What Happened When This Woman Went from a Low-Carb Diet to Counting Her Macros

Today's transformation photos are often a lot more nuanced than "I lost weight." Case in point: A recent Instagram post by Shannon Collins, an Indiana-based woman behind the account @thegymnurse. Collins posted three side-by-side photos to show the results of revamping her diet twice. (Related: 15 Transformations That'll Inspire You to Start Lifting Weights)


Don’t look at how far you have to go, but see how far you’ve gotten! Almost 3 years from the start for me. . . . There is no right or wrong way to lose weight. I am not here to promote any way over another. You can lose weight on low carb, high carb, balanced diet or whatever as long as you are in CALORIC DEFICIT. . . I lost 30 lbs following a “low carb” lifestyle. Definitely wasn’t keto and never tracked numbers. But by avoiding bread, chips, crackers, sweets I was able to shed a lot of weight. Unfortunately since I wasn’t tracking I was trying to eat as little as possible. Now this definitely didn’t mean deprivation, I just ate when I was hungry. After a while I feel like a hit a plateau and just couldn’t take it to the next level. . . . Since August 2018 I’ve been macro counting and the results have come. You can somewhat see the transition of weight loss on this page. This method is not for everyone and requires a lot of dedication. You have to be fully in to see results. Every one has different macro needs. They vary greatly based off your age, gender, body size and activity level. . . . I am here for questions. I am happy to calculate your personal macros with link on my page. Must submit questionnaire and PayPal link before it comes to me. Have a wonderful day fam!! ❤️SC

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According to Collins, the photos are almost three years apart. Between the first two photos, she lost 30 pounds after she started a lower-carb diet. For her, that meant only eating when she was hungry and avoiding refined carbs such as bread, crackers, and sweets, she revealed in her caption. "After a while, I feel like a hit a plateau and just couldn't take it to the next level," she wrote. (BTW, science found the best workout to overcome your weight-loss plateau.)

So she decided to start tracking her macros and eating to hit a specific number of grams of protein, fat, and carbs, instead of just avoiding refined carbs. "Since August 2018 I've been macro counting and the results have come. You can somewhat see the transition of weight loss on this page," she wrote, referring to the third, most recent photo.

Over the weekend, Collins shared a follow-up post explaining some of the specifics behind her transformation. When she switched to counting macros, her workout routine remained mostly unchanged, suggesting her results were mainly a result of diet. Her weightlifting routine stayed the same, but she added in 10 to 20 minutes of cardio, which she hadn't been doing before. "I still did 6 days in [the] gym," she wrote. "Now that weight was falling off you could see the muscle that was deep within." (Related: You Don't Need to Do Cardio to Lose Weight—but There's a Catch)


I wanted to take a quick minute to explain something as I’ve gotten a lot of questions recently since the article. I don’t want people to be mislead. So I have been lifting weights for almost 3 years. Up until this past August that meant ZERO cardio as well. I was strictly trying to follow what I thought in my head was a low carb lifestyle. Definitely not keto. I was trying to eat mostly protein and veggies and fat. I avoided obvious carbs like bread, pasta, chips, fries, sweets. I tried to eat only when I was hungry. I lost 30 pounds doing this . . This past summer I noticed “Hmmm I’m starting to gain some weight again”…Nothing huge, but now consistently 5lbs heavier. I knew I had been enjoying summer treats a little too much. I also knew that I was probably going to have to majorly change things up if I wanted to see some big results . . The plan was never to lose a ton of weight. I was about 132lb at start of August 2018 (left pic) and I thought I looked good. It was only myself that noticed I had been picking up a little weight. So I decided to do something that I never thought I’d be able to do…track ALL my food . . Well the rest is history. So I figured out my macro number break down and I followed them. It was the first time in my life I followed a plan and had to make major diet changes to make it work. Now I was eating carbs, but my days of eating unlimited bacon and eggs was over . . In meantime my weightlifting routine never changed. I still did 6 days in gym. Now that weight was falling off you could see the muscle that was deep within. I now do 10-20 min of cardio at start of weights to warm up and to sweat a little more during my workout. Adding this extra activity has changed my daily calorie requirements and has allowed me to eat more food . . The plan now is to maintain, maybe even gain a little. I’m blown away by results. So now I’m at a point where I try to follow numbers, but it’s ok if I go over because I’m happy where I’m at . Hope that helps. I don’t want anyone to think that you start counting macros and you have immediate results and muscle. The work has been put in for awhile. Let me know how I can help. ❤️SC

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Macro tracking isn't everyone's cup of tea since it takes dedication to calculate and stick to your allowances. (Read why this CrossFit athlete refuses to count hers.) But Collins was pleased with her results and plans to continue. "I'm blown away by results," she wrote in her follow-up post. "So now I'm at a point where I try to follow numbers, but it's okay if I go over because I'm happy where I'm at."

Inspired to make a similar switch in your diet? Check out our complete guide to the "IIFYM" or macro diet.

This article originally appeared on Shape.

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