Calories in Versus Calories Out, does it work?

Katherine Davison
1 November 2023

In previous posts, I have talked about the caloric model of losing weight, aka Calorie Counting. It can work, and is the most comment, and is considered easy.  It explains why most weight loss programmes work. However, it’s not the full picture and doesn’t reflect the complexity of the human body.

Personal trainers often give the advice that to lose 1lb of fat, you need to reduce your calory intake by 3,500 calories.  This advice is common and some calorie counting apps base their calculations around this rule.

Let’s think logically about this… if you kept on knocking 3,500 calories out of your diet every few months, what would eventually happen?

Would you disappear?

No, your body would compensate and would do everything it could so that you don’t die!

Food scales

This process is called metabolic slow down. Some call it Starvation Mode.

The problem with focussing just on calories instead of eating healthy whole foods, is that your metabolism will just slow down. When this happens, people complain that they have plateaued or are in a stall.

It is so frustrating and extremely demotivating.

I have been there, for years I was told losing weight was simple, all about calories in versus calories out, so I reduced my calories, so much over the years that I was in Starvation Mode, so when I did eat more calories, my body would hold them.  It got used to functioning on less and storing as much as possible.

Our bodies are very efficient, which in the case of long-term calorie reduction, can mean less weight loss than you think, but hope is not lost.

There are two options, either go on a Very Low Calorie Diet (VLCD – more on this in future emails), or eat foods that accelerates your metabolism, which will help you to lose weight easier. To learn more about this, click on the link below to learn about a study which attempts to compare two methods of incorporating metabolic slow down into calorie-based weight loss approaches:


We will dive into this more in future posts.

Katherine Davison

Katherine Davison

Weight loss coach

Katherine Davison

Katherine Davison

Weight loss coach

Katherine Davison, a weight loss coach, has conquered her own weight struggles over the span of a decade. By surpassing ineffective diets and extreme measures, she has discovered unique strategies that yield genuine positive results while still enjoying the pleasure of food.

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