“The CICO diet and walking to lose weight helped me lose 96 pounds.”

My name is Kaylin Lynn Gealy (@walkingandcounting). I live in Greenville, SC, and am a Data and Document Management Technician. I lost 96 pounds in about two years with the CICO diet rule and walking to lose weight.


Before I started my weight loss journey, I was constantly tired and struggled to find energy. I found myself canceling plans and not participating in events that required exerting energy or moving for long periods of time. I found solace in going to the store and indulging in treats on my own.

My doctor was also concerned about my diet and my lifestyle. My blood pressure was high, as was my cholesterol level, and the health issues associated with both of these issues run through both sides of my family.

While the health issues scared me, my motivation ultimately came mainly to watch Youtube videos, watch Instagram transformation photos and hear testimonials from women like me who had lost weight and how their lives had been. positively impacted. I had gotten a new job from a waitress to a desk job, and I wanted to make even more changes in my life.

I vividly remember driving home from work one day and seeing a treadmill near a trash can. There was a sign on it that said “FREE”. To me, it was a sign that now was the time to start.

I couldn’t keep telling myself I would start next Monday or make some other excuse. It was now or never. And this treadmill came home with me! The day I decided to start was May 10, 2018.

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I barely had room for the machine, but it was an important tool for me as I was still too shy to go out and walk. The incline feature of the treadmill didn’t even work, but it got me moving. I made a goal of walking on it everyday and started my Instagram page to hold myself accountable. I wanted to document my exercise, my height and my meals.

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Diets have always been trial and error for me. I’ve seen a lot of people manage to watch portion sizes, but I love large plates full of food.

Once I realized reducing portion sizes wasn’t going to be sustainable for me, I read up on intermittent fasting. Eating only between 12 p.m. and 8 p.m. worked well for the first few months. I could still eat whatever I wanted, but within a shorter period of time. But after a while, I realized that I would be hungry in the morning or later in the evening and would feel like I would let myself down if I ate before noon or after 8 p.m. Not a healthy state of mind.

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I decided I had to try something else because I wanted to improve my mental health, not just my weight. It was then that I discovered calorie counting, or the CICO rule.

CICO stands for “incoming calories, outgoing calories”. I have read so much and listened to so many dieticians on how to lose weight you need to be in a calorie deficit. I loved veggies, so I downloaded an app where I could track what I was eating and started to learn about food volume and how different kinds can fuel my body differently.

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I was able to eat when I was hungry, eat larger portions, and still lose weight by eating more veggies, fewer carbs, and more lean protein. It was awesome! I would make some of the best salads and come up with some awesome recipes just replacing some of the low volume high calorie foods with veggies and other low calorie high volume foods. Most of my weight loss is simply due to a calorie deficit.

Recently, I experimented with a low carb keto diet to see how my body responds. So far this has been the best diet for me from an energy standpoint, but I’m still thinking about which eating habits will be the most sustainable for me in the long run.

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This is what I eat in a day.

  • Breakfast: Bowls of scrambled eggs with vegetables (mushrooms, peppers, onion, tomato); bacon; omelets with spicy sauce; chaffles with sugar-free maple syrup; and coffee with Torani without sugar and unsweetened vanilla almond milk.
  • Lunch: Chicken and broccoli; grilled salmon salad; cheese and chili sandwiches; Roasted Brussels sprouts with parmesan and bacon.
  • Snacks: Babybel cheese, almonds, pork rinds, celery, paninos, blackberries, Quest bars (birthday cake is my favorite flavor).
  • Having dinner: Lettuce cheeseburger; air fried wings; chicken breast stuffed with cream cheese, jalapenos and bacon; rib eye and green beans; Sweet Baby Rays Sugar Free on BBQ with Cauliflower Rice; zoodles with marinara and meatballs.
  • Dessert: Smart cakes; Bake Believe in chocolate; whipped cream; rebellious ice cream; Halo Top ice cream; almond butter on toast; 90 percent cocoa bar.

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    I started by exercising just by walking. My goal was to walk every day, and I stayed there.

    At first it was difficult because I used to sit on the couch, snack and watch TV. I first decided to walk on the treadmill while watching my favorite shows, and now I’m going to be walking around my neighborhood listening to podcasts. True Crime podcasts are my favorite, and I find that if I watch or listen to something interesting, the time flies and it’s more enjoyable.

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    I try to walk five days a week. The walk is free, good for you, and efficient. In addition to walking, I do gardening and gardening. I added pushups and crunches to my daily exercise, but nothing major. I once heard that weight loss is 80% dieting and 20% exercise, and for me, it turned out to be true.

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

    • I started to eat more vegetables and cut back on carbohydrates and sugar. Finding substitutes for the things you love is easy and can reduce calorie intake. You don’t realize how small a serving of pasta is until you read the serving size on the box. It’s mind-boggling to realize what 100 calories of pasta or bread looks like versus 100 calories of vegetables or fruit, almond milk instead of the regular, cauliflower and cheese instead of macaroni; and water or seltzer instead of soda or juice.
    • I started to move. Parking further from the door of a store or job has helped me take more steps / movements throughout the day. Halfway through my lifestyle change, I bought an activity tracker watch and would feel so proud to achieve my step goals for the day.
    • I set small goals for myself and rewarded myself when I achieved each one. All progress is good progress, and even if you sometimes have a blockage or a problem, you have to remember that it is not a failure. For me, weight loss has never been linear. I decided to reward myself when I hit a goal with things like buying a new piece of clothing for every 20 pounds I lost or going for the weekend every time I hit a goal.

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      Overall, I lost 96 pounds. It took about two years to lose it, and I have maintained it for the past year.

      You start to feel more and more yourself when you set a goal like this and achieve it. My confidence, happiness, anxiety, health, stress, sleep, energy and more have improved more than I could have imagined.

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