From what I can tell, it depends on who you are and what your weight history is.
There are people who never had a weight problem until something happened-- pregnancy, marriage, divorce, an accident or illness that stopped them from exercising, etc. They can tell you when their issues with weight control started. Those people generally lose weight by tracking for a little while and then go back to eating "normally" or intuitively. Eating intuitively means going back to their old, healthier habits that got interrupted by that life event.
Then there are people who have pretty much always struggled with weight, at least since they were old enough to choose what they ate. If there was a starting moment, it's far back in childhood or early adolescence, and weight and eating have been an issue their whole adult life. It seems to me that those people will need to track, at least throughout their weight loss and possibly permanently. They can't "go back to normal" and eat intuitively, because their "normal" is a pattern that leads to excess weight. They (or we; I'm in this group) never developed the kind of intuition that would have gotten them to a healthy adult weight. When I try to eat intuitively, I eat about 20% more calories than I should, and I slowly gain weight. When I try to reduce calories but don't track, I eat about 10% more than I think I'm eating, and I maintain or gain when I think I should be losing. Tracking is just going to have to be a fact of life for me.
And that's not necessarily a bad thing. I think of it as being like budgeting money. Some people can do that intuitively; they always have a feel for how much money they have and how much they've spent, and they intuitively know how to cut back in one area if they need to spend in another. Other people have to budget every penny and consciously calculate exactly how much they can spend on groceries if they're going to make a car payment. One way isn't necessarily better than the other; it's just a matter of experience and personality.
| current weight: 132.0