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Surprising Secrets Of Slimming Down

Eating less and exercising more - but still having trouble shedding those excess pounds?

There are other things you can do that you might mot have thought of, observed Early Show medical contributor Dr. Mallika Marshall Saturday:

Sleep Loss Affects Weight

A recent study found that people who get little sleep are more likely to be obese. It's true for both adults and kids. For adults, that's five hours or less a night. For kids, it's less than 10 hours of sleep. We know that sleep deprivation can lead to hormonal changes in the body that stimulate your appetite and make you eat more, so it makes sense.

What can someone do who's not getting enough sleep?

Well, it's the basic recipe for a good night's sleep: Avoid drinking caffeine in the late afternoon, go to sleep and get up at the same time every day to create good sleep habits, create a calming atmosphere in your bedroom with no television, and try to do something relaxing for an hour before you turn in. If that doesn't work, talk to your doctor about other ways to combat insomnia.

Incorporate More Fiber Into Your Diet

Fiber has been touted as "nature's weight loss aid." It comes in two forms: soluble (the gummy type found in oatmeal and beans) and insoluble (such as that found in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains). Soluble fiber can help lower cholesterol and insoluble fiber adds bulk to our diets. Both types swell in the stomach and give us a feeling of fullness, so we're less likely to overindulge. Most foods that are high in fiber are also high in water and low in calories.

How much fiber should people eat every days?

It's generally recommended that you get 20 to 35 grams of fiber a day and unfortunately, most of us fall short, getting only about half that.

Hydrate for a Healthy Body

Water is a perfect beverage alternative to sodas and juices. People tend to take in a lot of calories in beverages, whether it's from coffee with cream and sugar or fruit smoothies, and you have to remember that those calories count. Water is thirst-quenching and has zero calories.

We used to say that people needed to drink eight glasses of water a day, but in reality, most healthy people will drink when they're thirsty and therefore meet their hydration needs. And you get water not only from the faucet, but also in many foods, such as fruits and vegetables, and all that fluid counts when it comes to staying well-hydrated.

Manage Stress

Chronic stress, either from work, kids, financial woes, juggling too many responsibilities, etc. causes our bodies to go into survival mode. With that, the body stores more fuel, slows down its metabolism, and produces hormones, such as cortisol, that stimulate weight gain. Some people may say they eat less when they're stressed, but many more people turn to "comfort foods" as a temporary fix. And interestingly, high-carbohydrate foods are often preferred, because they increase the release of serotonin, the feel-good, calming chemical in the brain. They're, in fact, self-medicating.

So, what can someone do to manage the stress in their lives?

Better time-management, planning ahead, getting help with kids or work, taking time out for yourself all help. You can also try relaxation techniques such as meditation and yoga. And of course, regular exercise will not only help reduce your stress, but it will help you shed pounds as well.

For more information:

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/water/NU00283

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/stress/AN01128

http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/533105

http://www.usatoday.com/news/health/2004-12-06-sleep-weight-gain_x.htm
http://209.85.215.104/search?q=cache:sadOlHz3NOgJ:www.medicinenet.com/script/main/art.asp%3Farticlekey%3D52111+sleep+deprivation+gain+weight&hl=en&ct=clnk&cd=11&gl=us

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