CICO (Calories In – Calories Out)

For me, a healthy life is all about balance.  Balance between work and play, exercise and rest, family and friends.  A healthy lifestyle is underpinned by choosing the right foods to create balance in our diets along with regular exercise. Every mouthful we consume gives us energy and we need to use that energy if we don’t want to gain weight. Virtually everything we consume has energy in it, in the form of calories.  This energy is converted by our digestive system into energy for our cells and building blocks for our bodies.

This is a perfect equation, when in balance. But like everything in nature, when the balance is off, problems arise. When we consume more energy than we expend, that energy is converted and stored as body fat.

January and all its new year’s resolutions helps focus us on a healthier lifestyle and all we have to remember is that it doesn’t have to be complicated. If you want to lose weight, following the CICO principles is the simplest and most effective way to start.

CICO – Calories In and Calories Out –  is when we take in less calories than we use, so we effectively force our bodies to burn its own fat stores for energy. This is the foundation for weight loss and is based on the principle of energy balance. A standard calorie reduction each day would be 500 calories giving a total of 3500 calories a week which should yield 1lb or 0.5kg weight loss. This is not going to set the world on fire in terms of sensationalist results but it will allow you to eat enough, not feel deprived, have enough energy and still lose weight.

So how much do we need? This changes depending on age, gender and activity levels. That’s why at GourmetFuel, we provide this simple to use diet tool to allow you to understand your number, allowing you to reach your goal.

Now you just match that number, or as close as possible with your food intake, (remember to count your drinks as well). But make sure the types of food you’re choosing are giving you the most nutritional bang for your buck. It’s pretty easy to eat 1000 calories of junk food, but harder if it’s real food!

Knowing the calorie content of what you consume is also important but equally important is being aware of portion size.  Labels will detail the calories per 100gm or 100ml of something and can provide information per portion size however oftentimes, you may consume more than that so you must calculate accordingly.

The downside of this is that it’s a good bit of work! Counting, weighing, calculating, stressing over these numbers can be off-putting and unsustainable. At GourmetFuel, we do all of that so you don’t have to.

If you need some guidance and support to get you on your way, let us help you. Oftentimes a new client will come to us just to get back in to the habit of regular eating and also to understand what exactly 1500 calories or 2000 calories looks like and feels like. Most people get real value out of readjusting their understanding of portion sizes and get results along the way!

We have free choice over what it is we consume.  Along with that we need to be mindful and aware of what that is, how much of it we take in and what we have to do to offset the energy.  A calorie is just a measurement of energy, it’s what you do with that energy that counts!


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Emma Buckley

Emma Buckley

Emma is the Director of Nutrition and co-founder of GourmetFuel®. She has developed an entire range of health meals and meal plans to compliment healthy living and fuel performance. Emma Buckley B.Sc RNutr, is a Registered Nutritionist with the UKVRN through the Association for Nutrition, from Dublin, Ireland. A UCD graduate with a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry and Biochemistry a Graduate Certificate in Food, Nutrition and Health and a Higher Diploma in Diet and Nutrition. In almost two decades as a nutritionist she has worked with some of Ireland’s most well known food and health brands. She is an international keynote conference speaker on nutrition and health. She has worked closely with professional and Olympic athletes and coaches covering all track, field and combat sports at the highest levels. Her understanding of how food and the body work together along with a team of gourmet chefs, helps GourmetFuel create a beautiful range of healthy, delicious meals. Emma specialises in weight management, sports nutrition and maternal/postnatal and infant nutrition.
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