Counting calories might not be 'necessary' but having nfi about calorie consumption and expenditure would be the number one reason people fail at loosing weight
Semantics, but I'd argue a little differently. There's no question that you have to run at a net calorie deficit to lose weight.
But the argument is about what levers of behavior modification are the most effective at achieving that calorie deficit in a sustainable way.
One lever is to spend time every day estimating calorie expenditure and calorie intake and then to make sure that there's an estimated deficit Apparently some people like doing that. But even then I'd argue they're considering food quality and timing as well. Once you regulate calorie intake you're forced to make other decisions. You don't just eat normally and then stop as soon as you reach your daily limit. That'd be dumb to stop eating like at noon. You ration over time. You select foods that are more satisfying rather than drinking a lot of sugar. You don't "just count."
I've found that *just* considering food quality and timing alone is fine for me. I tried "MyFitnessPal" and life is too damned short for logging every damn thing with vague estimates of calories and expenditure. Screw that. The science also suggests that explicit calorie counting isn't that helpful.
But for those it works for, great.