What I’ve Learned After 1 Year of Counting Macros

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woman holding dumbbell

I started exercising in November 2019, a few months after I gave birth to Porter when we were still living in New York City. My health and exercise has always been a priority, though it always felt hit and miss because of the babies I kept having, but also because of my job. I cook and bake….a lot! Since I was only 2 1/2 months postpartum, I really eased into it. I bought a Peloton bike while they were doing a Thanksgiving promotion to really get the motivation I was looking for and that was the best thing for me at the time.

The beginning of March 2020, I got my admittance into the NYC Marathon and that really got my butt into gear. I started getting serious not only about running but also about my nutrition. I started counting my macros last March and knew going into it that I would keep counting macros and exercise until it didn’t make sense anymore. Not putting a deadline on it was the best thing for me! I think I’ve mentioned this before, but I’m really good at committing to things. I don’t commit to very many things because I think about whatever it is for a long time before pulling the trigger and committing because I know when I do, I’m IN IT. I’m a good tryer. I don’t have a lot of obvious talents, but trying is one of them…if that counts. Ha!

Initially, my macros were less carbs and more fats (not a low carb diet per say, but definitely limited) but once my mileage started getting into the teens for marathon training, I switched over to higher carbs and lower fat and that was extremely helpful! When the marathon got canceled though, I reduced my running and started getting more into weight training and that is what I’ve been doing for the past 6-7 months and really enjoy it.

I am so so happy with where I’m at weight wise, strength wise and overall health wise. I feel so good. I have energy (when I get a good night’s rest) and feel like I can sustain what I’m doing for the long haul because I’ve found a nice balance for me and my body. Here’s what I’ve learned this past year…and what I’m still learning:

Cheat meals are good for the soul! When counting macros and the weight loss portion of this “journey” were taking up a lot of mental space, especially in those first few months, I would soooo look forward to those cheat meals. **Not to be confused with cheat day. It was just one meal where I’d go nuts, usually Friday night pizza night because that is just what we do. Now that I’ve been in this for 13 months and counting, I’ve realized that I can make recipes that are delicious and comforting that still fall within my macros. ALSO, I’ve realized that with a few tweaks to my overall daily macros, I can fit in a slice or two of domino’s or papa john’s pizza (which I absolutely do).

There is a lot of flexibility with counting macros. I know it might not feel like that at the beginning when you’re getting used to it, but the longer you count, the easier it becomes. Just like with ANYTHING in life, the more you do something, the easier it gets. Actually, this is a big reason why I started my Macro Meal Plan. To help others realize you can still eat delicious food while getting healthy and reaching your goals!

My body doesn’t do well with “cuts”. I’ve attempted three cuts three separate times and I’ve realized that my body will actually hold on to more fat when I do this. It just seems so counterintuitive for my body. I’m actually leaner when I’m eating around 1700 calories/day and lifting.

I am getting so much stronger. I only realized this maybe three months ago when we got our weights set. I used to only do bodyweight classes or use our weighted plates which were great! But once we got the dumbbells, its like all that groundwork I had been doing for months was suddenly there to support me. I love feeling strong.

I really enjoy the Peloton Strength Classes. If you follow me on instagram, this is not a surprise at all. I share what workouts I’m doing that day. Sometimes its more cardio, sometimes it’s more strength, sometimes its a bike ride. And sometimes I just go for a run. It depends a lot on how I’m feeling and how much time I have. On average, I spend about 45 minutes a day exercising on the days I do exercise. I always try to get one really hard workout in that is 1 hour or more, usually on Friday or Saturday.

My body loves a rest day. Its so important to listen to your body! Some weeks, I can absolutely do 6-7 workouts. Other weeks, I can only handle 3-4. Sometimes the physical exhaustion gets to me and I know my body feels just tired. I also carry a lot of mental exhaustion around about work, kids, family, etc.. That can carry over to my physical “tiredness” so resting is helpful to clear out that mental ‘weight’ so I am ready to go. It varies week to week.

I can always try again tomorrow. Even after counting macros consistently, I still sometimes get down on myself for having an extra cookie, or two (or six…..I develop recipes for a living, have I mentioned that?) But just because today was terrible doesn’t mean tomorrow and the next day and the next day have to be. It’s been good for me to recognize my “bad days” where I go a little overboard with the sweets or chips or chick fil a fries and sauce and realize that tomorrow will be better! All my progress doesn’t go out the window with one bad day. With a bad week or two, yes, I might lose some ground, but one day isn’t the end of the world.

woman exercising in home gym

Here are some resources that might be helpful in you’re also interested in doing what I did to lose body fat and gain muscle after I had four babies:

I subscribe to the Peloton app and pay the monthly fee. You don’t need to buy a Peloton Bike or Treadmill to get it! Some of my favorite classes are the strength classes. They also have yoga, barre, pilates, cardio and guided walking and running. (I did the guided marathon training program when I was training for that.) Rebecca Kennedy is one of my favorite instructors. I also really like Tunde Oyeneyin and Olivia Amato. Matt Wilpers is a good one, too for biking and guided running.

This is a pretty good site for calculating your TDEE and macros for yourself. Of course if you aren’t comfortable with this, try finding a trainer/sports nutritionist/coach who specializes in macros.

You can track all your macros using the free version of MyFitnessPal. Simply log all your food and click the “Nutrition” button at the bottom of your daily log. I use the paid version so I can calculate the accurate macros for the recipes I create, but its not necessary for you.

You can read more about Macros on this post I wrote a few months ago if you have no idea what the heck I’m talking about.

My Macro Meal Plan can be helpful for some people since it gives you recipes not available on my blog that are specifically designed to be higher in protein and lower in fat to make them Macro-Friendly. Sometimes its nice to get a little variety and make dinners and meal planning in general for the family easier. I try to make all my recipes FAMILY FRIENDLY as well as macro friendly so you don’t have to make multiple dinners every night. That is no fun. I absolutely make one macro-friendly dinner for everyone here at my house. The beautiful thing is they don’t really taste like “diet food” (because GROSS) and I do my best to use easy to find ingredients. Click here to learn more.

Aaaand because I’m sure I’ll get the DM’s about my outfit, here are those details:

Lululemon align pants-I LOVE these things and own three pairs. They hold you in and give support while still being comfortable. Sometimes I wear these the whole day because they’re so comfortable. Yes, a little pricey, but after having them a full year, they still look like new. (I wash them weekly.) I cannot say enough about these.

My crop top is also lulu and think its cute.

My shoes are the adidas cloudfoam pure sneaker are new and so comfortable! I found them on super sale at Costco of all places, but they only have size 11 available on the Costco website. If you go in store, you might be able to find them but I also found them here for 20% off.

I was thoroughly against buying a weight set because prices were so inflated thanks to the pandemic, but we got to a point where we asked each other “how long are we willing to wait for the price to go down?” and decided to just buy what we wanted because it would be worth it. Yay to exercising how we want to! We bought a decently priced set off amazon that we LOVE. They are Hex dumbbells and exactly what we were looking for.

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5 Responses
  1. Danielle

    Love all this info-I’ve been yoyo’ing with babies and know how to lose the weight-but sometimes it’s easy to just back burner myself while tending to everyone bc life is crazy sometimes. But something like this is great to freshen it up and try something that might help me lose the weight and tone up even more. Thanks for the motivation to kick it up a notch!

  2. kelly stoutenborough

    You are VERY inspiring!
    I have used your family meals plans last couple of years..I’m fairly certain I NEED to do something more healthier for myself just not ready to pull plug yet on the whole macro thing…

    1. Kay

      Same here Kelly! The macro thing is a bit intense for me, BUT, I agree with Lauren that food tracking really helps. Though I hate doing it! Have you tried SparkPeople? It’s free and I find the tracking really easy. I need to start using it again 🙂

  3. Kay

    Thank you so much for sharing this post, Lauren! I really appreciate this advice. About ten years ago, I lost 35 lbs of baby weight slowly. That year, my New Year’s resolution was “be the healthiest version of myself.” Not lose weight, not be a certain size…and it WORKED. I think you are right that slow and steady wins the race. It’s about how you live your life most of the time. That is what sticks. I also LOVE the Peloton app. It’s been life changing. My favorite thing is Rebecca’s :45 strength class! I actually find it really really fun.

    Lately I’ve been struggling due to a back injury, more home school, freezing weather in Boston, and temporary loss of our kitchen. (It’s for a great reason-we’re re-doing it!). Your advice really helped inspired me to keep going.

  4. Jill

    Awesome work Lauren…your last post inspired me to count macros and I am down 15 lbs and love it! I also have a peloton and am focusing on riding and strength classes (LOVE Tunde!). I have been in a rut with food lately so I just signed up for your macro meal plans…so excited! I’m hoping to motivate my husband to start:) Thanks again!

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