strategy you can live with indefinitely.



qapl

Joined: Jun 13
Posts: 16

      quote  
Posted: 08 Aug 2013, 08:55
ok i am also new on this journey and have a question to either ekatherine or Kingkeld. You both speak about an eating window (6-8hours) what do you think the actual importance or role this plays in the journey? if i go by the absolute basics of CICO as i understand it then as long as i have more CO than CI then i should be good. Therefore when i have CI should not make a difference right?
Nimm

Joined: Dec 10
Posts: 669

      quote  
Posted: 08 Aug 2013, 09:00
qapl wrote:
Therefore when i have CI should not make a difference right?


Meal timing will not affect fat loss unless it affects your hunger to the point that you consume more or less total energy.

As such, you can (and probably should) time your meals so that it makes the process easiest for you. Some people find intermittent-fasting approaches helpful, and only eat in an 8-hour window of time each day. Other people manage their hunger better with the standard 3 meals. Some do better with even more frequent and smaller meals.

Meal timing will matter, but the effect is indirect. Go with personal preference.
kmunson

Joined: Apr 13
Posts: 89

      quote  
Posted: 08 Aug 2013, 09:11
qapl I was told that you burn calories while you sleep (If you don't have food to burn at this time then it burns fat). If you eat too late in the day you may eat something that burns easier than fat. Then while you sleep you burn off those carbs and protein from the food instead of the fat stores in your body. That may be an oversimplified version...but that understanding has caused me to try not to eat after 7 pm every day. Kingkeld uses the window of eating during the day and has had much success I understand...so hopefully he will also have time to respond. He can probably explain it better than I can.
PS Welcome to the site. There are awesome roll models on here to help you with your journey. Ask questions...that is how we will learn and succeed!
Roblaw2b

Joined: Jan 12
Posts: 48

      quote  
Posted: 08 Aug 2013, 09:15
Though there have been some recent studies suggesting that higher caloric intake in the morning seems more effective than in the evening.

I don't think I have the time or inclination to eat a thousand calorie breakfast every day - but the one major change I've made compared to last efforts is to try and insert a modest amount of fat into my breakfast (one egg two or three days per seek, melted cheese on an English muffin a couple days per week.. milk with cereal one or two days per wee) and that SEEMS to be working much better than any previous effort.

Down 24 lbs. since May. Slow but steady. I think the slight increase in breakfast fat (my theory) has reduced my cravings later in the day.

But, I still ascribed to the CICO theory, and am scrupulous in my recording of everything I consume - and when in doubt, guess HIGH. Try to never cheat myself by possibly guessing low in the calorie count.

so far, so good.
erika2633

Joined: Nov 11
Posts: 799

      quote  
Posted: 08 Aug 2013, 09:15
I'm with you guys - the whole reason that all of these different 'diets' or WOE are successful is because they create a calorie deficit. I see some of the LC'ers talking about how if they lower their carbs, it curbs their appetite.

Ok, so that's how it makes you eat less and create a calorie deficit (the basic idea of CICO!!) But instead it's all this mumbo-jumbo about insulin production and fat storage. I'd really like to see someone eat 5000 calories/day of Atkins bars and veggies and see if they lose weight...

Personally, I like to focus on what I can have, instead of what I can't. I like to have a goal of eating more protein instead of restricting other things. So then when I reach for a snack, it's a matter of how much "bang for the buck" can you get out of the calories? If I only have X calories to "spend" on a snack on a given day, do I want to use them on Cheetos or string cheese and an apple?


Someone who is busier than you is working out right now.
There will come a day when you can no longer do this. Today is not that day.
erika2633

Joined: Nov 11
Posts: 799

      quote  
Posted: 08 Aug 2013, 09:26
Roblaw2b wrote:
...and when in doubt, guess HIGH. Try to never cheat myself by possibly guessing low in the calorie count.

so far, so good.


I think that's a really important point, and a similar idea goes for estimating calories burned from exercise. A lot of people tend to overestimate their calorie burn, and then when their deficit doesn't actually produce weight loss, they say that CICO is failing them..


Someone who is busier than you is working out right now.
There will come a day when you can no longer do this. Today is not that day.
riocaz

Joined: Jun 12
Posts: 654

      quote  
Posted: 08 Aug 2013, 09:27
Yea I generally add half or just double anything I'm not really sure about.

42" jeans(25/01/2013) 40"(28/02/2013) 38"(20/03/2013) 36"(25/05/2013)
Down from 60" waist jeans since June 21st 2012.

Still keeping to my 26" jeans, but they are too tight for comfort. too many tasty things in the US, and over Xmas.

Onwards and Downwards! Smile
http://www.menu52.com/
kingkeld

Joined: Sep 09
Posts: 1,986

      quote  
Posted: 08 Aug 2013, 10:01
qapl - My reason for doing intermittent fasting is simple convenience. There is supposedly a "fat burning advantage" to not consuming ANY calories for 16 hours straight, but I couldn't tell you if it's real or not.

For me, it's simply the fact that if I eat breakfast (or early meals in general) then I feel like can eat all day and will want to eat everything in sight.

If I choose to NOT eat until lunch time, then I simply don't think about food all morning. It works perfectly for me. And, as a side advantage, I get to spend all my calories in TWO meals instead of THREE, making the meals a lot nicer and more attractive.

After a while, and getting used to it, it also solved the whole late-night-snacking issue. I am not able to brush off the night-hunger for "a little something-something" simply by reminding myself that it's after 7 PM and too late to eat. There. Done.

Obviously, you still need to have the same calorie intake and the same nutrients as if you did NOT do intermittent fasting. You are simply moving all your calories into a smaller time frame.

I highly recommend it.
"Losing weight is never about eating as little as possible"
- Kingkeld.
"You wouldn't worry so much about what others think of you if you realized how seldom they do.
― Eleanor Roosevelt
"Do. Or do not. There is no trying."
- Master Yoda.

I went from morbidly obese to being the owner of TABDIG - a weight loss coaching service that helps people worldwide losing weight. It's been an amazing journey. From October 4th 2010 to April 3rd 2012 I lost half my body weight - 80 kilos/170 lbs. Since then, I have had two cosmetic surgeries to remove excess skin. I have now quadrupled my strength, gained several kilos in muscle mass, and today I focus on building muscle, optimizing my diet, living healthy and helping people to reach the very same goals. I am stronger, healthier, thinner, happier! If you feel that you need help losing weight, don't hesitate to send me an inbox message.
kingkeld

Joined: Sep 09
Posts: 1,986

      quote  
Posted: 08 Aug 2013, 10:04
This might just become one of my favorite threads in the Community Forum. I need to bookmark this and start pointing everyone to it. Smile
"Losing weight is never about eating as little as possible"
- Kingkeld.
"You wouldn't worry so much about what others think of you if you realized how seldom they do.
― Eleanor Roosevelt
"Do. Or do not. There is no trying."
- Master Yoda.

I went from morbidly obese to being the owner of TABDIG - a weight loss coaching service that helps people worldwide losing weight. It's been an amazing journey. From October 4th 2010 to April 3rd 2012 I lost half my body weight - 80 kilos/170 lbs. Since then, I have had two cosmetic surgeries to remove excess skin. I have now quadrupled my strength, gained several kilos in muscle mass, and today I focus on building muscle, optimizing my diet, living healthy and helping people to reach the very same goals. I am stronger, healthier, thinner, happier! If you feel that you need help losing weight, don't hesitate to send me an inbox message.
skirch97

Joined: Sep 09
Posts: 197

      quote  
Posted: 08 Aug 2013, 11:19
CICO works! I lost 20 lbs eating doritos and soda for breakfast (weird, I know and not every day), but as long as I fit it in my calories for the day, I didn't have trouble still losing. I also found that having an "Indulgence Day" (Keld I like that better than Spike Day as I had seen it when staring doing it) helped when I had a stall because I cut calories too much. I have fallen off the wagon a bit this year, but I'm climbing back on and will use these techniques (lifestyle choices might be a better way of putting it) to get some of this extra weight back off. Great positive thread!
Visit my Avon store at www.youravon.com/skirchhoff
therealdave

Joined: Mar 13
Posts: 10

      quote  
Posted: 08 Aug 2013, 16:59
I have noticed that some people fail to recognize that “calories in” can effect “calories out”. In other words, eating a very low calorie diet for an extended period of time may result in a slower metabolism. This is sometimes referred to as “starvation mode”. Our bodies are amazingly adaptable.

One of the reasons that I mention this is, because opponents of CICO like to use the metabolism as an argument against CICO. Another reason is that this is one of the parts of dieting that I don’t have a good grasp of.

I’m sorry if this is clumsily worded. I’m always looking for corrections and input from those of you who are much more knowledgeable than I am!


Weight loss is not a physical challenge, it is a mental one.
mummydee

Joined: Feb 10
Posts: 1,749

      quote  
Posted: 08 Aug 2013, 17:08
I hope you don't mind me piping in here, you know I eat LC BUT i also calorie count.
Everyone here knows so much more scientific points than I will ever know, but the problem with simply doing calorie counting for me was that if I could eat anything within my calorie range, i tended to 'blow it'..
If I ate a cookie with my tea, but logged it in, it always lead to more cravings later on and I usually went, oh well, i'll be better tomorrow.
So i'm not saying CICO doesn't work, it does, but i need more structure and rules, limitations , to make it work for me.
kingkeld

Joined: Sep 09
Posts: 1,986

      quote  
Posted: 08 Aug 2013, 18:44
Mummydee, you ARE doing CICO. Smile

Your way of administrating maintaining lower calories is through LC. LC makes it easier for you to NOT have the cookie with your tea. Counting your calories along with going for a low carb diet IS CICO.

See, CICO is a physical fact. LC is an eating regime. Doing LC successfully means you're also doing CICO. But doing CICO doesn't necessarily mean that you're doing LC.

Everyone needs a system to "handle" CICO. Some count calories, some go LC, some do intermittent fasting, some work out harder, some do other things.

I hope what I'm trying to say makes sense OUTSIDE my head too. Smile
"Losing weight is never about eating as little as possible"
- Kingkeld.
"You wouldn't worry so much about what others think of you if you realized how seldom they do.
― Eleanor Roosevelt
"Do. Or do not. There is no trying."
- Master Yoda.

I went from morbidly obese to being the owner of TABDIG - a weight loss coaching service that helps people worldwide losing weight. It's been an amazing journey. From October 4th 2010 to April 3rd 2012 I lost half my body weight - 80 kilos/170 lbs. Since then, I have had two cosmetic surgeries to remove excess skin. I have now quadrupled my strength, gained several kilos in muscle mass, and today I focus on building muscle, optimizing my diet, living healthy and helping people to reach the very same goals. I am stronger, healthier, thinner, happier! If you feel that you need help losing weight, don't hesitate to send me an inbox message.
Nag1ka

Joined: Jan 12
Posts: 101

      quote  
Posted: 08 Aug 2013, 19:58
I think that everytime an argument ensued, it was never over the basis of which diet plan you follow. None of the CICO people actually have a problem with Low carb diets (and many of us will follow a low or moderate carb while trying to be healthy as a natural by product of emphasizing protein). It was only the claims that calories don't matter if your on a low carb diet.

Ie the claims of: "I was never fat because I ate 5000 calories a day, i was fat because i ate carbohydrates and my body is different than everyone elses"



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