Calorie Cycling: How I Solve My CICO Problem

close up photo of food on wooden table

I cannot believe that I haven’t heard about this already.

Alright… Since this post, I have been thinking that IF I weigh myself on a weekly basis, it makes a lot of sense if I count the calories on a weekly basis too. This means, I can have a lot more fun on my day off, including drinking some alcohol and eating take away food.

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This is what I thought…

Basically if I allocate… for example… 1500kCal a day, so it means I have around 10500kCal a week. If on my work days (when all I did was go to work, go home, do chores, eat, and sleep) I have 1200kCal a day, which means 6000kCal for five workdays, then on the weekend I can have 4500kCal for the two days off…

I thought… wow I must be some kind of a genius for coming out with such idea. Until I googled and I found out that my genius idea was not really original anyways.

This way of shifting extra calories for days when you want to eat more is called calorie cycling.

While my thought process was very simple (eat basic during weekdays, so I can have larger budget on weekends — just like saving money for holidays), apparently a lot of people has been using this calorie cycling to optimise their exercise and fitness training. By eating more on training days, and less on rest days, this calorie cycling can help people to boost energy for training, without compromising the weekly calorie budget.

How clever.

Getting excited by this newfound information, I dug deeper. Calorie cycling is apparently more complex than what I thought originally. There are a lot of ways of doing it, although the basic idea is just like what I already had in mind. The reasons why there are many variations of it is because of how it caters to different people.

I am not going to copy paste the different ways of doing it, because every author has their own idea of how to do calorie cycling. I am sticking with the basic, but you can always browse the wonderful world of internet for the details and the variations.

Back to calorie cycling… I like this idea.

I agree that the idea of being able to eat more during my day off might sound like cheat days. However, unlike cheat days, calorie cycling makes sure that you are still eating within the budget. It is more like reorganising, and redistributing the calories for more flexibility.

It means that if I have a problem saying no to food at work, I don’t have to worry too much that I will go over for the day, because I can shift the excess the next day, or distribute the extra calories for the next 3-4 days, until I get back on track again.

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As a bonus help, my usual BMR/TDEE calculator can give me the weekly number in addition of the daily number.

Now I am going to slap my forehead lovingly with my palm, as my self punishment for not going for this way earlier. Let’s see how this would affect the next weekend weigh in…

Love

Mel x

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6 Replies to “Calorie Cycling: How I Solve My CICO Problem”

  1. Looking forward to hearing how you got on with this little experiment. I’ve heard some people swear by it, whilst others find that the days they eat higher completely derails their weight loss (possibly because some people are more insulin resistant than others and those days when they eat more, they have to produce more insulin to cope with the higher carb amount but if their metabolism is out of whack, their bodies just don’t seem to cope as well.)

    Hope you managed to get it to work for you

    Blue

    1. Hi Blue,

      I was going to write an update about this, and saw your comment. I have to say that I am not sure yet on how my body reacted to this new program. My hormone is all over the place right now so I think it is too soon for me to decide whether this is working or not.
      However your comment got me thinking. Thinking hard. Since there is PCOS in my family, I might have a problem with insulin resistance too… this might have affected me more than I realised.
      It is definitely something for me too look more closely. But I will definitely update this 🙂 Thank you Blue <3

      1. Hi Chip,
        As you know I’ve gone low-carb as both a way to lose weight AND improve a lot of my health problems. I’m in no way trying to brainwash you into joining my cult, lol, but the more I learn about it, the more reasons I find for so many people to adopt a sugar-free/low-carb WOE. If you have PCOS in your family, there really is a chance that you too could be affected – either by it, or other conditions which are provoked by hormonal imbalances. People forget that insulin is a hormone and that it doesn’t just effect our blood sugar. A low-sugar/low-carb diet has been shown to be an effective way of weight loss in women with PCOS who don’t necessarily do well on CICO diets. It also helps to temper issues with excess testosterone in women, along with the subsequent side-effects like facial hair. Obviously it’s not a cure-all, but it makes perfect sense to find that eradicating a foodstuff that wasn’t present in the diet of our ancestors, does seem to reset so many problems with our endocrine systems. My post today was all about how eating this way seems to be making my own periods a lot easier, so I’m obviously a total convert to the low-carb WOE. Have you ever considered giving it a try? Not necessarily to lose weight, but just as an overall way to improve your health?

        Okay, that’s enough evangelising for today. I promise I won’t keep trying to get you to come over the dark side (where we only ever have sugar-free cookies!). But if you ever want any recommendations for YT channels that can give you more info, just drop me a message, because I have a few good ones that you might like.

        Take care

        Blue

        1. Yes Blue, I have looked at low carb options from Keto, Atkins, and even Dukan. And while researching and made blog posts about then, I did consider to do it for a while, but I am not ready to jump in all the way because the program is all- or nothing.
          I don’t think i can sustain that way of life, so what I’ve been doing is to remove carbs little by little every week, so that my carb intake is not as high as it was before but not as strict as atkins or keto.
          I’ve cut my carb goal from 140-150 gram a day to 80-100 gram. But that happens gradually. I’ve already seen the result, and felt the difference, and wish i could cut some more.
          My period also has become more regular (30-34 days instead of 34-64 days in between), and definitely linked to my weight loss and food. So yeah that’s also the reason why I follow your blog so that I can nick some idea on how to cut carbs, but also modify it the way that I can sustain as a lifetime thing 🙂

          Thank you very much for this. I really do appreciate it. Not many people understand the struggle so it’s nice to know more like minded people 🙂

          Love
          Mel x

          1. I also thought that it would be difficult to go go so low-carb, but paradoxically (sort of) the lower the number of carbs you consume, the easier it is to do without them. I started this thinking I would be really craving a lot of the high-sugar junk foods I was used to consuming, but the opposite happened. I’ve almost eradicated my sweet tooth, to the point where I’m not even bothering to make any keto cakes or desserts as a replacement for what I’d normally eat. The thing I find myself really wanting, more than anything, is red meat. Steak, brisket or ground beef made into burger patties….can’t get enough of it!

            And I think that’s my body just telling me what it really wants/needs. Having normally long/heavy periods is bad for my iron levels, so it makes sense that I’m really into getting lots of red meat into me.

            I’m not looking forward to the point when I have to up my carb amounts, as per Atkins instructions, because I know that will just increase my chance of craving the sweet stuff again, so I’ve been looking at ways of keeping my carb intake as low as possible, for the long term. I love not feeling as though I’m at the mercy of my sugar cravings and see food as a fuel more than anything else. It’s the most freeing feeling I’ve experienced and I really don’t want it to stop.

            x

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