One Redditor gave CICO a chance and enthusiastically posted“A couple of months ago I actually started counting calories and using CICO, and the weight has vanished…I still eat what I love, including junk food!”
Before switching out the diet tools, let’s explore what CICO is all about.
What is the CICO Diet?
CICO is the catchy acronym for “Calorie In, Calories Out”, and it’s built around a simple concept: If you eat fewer calories than you burn, you’ll lose weight.
CICO proponents love its simple focus on calories. Unlike low-carb diets like keto dietNo need to give up pasta or avoid any foods.
But, you’ll need to keep track of your meals, count those calories, and make sure the total is less than your calorie needs.
How does CICO work?
To lose weight with CICO, you must cut calories to put your body into it negative energy balance.
Calories are simply a Energy measurement. Think of the body as a bank account and calories as the currency.
Incoming calories must be spent, or stored in a rainy day bin, also known as fat and muscle tissue.
Unless you are a bodybuilder or exercise enough Shifting your hormones towards muscle growthMost of these extra calories will be stored as fat.
By eating less and giving your body fewer calories, you are forcing it to burn stored calories.
This in turn helps you lose weight 60 to 80% That comes from stored fat.
What are the potential benefits of CICO?
As a weight loss tool, calorie counting can help you stay responsible. You may even feel accomplished every time you reach your daily calorie goal.
Keeping a consistent record of your current eating habits can help you understand your body.
One Redditor revealed that CICO is about to, “…re-learning to eat the way I would if I were the perfect size.” Other benefits include:
1. It is (mostly) based on acoustics.
Despite its recent popularity, CICO is not a new idea. Experts know and generally agree Reducing calorie intake Effective in weight loss.
Registered dietitian Andrea N. Giancoli, MPH, RD, adds, “We tend to underestimate how much we eat. A strategy like CICO can help you take a closer look at how many calories are entering your body.”
2. It can promote a better relationship with food.
If you struggle to avoid certain foods while on a diet, you know that avoiding certain foods can actually happen increase your desire for them.
CICO can break free because there are no “forbidden” foods. Enjoy any food, no craving after chocolate or pizza challenge.
3. It’s not about a short-term diet.
Diets come and go. You can start with a strong drive to melt the extra weight, but that won’t keep you from feeling discouraged.
This is because most diets do not work.
In this way Clinical Journal of Nutrition The article reports that only 20% of overweight people manage to maintain weight loss for at least a year.
Among the individuals who succeeded, 43% counted calories and 44% limited the amount of food they eat.
These strategies are consistent with CICO, which is more effective when it can be maintained over the long term.
What are the potential risks of CICO?
So, is CICO worth the hype? CICO may seem worth a try, but this simple strategy may not be your cup of tea.
Individual genes, schedules, and preferences vary.
Read about the potential risks below and consult an experienced dietitian if you’re still not sure if CICO is right for you.
1. Not for everyone.
Calorie counting is critical to CICO, but it’s hard to stick to. It’s common knowledge that people are getting rid of calorie counting apps because food logging is boring.
In this way 2014 study It found, despite reporting high levels of satisfaction with the popular calorie-counting app, usage dropped sharply from 97% in the first month to 55% in the second month.
From a mental health perspective, CICO may not be appropriate for individuals with an unhealthy obsession with excess body weight.
The National Eating Disorders Association He lists a preoccupation with calories as a possible symptom of an eating disorder.
Of course, not everyone who counts calories has an eating disorder, and for them, CICO is not a risk.
But Giancoli says the line isn’t always clear.
“CICO, or any diet strategy for that matter, shouldn’t control your life. If you find yourself obsessed with calories, take a step back. You’re doing this for your health, so it’s important to keep that in mind,” she advises.
2. It assumes that all calories are created equal.
CICO focuses on calories but ignores the different types of calories. All foods have different calories macronutrients (for example, fats, proteins, carbohydrates, alcohol).
Your body responds differently to each major nutrient and CICO does not take into account these differences.
One of the advantages of CICO, being able to eat whatever you want, is also a downside.
CICO also ignores the valuable vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals found in fresh fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
Sure, this professor lost 27 lbs Twinkie diet Because it cut calories, but this does not guarantee that it will maintain good health in the long run.
Eating a diet rich in fast food or overly processed foods can make you feel worse even while losing weight.
Most people who exercise CICO will calculate their calorie needs using an online calculator.
These calculations are not always accurate, and you can end up overestimating or underestimating the number of calories you need to lose weight.
After all, a skinny 180-pound male is more active and will need more calories at rest than a 180-pound overweight individual.
Often this is not reflected in calorie counts.
Will CICO help me lose weight?
Yes, you can use CICO to safely lose and maintain weight. Just understand that it’s a lifestyle change, not a quick fix.
If you’re still interested in CICO, follow these quick tips to get started:
1. Calculate your daily target calories, then adjust.
The easiest option is to download a calorie counting app like MyFitnessPal or Lose It! Or Lifesum or Fitbit.
It helps determine your energy needs and allows you to digitally record calories. These apps calculate your calorie goal based on:
- Basal metabolic rate (BMR): Energy is only needed to fuel basic functions. Your BMR varies based on your height, weight, gender, and age.
- Activity Level: Energy needs are higher for active individuals.
- Weight goal: Calories are subtracted for weight loss and added to gain weight.
The drawback of these apps is that your energy needs are not 100% customized, and you may need to self-adjust by increasing your calorie goal if you constantly feel hungry or decreasing your target calorie intake if you don’t see results.
2. Set a reminder to log in.
The best time to record a meal is before you eat it. The next best time is as soon as possible.
Set a reminder on your phone to record your meals, so you don’t forget what you ate. Getting tired of logging food is a struggle.
If the reminders don’t work, take a picture of your food and try to sign in when it’s convenient.
3. Monitor your portion size.
If you’re new to CICO, portioning out food can be tricky.
The food scale gives you food weights in grams, which will turn out to be an accurate calorie calculation.
Don’t want to invest in a food scale? Use measuring cups and spoons, just don’t rely on the eyeball.
4. Don’t just rely on CICO.
Just because CICO focuses on calories doesn’t mean you are free to sacrifice diet quality.
According to Giancoli, “Choosing foods that are low in calories and nutrients like fruits and vegetables is true to the ethos of CICO. Because they have the basic Whole fruits and vegetables can help you feel full, making it easier for you to stick to your calorie goal. “
Include other beneficial food groups to supplement your diet all grainsLean proteins and healthy fats.
Finally, be patient.
Reaching your target weight takes time. If you can’t stand the waiting game, focus on other areas that also affect your body weight.
Do an exercise you love, try relieving stress with meditation, or give yourself permission to sleep.