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On Set with Dr. Oz

Did you know your metabolism suffers if you get less than 8 hours of sleep? Or that drinking skim milk can lead to weight gain?

Those are just 2 of the many eyebrow-raising weight loss facts I learned from Dr. Mehmet Oz during a recent visit to the 30 Rock set of his daytime talk show, The Dr. Oz Show, for a taping and roundtable discussion.

Jill Seiman, Mehmet Oz

The show we taped airs tomorrow (November 7th) and offers a ton of informative tips for losing weight and the reasons weight loss becomes more challenging as we age. If you don't follow the show, Dr. Oz partnered with Weight Watchers to create a contest called "Dr. Oz's Transformation Nation: Million Dollar You," inviting viewers to take seven key steps to weight loss and healthy living and is challenging them to lose 40 pounds by spring. As if a healthy lifestyle isn't enough, there's $1 million up for grabs.

Much of what I learned came as a complete surprise. Sure I know it's harder to lose weight as you age, I'm experiencing that first hand as I've found it impossible to shed my remaining baby weight despite maintaining a fairly consistent diet. Turns out there's a scientific reason for it and Monday's episode divulges the secrets.

The episode also features beauty segments with hair makeovers and beauty secrets from India so be sure to check it out.

What I appreciate most about doctor Dr. Oz's approach, is that he takes complicated medical jargon and transforms it into relateable explanations for his audience, and using his platform to spread awareness and inspire people to live happier, healthier lifestyles.

After the taping, we had the opportunity to sit down with him for an intimate discussion. He could not have been sweeter, posing for photos with each of us, insisting we get a copy of his book, "You Being Beautiful,"and addressing our most pressing concerns. Here's a few of the questions and answers that I thought you would most be interested in:

Dina from BabyCenter asked, What is the tie between sleep and health?

According to Dr. Oz, the brain craves four things: sleep, sex, water, and food. If you don't get enough of one, you make it up with more of another. If you don’t get enough sleep, reproducibly you will crave carbohydrates. It’s what your body will naturally do. Furthermore, according to a recent article in The New York Times, people who don't sleep well have more heartaches.

That doesn't bode well for most of us considering the average American sleeps 6.9 hours but needs closer to 8. These figures do not include those who are pregnant or raising young children. If you don’t remember dreaming, you are sleep deprived. You need to get to light sleep.

Dr. Oz also said he doesn't set an alarm to wake up but rather to go to sleep. Great tip! Have you ever tried that?

Napping does count but that’s light sleep, the restorative sleep is different and most important.

Maria from The New York MOM followed up with, What can I do to avoid the mid-afternoon slump?

If it’s doable, nap. It can be as simple as 20 minutes where you lie down and close your eyes, even if you don’t fall asleep. That little bit of restful period is the most effective thing for that mid-afternoon slump. Dr. Oz also recommends a green drink or green tea. Green tea has the quarter of the caffeine and can give you that boost you need.

I was relieved when he mentioned that caffeine is okay in low amounts at the right time, because that's my go-to. But he warns, If you can’t sleep, don’t have caffeine in the afternoon.

Serena from Mama Goes Natural inquired, How to pass on a health-conscious mentality to children.

Dr. Oz reminded us that all children have a lot more taste buds. They're biologically hardwired to avoid bitter foods. Children will slowly mature their taste buds. As they get older and lose taste buds, they’ll be more receptive to tastes like broccoli. Foods that have no added sugar are what kids should be eating. Fruits are great. Your task as a parent is to slip in foods little by little.

I did a cleanse earlier this year and was contemplating trying another so I was intrigued when Shari from My Judy the Foodie asked: Are cleanses healthy and a viable way to lose weight? Do you endorse a cleanse?

According to Dr. Oz, most people go into cleanses already malnourished, so you have to be really thoughtful about your nutritional status before you go on a cleanse. You may be overweight but you may be nutritionally depleted. I always have people ensure they’ve really eaten as well as they can and as much as they want, good things, for at least a couple of days before they start their cleanse. The cleanse is not to lose weight, the cleanse is to cleanse you. It’s primarily directed to your liver which is the primary detoxing organ of the body. I do believe in cleanses. I think they help reboot your taste buds give you the steam to help you power forward.

Dr. Oz has his own 48-hour cleanse that I want to try. It's not designed for weight-loss, although he says people usually do lose weight, and you can actually eat! The shopping list is on his website, which I'm finding is a great resource for lifestyle information.

Too bad there isn't a little pocket version of Dr. Oz that I carry around all day to remind me to eat breakfast and get to bed on time. But awareness is key and I'm thankful to have heard these tips face-to-face.

Is any of this news to you? What small lifestyle change could you make that would have a big impact on your overall well-being?

{Special thanks to Selfish Mom and the One2One Network for including me in this opportunity. I was not compensated for attending or writing this post.}