“You can shear a sheep many times, but only skin him once.”
Human intuition has no reliable wiring for getting leaner. We are survival machines, not body composition improvement machines.
The proper approach with a food tracker is to discover what is the least amount of reduction necessary. The body will always overestimate and underestimate needs, intakes, expenditures. The power of tracking is to unshackle oneself from this grand volatility, and find a framework which produces a general sense of well-being while supporting body composition efforts. That is, shear a sheep; don’t skin it.
In some cases, this means moving kcal UP. In most cases, this means moving protein and fiber way UP. But if you never track, you don’t know. And if you view tracking as an imposition instead of a learning tool, you won’t learn.
The proper way to track is view it as a discovery. It is inquiry. It is learning. It is data gathering and modeling. It is a tool to reduce the time, effort, and decision-making involved every single day in keeping mental track of what we do. In a class setting, learning a robust subject, we would seldom rely only on taking mental note. We would do best to make actual notes. Likewise with food, we can make mental note, burning up valuable brain energy on trying to estimate, recall, remember, decide. Or, we can just take actual note: track.