It's very simple: if a weight loss pill, plan or exercise machine claims to make weight loss "effortless," it is a scam. Let's have science explain:

Diet Products

Due to the cruel laws of physics, losing weight requires two things:

1. Pain

2. Hunger

This is due to a few fairly simple facts about your body. Your body wants to store fat, because through most of human history, food was scarce and in times of plenty it wants to store up for when supplies are short.

This is a process your body invented to keep you alive, over centuries of living in a world that did not have fast food or Hostess snack cakes. Any time you try to stop or undo that process, your body will send unpleasant sensations to your brain, because it thinks you're setting youself up to starve to death.

To lose weight, you must endure those unpleasant sensations. There is no shortcut.

For instance, you can exercise to the point that your body will run out of the ready fuel in your system, at which point it will reluctantly dip into its fat reserves and burn them. You will experience fatigue and pain when this happens. This is your body punishing you for using the fat it has stored up. It doesn't want to use it. Your body was saving it for an emergency.

You can also restrict the amount of food coming into your system so that your body is forced to go through that same fat-burning process, but this time your body will punish you by making you feel hunger, or cravings for fattier foods that will let it replenish those fat reserves on your thighs and belly and everywhere else.

Any pill or cream that claims it can "burn fat" while you sit on the sofa, or exercise machine that claims to make exercise "easy" or "effortless" is a scam to steal your money.

There have also been numerous products put on the market intended to suppress hunger. But turning off one of the fundamental processes that keeps you alive (ie your brain alerting you that you need to eat) is not an easy thing, and time and time again those pills turn out to be dangerous or even deadly (see the popular diet drug Fen-Phen, pulled from the market due to potentially fatal side effects, only to be replaced by Ephedrine, which was also promptly banned in weight-loss products for being just as dangerous).

Now, most of the weight loss supplements you see at your grocer store now are just mild appetite suppressants, usually just packed full of caffeine or another stimulant, since the nervous, jittery, mildly sick feeling they induce does tend to kill your hunger. Just note that it is only replacing one unpleasant sensation with another (the body does not give up easily). Occasionally they will package these supplements with "all natural" ingredients on the label (such as "Hoodia" or "Green Tea Extract").

The most recent and terrifying addition is Alli, the brand name of Orlistat, which lets you eat fat, but simply prevents it from being absorbed in the stomach. If this sounds like a perfect get-out-of-fat free card, keep in mind that (once again) you are short-circuiting one of the body's natural processes. The result is that you will have uncontrollable greasy diarrhea, pooping out an orange substance like the stuff you see sitting on top of a pizza. The fat your stomach couldn't absorb has to go somewhere.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Just because pain/hunger is required in order to lose weight, you should not assume from this that if you are feeling pain and hunger you are therefore losing weight. Many weight loss plans will give you all of the unpleasant feelings of a real diet plan, only without the weight loss.

So is the situation hopeless?

Not at all. Most people have a higher tolerance for physical suffering than they think. And it is temporary; exercise gets easier as muscles get stronger (though at the point it becomes TOO easy, it's time to increase what you're doing) and your system WILL adjust to getting less food.

Also, you can lessen the suffering that will come with weight loss by losing the weight slowly - your body won't kick and scream as much about losing one pound a month as it will if you are trying to lose five pounds a week Biggest Loser-style. It's impatience that makes most diets fail.

The even better news?

Weight loss doesn't cost a dime.

Exercise can be done on the floor - mankind was getting exercise long before any machines had been invented for the purpose. Google around for the best techniques. Diet is just a matter of not eating the foods you already know you shouldn't be eating. Both of these will cause you some mild suffering. Enduring that suffering is the only thing between you and being thin.

Good luck.