Typically, when you start a diet, you hear "everything in moderation" and while this is true, I've realized that as a nutrition coach, there are some fallacies in this especially when it comes to macros so I wanted to explain.
Depending on your background, moderation can be much harder for some than it is for others. Moderation of "getting to eat a doughnut" for the first time in years is like a new level of freedom. For others, moderation means, "You've got to be freakin kidding me that you think I'm going to count how many goldfish I have or that I'm going to limit myself to ONE oreo. That's dumb as heck." I've seen both sides, and both are valid.
There is a journey that almost every single fit girl has gone on. If you are not to the end stage then you probably are still in the midst of your journey. I could be wrong, but it happens to almost everyone. You figure out about macros, and it changes your life. You think that you are going to do it forever but you know that you'll stop at some point. You get to a point where counting numbers becomes absolutely ridiculous in your head so you want to go forward towards intuitive eating. You don't really know how because for so long you've counted numbers. Give yourself a few weeks to a good couple of months (or even a year for some) and it will become easier. You have to not give up on that though because it DOES take time and jumping back into counting never works for getting to the intuitive eating stages. No one wants to be a grandma at 95 years old counting macros (Lord willing we make it that long).
However, when you want to move into the stages of intuitive eating, if you haven't ACTUALLY learned moderation and have only gone by eating whatever numbers your macros have allotted for you, then you are going to end up binge eating. It's like CLOCKWORK how this happens to girls (and guys). You have to teach yourself to look at something like a cookie and change the mindset. If you are eating just whatever you have restricted yourself to within numbers, that kind of mindset doesn't last. You have to look at a cookie and say "That looks delicious. I want that cookie." Otherwise the mindset becomes, "I want that cookie, but I shouldn't because that wastes a lot of my macros and I'd rather eat something else. I'd rather not eat that cookie and I shouldn't eat that cookie. Wait, I'll just have one. Okay, I've had one. Uhhhh it was so good, I want another one. I'll just have one more bite. *turns into whole cookie* Ohhhh gosh now I've messed up my day. SCREW IT. I'M EATING THE ENTIRE PAN!!" That means that you have turned moderation into restriction.
Moderation essentially IS restriction and that's the entire problem. "Everything in moderation." Blah blah. We don't want a moderately full stomach. We just want to be full. We don't want to be starving in order to achieve results. But, we also have to be realistic. It's that balance.
The truth is that if we can TRULY form a good healthy relationship with food, then we are able to listen to our bodies, and our bodies will tell us "everything in moderation." Our stomachs don't want 4 cookies. That makes you feel like absolute crap, but if you aren't in tune with your body then you are used to feeling bad on "cheat days" and then feeling good on the other days of the week. Having a healthy relationship with food means having those meals that you would have on the weekend on a Monday. When you eat an entire pan of cookies, you end up associating cookies with guilt, cookies with stomach aches, cookies with weight gain the next morning and then the cycle perpetuates itself.
The other end of moderation within macros is that having ONE oreo is not moderation. That's restriction. Coach after coach that you see on the internet advertises for abundance. "You can eat carbs and lose weight" and that is THE TRUTH....however, I think that if someone is going to go into this weight loss program being told that they can eat one oreo or 1/2 of a doughnut then that's just a little silly. We have to learn to reconstruct our thought processes around food, not to be told more restrictions just to be able to get a tiny piece of it to ACTUALLY learn moderation. Many times when someone begins the journey of macro counting, they aren't able to just eat 1/2 of a doughnut and this lands them in failure. They end up eating way more than they planned for feeling guilty it didn't fit their numbers and feeling guilty that everyone else seems to be able to do this macro thing, and they can't. We all want abundance. We don't want ANOTHER restrictive lifestyle that dieting turns into. That ALWAYS ends in failure.
If you are someone that is struggling with this, then the first step towards getting out of this is to get out of the dieting scene completely, and start working more on those neuro pathways of habits that are doing. If you are someone that cannot do macros in a healthy manner, then looking into other programs (or lack of programs) is what you should do. Don't continue to force yourself down a road that leads to destruction. You have to find what works for you, and my next paragraph is not saying that this is what will but I do love it.
Everyone knows at this point that at the beginning of this year, I started towards a diet in plant based eating. It's the first time that I've experienced ABUNDANCE like never before, but I just didn't want to be abandoning ship because I feel like macros teaches you SO much, but we all know it has an expiration date. I feel alive. I feel full all the time. I'm not strict on it, but when I do it, I feel the best I've ever felt. I'm not worrying about protein or if this meal has too much carbs or too much fat, etc etc. I just eat plants when I want, however I want, and as much as I want.
The biggest take home is that you have to find what works for you, however restriction is NEVER going to be something that lasts.