You've heard the term "macros" and that counting them is what all of the cool kids are doing. But what is a macro? Or, perhaps, what are macros? The term macro is short for macronutrient, which refers to protein, carbohydrates, and fats. That's it. You only have three types of nutrients you can consume because that's all there are and people have been counting them for years!
You've heard of the Zone Diet by Barry Sears? Well, that's a balanced macronutrient diet consisting of 40% carbohydrates, 30% fat, and 30% protein. It's what most people should be eating and do very well with. If you've ever "zoned," you have counted macros. Dr. Sears conveniently gathered food into macronutrient blocks so that counting would be easier. There are a few other tidbits to eating in the Zone, but you'll have to read Dr. Sears's book for that.
Counting macros will tell you exactly what you are putting into your body, but only on a large scale. It does not track vitamins or other minerals essential for good health. A macronutrient requirement of 160g of carbohydrates can be satisfied with donuts or fruits and veggies. Obviously, the latter is the healthier option.
To begin counting your macros, the easiest thing you can do is to download an app for your phone. I use Calorie Counter Macros, since I'm an Android fan, and I hear Lose it! is very good both platforms. There is no need to pay for your app and there are plenty of free ones to try. See what works for you.
Knowing what you are putting into your body is more than half the battle--you can't adjust something when you don't know where to start. Now go download an app and find out what you are really putting into your body!