I learned about CICO from Reddit and have been following it from the previous 15 days and have lost 3.1 Kg (6.1lbs) since then.

I am a male, age 20, 5'6'' and my current weight is 78.5 Kg. On a day to day basis, I consume ~ 900-1100 calories with little to no exercise. I don't even do cardio. I read that if I eat less calories than my body needs, I will lose weight. I also don't have a specific diet. I just eat normal food but I ensure that the calories add upto ~ 1100

I was very happy initially but my belly has not reduced at all. I don't even know whether I should feel happy or not on losing 6 lbs.

What should I do? How to reduce weight PLUS reduce belly fat?

  • Your assumption of spot reducing a specific area of your body is incorrect. Weigh loss should occur throughout your body. Be happy with your current weight loss and continue to work hard and be consistent. Weight loss takes time...
    – rrirower
    Mar 16, 2020 at 18:28

1 Answer 1


Short answer

You're almost doing the right thing, but 15 days is not enough time to start drawing conclusions.

Longer answer

The problem here is simply that what you lose in such a small amount of time, is for the most part water weight. Fat is persistent, but CICO is the right idea, and you should keep following that.

I consume ~ 900-1100 calories

1100 calories is taking CICO to the extreme, and I highly caution against it. You may not feel it now, but it will eventually lead to chronic fatigue, tiredness, and general exhaustion on a daily basis. You should find out what your daily calorie expenditure is, and undercut it by 2-300 calories. I have a feeling you've undercut it by about half.

with little to no exercise. I don't even do cardio

But why? Exercise helps you burn more calories. It's also how we help our bodies cope with the adjustments in weight, adjustments in weight distribution, and generally how we stay healthy.

Bottom line, and this bears repeating

15 days is not enough time to start drawing conclusions. Adjust your approach, preferably with the help of a doctor or a trainer. You'll find that none of them will approve an 1100 calorie/day diet. You still need nutrition. You still need vitamins and minerals to make sure your body can perform basic functions. If you carry on like this, you'll get fatigued, and then you'll get sick.

Extra reading

Since you seem very focused on belly fat in particular, take a look at this Q&A.

What exercises should I perform to reduce fat on a specific area of my body?

It's important to know the basics of how the body deals with fat.

  • Thank you so much for your answer Alec. It is very helpful. The reason for the lack of exercise is college. I barely get time to spend in the gym. I also read somewhere that if you just focus on CICO (i.e just diet) and do not do any exercise, then you will start losing muscle not fat. Is that true?
    – Aaryan
    Mar 16, 2020 at 18:13
  • @Aaryan - To be clear, you will lose both. If you don't work out, your body has no reason to maintain muscle either. I highly recommend doing at least some form of exercise.
    – Alec
    Mar 16, 2020 at 19:04
  • -1 There is very little evidence that calorie restriction is effective in the long term. In fact, there is evidence that calorie restriction can result in a permanent reduction in calorie expenditure, even after the lost weight is inevitably regained, leaving people at their previous or higher weight, but requiring that they eat less in order to avoid more weight gain. In other words, calorie restriction is not helpful, and is potentially harmful.
    – michael
    Mar 16, 2020 at 21:58
  • I would like to point out that by not exercising and also by maintaining such a severe deficit that weight loss will include the loss of a lot of lean mass. A decrease in lean mass (in isolation) will actually increase your body fat percentage. While you certainly will also lose fat in this process, your body fat percentage will drop significantly slower because of lost lean mass. It’s certainly okay to take things one step at a time, but if being leaner is your goal, you should really consider incorporating activities to gain or maintain lean mass. Mar 16, 2020 at 21:58
  • @michael - please refrain from trolling. You’ve brought this up in the past and it’s been addressed. Metabolic adaptations are minimal (arguably negligible) and when the human body encounters a calorie deficit, it uses stored energy and weight loss ALWAYS occurs as a result. I’ll post that link again explaining your go to study from last time - community.myfitnesspal.com/en/discussion/10384484/… Mar 16, 2020 at 22:06

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