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How I plan to calorie count my way back to my goal weight.

In this post, I'm going to layout my CICO plan. First off that's define CICO. CICO stands for calories in vs. calories out. Basic idea is that you burn more then you eat. This method worked for me before and I am hoping it will work for me again. Now as we all know everybody is different, and what works for me may not work for others; and what works for others may not work for me. I am not here to tell anyone how to do things, because I don't know you! I think it's important that each person finds what works for themselves. 

I want to start by saying that I don't have any set of "rules" that I follow. By taking away rules, I feel much less pressure. I'm not following a particular "program" or anyone else's guidelines. I typically just make stuff up as I go along, and learn from my mistakes.

We have all heard it before; "You must count calories to lose weight." Track everything you eat and all the calories you burn and if you have a deficit you did good for the day. I am currently using two apps. One for food tracking and one for fitness tracking. Both are synced up together and both offer tools I enjoy having and rely on. I started using the My Fitness Pal (MFP) app years ago and really enjoy it. The first thing I like about it is that it has a built in barcode scanner which is nice for recording food. The other feature I like about it is that I can access the calories for most if not all restaurants or fast food locations right from my phone before I eat the item and regret it later. The other app I enjoy using is my Fitbit Dashboard App. This tool is great for tracking my daily activity. It has the ability to track my sleeping patterns also but I just can't sleep with a watch on and am afraid to know how little I actually sleep. 

So you probably want to know how many calories I plan on eating a day? Here is where that science comes in. I believe that if you take Your Resting Metabolic Rate or  RMR  and subtract your consumption calories you will get your basic daily calories. Hopefully that number will reflect that you have a calorie deficiency. Now science says that it takes 3500 calories burnt to equal one pound of burned fat. My plan is to losing 2 pounds a week so I need to have a 7000 calorie deficiency at the end of the week. Here is my basic math:

RMR = 1708 Calories per day
Calories In = 1200 Calories per day
------------ 508 calorie deficit 

The goal is to be at 1000 each day so that I can reach the 7000 by the end of the week. This math then is telling me I need to burn (calories out) an additional 492 calories each day in some form of fitness. 

There are a lot of fitness articles that will tell you that you should eat your fitness calories or calories out as I call them. I do not believe in this. I believe that you need to make sure you consume or that your calories in are good calories that will keep your body fueled. But, I also believe that if you are hungry then you need to eat more. 

Now the fat girl that I am says that you need to have a high calorie day.. aka cheat day. I don't like to call it a cheat day.. I look at it more as a be reasonable and smart but don't stress the calories out. An example of this would be.. eat your normal healthy breakfast, healthy normal snacks, reasonable and normal lunch or dinner. Allow yourself to splurg on one of those two though. If you eat pizza have three small slices. Don't stress the 1100 calories when your normal dinner is 500 calories. That also means thought that you shouldn't eat the whole large. It's all about finding balance.  

I don't want to and don't plan on tracking all the macro nutrients like carbs, protein, sugar etc.. I want to keep things simple. This should help me from stressing and getting overwhelmed. My apps both track those things and there if I want to see them but really as long as my body feels fueled it will tell me if I need something else or less of something. The one thing I have found out is that there are more calories in fruits and veggies then I would like. I do plan however to track them even though I strongly feel they should be free.. By not tracking them I am only cheating myself. My Fitness Pal has an awesome recipe tracker on the app! When I'm cooking, I can literally just scan the barcode of ingredients and build the recipe right there on the app. Then it's saved for the next time I make the recipe, too. You can even import recipes from websites and swap out ingredients if you change things up. It's a really great tool!

I think that pretty much sums it up! I can't stress enough that it really helps to experiment to find what works for YOU. Try making your own rules and change them around until they fit for YOU. I think the approach I'm taking is very similar to intuitive eating--I'm eating what I want, I'm listening to my hunger cues, I'm not following any "rules"--only I happen to log my food and track the calories, so I can keep myself from getting out of hand.

I also want to make it clear that I am not trying to tell anyone at all how they should or shouldn't eat.  As I always say, find what works for you--something you can do for the long haul--and do that.  I'm not a doctor or scientist or nutritionist, or anything like that. I am just trying to keep it simple and something I can do for the long haul. 


  1. Sounds real good and you know it works for you, as you said not the same works for everyone or there would not be 1000's of diets out there that so many live by. As we have all learned by now (I think) this has to be a lifestyle, it cannot be just until you lose, or you will gain back and that is sad, so you have a great plan and I see you doing it!



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