At the end of the day it's always about the number. Fully understanding the amount of calories needed to create a response, whether for the purpose of losing, gaining, or maintaining a certain body condition, one must know the specific caloric intake that corresponds with the specific objective. What's just as important as knowing the stated caloric number, is trusting the number without question, for the very reason that your body is always in a state of fluctuation, which means it's condition can be drastically impacted by the types of food, even micronutrients that are consumed.
For example, consuming excessive amounts of sodium can cause unusual weight gain from one day to the next, however only temporarily, because this increase is water not fat gain. If you know your caloric intake, you can immediately determine that the excess weight gain is water retention verses fat gain. The reason coming to this rational conclusion is of importance is because it has a drastic impact on the production of various hormones within the body. In addition, when you trust the number it keeps you more objective rather than in a subjective state of mind. This distinction is definitely a game changer not only in the way your body looks and performs, but how you respond emotionally.
For example, if you're highly emotional due to angst caused by feeling out of control when it comes to your diet and the way you look, your body produces cortisol, which when it becomes chronic among other things causes your body to store fat. Subjectivity causes a counterproductive knee jerk response yet when you remain objective, it's a different ball game. Beware, staying objective especially when your body doesn't look the way you want isn't an easy task, because it takes discipline to override your out of control emotions. So, in a nutshell it's a process that takes some time.
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Best, The Truth Talker (Leo Costa Jr)