I see your point! I've been doing this a LONG time and in fact worked in the WL industry and am in a related industry currently. A long time ago, I lost 20 pounds (the usual way...eating less and exercising) and kept it off for several years. I recall some study that said that packaged foods are helpful. It is true that most folks have little notion or MISJUDGE the amount of calories they are eating and I'm no different.
90% of the pre-packaged foods give me at least a little headache...so I hesitate to eat them.
I know my husband loses well when using them a few times a week when he is most busy.
These days, since I eat so many vegetables, it is a little easier to keep w/i the calorie count according to Fit Day. This is because the vegetables are soooo low in calories.
Believe me based on lots of experience and a RIDICULOUS amount of thought, reading all the posts here (including yours/thank you!!) and using Fit Day...I think for me it is a combination of the lack of consistency (up and down calorie counts) and some food sensitivities and a little problem with insulin (or something related to sugar and/or dairy).
My gut feeling about it all is that the paleo diet along with keeping "scrupulous" (AWESOME AND RIGHT ON WORD) account/records of food/calorie intake CAN and WILL do the job. I see that already.
(I'm working on increasing my water intake! UGH! MUST do this!)
Thank you so much for your helpful and dead on response!!!