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Two Surprising Ways to Slim Down Faster

Two Surprising Ways to Slim Down Faster

Dropping a few pounds is just a matter of eating less and exercising more, right? Wrong. You'll shed more weight -- and reduce stress levels -- if you add these two steps to the formula: Chill out and turn in early.

That's right. A recent study found that when you reduce stress levels and get plenty of sleep, you can slim down also.

Reduce Stress: Relax and Snooze
Researchers put 432 obese adults on a standard eat-less/exercise-more weight-loss plan for 6 months. Although most folks lost weight, those with lower stress levels at the start of the study lost a lot more than their anxious counterparts did. Sleep also impacted the amount of weight lost. People who snoozed at least 6 – but not more than 8 -- hours a night were more likely to achieve the study's pre-established slim-down goal of at least 10 pounds, compared to those who got less or more shut-eye. Study participants with the most stress and sleep difficulties were 50% less likely than the mellow, well-rested dieters to slim down and reach the study's 10-pound goal. (Related: Learn more about the health impacts of both too little and too much sleep.)

How It Works
How do stress and poor sleep mess with weight loss? Chronic stress boosts levels of feel-hungry hormones, which leads many people to reach for caloric comfort foods to ease their anxiety. Many of those foods are not only higher in waist-padding sugar and fat, they're also addictive, so the more you eat, the more you crave. Lack of sleep can interfere with your metabolism, cranking up your appetite while making you too weary to exercise.

Try these tips to reduce stress levels and boost your efforts to slim down:

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