I started tracking macros back in late 2019/early 2020. We all know what went down around that time, and for many of us, we had more time on our hands to do things like focus on our fitness and nutrition goals.
In addition to discovering and learning about macros during this time, I also broke out of my cardio comfort zone and started leaning more towards strength or resistance training, which goes hand in hand with macro tracking.
Over the last few years, my knowledge has increased exponentially thanks to personal experience, education, certifications, and working with others, helping them to also learn and understand how macros work. But I often get asked about my results from counting macros; how did my body change? Did I lose weight? How long did it take? What do my before and after pictures look like?
In this article, I’m sharing my macro story, including my before and after pictures from counting macros.
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Macro Tracking Expectations
Before I share my before and after macro results, I really want to lay a foundation for what to expect from tracking macros.
First and foremost, tracking macros is not a diet plan, it’s a way of eating. Macros are what your food is made up of, you’re always consuming them regardless of whether or not you’re tracking them. But the key lies in the optimization of specific macro targets that match your goal, this is where the magic happens.
Unfortunately, macro tracking has been marketed on social media as another diet plan and, often, one that can lead to fast, dramatic results. This is not the case. Eating a macro-balanced diet can and will help you achieve your goals, whatever those may be, but it will take time, consistency, and dedication. When done properly, results will be slow, and gradual, and they may not look exactly like you think.
Macro diets are often paired with strength training. This is one of the best combinations you can have for body recomposition aka losing body fat and gaining muscle to get that “toned” look you’re after.
Here are a few macro tracking expectations you should be aware of:
- It will take time (think months, not days or weeks) to see results.
- You will need a few tools to ensure accuracy and consistency (see my tips for sticking with your macros).
- You will need to be adherent to your targets the majority of the time.
- The less weight you have to lose or the closer you get to your goals, the more adherent and dialed-in you will need to be.
- You might not lose any weight on the scale (especially if you are strength training).
- Your body composition will change (especially if you are strength training).
- You might need to adjust your macros from time to time.
- You will get to enjoy food freedom.
- You will start to learn and understand so much more about food and likely greatly improve your relationship with it.
With these macro truths in mind, I’m going to share my story of how I came to track macros and what my results thus far have looked like.
My Macro Story
I discovered macros in late 2019 when I was almost a year postpartum with my second baby. I had lost the “baby weight” already through diet and exercise, yet I was still feeling completely underwhelmed and dissatisfied with the way my body looked and felt. I felt as though I was working so hard and doing all the “right” things, but the results just weren’t there.
During this time, my main focus was on cardio - I would run, walk, and do HIIT classes daily. In my mind, the more I sweated and “burned,” the better off I would be. And the truth is that it worked! My constant cardio and calorie restriction allowed me to lose the weight I gained during pregnancy, but my body looked and felt soft.
It was around this time that I started being more active and present on Instagram and discovered accounts of popular fitness influencers who strength-trained and tracked macros. I had no idea what macros were at the time, but I really liked the way their bodies looked lean and toned. I also really liked how much food they were able to eat!
Up until this point, I had only dabbled in weight training. I had a Beachbody Membership and had done popular programs like 21 Day Fix using the two pairs of dumbbells that I had available to me (5s and 10s, for those wondering). And the ironic part was that while I was doing these programs with these super light weights, I was feeling as though I was getting “big,” so I ended up gifting the 10 lb dumbbells to my mom because they were obviously too much for me.
I also knew little to nothing about nutrition and eating to fuel my body. I ate to survive, and that way of eating often led to binging. In retrospect, I can now clearly see that the “bulkiness” I was feeling from using weights was actually caused by my tendency to restrict and then overeat, not from using weights.
I knew I needed to make some adjustments if I was going to reach my goals.
Stepping Outside My Comfort Zone
I somehow stumbled upon Madeline Moves one day on Instagram and was instantly intrigued. She was showing up every morning on her stories working out and then sharing other women in her community who were doing the same. I wanted in and it was the perfect time because she was launching one of her Tighter Together challenges.
As soon as the sign-ups went live, I was in. The challenge included personalized macros, macro friendly recipes, and 4 weeks of strength training workouts. This was my first introduction to macros and I set out on a mission to figure out how to do it.
I downloaded My Fitness Pal, bought myself some high-protein foods, and started imperfectly logging and tracking my foods. The process was slow and clunky. Like most women I talk to, the protein was the biggest obstacle and the most glaring problem area when it came to hitting my targets, but I quickly learned how to navigate proper protein consumption and very quickly started to crave a high intake.
The workouts were tough and a totally new stimulus and macro tracking was tough, particularly the adherence part, but I continued to move forward with it and started to see some results, although they weren’t what I was expecting.
How Fast Do You Lose Weight Counting Macros?
When speaking with women, this is probably the most common question I get in regard to macro tracking; how fast can we lose weight!??
Here’s the truth; it depends. For me, I really didn’t lose any weight when I started tracking macros, however, my body began to change significantly. Instead of feeling doughy and soft, I started to feel lean and toned. Despite the number on the scale remaining the same, my results started to become apparent.
I looked better, I felt better, and I was so much stronger and full of energy. These are the kind of results that matter!
But that’s just my experience, yours could be totally different. A lot will depend on where you’re starting from. If you have a significant amount of weight to lose (50+ lbs.), you are likely to start seeing results very quickly. It isn’t until you’re down to those last 5-10 lbs that you will begin to feel like results are slow or non-existent.
In general, for someone who is brand new to macros, you can expect to see some kind of physical results within 4 weeks of consistently tracking and hitting your macro targets.
My Before and After Photos
I’m not the biggest fan of before and after photos, however, I do see their value and am happy to share mine if it’s helpful for you.
It’s important to note that my weight is essentially the same in both photos, but my body composition is very different. In fact, most people think that I must weigh less in my after photo! This is why it’s so important to:
- Take progress photos! If you haven’t done this, get brave and do it. I promise that you will be glad that you did.
- Track your measurements.
- Not rely too heavily on the scale.
The Journey Continues
Sharing my before and after macros story is almost misleading in the sense that my journey is not done, not even close. Since my first macro-tracking journey, I have continued to learn, grow, expand, and change.
I’ve gone through periods of strict tracking and adherence to my macro tracking and I’ve hit seasons of life where I’m not tracking at all. My weight has fluctuated up and down and all around based on my goals and priorities in life at the moment.
I have used macros to get really lean and I have also used them to maintain a body weight and composition that’s actually sustainable for me. And my prediction is that I will continue to do so for the rest of time. I don’t plan on tracking macros for my whole life, however, the time that I have spent tracking has equipped me with the knowledge and experience to be able to intuitively eat in a way that’s conducive to my goals.
Macro tracking is a pillar of my health, wellness, and fitness journey and one that I am eager to share with others. If you want to follow along with my journey, you can follow me on Instagram and join our Facebook Group! And if you're looking for more help staying on track and being held accountable, we help coach our clients in either a 1:1 or group coaching setting. Click the button below to learn more about our macro coaching!