“Eat less, move more, and you’ll lose weight!”
How many times have you heard this?
It’s definitely a simple enough premise. And there’s definitely truth to it. But the idea of “calories in” and “calories out” (CICO) has now become a debate between those who insist nutrition boils down to calories in and calories out, and those who insist CICO is oversimplified and not taking into consideration other factors.
CICO: Says that if you aren’t losing weight, you’re either eating too many calories, not exercising enough… or both.
Anti CICO: Says that the whole CICO idea is oversimplified and doesn’t answer everything.
So… who’s right about what actually leads to weight loss? Or are both sides missing something?
Most importantly, what does this all mean for you?
The TRUTH about “calories in vs. calories out” (a.k.a. CICO):
After coaching many 100s of clients, we’ve learned that the right answer to a question like this often lies somewhere in the middle of two extremes. Just like everything else 😛
This “CICO” debate is no exception.
Bottom line: CICO is “true” but just like with most things in life, there are exceptions based on things such as metabolic damage/issues and/or hormone imbalances.
Calories in vs calories out IS the simplified explanation for nutrition. Bottom line, you have to be in a calorie deficit (eat less calories than you burn) in order to lose weight! Where it gets tricky, is how to find that calorie deficit # that works for you, and adjust it as things in your body change!
The right caloric intake for you depends on metabolic health, hormone health, current weight, current activity level, goal weight, time frame, and overall goals for your body composition.
While it does come down to CICO, there is HUGE variety in one’s caloric intake requirements, and exceptions if one has a damaged metabolism and/or hormone imbalances.
EX: let’s say myself and my friend are the exact same height and weight, but one of us is twice as active, has a healthier metabolism, and more muscle mass. The more active one with a healthier metabolism and more muscle mass will have a higher caloric intake for maintenance or loss, than the one who is less active and has less than ideal metabolic health.
So what does this all mean for you? It’s just a little more information so that you can understand there isn’t one magic calorie # and it’s not all black and white when it comes to calorie intake, and weight loss/ body composition changes/goals.
It’s a small percentage of people who truly have hormone imbalance and other health issues that cause the CICO concept to not work for them. If that’s you, the best thing to do is to see a medical professional that can help you resolve these imbalances, but keep in mind, for the most part, IF YOU FEEL “I’m working hard in the gym but not seeing my desired weight loss results” then….
you are probably eating the wrong amount of calories / wrong ratios of macronutrients, and being inconsistent with your nutrition and fitness!!!
Need help and accountability around your nutrition? Reply to this post with “I need nutrition help!”