I think the answer is that for sedentary people 12 calories/pound is about maintenance. For athletes it's a starvation diet. You have to guess how many calories you need and then over time increase or decrease according to results.
I read somewhere that one reason that people didn't lose weight despite counting calories is that EVERYONE underestimates and usually by huge amounts - 30% wasn't unusual.
save the planet - it's the only one with chocolate