I'm 18 years old, female, 5'1, 130 lb, about 25-27% body fat (rough estimate). In the past 6 months, I have been working on developing muscle and strength with bodyweight and free weight exercises. I have gained about 15 pounds of muscle and fat. I am a LOT stronger and more muscular than when I started, but because I haven't stayed away from sweets and processed food, there's too much fat on my body to see definition without having to flex.
Right now my goal is to get down to about 20% bodyfat. I'm considering doing a mini cut for a month to try to lose fat quickly, but I know that to prevent muscle loss I will have to track my calories and macros, and I can't figure them out. I have tried calculating what my calories and macros should be to get into a reasonable deficit, but the different websites all say very different things. I did get about 1300 calories as my maintenance calories, but it just seems so low! When I track my calories I get around 1,200-1,400 a day, and I'm super surprised at how little food I'm eating. I do get cravings later in the day which I heard was a sign of under eating, but It just doesn't add up to me, plus I've always had a sweet tooth and it could just be that. I feel like I eat a lot! Maybe I should start weighing my food instead of eyeballing to track. I don't get how I could gain muscle if I were eating that low.
Anyway, My question is whether I should do a mini cut for a month, or switch to a mesocycle where I do a surplus on training days and go into a deficit on off days. I heard it would be less likely for me to lose muscle this way.
Also, should I bother counting calories or should I just intuitively eat? I got to about 22% bodyfat in my sophomore year by intuitively eating and cutting out processed foods with regular exercise.
I think I'm possibly making everything too complicated, but please let me know what you think I should do. I just want to get really fit.