# CICO in practice

Posts: 7,121 Member
So I am a big nerd when it comes to tracking data and spreadsheeting and weight loss is no exception there.

The following is from using the MFP method as that is what I have been using and that is what seems most relevant here.

For those who don't know the MFP method would be entering your age weight, gender and height then giving an activity level from which MFP calculates a number of calories for your maintenance that is your NEAT or non-exercise activity thermogenesis.

If you tell MFP you want to lose 1 pound a week all it does then is take 3,500 (amount of calories for one pound of fat) and divides it by 7 to give 500 calories per day deficit. It then subtracts that 500 from the calculated maintenance level and that is what your goal is reported as.

So for me I weighed 188 when I started, I am 35 years old 6' tall man. I set my weight loss goal at 1.3 pounds per week which was a deficit of 630 calories. I told MFP I was lightly active because I walk a fair amount and it gave my NEAT maintenance at 2430. 2430 - 630 = 1800 so my calorie goal is 1800 per day.

On top of that I exercise and in order to keep my deficit in place I eat back my exercise calories whenever it is practical to do so.

I have been at this steadily for 20 weeks but I have about 16 weeks of solid data from which to pull from. I put that into a table and here is the result.

In the table is arranged my net calories eaten each week (that is what I ate minus exercise calories). I put in the calories required for maintenance calculated by MFP (2430 * 7) and from that calculated my weekly deficit by just subtracting Net calories from my maintenance.

From that I totaled up my deficit. If CICO is correct and my measurements of food intake and exercise burn were accurate I should have lost about 1.3 pounds per week. The end result over 16 weeks is that I have lost on average over that time 1.24 pounds per week. That is pretty spot on given how much error there can be in estimating your intake and burn.

I know this is anecdote and doesn't prove anything and I will admit bias e that yes I do believe that calories in versus calories out (or CICO) is an accurate model for weight loss, weight gain or maintenance. That said personally my experience has matched my expectation so I thought I'd share

ETA: Just a note the reason that the week of June 30th is so strange (my net intake was tiny) was that I went on a 5 backpacking trip during that time in which my burn was estimated at 3200 calories a day. That skewed things and explains also why my calculated pound loss was higher but my actual pound per week loss was so close to my goal.

## Replies

• Posts: 14,776 Member
Good post, as always!
• Posts: 2,320 Member
Great job!

Congrats on the weight loss!
• Posts: 1,888 Member
Thank you for doing this bro!
• Posts: 6,658 Member
I haven't been on my computer much, and won't be until my kids are back in school (Excel on an iPad is cool, but unwieldy), but my results -- over 12 weeks -- are very similar. I am on a two pound per week deficit and (theoretically) burn about 950 a day in exercise 6 days a week, which would be about 1.62 if accurate. The two combined would be 3.62 per week. My average weight loss per one of the apps I'm using is 3.63 per week as of this morning.

I much more often go under my calorie target than over and I don't log weightlifting or messing around in the pool so my net is really a bit lower than the numbers above, but given the variability of burn especially, I'm insanely pleased with how well what's actually happening is corresponding to what I would expect/hope to happen. Even with the random days in which I "gain" six pounds (I added salt to barbecue that already had a salty rub on it), changes little, or drop a couple of pounds, my weight loss looks pretty dang linear.
• Posts: 1,842 Member
In for the numbers - love it :flowerforyou:
• Posts: 7,121 Member
I haven't been on my computer much, and won't be until my kids are back in school (Excel on an iPad is cool, but unwieldy), but my results -- over 12 weeks -- are very similar. I am on a two pound per week deficit and (theoretically) burn about 950 a day in exercise 6 days a week, which would be about 1.62 if accurate. The two combined would be 3.62 per week. My average weight loss per one of the apps I'm using is 3.63 per week as of this morning.

I much more often go under my calorie target than over and I don't log weightlifting or messing around in the pool so my net is really a bit lower than the numbers above, but given the variability of burn especially, I'm insanely pleased with how well what's actually happening is corresponding to what I would expect/hope to happen. Even with the random days in which I "gain" six pounds (I added salt to barbecue that already had a salty rub on it), changes little, or drop a couple of pounds, my weight loss looks pretty dang linear.

Yup my weight loss (smoothed by a moving average over 7 days) is pretty much linear over that time as well.

Here it is graphed in excel:

• Posts: 6,658 Member
You're driving me to get on the iMac.
• Posts: 7,089 Member
Outstanding post!!!!!!
I also stand by the cico method :-)
• Posts: 2,012 Member
Outstanding Post As Always. Definitely love the data and the real and predictable results. I hope that when I have 4 months of data I will be able to tell a similar.

When I saw CICO I could not help thinking FIFO or GIGO! :drinker: