Counting your macronutrients (protein, carbs, and fat) is a popular way to keep track of everything you eat, and it's especially useful if you're trying to lose weight. But the hard truth is, it takes a lot of work. We spoke to Gunnar Peterson, celebrity trainer who will appear at the Propel Co:Labs Fitness Festival this year, and asked for his real opinion about macros. His answer was pretty simple.
"If tracking and counting [macros] becomes tedious, it's never going to work," he told POPSUGAR. "To me, it comes down to, if it's not sustainable, it's not successful."
That's not to say that counting macros is a total waste of time. In fact, Gunnar says "it's actually worth learning." You can learn what kind of fuel you're putting into your body and how it makes you feel, because it's hard to eyeball everything if you're not familiar with portion sizes or servings. This in turn will help you make better choices in the long run.
"If you have an idea, once you learn [to count macros], it's pretty easy to eyeball it," Gunnar said. "If you learn that, you know a piece of chicken or a bowl of rice roughly the size of an ice cream scoop equals 'X,' then you know where to go during the day with that." So from learning how to count macros in the beginning, you can take that knowledge with you and make good choices consistently with your diet, which will help you lose weight in the long run.
"Unless it's some kind of [bodybuilding] contest preparation or a big, very specific goal," Gunnar says there's no need to track your macros every single day if you're trying to lose weight — especially if it becomes tedious and it makes you feel like you're restricting yourself. It's all about consistency at the end of the day. Whatever will help you stay most consistent is what you should choose to do.
It's also just about "making good choices," Gunnar told POPSUGAR. "I see a lot of people making more specific choices at the gas pump than they do at the table," he said. Further than just the numbers, make smart choices with the quality of the food you eat. Choose whole, natural foods over packaged goods. Eat organic fruits and vegetables and lean protein. Those are the choices that will help you feel your best in the long run — and help you lose weight.