This works! I have been keeping a diet journal for three months, and I will soon not need to; I will be able to do the mental math. I do have to plan all my meals and snacks very carefully. I stay under 1800 calories and keep myself very active. When I hit my ideal weight, I will eat about 200 more calories a day to support strength training.
Once you cut out bad oils, most sugar, and white flour, the truth is that putting 1800 calories’ worth of excellent food into your face five times a day is hard work! You have to not just study food but cook, plan, and pack food. You have to pay attention to your body and snack when you are a little hungry, not starving. Those 200 extra calories will be expensive, in terms of money and preparation. They will most likely be in the form of beans, salmon, or some other high quality protein.
In the first month of my training (not diet, I always call it training because it is; my exercise is designed for me and I design my diet) it was almost impossible to pass on the doughnuts in the staff break room at work and pull the mango yogurt and pecans out of my lunch box. Now I rely on visualizations and trade offs. “Those doughnuts were probably stale when they got here, imagine that stale nasty old trans fat hitting my stomach, and the headache after that sugar rush. I will eat my snack, walk a mile at lunch, and after dinner and my workout I will have one Lindt dark chocolate caramel sea salt truffle that will be more fantastic than a grungy old doughnut.”