I can’t stand dieting. I hate it. Working out until I’m sweating and stinky, feeling hungry all day long and then praying to the weight loss gods that I’ll have lost at least one pound every Saturday morning is my idea of torture. However, I reached the point that I needed to lose weight – no question about it – so I had to bite the bullet.

That said, this time, I wasn’t going to bite that bullet without some help. I decided to look into some healthful diet pill options to see if I could make sure my next weight loss effort would let me reach my goal and make it last. If I was going to truly apply myself, I wasn’t going to mess around. This was going to be the last time I had to go through all this.

So I armed myself with a daily calorie range, a weekly fitness routine and some extensive Googling of healthful diet pill options. When all was said and done, I tried 3 different diet pills. I chose them each for different reasons and tried each one for at least one month to give it a fair try. The last one was the one I settled on and that brought me to my goal.

Pro Clinical Hydroxycut

This brand has been around since the dawn of time and I’d seen it at my drugstore for years before I decided that this would be my first introduction into using diet pills. The brand has a lot of different options, but I went for the classic Pro Clinical Hydroxycut product known by just that name.

This pill contains a number of different ingredients and the claim is that it will help to speed up weight loss by giving you more energy and fat burning. The ingredients are essentially made of caffeine and a handful of plant extracts. Because this product has been around for so long and I was even able to find a pretty small study that researched this product when I Googled it (the study showed that someone used it to lose 21 pounds over 3 months!), I figured this was a good bet.

To start, I should point out that I drink coffee every day, so I switched to decaf (so I wouldn’t overdo it with caffeine in both the pills and the coffee) and figured I’d be fine. I’d never really had problems with caffeine before. I was wrong, though. I was definitely tense and anxious for the first two days that I took this pill. I could barely sit still and I was snippy with everyone around me. I scaled it back to one caplet at a time, twice per day to build up a bit of a tolerance to it, as was recommended on the package.

Overall, after a month, I felt that it was too strong at the beginning and then I couldn’t really tell if anything at all was happening by the end of the month. I didn’t notice a difference in energy and the rate of my weight loss is about what I would have expected from all the hard work I was putting in, so I really didn’t think I was speeding anything up. It was hard to tell, but overall, I considered this a fail and moved on to my next option.

Phase 2 Carbohydrate Blocker by Source Naturals

After the discomfort I felt with the stimulant-based diet pill, I decided to go a different route with a carb blocker. That’s exactly what this pill promised to provide. It is made up mainly of a kind of white kidney bean extract that is supposed to reduce the amount of “alpha-amylase” in the body. That is a kind of enzyme that is naturally produced in the body and that is required to break down starchy foods. So with less of that in the body, less starch will be absorbed.

I didn’t realize it when I first purchased Phase 2 Carbohydrate Blocker, but the brand recommends that you follow the Maximum Metabolism Weight Loss Plan when you use this diet pill. It’s not required, but it is recommended and it comes free with the product. I admit that I was ticked with myself for failing to notice that at the time that I bought it. But once I had it, I felt like I should just go for it.

I’m sorry I did. To use these pills, you swallow 2 tablets at a time with a large glass of water about 10 minutes before eating a starchy meal. All my meals have a starchy component so I figured this was right for me. I took 2 before every meal. Aside from a bit of mild nausea on occasion, I didn’t notice any difference at all in my rate of weight loss after a month. I couldn’t feel any kinds of “effects” and my weight loss stayed exactly the same as it had been. I’m not sure if I was using it wrong or if I was duped, but I considered this a second fail.

FENFAST 375 by Intechra Health

Third time’s a charm? Since I was already getting into my eating and exercise routine by this point, I figured I’d go for a pill that claimed to support the kinds of efforts I was making instead of trying to choose one that claimed it would do the work for me. At this point, I was feeling pretty frustrated and was trying not to fall victim to grand claims. I wanted realism.

The claim about this diet pill was that it contained thermogenic fat burners (the kind that boost your metabolism by increasing your body temperature), appetite suppressants and energy boosters. After the challenge I had with the first diet pill I tried, I was understandably skeptical about the energy boosters, but I went for it.

The first thing I noticed was the energy boost. It was powerful enough to use but not so much that I felt like a squirming child in my desk chair at work. Next, I realized that I wasn’t as hungry. I didn’t notice that until the third day. It may have been there the whole time but I didn’t realize it until then. The effects remained pretty consistent. There were days when I still felt hungry or like I was dragging, but for the most part, I’d say FENFAST results lived up to the claims. By the end of the first month, I’d lost 3 more pounds than I had the two previous months.

I bought 3 more bottles (there was a discount for buying them 3 at a time) and used them right up until I had only 2 pounds left to lose. By that point, I’d firmly established my new healthy lifestyle and managed to polish off the last 2 pounds on my own.