If you're researching weight loss or weight management programs - you'll come to a fork in the road and you'll have to choose a path - you'll either need to walk the road of calorie management or you'll take the slightly more traveled road of fat burning.

Ephedra is a derivative from the Chinese plant Ma Huang and until a few years ago was a major ingredient in many diet pills. It gave the body a jump start and actually made the body burn fat - this is a big plus for weight loss. However the down side is, it wasn't the answer for everyone and a number of people found out the hard way that frequent ingestion of ephedra can damage the heart. The Food and Drug Administration ruled that ephedra wasn't safe and prohibited the sale of any product containing it. Hydroxycut was the fat burner that ruled until the ephedra ban. They re-did their formula using safe ingredients and still have a good market share because of their former reputation as the fat burner to beat.

The ephedra ban brought many of us back to start and we started counting calories again. For many people, weight loss or weight management plans where you have to keep track of your calories or assign everything you eat points or something like Richard Simmon's "Deal-a-Meal" cards - those just don't work for some people as they find them very difficult to keep up with, and feel demoralized if they eat more than their how much they perceive the calories they are "allowed" every day.

Keeping a weight loss diary is very helpful for many people. One reason many of us are overweight in the first place is because we don't really pay attention to all we eat. When you're in the kitchen and the phone rings, you may absentmindedly grab a handful of chips, munch on donuts from that morning, or otherwise mince. What you may not realize is that you managed to consume several hundred calories but since you were otherwise occupied - you may not have been paying attention to the actual amount you ate. It's so helpful to keep a pen and very small pad of paper in your pocket or nearby and just jot down when you eat and roughly how much and what you ate.

Alli has been getting a lot of hype too as the ultimate answer for weight loss. It's actually the drug Orlistat in an over the counter form. Basically, it blocks the human body from absorbing fats and passes them through the system. When combined with a reduced calorie diet - Alli has been getting great results.

What works best for you? Counting calories or fat burners? Or do you use a combination of both?
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