Here’s my CICO analogy if anyone’s interested, but, first some background: there was a study done on couples where the researchers found that they could predict with incredible accuracy whether a couple would be together 5 or 10 years down the road if they watched the couple’s interactions during fights and during normal discussions. The couples who ended up staying together had many more loving gestures (physical, in tone of voice or a look) than negative ones even during an argument. I might be getting the details wrong, but the gist of it was this: couples who were happy in the long term had a very consistent ratio of positive interactions relative to negative ones.
You could conclude from this that just giving the couples a formula for x number of nice glances and touches per x number of unpleasant moments would lead to a happy relationship - and in fact that might help enormously if a solid relationship is in a rough stretch. But fundamentally if the couple is happy and loving, you can probably mess with that ratio a lot and have things work out beautifully. Conversely, if things are a mess underneath, you could double and triple the nice gestures to no avail.
In this very unscientific analogy, calories in/out = negative/positive gestures and a deranged metabolism is like an awful relationship
Getting personal for a moment: with my ex, no number of nice words would have made up for our fundamental dysfunction - that would have been trying to apply CICO to a deranged metabolism - and with my current husband the ratio flows beautifully from how we feel about each other (and not the other way around!).
So, in metabolic terms: as we repair the underlying workings of our metabolism, the calories in (which matter, but not really as a causal agent) will tend to work themselves out, and often our movement tendencies shift as well (so many folks suddenly find that they want to run, lift weights etc, as they get healthier). If we focus on the calories, we miss the chance to address the real issues and we can waste endless time and energy because CICO just doesn’t work if our metabolism is deranged.