Well thank you all so much for your replies! It's definitely difficult to separate fact from fiction, so I'm glad to have more input. I try not to use to much of anything, but when I do, I'd like to make the better choice
. As far as carbs, I wouldn't make it without them--I have tried and failed many times. I go by calories, and it's working for me, but I know everyone is totally different. I also go by inches rather than pounds, and I exercise six times a week on good weeks, four on "bad" weeks--which are still good for me because I never used to do any physical activity beyond the norm of everyday living. Of course, I'm new here, still learning, and again, I really appreciate the replies!