Friday, January 11, 2019

The mathematical proof of CICO

In my last reflection, I shared a proposition that the ideal weight for a middle-aged man is what they weighed at age 18 plus 10 percent.  There were several assumptions I made for this proposition to be valid.  You may want to revisit or initially read that reflection before reading today’s reflection. 

This middle-aged man is in a weight loss mode with a birthday weight goal of 177.0 lbs.  He’s been using the tools available at MyFitnessPalwww.myfitnesspal.com - to guide him in his journey.  Today, I’ll share the mathematical proof of the CICO approach I’ve been using to get me where I want to be.  I’ll use actual information reported by MyFitnessPal for December 2018 to crunch the numbers that follow.

By the way, CICO is an acronym for “calories in calories out”.  It’s a weight loss approach that’s been around for a long time and expresses that losing weight ultimately comes down to burning more calories than calories consumed.  In other words, you must create a calorie deficit.  To lose a lb. of weight, that deficit must be 3,500 calories.

On December 1st, I weighed 190.6 lbs. and on December 31st, I weighed 186.0 lbs so I lost 4.6 lbs. of bodyweight for the month.  Check my math because legend has it, I’m not good with numbers.

If I lost 4.6 lbs. of bodyweight in December 2018, this means that I had a monthly calorie deficit of 16,100 calories.  Here’s the math:

3,500 calories x 4.6 lbs. = 16,100 calories

Let’s compare the above with what my nutrition and exercise diaries report and considering my basic metabolic rate and sedentary lifestyle.  Mathematically:

Calories in (CI) = calories consumed during December 2018, and

Calories out (CO) = calories expended during December 2018 – my basic metabolic rate plus an allowance for sedentary lifestyle activities plus calories burned from exercising. 

My daily average calories in (CI) for December 2018
MyFitnessPal reports I consumed the following calories during December 2018: 

Average daily calories
Carbohydrate grams percentage
Protein grams percentage
Fat grams percentage


My daily average calories out (CO) for December 2018
Using an online calculator at www.tdecalculator.net, I calculated my daily calories expended at 2,186 based for a 63-year old male, height 5’11”, weight 190 lbs. 22 percent bodyfat (my best guess) and a sedentary lifestyle, the wicked truth.  

To this I added the average daily calories expended by using information reported by my MyFitnessPal.  My average daily calories expended from exercise was 260 calories.  Note that I didn’t exercise every day, so the 260 calories daily average was calculated by taking the total calories expended for December 2018 and dividing it by 31 days.

So, my daily average calories out (CO) for December 2018 was 2,446 calories (2,186 calories basic metabolic rate above considering my sedentary lifestyle plus exercise calories of 260) for a daily average total of 2,446.

Now, let’s do the math.

Daily average calories expended
Daily average calories consumed
Average daily calories deficit
Number of days in December
Total calories deficit for December
Number of lbs. equivalent

Note that the number of lbs. equivalent of 4.6 lbs. was calculated by taking the total calories deficit for December 2018 and dividing it by 3,500.  This is the calculated weight loss I should have achieved for December 2018 based on the calories deficit for the month.

This calculated expected CICO weight loss agrees with my actual weight loss of 4.6 lbs.

Note that my way of eating wasn’t low carbohydrate or low fat.  Many believe the two are evil for people trying to lose weight.  None of that mattered to me.  I focused on eating what I wanted but less, yet enough to fuel my body to perform my exercise workouts with some decency of performance.  A calorie is a calorie and that’s the beauty of CICO.

And this, my fellow middle-aged men, is your lesson today of the mathematical proof of CICO.

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

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