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CICO and calorie counting explained by analogy
Aaron_K123
Posts: 7,122 Member
in Debate Club
Pretend you have a car. Okay probably you do have a car but pretend you have a rather unique car. This car has two tanks, a normal tank that you can pump fuel into and another reserve tank that the car can draw from if the main tank is empty. The main tank is rather unique in that it can take a huge variety of different fuels…gasoline, bioethanol, butane, propane…you name it. In fact it requires that you use different fuel types all at once. The reserve tank only accepts gasoline but your car can convert whatever fuel you put into the main tank into gasoline to top off the reserves, it can even grow the size of the reserve tank if needed. If you use up all of your fuel in the main tank it will start to pull from the reserve tank.
Lets say you want to find out how much fuel you’d need to have in your main tank to drive 300 miles without having to pull from your reserve tank. If this was a normal car that took only gasoline you could just divide the 300 miles by the miles per gallon your car gets to calculate the number of gallons you need. Unfortunately, this is not a normal car since you can put multiple fuel types in your tank and the different fuel types don't all have the same energy per volume. Therefore it doesn’t make sense to track volume, you want to track energy instead because that is what is related to how far you can go. There are lots of units for energy just like there are lots of units for distance: there are joules, BTUs, kilowatthours and calories. It doesn’t really matter what unit you choose to use so lets choose calories then. So you need to figure out how many calories you need to go 300 miles and then put that many calories into your tank. But how do you figure that out?
Well your car weighs a certain amount and you can find that in your owners manual…here it is, 1000 kilograms, and you want it to go over a certain distance, 300 miles. So you could try to calculate the amount of work (energy) it would take to move 1000 kilograms by 300 miles. Lets call that the calorie output or CO. Now, of course, whatever you end up calculating by that method would be wildly off because that is the bare minimum energy required and it doesn’t account for everything like friction between the wheels and the ground, the friction of the moving parts in the car, the generated heat, the noise generated, the amount of time you are idling versus moving etc etc. So what do you do? Well luckily there are lots of studies out there of cars and how much energy they require in calories to go a certain distance in miles. Sure, they aren't exactly all the same car but if you put in your make and model and year you can get a decent estimate of how many calories you need to go a certain distance. So now you have a ballpark number now for CO.
So if you know the calories you need to output you know the calories you need to input, or CI. You can look up the calories per gallon of the various fuel types you have on hand and you can count them up and put together a fuel plan to hit your target. So that is it right? Not quite. You see the calories per gallon of the fuel is the amount of calories you would get from that amount of fuel if your engine was 100% efficient. Your engine, however, is not 100% efficient. In fact, it isn’t even the same efficient for the different fuel types. Not only that but you look in your manual and there isn’t any info at all about how efficient your engine is and even if there was your specific engine might have quirks that other engines of the same make and model don't. So your calculated CI is the total amount of calories your engine COULD get out of the fuel if it was 100% efficient, but it is actually going to be less than that...but by how much?
So are we stuck then? I mean if you had the ability to exactly calculate the CO and exactly calculate the CI then it would be easy to balance the two…CI=CO to figure out how much fuel for 300 miles. But you don't have that ability, so what do you do? Well perhaps the situation isn't as dire as it looks. Since the value you got for CO was based on averages from similar cars and how many calories they required to go a certain distance that value already actually took into account the average efficiencies of those cars engines both for CO for mileage and for CI for fuel energy efficiency. Since there are millions of cars out there that have roughly the same make, model and year as yours those estimates aren't too far off the mark. As it turns out those studies have shown that there isn’t all that much variation between engine efficiencies no matter what kind of car you have and it has allowed for the creation of calculators that adjust CO based on how much your average car gets out of your average fuel mix and gives you a rough approximation of what CI you need regardless of the actual efficiency of your engine. So now you can look it up with a calculator that if you are driving a 1000 kilogram 1979 car 300 miles you are going to need 30,000 calories and you can load up on a mix of 30,000 calories worth of fuel and hit the road.
You accurately measure your 30,000 calories worth of fuel and you hit the road. About 285 miles into your journey a warning light flashes on in your dash…you are starting to pull from your reserve tank! Oh no…what happened? What went wrong? Is the CICO principle just wrong? Are all the calculators junk? You measured as carefully as you could and used the calculators that were available! Well, no…nothing is wrong with the idea of CICO…what is “wrong” is that the calculators are based on assumptions of engine efficiency and energy expenditure that are based on population averages not on your specific engine which is unlikely to be perfectly average. So what do you do? Well. You note that the amount of calories you put in your tank doing this particular drive got you a distance of 285 miles before you started dipping into your reserve tank. What happens if your car doesn’t have a nifty warning light that you are going into your reserve tank? Well…you could always weigh your car before and after your drive and use that to measure how much fuel you used in order to know how many calories you expended and how much you dipped into your reserve because as you burn those calories in your engine and expel them as CO2 and H20 your car gets lighter. If your car weighed 1000kg and you put 5kg worth of fuel into it and the car ended up weight 999kg at the end of your drive you'd know you used up the 1kg of gasoline from your fuel reserve. Sure maybe things other than fuel influence the weight of your car like if you put some suitcases in the back or a rainstorm made your car wet, but if you keep measuring over multiple trips those sort of random fluctuations in weight will average out and you will just get the fuel changes.
So you started with what the calculators told you which was a rough approximation and found it wasn’t quite right for you. So you diligently track the amount of calories you put in your fuel tank (CI) and the amount of miles that you travel (CO) and how much fuel is left in your reserve tank and after a few months of tracking you learn how to adjust those initial estimates so that you know pretty much exactly how much fuel you need to go a particular distance for your particular car no matter what types of fuel are available to you.
Later you run into someone who asks you how you keep only spending exactly what you need to get somewhere and you tell them you track your calories. They scoff and say that they tried to track calories and it didn’t work for them at all. They were super diligent about tracking but if they put 30,000 calories of 80% butane and 20% propane in their car they were able to go 290 miles but if they put the exact same number of calories of 20% propane and 80% butane into their car they only went 250 miles so clearly CICO is wrong. Another person overhears and pipes in their own opinion arguing that no matter what car you drive 30,000 calories of any type of fuel will allow you to travel exactly 280 miles no matter what and anyone who is off by even a mile is clearly just measuring wrong. You just smile and check your log to see how much you need to get to the next town.
The truth is CICO is just is concept referring to the fact that if you know how much energy you are expending you know how much energy you need to balance that, whether you want to end up with more, less or the same energy. It is just a fact of math and nature. Trying to get accurate estimates of CI and CO though isn't exact, it is based on assumptions and population averages that don't always apply. That doesn't make it wrong though, or even a poor method...frankly only math itself is 100% accurate and everything that is a real world application has this sort of error. That said if you count your calories consistently and track your reserve tank you can correct for any quirks that your car might have relative to the average. With some diligence and accurate honest tracking you will end up with a tailored model for you that will get you exactly where you need to go.
Lets say you want to find out how much fuel you’d need to have in your main tank to drive 300 miles without having to pull from your reserve tank. If this was a normal car that took only gasoline you could just divide the 300 miles by the miles per gallon your car gets to calculate the number of gallons you need. Unfortunately, this is not a normal car since you can put multiple fuel types in your tank and the different fuel types don't all have the same energy per volume. Therefore it doesn’t make sense to track volume, you want to track energy instead because that is what is related to how far you can go. There are lots of units for energy just like there are lots of units for distance: there are joules, BTUs, kilowatthours and calories. It doesn’t really matter what unit you choose to use so lets choose calories then. So you need to figure out how many calories you need to go 300 miles and then put that many calories into your tank. But how do you figure that out?
Well your car weighs a certain amount and you can find that in your owners manual…here it is, 1000 kilograms, and you want it to go over a certain distance, 300 miles. So you could try to calculate the amount of work (energy) it would take to move 1000 kilograms by 300 miles. Lets call that the calorie output or CO. Now, of course, whatever you end up calculating by that method would be wildly off because that is the bare minimum energy required and it doesn’t account for everything like friction between the wheels and the ground, the friction of the moving parts in the car, the generated heat, the noise generated, the amount of time you are idling versus moving etc etc. So what do you do? Well luckily there are lots of studies out there of cars and how much energy they require in calories to go a certain distance in miles. Sure, they aren't exactly all the same car but if you put in your make and model and year you can get a decent estimate of how many calories you need to go a certain distance. So now you have a ballpark number now for CO.
So if you know the calories you need to output you know the calories you need to input, or CI. You can look up the calories per gallon of the various fuel types you have on hand and you can count them up and put together a fuel plan to hit your target. So that is it right? Not quite. You see the calories per gallon of the fuel is the amount of calories you would get from that amount of fuel if your engine was 100% efficient. Your engine, however, is not 100% efficient. In fact, it isn’t even the same efficient for the different fuel types. Not only that but you look in your manual and there isn’t any info at all about how efficient your engine is and even if there was your specific engine might have quirks that other engines of the same make and model don't. So your calculated CI is the total amount of calories your engine COULD get out of the fuel if it was 100% efficient, but it is actually going to be less than that...but by how much?
So are we stuck then? I mean if you had the ability to exactly calculate the CO and exactly calculate the CI then it would be easy to balance the two…CI=CO to figure out how much fuel for 300 miles. But you don't have that ability, so what do you do? Well perhaps the situation isn't as dire as it looks. Since the value you got for CO was based on averages from similar cars and how many calories they required to go a certain distance that value already actually took into account the average efficiencies of those cars engines both for CO for mileage and for CI for fuel energy efficiency. Since there are millions of cars out there that have roughly the same make, model and year as yours those estimates aren't too far off the mark. As it turns out those studies have shown that there isn’t all that much variation between engine efficiencies no matter what kind of car you have and it has allowed for the creation of calculators that adjust CO based on how much your average car gets out of your average fuel mix and gives you a rough approximation of what CI you need regardless of the actual efficiency of your engine. So now you can look it up with a calculator that if you are driving a 1000 kilogram 1979 car 300 miles you are going to need 30,000 calories and you can load up on a mix of 30,000 calories worth of fuel and hit the road.
You accurately measure your 30,000 calories worth of fuel and you hit the road. About 285 miles into your journey a warning light flashes on in your dash…you are starting to pull from your reserve tank! Oh no…what happened? What went wrong? Is the CICO principle just wrong? Are all the calculators junk? You measured as carefully as you could and used the calculators that were available! Well, no…nothing is wrong with the idea of CICO…what is “wrong” is that the calculators are based on assumptions of engine efficiency and energy expenditure that are based on population averages not on your specific engine which is unlikely to be perfectly average. So what do you do? Well. You note that the amount of calories you put in your tank doing this particular drive got you a distance of 285 miles before you started dipping into your reserve tank. What happens if your car doesn’t have a nifty warning light that you are going into your reserve tank? Well…you could always weigh your car before and after your drive and use that to measure how much fuel you used in order to know how many calories you expended and how much you dipped into your reserve because as you burn those calories in your engine and expel them as CO2 and H20 your car gets lighter. If your car weighed 1000kg and you put 5kg worth of fuel into it and the car ended up weight 999kg at the end of your drive you'd know you used up the 1kg of gasoline from your fuel reserve. Sure maybe things other than fuel influence the weight of your car like if you put some suitcases in the back or a rainstorm made your car wet, but if you keep measuring over multiple trips those sort of random fluctuations in weight will average out and you will just get the fuel changes.
So you started with what the calculators told you which was a rough approximation and found it wasn’t quite right for you. So you diligently track the amount of calories you put in your fuel tank (CI) and the amount of miles that you travel (CO) and how much fuel is left in your reserve tank and after a few months of tracking you learn how to adjust those initial estimates so that you know pretty much exactly how much fuel you need to go a particular distance for your particular car no matter what types of fuel are available to you.
Later you run into someone who asks you how you keep only spending exactly what you need to get somewhere and you tell them you track your calories. They scoff and say that they tried to track calories and it didn’t work for them at all. They were super diligent about tracking but if they put 30,000 calories of 80% butane and 20% propane in their car they were able to go 290 miles but if they put the exact same number of calories of 20% propane and 80% butane into their car they only went 250 miles so clearly CICO is wrong. Another person overhears and pipes in their own opinion arguing that no matter what car you drive 30,000 calories of any type of fuel will allow you to travel exactly 280 miles no matter what and anyone who is off by even a mile is clearly just measuring wrong. You just smile and check your log to see how much you need to get to the next town.
The truth is CICO is just is concept referring to the fact that if you know how much energy you are expending you know how much energy you need to balance that, whether you want to end up with more, less or the same energy. It is just a fact of math and nature. Trying to get accurate estimates of CI and CO though isn't exact, it is based on assumptions and population averages that don't always apply. That doesn't make it wrong though, or even a poor method...frankly only math itself is 100% accurate and everything that is a real world application has this sort of error. That said if you count your calories consistently and track your reserve tank you can correct for any quirks that your car might have relative to the average. With some diligence and accurate honest tracking you will end up with a tailored model for you that will get you exactly where you need to go.
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Replies

Aaron_K123 wrote: »Pretend you have a car. Okay probably you do have a car but pretend you have a rather unique car. This car has two tanks, a normal tank that you can pump fuel into and another reserve tank that the car can draw from if the main tank is empty. The main tank is rather unique in that it can take a huge variety of different fuels…gasoline, bioethanol, butane, propane…you name it. In fact it requires that you use different fuel types all at once. The reserve tank only accepts gasoline but your car can convert whatever fuel you put into the main tank into gasoline to top off the reserves, it can even grow the size of the reserve tank if needed. If you use up all of your fuel in the main tank it will start to pull from the reserve tank.
Lets say you want to find out how much fuel you’d need to have in your main tank to drive 300 miles without having to pull from your reserve tank. If this was a normal car that took only gasoline you could just divide the 300 miles by the miles per gallon your car gets to calculate the number of gallons you need. Unfortunately, this is not a normal car since you can put multiple fuel types in your tank and the different fuel types don't all have the same energy per volume. Therefore it doesn’t make sense to track volume, you want to track energy instead because that is what is related to how far you can go. There are lots of units for energy just like there are lots of units for distance: there are joules, BTUs, kilowatthours and calories. It doesn’t really matter what unit you choose to use so lets choose calories then. So you need to figure out how many calories you need to go 300 miles and then put that many calories into your tank. But how do you figure that out?
Well your car weighs a certain amount and you can find that in your owners manual…here it is, 1000 kilograms, and you want it to go over a certain distance, 300 miles. So you could try to calculate the amount of work (energy) it would take to move 1000 kilograms by 300 miles. Lets call that the calorie output or CO. Now, of course, whatever you end up calculating by that method would be wildly off because that is the bare minimum energy required and it doesn’t account for everything like friction between the wheels and the ground, the friction of the moving parts in the car, the generated heat, the noise generated, the amount of time you are idling versus moving etc etc. So what do you do? Well luckily there are lots of studies out there of cars and how much energy they require in calories to go a certain distance in miles. Sure, they aren't exactly all the same car but if you put in your make and model and year you can get a decent estimate of how many calories you need to go a certain distance. So now you have a ballpark number now for CO.
So if you know the calories you need to output you know the calories you need to input, or CI. You can look up the calories per gallon of the various fuel types you have on hand and you can count them up and put together a fuel plan to hit your target. So that is it right? Not quite. You see the calories per gallon of the fuel is the amount of calories you would get from that amount of fuel if your engine was 100% efficient. Your engine, however, is not 100% efficient. In fact, it isn’t even the same efficient for the different fuel types. Not only that but you look in your manual and there isn’t any info at all about how efficient your engine is and even if there was your specific engine might have quirks that other engines of the same make and model don't. So your calculated CI is the total amount of calories your engine COULD get out of the fuel if it was 100% efficient, but it is actually going to be less than that...but by how much?
So are we stuck then? I mean if you had the ability to exactly calculate the CO and exactly calculate the CI then it would be easy to balance the two…CI=CO to figure out how much fuel for 300 miles. But you don't have that ability, so what do you do? Well perhaps the situation isn't as dire as it looks. Since the value you got for CO was based on averages from similar cars and how many calories they required to go a certain distance that value already actually took into account the average efficiencies of those cars engines both for CO for mileage and for CI for fuel energy efficiency. Since there are millions of cars out there that have roughly the same make, model and year as yours those estimates aren't too far off the mark. As it turns out those studies have shown that there isn’t all that much variation between engine efficiencies no matter what kind of car you have and it has allowed for the creation of calculators that adjust CO based on how much your average car gets out of your average fuel mix and gives you a rough approximation of what CI you need regardless of the actual efficiency of your engine. So now you can look it up with a calculator that if you are driving a 1000 kilogram 1979 car 300 miles you are going to need 30,000 calories and you can load up on a mix of 30,000 calories worth of fuel and hit the road.
You accurately measure your 30,000 calories worth of fuel and you hit the road. About 285 miles into your journey a warning light flashes on in your dash…you are starting to pull from your reserve tank! Oh no…what happened? What went wrong? Is the CICO principle just wrong? Are all the calculators junk? You measured as carefully as you could and used the calculators that were available! Well, no…nothing is wrong with the idea of CICO…what is “wrong” is that the calculators are based on assumptions of engine efficiency and energy expenditure that are based on population averages not on your specific engine which is unlikely to be perfectly average. So what do you do? Well. You note that the amount of calories you put in your tank doing this particular drive got you a distance of 285 miles before you started dipping into your reserve tank. What happens if your car doesn’t have a nifty warning light that you are going into your reserve tank? Well…you could always weigh your car before and after your drive and use that to measure how much fuel you used in order to know how many calories you expended and how much you dipped into your reserve because as you burn those calories in your engine and expel them as CO2 and H20 your car gets lighter. If your car weighed 1000kg and you put 5kg worth of fuel into it and the car ended up weight 999kg at the end of your drive you'd know you used up the 1kg of gasoline from your fuel reserve. Sure maybe things other than fuel influence the weight of your car like if you put some suitcases in the back or a rainstorm made your car wet, but if you keep measuring over multiple trips those sort of random fluctuations in weight will average out and you will just get the fuel changes.
So you started with what the calculators told you which was a rough approximation and found it wasn’t quite right for you. So you diligently track the amount of calories you put in your fuel tank (CI) and the amount of miles that you travel (CO) and how much fuel is left in your reserve tank and after a few months of tracking you learn how to adjust those initial estimates so that you know pretty much exactly how much fuel you need to go a particular distance for your particular car no matter what types of fuel are available to you.
Later you run into someone who asks you how you keep only spending exactly what you need to get somewhere and you tell them you track your calories. They scoff and say that they tried to track calories and it didn’t work for them at all. They were super diligent about tracking but if they put 30,000 calories of 80% butane and 20% propane in their car they were able to go 290 miles but if they put the exact same number of calories of 20% propane and 80% butane into their car they only went 250 miles so clearly CICO is wrong. Another person overhears and pipes in their own opinion arguing that no matter what car you drive 30,000 calories of any type of fuel will allow you to travel exactly 280 miles no matter what and anyone who is off by even a mile is clearly just measuring wrong. You just smile and check your log to see how much you need to get to the next town.
The truth is CICO is just is concept referring to the fact that if you know how much energy you are expending you know how much energy you need to balance that, whether you want to end up with more, less or the same energy. It is just a fact of math and nature. Trying to get accurate estimates of CI and CO though isn't exact, it is based on assumptions and population averages that don't always apply. That doesn't make it wrong though, or even a poor method...frankly only math itself is 100% accurate and everything that is a real world application has this sort of error. That said if you count your calories consistently and track your reserve tank you can correct for any quirks that your car might have relative to the average. With some diligence and accurate honest tracking you will end up with a tailored model for you that will get you exactly where you need to go.
What happened to your other thread like this? BTW, this is very informative?
Ah, thanks! I thought I had left a comment on this, and then suspected I might be losing my mind a little
This is excellent! Thanks for taking the time to lay it out so clearly.1 
TL;DR *shrug*37

Too many words....25


diannethegeek wrote: »
It's well written and broken into appropriate paragraphs. I fail to see the problem.
But I guess our society has gotten used to bitesized Twitter entries, oneliner Facebook updates and Instagram duckface pics, so anything else is "tl;dr". Sad state of affairs. The age of antiintellectualism.32 
TL;DR *shrug*Aaron_K123 wrote: »Pretend you have a car. Okay probably you do have a car but pretend you have a rather unique car. This car has two tanks, a normal tank that you can pump fuel into and another reserve tank that the car can draw from if the main tank is empty. The main tank is rather unique in that it can take a huge variety of different fuels…gasoline, bioethanol, butane, propane…you name it. In fact it requires that you use different fuel types all at once. The reserve tank only accepts gasoline but your car can convert whatever fuel you put into the main tank into gasoline to top off the reserves, it can even grow the size of the reserve tank if needed. If you use up all of your fuel in the main tank it will start to pull from the reserve tank.
Lets say you want to find out how much fuel you’d need to have in your main tank to drive 300 miles without having to pull from your reserve tank. If this was a normal car that took only gasoline you could just divide the 300 miles by the miles per gallon your car gets to calculate the number of gallons you need. Unfortunately, this is not a normal car since you can put multiple fuel types in your tank and the different fuel types don't all have the same energy per volume. Therefore it doesn’t make sense to track volume, you want to track energy instead because that is what is related to how far you can go. There are lots of units for energy just like there are lots of units for distance: there are joules, BTUs, kilowatthours and calories. It doesn’t really matter what unit you choose to use so lets choose calories then. So you need to figure out how many calories you need to go 300 miles and then put that many calories into your tank. But how do you figure that out?
Well your car weighs a certain amount and you can find that in your owners manual…here it is, 1000 kilograms, and you want it to go over a certain distance, 300 miles. So you could try to calculate the amount of work (energy) it would take to move 1000 kilograms by 300 miles. Lets call that the calorie output or CO. Now, of course, whatever you end up calculating by that method would be wildly off because that is the bare minimum energy required and it doesn’t account for everything like friction between the wheels and the ground, the friction of the moving parts in the car, the generated heat, the noise generated, the amount of time you are idling versus moving etc etc. So what do you do? Well luckily there are lots of studies out there of cars and how much energy they require in calories to go a certain distance in miles. Sure, they aren't exactly all the same car but if you put in your make and model and year you can get a decent estimate of how many calories you need to go a certain distance. So now you have a ballpark number now for CO.
So if you know the calories you need to output you know the calories you need to input, or CI. You can look up the calories per gallon of the various fuel types you have on hand and you can count them up and put together a fuel plan to hit your target. So that is it right? Not quite. You see the calories per gallon of the fuel is the amount of calories you would get from that amount of fuel if your engine was 100% efficient. Your engine, however, is not 100% efficient. In fact, it isn’t even the same efficient for the different fuel types. Not only that but you look in your manual and there isn’t any info at all about how efficient your engine is and even if there was your specific engine might have quirks that other engines of the same make and model don't. So your calculated CI is the total amount of calories your engine COULD get out of the fuel if it was 100% efficient, but it is actually going to be less than that...but by how much?
So are we stuck then? I mean if you had the ability to exactly calculate the CO and exactly calculate the CI then it would be easy to balance the two…CI=CO to figure out how much fuel for 300 miles. But you don't have that ability, so what do you do? Well perhaps the situation isn't as dire as it looks. Since the value you got for CO was based on averages from similar cars and how many calories they required to go a certain distance that value already actually took into account the average efficiencies of those cars engines both for CO for mileage and for CI for fuel energy efficiency. Since there are millions of cars out there that have roughly the same make, model and year as yours those estimates aren't too far off the mark. As it turns out those studies have shown that there isn’t all that much variation between engine efficiencies no matter what kind of car you have and it has allowed for the creation of calculators that adjust CO based on how much your average car gets out of your average fuel mix and gives you a rough approximation of what CI you need regardless of the actual efficiency of your engine. So now you can look it up with a calculator that if you are driving a 1000 kilogram 1979 car 300 miles you are going to need 30,000 calories and you can load up on a mix of 30,000 calories worth of fuel and hit the road.
You accurately measure your 30,000 calories worth of fuel and you hit the road. About 285 miles into your journey a warning light flashes on in your dash…you are starting to pull from your reserve tank! Oh no…what happened? What went wrong? Is the CICO principle just wrong? Are all the calculators junk? You measured as carefully as you could and used the calculators that were available! Well, no…nothing is wrong with the idea of CICO…what is “wrong” is that the calculators are based on assumptions of engine efficiency and energy expenditure that are based on population averages not on your specific engine which is unlikely to be perfectly average. So what do you do? Well. You note that the amount of calories you put in your tank doing this particular drive got you a distance of 285 miles before you started dipping into your reserve tank. What happens if your car doesn’t have a nifty warning light that you are going into your reserve tank? Well…you could always weigh your car before and after your drive and use that to measure how much fuel you used in order to know how many calories you expended and how much you dipped into your reserve because as you burn those calories in your engine and expel them as CO2 and H20 your car gets lighter. If your car weighed 1000kg and you put 5kg worth of fuel into it and the car ended up weight 999kg at the end of your drive you'd know you used up the 1kg of gasoline from your fuel reserve. Sure maybe things other than fuel influence the weight of your car like if you put some suitcases in the back or a rainstorm made your car wet, but if you keep measuring over multiple trips those sort of random fluctuations in weight will average out and you will just get the fuel changes.
So you started with what the calculators told you which was a rough approximation and found it wasn’t quite right for you. So you diligently track the amount of calories you put in your fuel tank (CI) and the amount of miles that you travel (CO) and how much fuel is left in your reserve tank and after a few months of tracking you learn how to adjust those initial estimates so that you know pretty much exactly how much fuel you need to go a particular distance for your particular car no matter what types of fuel are available to you.
Later you run into someone who asks you how you keep only spending exactly what you need to get somewhere and you tell them you track your calories. They scoff and say that they tried to track calories and it didn’t work for them at all. They were super diligent about tracking but if they put 30,000 calories of 80% butane and 20% propane in their car they were able to go 290 miles but if they put the exact same number of calories of 20% propane and 80% butane into their car they only went 250 miles so clearly CICO is wrong. Another person overhears and pipes in their own opinion arguing that no matter what car you drive 30,000 calories of any type of fuel will allow you to travel exactly 280 miles no matter what and anyone who is off by even a mile is clearly just measuring wrong. You just smile and check your log to see how much you need to get to the next town.
The truth is CICO is just is concept referring to the fact that if you know how much energy you are expending you know how much energy you need to balance that, whether you want to end up with more, less or the same energy. It is just a fact of math and nature. Trying to get accurate estimates of CI and CO though isn't exact, it is based on assumptions and population averages that don't always apply. That doesn't make it wrong though, or even a poor method...frankly only math itself is 100% accurate and everything that is a real world application has this sort of error. That said if you count your calories consistently and track your reserve tank you can correct for any quirks that your car might have relative to the average. With some diligence and accurate honest tracking you will end up with a tailored model for you that will get you exactly where you need to go.
What happened to your other thread like this? BTW, this is very informative?
Decided to rewrite it, make it a bit shorter (yeah I know, TL;DR), and post it here thinking it might spark some discussion between people who don't mind reading words.15 
TL;DR *shrug*Too many words....
https://community.myfitnesspal.com/en/categories/chitchatfunandgames
Here you go27 
Aaron_K123 wrote: »TL;DR *shrug*Too many words....
https://community.myfitnesspal.com/en/categories/chitchatfunandgames
Here you go
Since we lost the "awesome" button:
18 
Anyways I was thinking this was a decent analogy that would take the emotion (brought on by concern over people's health and bodies) out of the equation to show what I think CICO is relative to what calorie counting is. Also as a means of showing why I understand the frustration of those who have to deal with CICOdeniers AND the frustration of people confused why their calorie counting isn't working just getting a "it always works, you are doing it wrong" answer without any further explanation.8


Thanks for taking the time to write something that explains the concept well! Well worth the read...and for the TL;DR crowd, it's not exactly War and Peace length. Investing a bit of time to develop knowledge and understanding about how the process works is kind of valuable in the long run, isn't it? Might even be beneficial7

Great post!
Many thanks for putting in the time to do it3 
Omg :laugh: since none of you have ever responded with “TL;DR” when someone posts an essay on these forums.
:laugh: :laugh:
If my comment discouraged anyone else from reading it, they weren’t going to read it anyway ¯\_(ツ)_/¯27 
Omg :laugh: since none of you have ever responded with “TL;DR” when someone posts an essay on these forums.
:laugh: :laugh:
If my comment discouraged anyone else from reading it, they weren’t going to read it anyway ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Yes, but what is the point in saying it in the first place? Or any time really.
Someone goes to the effort to write something detailed and educational, that could be enlightening to some people. You're right, not everyone will read it. Some will breeze past when they see the length. Fine. We're all busy, everyone has *kitten* to do. But to take the time to actually reply that you couldn't be bothered reading because it was too long? Seems like unnecessary feedback.9 
Omg :laugh: since none of you have ever responded with “TL;DR” when someone posts an essay on these forums.
:laugh: :laugh:
If my comment discouraged anyone else from reading it, they weren’t going to read it anyway ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Oh I fully understand that not everyone wants to read a long forum post, that is why I chose to post in the debate thread where the preponderance of people who enjoy reading lengthy essays is higher than in the other areas on this forum. I am not presuming to have mass appeal and there is no particular need for me to cater to your particular predilections with regards to how you like your forum posts. What I don't understand is why you would waste your time responding here at all given that you weren't interested. As for your "everyone does it" response to people criticizing your TL;DR post no...not really, I don't do it...you won't see me in ChitChat making fun of people's inane banter for example because that sort of posting isn't for me so I don't spend time there. So how about we drop it and I can save some time to post more overly long essays in Debate and you can go back to highfiving people's selfie posts and responding with eggplant emoji's over in ChitChat.32 
Aaron_K123 wrote: »Omg :laugh: since none of you have ever responded with “TL;DR” when someone posts an essay on these forums.
:laugh: :laugh:
If my comment discouraged anyone else from reading it, they weren’t going to read it anyway ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Oh I fully understand that not everyone wants to read a long forum post, that is why I chose to post in the debate thread where the preponderance of people who enjoy reading lengthy essays is higher than in the other areas on this forum. I am not presuming to have mass appeal and there is no particular need for me to cater to your particular predilections with regards to how you like your forum posts. What I don't understand is why you would waste your time responding here at all given that you weren't interested. As for your "everyone does it" response to people criticizing your TL;DR post no...not really, I don't do it...you won't see me in ChitChat making fun of people's inane banter for example because that sort of posting isn't for me so I don't spend time there. So how about we drop it and I can save some time to post more overly long essays in Debate and you can go back to highfiving people's selfie posts and responding with eggplant emoji's over in ChitChat.
*insert standing ovation gif here*
(I'm on an Android phone at the moment which means I can't actually post one, so that'll have to suffice.)11 
Omg :laugh: since none of you have ever responded with “TL;DR” when someone posts an essay on these forums.
:laugh: :laugh:
If my comment discouraged anyone else from reading it, they weren’t going to read it anyway ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
*Raises hand* You've now officially met people who have never posted 'TL;DR' in these forums. Congrats.10 
Wynterbourne wrote: »Omg :laugh: since none of you have ever responded with “TL;DR” when someone posts an essay on these forums.
:laugh: :laugh:
If my comment discouraged anyone else from reading it, they weren’t going to read it anyway ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
*Raises hand* You've now officially met people who have never posted 'TL;DR' in these forums. Congrats.
I'll raise you by a 'had to go google what it mean'7 
Brilliant analogy. Sadly the people who really need to read and UNDERSTAND it aren't going to read it. If they do read it, they probably aren't going to understand it.4

Nicely done. Thanks for taking the time to construct such a nice explanation. NTL; DR (not too long; did read)12
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