‘The CICO Eating Method and Walking Helped Me Lose 90 Pounds’

My name is Colleen Raines (@colleen_getslean) and I am 34 years old. I am from Hesperia, California and am a home mom. By walking every day and following a “calories in, calories out” or CICO meal plan, I lost 90 pounds.

I’ve always been overweight, even as a kid. But with my most difficult, everyday basic tasks, such as maintaining my hygiene and putting on shoes, they became more and more difficult. I was constantly tired, moody, overwhelmed and unhappy and didn’t recognize myself. I was definitely not the woman and mother I wanted to be.

My turning point was seeing three pictures of myself from three different events in February and March 2020. Little did I know my weight had changed so much. I’ve never really found myself that overweight. It was really a shock. It was as if the blinders had come off.

In April 2020 at the age of 33, my weight was the heaviest at 268 pounds. The scales just kept climbing. I knew I had to do something. May 2020 I started documenting my journey on social media as a form of accountability and maybe to help people on the same boat as me.

When choosing a nutritional plan that was right for me, I looked at my circumstances.

As a mother of two very young toddlers, I knew I needed something simple. I already felt overwhelmed in life, and I didn’t want to add to that any more. I couldn’t pay for a program, and I didn’t want anything that restricted entire food groups. I wanted something that I could do and sustain for a lifetime.

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I started by just counting calories and recording everything I ate and drank. This really opened my eyes to how much I was eating and what foods were “worth” the calories. This lifestyle can be defined as CICO (calories in calories from).

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Using several online calculators, I figured out what my calorie deficit should be and started eating at the level. I’ve been doing this for 15 months now and I’ve consistently lost weight month after month and still eat all the foods I love in moderation. This works because I don’t limit too much and then binge. I can build anything into my day if I want. If I want a cookie or an ice cream, I can still work that in and keep my deficit going.

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I eat that in one day:

  • breakfast: Proffee (coffee with a protein shake) and a Fiber One bar.
  • Having lunch: Some kind of wrap, some fruit and a salad or protein (chicken or fish) with raw vegetables and yogurt ranch dip.
  • snack: Chips, popcorn, a yogurt parfait bowl, or a protein bar.
  • dinner: Cauliflower, stir-fry vegetables and chicken or shrimp, fajitas or pizza to make yourself.

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    I started training straight away.

    It was mostly just on foot. This is still my most important form of training. I started running because that was what I had access to, it was free, and it wasn’t intimidating. I try to take at least 8,000 steps a day. (Most days are higher!)

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    Walking is easy and very underrated. I also love it because I can do it with my kids. When I can’t go for a walk, I do YouTube step workouts. Occasionally I ride an ergometer or do yoga or HIIT workouts.

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    These three changes made the biggest difference in my weight loss results.

    1. I have a calorie deficit. Figuring out my deficit in eating within my calorie budget and staying constant over a long period of time has produced results every month.
    2. I made reduced calorie food swaps. For example, cauliflower rice instead of regular rice. Greek plain yogurt instead of sour cream. Almond milk instead of whole milk.
    3. I stopped calling food “good” or “bad”. All dishes are okay in moderation. There are no “good” or “bad” foods.

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      I lost 90 pounds in 15 months.

      I want people to know that weight loss doesn’t have to be extreme, complicated, or all-or-nothing. You don’t have to cut out whole food groups. You don’t have to go to the gym seven days a week or at all. Keep it simple and get your body moving in some way. You can still enjoy all the foods you love in moderation.

      It’s not a race. Keep going. You can’t screw this up until you give up. Consistency is the key. If you can be constant at least 80 percent of the time over a long period of time, you will see results. You can do it.

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