Disclaimer: Before taking part in any diet program, consult with your doctor or state board-licenses nutritionist. This information should in no way replace the information provided to you by your doctor or treating therapist.
I never counted a calorie a day in my life. I actually thought the concept sounded ridiculous.
But a little more than a year ago during my pregnancy, I decided to experiment a bit with counting macros. As I prepared to bring new life into this world, I wanted to challenge what my body was capable of doing—especially when so many people say women can’t get their bodies back post-baby. I thought, “Why not actually get leaner after my baby?” It wasn’t an obsession; it was simply an experiment and an attempt to care for my body as my life got busier.
In this experiment, I actually proved my hypothesis correct: I lost 10% body fat after my little guy came into the world, and I’m maintaining it! All the while, I enjoy drinks with friends weekly, eat my favorite muffin every Saturday, and have pancakes for brunch with my family regularly. This is KEY to my loss in body fat: I don’t restrict myself from certain foods I love. I never cut them out. In fact, I have more of my favorite foods than before back when I used to fall into the trap of the popular diet myth that losing weight means avoiding your favorite foods at all costs.
The difference is that I now know how to fit the foods I love into my overall macro budget for the day. I know how to eat for breakfast and lunch if I am going out for margaritas and Mexican for dinner. I also recognize that our bodies are designed for movement, so I move. A lot. I do high intensity interval training 5 days a week, go on a four-mile run once a week and walk with my toddler as often as the sunshine allows. I love sweating—not because I love losing weight but because it makes me feel sane. I am a much better version of myself after a workout, and my body now depends on daily endorphins!
I’d love to give you a sneak peek into my macro journey. And if you need a refresher course on what it means to count macronutrients, check out my What Flexible Dieting Is post.
April 4, 2015 – (8 months post partum) my MACRO JOURNEY BEGINS
Weight – 135.4
Body Fat – 19.8%
Note: This is a great place to start! For women a body fat % of 18.1-22% is lean. I say this because I did not NEED to lose weight. I did want to lean out a bit though because I didn’t feel my best.
Macro Plan (Tracked while measuring and weighing food)
Note: A body fat percentage of 18.1-22% is lean for women. I say this because I recognize I was not overweight and did not need to lose weight; I did want to lean out and test what my body could do.
Now this macro plan may seem high to some of you, but I felt quite hungry on it. I was used to having significantly more fat in my diet. I also had to adjust to 3-hour breaks between eating, which was very hard for me since I used to snack constantly. I once considered hunger an emergency. Now I allow my body to temporarily feel hunger, knowing I will feed it shortly.
During this cutting phase, I only went over my ranges every 6-7 days. Consistency is key when leaning out, AND going over my macronutrient ranges is a great to refuel your body cells. My favorite foods during this time were rice cakes, veggies, oatmeal, and pancakes. I had a big pancake breakfast weekly at a coffee shop in Nashville and always fit it into my macros. I also fit in my wine about 3-4 nights a week. That means I planned my meals to be sure I had enough carbs remaining for a glass of wine in the evening. Because yes.
April 28, 2015 (3 weeks later)
Body Fat - 17.7%
I noticed that I hovered around the 130’s for about 3 weeks, and so I decided to decrease my carbs by10g per day. Soon the weight started to move a bit.
July 14, 2015 (14 weeks later)
Weight – 126.6
Body Fat 12.8%
I was in-and-out of staying within my macros budget but still tracking most days and sticking with the same ranges. I felt amazing last summer! Each day I was full and had tons of energy.
During the fall/winter I began to focus more on volume. This means I got more bang for my buck by eating more macro-friendly foods. Some examples: Skinny Pop Popcorn, Bolthouse farms dressing, FlatOut Bread, Dannon Light & Fit Greek Yogurt, protein ice cream (a recipe I created), cauliflower rice, most veggies.
Macros (Tracked loosely meaning I typically don’t measure and weigh food)
April 29, 2016 (1 year and 2 weeks after I started)
Now it gets really fun! I went a few weeks ago to have another bod pod and these were my results. This marks over a year since counting macros.
Body Fat – 10.1%
I am aware that this is on the low range of body fat for a woman. I still have regular (sorry dudes) menstrual cycles, though, so I feel comfortable with this body fat percentage. I don’t share these details to suggest that it is a model body figure? No, not at all. My whole intention in sharing this is to show that counting macros is sustainable and it works! It has truly changed my life and the lives of so many of my clients.
My macros equal to about 1800 calories/day, and on the weekends I most likely consume about 2000-2300/day sometimes. I don’t log typically on weekends so this is a guess. So as you can see I am fueling my body with a healthy amount of food and my body is responding by using it for energy instead of storing it as fat.
That’s just a brief look into what the macro journey looks like for me so far. Yes, you CAN lose the weight you want AND keep it off. It takes discipline and consistency. And it is incredibly rewarding.
Most importantly, know that your weight does not define you at all. Who you are and how you show up to your life defines you. And each day is a chance to embrace what’s possible. Change is always possible.
With lots of love,