Just gave this golden piece of nutritional advice to a client:
Assuming you have an efficiently functioning hormonal environment (that is normal thyroid, cortisol, androgen and insulin resistance), then YES calories do count (but please don’t count calories) and you MUST create a caloric deficit to lose weight.
Two options here: one is to reduce calories (smaller portions, less calorie dense foods and beverages), or secondly (and PREFERABLY); increase your daily caloric expenditure by moving more and utilising exercise that gives a high EPOC (calorie burn post exercise – strength, hypertrophy and interval training).
By creating an energy deficit through movement (and keeping calories normal) as opposed to diet we help avoid the adverse hormonal effects of low calorie dieting ( lower thyroid/metabolism, Leptin and loss of valuable lean body mass – bone and muscle).
Take home point: move more and don’t starve yourself (just eat clean foods ).