Calories IN vs. Calories OUT – The Truth!

Chris Neason, Exercise Physiologist & Master Trainer

Whilst November has seen some of you pushing the boundaries of physical and mental resilience whilst completing the epic ’30 day challenge’, I too have been pushing the boundaries but in a very different way. My goal – to gorge on as much food as possible obliterating my weekly calorie count at every single meal. Bacon and eggs for breakfast, chunks of butter in my coffee and chocolate* and cream for dessert. A pretty grueling regimen, and of course all in the name of science 😉

Let me please explain..

Calories in vs. calories out. If you haven’t heard this diet advice (you’d be one of the few) lets briefly review the tenets. To lose weight all we need to do is keep the calories we consume in food less than the calories we burn through exercise, thermogenesis and maintaining the bodies systems. Simply put, eat less, move more. That’s it.

The magic answer to all our weight loss problems right? You would be forgiven for believing this. Sound advice regularly prescribed by doctors and weight loss professionals alike. I myself have even uttered these very same words. However, through years of research, personal experimentation and the tales of countless client failures, I’m now of the strong view that this is utter garbage.

Back to my heavenly fat binge. November has been a very productive month. Instead of following an outdated method of weight loss, I believe that calories count and what you eat is everything. My goal: to disprove, without a doubt, the ‘calories-in vs. calories-out’ method of weight loss (the science I was talking about). Out with the carbs, in with the fat. Details below.


Week 1. Preparation

A switch in diets from your standard healthy eating (~40% carbs) to a relaxed Paleo/low carb approach (~10% carbs). My rules – no grains, no sugar, no processed foods. The results – 3kg fat loss, sustained energy levels and a 6 pack that’s been lost since my travels to Europe.

Week 2-4. The good stuff

Continuing as above and with the added inclusion of an extra 50% of calories per day. That equates to around 3500 calories for all our calorie counters out there. According to the ‘calories in vs. calories out’ method I should have put on over a kilo a week. The results – another 1kg of fat loss (and a desperate need to bulk up my skinny frame!).

In summary – I ate, what was at times an uncomfortable amount of calories, which should have turned me into a ball of blubber, yet instead I feel absolutely ripped (if not a tad skinny). So of course you might be wondering, “how too can I eat like a pig and still lose weight (or maintain the body of your dreams)?” Here are my top 3 tips to turn you into a weight loss machine:

1. Cut the carbs! Breads, pasta, and sugars. When it comes to these carbohydrates, any amount is too much. I can just hear all the disappointed sighs!  Eat your veggies, 1-2 pieces of fruit a day is generally ok.

2. Embrace the fat. Forget what you’ve been told, fat is good for you. One more time in case you missed it. FAT IS GOOD FOR YOU! This is a post for another day, but for now just believe me. Sugar makes fat (saturated included) look like Mother Teresa. Butter is king.

3.  Don’t make excuses, just do it. I may be wrong, this may not work, but do you want to risk it? The chance of gaining dieting superpowers. You’ve got just a few weeks before Christmas so use this time as pre-damage control.

I know you have questions… Are potatoes ok? How do you stop the cravings? Surely one slice of bread won’t harm? What about heart disease? Really, butter in your coffee? To each I have answers. So if you need advice, or just want to share your stories of success, I’m all ears. Shoot me an email at [email protected] or share your comments below.

Until next time, train hard, eat clean and embrace the fat! (sorry Aaron, I hope this is ok!)

– Chris


*85% cocoa chocolate, this has a reasonably low sugar count and may or may not work for you. The key is to find your carbohydrate limit for weight loss/maintenance.