Discussion about CICO

ReenieHJ
ReenieHJ Posts: 9,511 Member
Our body registers this simple math formula automatically, with or without our help. :)

I'd like to know what everybody thinks about it, such as:
Do you find it restrictive
Is it making you see things such as 'I deserve this food whether I've earned it through calories used or not'.
Does it lend to the good or bad mindset at all?

I'm just curious how everyone accepts it, chooses to use it, or any other thoughts you might have, anything you'd care to share. Thanks! :)

I, for one, have found it truly helpful because I feel I have control over indulging myself more if I choose to. If I want an extra 200 calories in my daily allotment, I'll hit the treadmill.
TBH I deserve to be healthier, have more control, feel better, be within reasonable weight. My body does NOT deserve to carry extra baggage around because of what I've chosen to weight it down with. My body does NOT deserve to have all kinds of diseases thrown into it due to all my bad choices.

Just some rambling thoughts this afternoon. :)

Replies

  • Xellercin
    Xellercin Posts: 777 Member
    I personally don't count calories anymore and rarely have. I've only ever done it briefly to understand how many I'm eating if I change my diet, or to explain what's going on if my weight isn't doing what I expect based on how I think I'm eating.

    I focus instead on prioritizing filling, nutrient dense foods. I find that I naturally eat about the right amount to maintain my weight if I minimize processed foods and eat a lot of plants, especially if they are raw.

    I find it very difficult to overeat calories if I don't eat calorie-dense, ultra processed foods. So that's where I put my focus. I adjust what I'm eating until eating intuitively produces the weight results that I want.

    I've never focused on restriction because my psyche doesn't respond well to that. If I want to lose weight, my best strategy is to make my meals 70% raw vegetables by mass.
  • cwolfman13
    cwolfman13 Posts: 40,874 Member
    I haven't counted calories in many, many years now; but doing so gave me a lot of insight just in terms of what my body needs, what a calorie is, and how my body uses those calories. It helped me greatly with a better understanding of nutrition and how I could really improve my nutrition and cut back on calories and still be satisfied at the same time. It also helped me appreciate how little I needed if I were to continue leading a more or less sedentary lifestyle and it motivated me to just get out and move more...which also became all the easier as I lost weight and my fitness improved and has just compounded on itself like interest on itself.

    At this point, I don't give it a tremendous amount of conscious thought. I'm somewhat on auto-pilot and don't find balancing my calorie needs to my activity to be particularly difficult. I'm in the process of losing about 20 Lbs I put on during the last couple years with the pandemic. The biggest thing right now is that I've just cut way back on alcohol and I've cut back on some snacks and deserts. It's been pretty slow at about 1/2 Lb per week since the end of January, but spring is in the air and day light savings is right around the corner and my general level of activity tends to increase this time of year, so I anticipate things will just kind of pick up on their own here pretty quickly.
  • LiveOnceBeHappy
    LiveOnceBeHappy Posts: 256 Member
    I deserve to be healthier, more confident, and hopefully to live longer and be more active. I choose this over a cookie any day. I could choose more calories, but that choice didn't work well for me before. I don't resent not eating more calories than I need. I am making a choice FOR ME. I am not denying myself anything. I am embracing what I want. That's my thinking.
  • sijomial
    sijomial Posts: 19,619 Member
    edited March 7
    I'm not clear if you are talking about CICO or calorie counting TBH?

    If CICO....
    Restrictive - Only that in the very long term my intake and output need to be in harmony to meet my goals.

    Deserving food - I don't think like that at all. I deserve nice things including nice foods and don't think of exercise as a way of earning those nice things. It's certainly pleasant that with a high exercise volume and high activity level (both of which I enjoy) I get to eat more nice things (which I also enjoy). e.g. My calorie needs were over 4,000 yesterday which gives a lot of freedom if I choose to eat that much on the day or average it out.

    Good or bad - That's not how I think of foods or calorie balance at all. Is the big scoop of energy drink mix bad because it's mostly sugars or is it good because it helped me ride 47 miles at a decent pace? (To me it's neither, it's just an energy drink!)


    If calorie counting.
    I found it a very useful and educational tool for a relatively short period of time, stripped away excuses too. Gave me the ability to manage my weight loss phase in the way I wanted. Not needed by me to maintain weight including making small adjustments when I need or want to.
  • cbihatt
    cbihatt Posts: 318 Member
    I count calories and I try to hit my targets, but I don’t really think about it as CICO. If I want to eat something and it’s over my calories, I just make a choice about whether or not to eat it. I don’t then try to counteract it by exercising more. I either accept that I will be over calories, or choose to not eat the extra and be on target. That said, if I had a hard workout on a particular day, I might be more inclined to go over my calories than if it were a rest day, for example.

    I try to stay between the lines of giving myself too many rules and giving myself too much freedom to break them. If I go too far in either direction, I am likely to go into a tailspin.
  • Xellercin
    Xellercin Posts: 777 Member
    AnnPT77 wrote: »
    For me, as a data geek and long-time hedonist, calorie counting has been a nearly perfect tool. Counting is neither burdensome nor psychologically troubling, and it lets me eat every delicious calorie possible today, while still paving a road to good quality of life for my future self. Happy balance: Yay!

    I find it odd
    (1) when people see calorie counting as somehow more psychologically fraught than (say) financial budgeting, and
    (2) that I'm personally seemingly entirely capable of "intuitive spending" (without being a wealthy person), but that I intuitively over-eat (whereas some other people need both financial and calorie budgets, or neither, or the opposite from me (financial but not calorie) - that's weird).

    I get that eating has a relationship, for many, to stress, self-worth, emotions, etc. . . . but so does money, often. They're not the same, but there are a lot of analogies, I think.

    Calorie counting is a tool. If a person finds it useful, cool. If they find calorie counting problematic in some way, there are other tools that can work.

    CICO, on the other hand - the calorie balance formula - that's non-negotiable. It applies to everyone. It may not apply in the simplistic static way that many people seem to assume and expect . . . but lots of things are more nuanced than they seem at first glance. In some specific cases, it can be quite complex (maybe too complex) to apply via calorie counting - for someone with a cycling thyroid condition, as one example - but it still applies, IMO.

    P.S. On the specific point of deserving food, I agree with sijomial. I don't think about food that way, or exercise as paying for food somehow. As a hedonist, I want all the yummy stuff, but I don't feel like it's a question of deserving it. I feel lucky and grateful to have - so far - pretty easy access to enough (and more) of it. There's an element of using that privilege responsibly that matters to me, and calorie counting has helped me to behave more responsibly in that sense, as well as to be a more responsible steward for my future self.

    I don't think of my body and mind and my self as separate or separable things, at root, really. The idea that my body wants different things from my mind/self doesn't intuit for me. (Even that current self/future self construct is more metaphorical than real.) Behavior matters more than mindset, anyway. They can't be entirely separated, but I'm a believer in the usefulness of doing a slightly foreign-feeling thing by intention until it becomes an automatic way of behaving, i.e., sort of fake it 'til you make it.

    With how much debt most people have, I think most people have similar issues with eating as they do with spending.
  • AnnPT77
    AnnPT77 Posts: 24,799 Member
    Xellercin wrote: »
    AnnPT77 wrote: »
    For me, as a data geek and long-time hedonist, calorie counting has been a nearly perfect tool. Counting is neither burdensome nor psychologically troubling, and it lets me eat every delicious calorie possible today, while still paving a road to good quality of life for my future self. Happy balance: Yay!

    I find it odd
    (1) when people see calorie counting as somehow more psychologically fraught than (say) financial budgeting, and
    (2) that I'm personally seemingly entirely capable of "intuitive spending" (without being a wealthy person), but that I intuitively over-eat (whereas some other people need both financial and calorie budgets, or neither, or the opposite from me (financial but not calorie) - that's weird).

    I get that eating has a relationship, for many, to stress, self-worth, emotions, etc. . . . but so does money, often. They're not the same, but there are a lot of analogies, I think.

    Calorie counting is a tool. If a person finds it useful, cool. If they find calorie counting problematic in some way, there are other tools that can work.

    CICO, on the other hand - the calorie balance formula - that's non-negotiable. It applies to everyone. It may not apply in the simplistic static way that many people seem to assume and expect . . . but lots of things are more nuanced than they seem at first glance. In some specific cases, it can be quite complex (maybe too complex) to apply via calorie counting - for someone with a cycling thyroid condition, as one example - but it still applies, IMO.

    P.S. On the specific point of deserving food, I agree with sijomial. I don't think about food that way, or exercise as paying for food somehow. As a hedonist, I want all the yummy stuff, but I don't feel like it's a question of deserving it. I feel lucky and grateful to have - so far - pretty easy access to enough (and more) of it. There's an element of using that privilege responsibly that matters to me, and calorie counting has helped me to behave more responsibly in that sense, as well as to be a more responsible steward for my future self.

    I don't think of my body and mind and my self as separate or separable things, at root, really. The idea that my body wants different things from my mind/self doesn't intuit for me. (Even that current self/future self construct is more metaphorical than real.) Behavior matters more than mindset, anyway. They can't be entirely separated, but I'm a believer in the usefulness of doing a slightly foreign-feeling thing by intention until it becomes an automatic way of behaving, i.e., sort of fake it 'til you make it.

    With how much debt most people have, I think most people have similar issues with eating as they do with spending.

    If I seemed to express an opinion in that post about the relative frequency in the population of successful "intuitive eaters" vs. successful "intuitive spenders", it wasn't intentional. I suspect you're right, though. Many people are in debt, and many people are overweight.

    Personally, for some reason I've had more difficulty with sensibly managing food than money, it seems like, despite not being wealthy, and despite the problem-spaces being similar. 🤷‍♀️
  • HoneyBadger302
    HoneyBadger302 Posts: 1,679 Member
    CICO is just basic math for one's individual body - regardless of anything else, your body needs "x" number of calories, and if you eat more, you will put on weight, eat less, you will lose. Period. Yes, how much one person needs versus another can vary wildly for a variety of reasons, but there really is no magic here, and really not anything to argue about.

    That said, when it comes to calorie counting - I find it is a must if I am going to lose weight. I simply can eat and drink far more than my body needs, and find it VERY easy to way over-consume for my size and activities. I have to be pretty strict about it as well, mostly to make up for the times I can't be certain (say, at a restaurant).

    I do find it a pain, and annoying, but reality is I simply am far more hungry and my body's signals are just off of what I need. Every time I stop counting, I start to put weight back on. Every time I'm counting, I am fighting with some level of hunger every single day (and that's losing slowly, like 1 pound a week or less).

    Certain eating styles help (for me, higher protein and fats, lower carbs, volume vegg), but other than that, calorie counting is simply a requirement if I am going to lose weight.

    As a reference, since starting counting again after realizing all my pants were getting rather tight (again), I've lost about 10 pounds since just after the Christmas holiday, so literally a pound a week average, which is about on point. I'm still a good 15-20 pounds from my goal, give or take a few pounds depending on how much muscle mass I'm carrying now vs the last time I was around my goal weight, but that will be hard to tell until I'm much closer.
  • ciaoder
    ciaoder Posts: 119 Member
    I manage my weight loss almost entirely by manipulating calories out. I had done a 6 month recomp/ bulk last year and counting calories (and managing macros) was way more important to me during that process.
  • IsabelleBabel
    IsabelleBabel Posts: 12 Member
    Calorie counting is the easiest for me. It's the most flexible, as you can eat any type of food, and this is what I need.

    Now, with CICO .... The science says that it is the only way to lose weight ... until it does not work anymore (ie when you are in a weight loss stall and/or plateau >:) )

    But sarcasm aside, I don't know any other way to lose weight, so I stick to it.
  • Walkywalkerson
    Walkywalkerson Posts: 444 Member
    CICO is just basic math for one's individual body - regardless of anything else, your body needs "x" number of calories, and if you eat more, you will put on weight, eat less, you will lose. Period. Yes, how much one person needs versus another can vary wildly for a variety of reasons, but there really is no magic here, and really not anything to argue about.

    That said, when it comes to calorie counting - I find it is a must if I am going to lose weight. I simply can eat and drink far more than my body needs, and find it VERY easy to way over-consume for my size and activities. I have to be pretty strict about it as well, mostly to make up for the times I can't be certain (say, at a restaurant).

    I do find it a pain, and annoying, but reality is I simply am far more hungry and my body's signals are just off of what I need. Every time I stop counting, I start to put weight back on. Every time I'm counting, I am fighting with some level of hunger every single day (and that's losing slowly, like 1 pound a week or less).

    Certain eating styles help (for me, higher protein and fats, lower carbs, volume vegg), but other than that, calorie counting is simply a requirement if I am going to lose weight.

    As a reference, since starting counting again after realizing all my pants were getting rather tight (again), I've lost about 10 pounds since just after the Christmas holiday, so literally a pound a week average, which is about on point. I'm still a good 15-20 pounds from my goal, give or take a few pounds depending on how much muscle mass I'm carrying now vs the last time I was around my goal weight, but that will be hard to tell until I'm much closer.

    I can relate to a lot of this post.
    I have to calorie count or I consume far too many calories - and even when I do calorie count I'm usually over - sometimes by a lot.
    I'm around 20lbs from goal and have a ravenous hunger that is never satiated for very long.
    As honeybadger said - I have to fight some level of hunger every day too when I'm at even a small deficit.
    I also do better with a higher fat / protien ratio and less carbs.
    But at the moment I'm craving carbs a lot and giving in.
    I'm managing to maintain my current weight since Christmas within a 3 - 5lb range.
    But it's a slippery slope.
    So to answer the question - yes I do exercise to afford a few more calories - not obsessively.
    The saying that ' you can't out exercise a bad diet'
    Is unfortunately true!
  • jo_nz
    jo_nz Posts: 595 Member
    I am not big on strict calorie counting - I check into MFP regularly, but more as a way to keep my focus than to actually track everything.
    I go by the idea that my body tracks everything far more accurately than I ever will, and it's doesn't mis-judge quantities or forget or have cheat days.

    I know that if I am not losing the weight I want to, I need to either eat "less" more burn "more" - I could try and narrow it down to specific numbers, but I find it better for me to just adjust as I go.

    I know some people love the numbers and the daily allowance really works for them, but for me it's all about the big picture - is what I am doing now consistent with the life I want to lead? I choose to exercise most days because I want the active life that is helping me to achieve. I choose to skip dessert if it's not something I really love because I want to minimise excess pressure on my joints. But sometimes I do choose to eat the pizza/chocolate/cake because I want that to be part of life too.
  • Xellercin
    Xellercin Posts: 777 Member
    AnnPT77 wrote: »
    Xellercin wrote: »
    AnnPT77 wrote: »
    For me, as a data geek and long-time hedonist, calorie counting has been a nearly perfect tool. Counting is neither burdensome nor psychologically troubling, and it lets me eat every delicious calorie possible today, while still paving a road to good quality of life for my future self. Happy balance: Yay!

    I find it odd
    (1) when people see calorie counting as somehow more psychologically fraught than (say) financial budgeting, and
    (2) that I'm personally seemingly entirely capable of "intuitive spending" (without being a wealthy person), but that I intuitively over-eat (whereas some other people need both financial and calorie budgets, or neither, or the opposite from me (financial but not calorie) - that's weird).

    I get that eating has a relationship, for many, to stress, self-worth, emotions, etc. . . . but so does money, often. They're not the same, but there are a lot of analogies, I think.

    Calorie counting is a tool. If a person finds it useful, cool. If they find calorie counting problematic in some way, there are other tools that can work.

    CICO, on the other hand - the calorie balance formula - that's non-negotiable. It applies to everyone. It may not apply in the simplistic static way that many people seem to assume and expect . . . but lots of things are more nuanced than they seem at first glance. In some specific cases, it can be quite complex (maybe too complex) to apply via calorie counting - for someone with a cycling thyroid condition, as one example - but it still applies, IMO.

    P.S. On the specific point of deserving food, I agree with sijomial. I don't think about food that way, or exercise as paying for food somehow. As a hedonist, I want all the yummy stuff, but I don't feel like it's a question of deserving it. I feel lucky and grateful to have - so far - pretty easy access to enough (and more) of it. There's an element of using that privilege responsibly that matters to me, and calorie counting has helped me to behave more responsibly in that sense, as well as to be a more responsible steward for my future self.

    I don't think of my body and mind and my self as separate or separable things, at root, really. The idea that my body wants different things from my mind/self doesn't intuit for me. (Even that current self/future self construct is more metaphorical than real.) Behavior matters more than mindset, anyway. They can't be entirely separated, but I'm a believer in the usefulness of doing a slightly foreign-feeling thing by intention until it becomes an automatic way of behaving, i.e., sort of fake it 'til you make it.

    With how much debt most people have, I think most people have similar issues with eating as they do with spending.

    If I seemed to express an opinion in that post about the relative frequency in the population of successful "intuitive eaters" vs. successful "intuitive spenders", it wasn't intentional. I suspect you're right, though. Many people are in debt, and many people are overweight.

    Personally, for some reason I've had more difficulty with sensibly managing food than money, it seems like, despite not being wealthy, and despite the problem-spaces being similar. 🤷‍♀️

    I didn't think you were making a statement about the relative frequency, I just thought I would point out how common both issues are, and I do think they function with a very similar basis.

    I don't doubt that many people find one easier to deal with than the other, but I just wanted to point out that they're practically identical issues with pretty equal prevalence and severity in our society.