Friday morning, I went over to my local CVS pharmacy to pick up Alli. Earlier in the week, I received a register tape coupon for $10 off a diet product of $40 or more. The 90 pill starter pack is regularly $59.99. Even with the coupon, fifty bucks is a lot of money for a pill known for its explosive diarrhea side effects. Nevertheless, I figured I would give it a shot.

In the Alli starter kit, you receive a bottle of pills, a blue plastic “shuttle” case (in which to carry your daily supply of pills), and a handful of little guidebooks and inserts.
The first insert is “Read Me First: Keys to successful weight loss.” To sum it up, it says, “Use the pills like your supposed to, don’t expect miracles, and take personal responsibility for your fat-ass-ness.” Obviously, the insert is worded more sensitively.

The second insert is the Alli Welcome Guide. This guide explains all of the other guides and inserts, plus has your code number in the front cover for your free membership in the MyAlliPlan at
Whatever. For some people, the MyAlliPlan is great. They want and need motivational emails, meal plans, and recipes. I’m just experimenting with Alli, not signing on for life. If Alli works for me, great, I’ll continue to use it. If it doesn’t, I won’t buy more. One good thing about this drug is it helps you stick to a new eating lifestyle. However, if you stop taking the drug, you are extremely likely to put some weight back on.

The third insert is the Alli Quick Facts cards. The cards are little pill shuttle case shaped cut outs connected at one end with a brad to create a quick reference guide (or recruiting tool) to stash away in your purse. It’s a little motivational reminder of the things you must do to reduce your fat-ass-ness (and prevent explosive diarrhea).

Enough with the inserts, on with the Guides!

The blue Companion Guide. This guide addresses the who, what, where, when, and why of Alli. The contents are broken into the following sections: “Getting to Know the Alli Program”, “Eating with the Alli Program”, “Getting Started”, “Getting Active”, and “Bumps in the Road”. My favorite sentence from this guide is: “Women may want to consider using a panty liner in case you experience treatment effects.” Treatment effects being “gas with oily spotting”, “loose stools”, and “more frequent stools that may be hard to control”. Panty liner?!? That’s a gentle way of saying, “You’re going to shit your pants, but just a little.”
There is no way I’m wearing a panty liner to deal with intermittent incontinence. I’ll just prevent the incontinence, thank you very much. There is no way I would eat a high fat meal and take an Alli pill while at work. I *may* eat a high fat meal (e.g. fried chicken with macaroni and cheese) as an experiment to see how much havoc Alli could wreak. But, there is no way I’d do it at work. I would perform this experiment on a Friday night at home, so I was in a safe distance of a bathroom, and I had time to recoup from the experiment. (For the record, I haven’t experienced the violent, stealth poop attack about which all the literature has been warning me. However, I have experienced a bit of uncomfortable indigestion.)

The remaining two guides are not as exciting, but definitely useful.
The red Calorie & Fat Counter guide is exactly that: a guide of calorie and fat content for common foods and food at 25 fast-food restaurants.
The green Health Eating Guide has sample menus, guidence with planning your own menus, and advice for eating out.

As much as I’ve mocked Alli and the process, I’m actually impressed with GlaxoSmithKline. Instead of throwing this drug out into the market and leaving the consumer to figure out how to use this drug effectively, GSK has provided a lot of helpful material, forums, and assistance which enables the consumer to succeed. Ultimately, as always, it comes down to the decisions the you make that determine how successful you are. If you decide to use Alli as a crutch instead of a tool, and you continue to eat poorly, you are going to suffer. Not just in the lack of weight loss, but gastrointestinally.