Today, I had what I consider to be my first "Russian doll" moment. That is, I could see an overall reduction in size rather than just specific areas shrinking. It's like the somewhat smaller doll inside the largest doll of the nested Russian dolls (though I'm not getting any shorter...yet). It's not a huge, dramatic difference, but both my husband and I noticed it. There are a lot more smaller dolls to peel away to, but it's going to take time.
On the calorie counting front, I did exceptionally well with some huge hunger battling between 6:00-8:00 pm. I had yogurt orange bread and coffee, the world's least-stacked ham, cheese, and avocado sandwich on whole wheat bread, tomato soup, a persimmon, rice, chicken, onions, and a sugar-free hot chocolate. Even though I "allowed" myself 1500 calories, I landed at 1408. Not snacking is what allowed this, but it was pretty rough.
The fight to not eat something (and almost certainly the lower calorie count) was assisted by the rare consumption of a take-out meal for dinner. My husband was bringing dinner home and I had to wait for him to bring it. Every time I wanted to snack on something, I focused on the fact that I'd rather have a "perfect" dinner with an intact appetite than spoil it by eating something an hour or two before the meal. It also helped to take a 35-minute walk while I waited.
I've only recently read about "calorie cycling" on weight loss blogs and forums, but it's something which I've been aware of since the days when I followed a low carb support group. People who were following low carb or Atkins diet and were plateauing in their weight loss would find that they'd suddenly lose more if they slipped up and ate more or more carbs. That is, eating low calorie day-in and day-out isn't necessarily the best way to go.
The way I've been handling my eating is a natural form of calorie cycling since I eat somewhat more on days that I don't count. I didn't realize this helped you make progress by preventing your body from going into starvation mode or adjusting to lower calories as its new set point. It does encourage me to keep following the plan as it currently is rather than to count every day. I can't say that bothers me as I still hate counting.