This Popular Diet Won’t Actually Help You Lose Weight After All
There’s a new popular diet circulating online — and on the surface, it probably sounds too good to be true. CICO promotes an easy, calorie-focused method for eating less, moving more, and finally getting the results on your scale you’ve always wanted. What is the CICO diet — and will it actually help you lose weight?
What does CICO mean?
CICO stands for “calories in, calories out.” The CICO diet is based on the idea that if you eat fewer calories per day than you burn, you will automatically lose weight.
Many questions whether or not this concept actually works. After all, isn’t eating healthier food more important than eating less? CICO encourages dieters to make sure they’re putting in less than they’re putting out. Some pair this concept with modifying their diets to match a healthier lifestyle. Many don’t.
What can you eat on the CICO diet?
You can technically eat anything you want on the CICO diet — one of the reasons so many people likely jump at the chance to try it. On this popular diet, it’s the number of calories that matter, not the specific foods you’re putting on your plate.
To lose weight, you do want to burn more calories than you consume. Many people turn to exercise to create a calorie deficit and promote weight loss — but does that matter?
Is exercise required?
To avoid significantly decreasing the number of calories you eat per day — which can be dangerous — exercise can help you burn calories and lose weight over time.
However, exercise alone probably won’t help you reach your weight loss goals. Many people engage in activities that don’t burn enough calories to effectively burn fat. If exercise is your first step to living healthier, that’s great. It just might not be enough.
Which is more important for weight loss — food or fitness?
If you were to start trying to lose weight tomorrow, what would you do first? Would you choose a healthier breakfast, or head out for a jog for the first time in six months? Which matters more? Exercise is important. Your food might be your ultimate key to success, though.
No matter how much you exercise, what you eat matters — as well as how much. The problem is, we’re terrible at estimating — and reporting — both how much we’re eating and exercising. For many people, diets don’t work because they end up eating more by trying to eat healthier. In this way, counting calories sometimes helps — but not always.
This weight loss method just doesn’t work for everyone
Eating 300 calories’ worth of chocolate and 300 calories’ worth of fruit doesn’t provide the same nutrition, even though the calorie amounts are the same. It’s a myth that it doesn’t matter where your calories come from. If you fill your body with junk, your weight will become the least of your ailments.
Counting calories does sometimes make some people more aware of how much or how little they are eating. But it’s not a healthy way to lose weight, or keep weight off long-term.
You can’t take the easy way out
People lose their minds over these diet trends because they promote fast, easy weight loss requiring minimal effort. Don’t we all wish this was actually how weight loss worked?
To lose weight, you have to burn more calories than you consume. That’s a no-brainer. However, to maintain a healthy weight, you have to maintain a healthy diet. Even if you do lose weight by eating less, not better, what happens when you stop losing weight? If you don’t know how to eat right, you’ll likely gain back the weight you lost.
How to actually lose weight fast
Can you eat healthy, without counting calories, and still lose weight fast? It’s possible — as long as you don’t take things too far.
Successful weight loss requires small, gradual changes to your everyday life. It’s a combination of many factors, including learning how to move more throughout your day, make healthier food choices both at home and on the go, and putting fewer harmful foods into your system. There’s no one food, exercise, or diet that does the trick for everyone. You have to figure out the methods that work best for you.
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Scientists see how Mediterranean diet cuts fat deposits
A new, long-term diet study published in the American Heart Association journal Circulation reveals that over 18 months the Mediterranean-low-carb (Med-LC) diet is significantly superior to a low-fat diet in decreasing some of the body’s fat-storage pools, even with only moderate weight loss.
“Weighing patients or using blood tests to detect changes hasn’t, until now, given us accurate pictures, literally, of how different fat deposits are impacted disproportionately by diet and exercise,” said Ben-Gurion University of the Negev Prof. Iris Shai, the primary investigator of the CENTRAL MRI trial.
“These findings suggest that moderate exercise combined with a Mediterranean/low carb diet may help reduce the amount of some fat deposits even if you don’t lose significant weight as part of the effort.”
CENTRAL MRI, a randomized, controlled trial involving 278 sedentary, moderately overweight to obese men and women, marked the first time MRI imaging technology was used to plot changes in several of the body’s fat-storage pools throughout 18 months of Med-LC and low-fat diets with and without moderate physical exercise.
The study was done by BGU scientists in collaboration with the Dimona Nuclear Research Center and Soroka University Medical Center in Israel, and also included researchers from Harvard University in the US and Leipzig University in Germany.
“We learned in this trial that moderate, but persistent, weight loss may have dramatic beneficial effects on fat deposits related to diabetes and cardiovascular diseases,” Shai said.
Shai added that a Mediterranean diet rich in unsaturated fats and low in carbohydrates is a more effective strategy than an iso-caloric (moderate-carbohydrate) low-fat diet in dramatically reversing morbid fat-storage sites.
Earlier studies have found that Med-LC diets are effective in improving the cardio-metabolic state and in reversing carotid atherosclerosis.
“The CENTRAL study demonstrates that improving nutritional quality and being physically active can improve cardio-metabolic risk markers through changes in visceral/ectopic fat deposits that are not reflected by changes in body weight alone,” Shai concluded.
Weight loss: How to lose belly fat in three moves while at home watching TV.
Fat loss is a numbers game – if you burn off more calories than you consume on a regular basis, you WILL lose weight. There are no exceptions to the rule.
Of course, there are some people with a seemingly Ferrari-like speed metabolism that just look at a treadmill and seem to lose weight, while others get a whiff of a Mars bar and feel like they are putting fat on.
But the fact still remains – if you create a calorie deficit on a consistent basis it is simply impossible not to lose fat, according to body transformation expert Chris Wharton.
It is important to search out calorie burning opportunities throughout the day, but with most of us being relatively time poor – with work, family, social commitments – finding time to exercise can often be tricky.
Weight loss: Armchair squats
A great way to carve out some time for this is by combining your workouts with your down-time.
Chris said: “A great way to carve out some time for this is by combining your workouts with your down-time.
“With Brits watching an average of 3 hours 51 minutes per week of television, this gives a lot of us a great opportunity to get a quick, interval style workout in, without missing ‘I’m a Celeb’.”
Chris suggests three simple exercises you can do, but remember – every little helps when it comes to creating a calorie deficit. Your workouts do not always need to be long, arduous and complex. Keep it short, simple and regular for the best adherence and results.
Weight loss: Rear elevated split squats Lose belly fat with these simple exercises Thu, November 30, 2017
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- Start from a standing position facing away from your chair/sofa.
- Keeping your chest proud slowly lower your bottom down to tap the chair.
- Drive up through your heels back up into a standing position and squeeze your thighs and glutes.
- Repeat 15-20 times.
Rear elevated split squats
- Whilst facing away from a chair, take one big step forward.
- Now raise one foot onto the chair, whilst keeping your remaining leg straight.
- To start, slowly lower the back leg down to the floor by flexing both knees.
- Drive up through the front leg back to the starting position.
- Repeat 12-15 times for each leg.
- Shuffle on to the edge of your chair/sofa leaving both hands gripping the edge.
- Keeping your elbows tight to your ribs and your knees slightly bent, lower your bottom down to the floor.
- Using your arms only, push up through your arms back into the starting position.
- Squeeze your triceps at the top of each rep.
- Repeat 15-20 times.
Weight loss: Armchair dipsOptional extra – high knees
As an optional extra, try adding in a more dynamic drill such as high knee sprints on the spot, star jumps or burpees, to get your heart and lungs working a bit harder.
Aim for 30-60 seconds between each round.
Complete all of the above as one circuit before resting for 60 seconds. The aim here is to have as little rest as possible and repeat the whole round at least three times.
Chris added: “It goes without saying that there is more to getting rid of your belly fat than a short workout like this alone. Focus primarily on making sure your nutrition is in check and that you are keeping as active as possible throughout the rest of the day.
“Take your fat loss journey one day at a time. Small wins like the short circuit above, will not only help chip away at that daily calorie target and improve your fitness, it will give you a sense of accomplishment as your finish your last rep and settle down to enjoy Strictly (or whatever show floats your boat).”
Chris Wharton is the Co-owner and Director of the Better Body Group, a chain of gyms in the South East that specialises in body transformation, injury rehabilitation and improving fitness performance, all delivered by graduate-level personal trainers. Find out more on the website www.betterbodygroup.co.uk.
Here are three moves to lose belly fat and tone glutes at the same time.