There’s not a miracle weight loss program or one simple solution that works for everyone who wants to shed a few pounds. A few fad diets work temporarily, and so do some diet enhancing products, but some of those can lead to a host of other health problems.
The only foolproof way to lose weight and keep it off is to eat a healthy diet and exercise regularly. However, there are some ways to use essential oils to help promote both emotional and physical health in a way to help lose weight faster and easier.
Benefits of Using Natural Oils for Weight Loss
There are many weight loss aids on the market today including powders, pills, shakes and tons of other options. Many of these choices are good at getting results, but along with the weight loss comes side effects or other unexpected health problems. There are some distinct benefits for using natural means for losing those extra pounds. The good part about using essential oils includes:
- Natural alternative for weight loss
- No harmful side effects
- No risk of becoming an addiction
- No risk of being dependent on taking pills
- Lower in cost than other dieting alternatives
You are cutting out potential dependence as well as negative side effects, but you’ll be doing it in a way that produces the results you desire. Aromatherapy using essential oils is a smart way to try to lose extra pounds.
How Essential Oils Help with Weight Loss
Watching what you eat and increasing physical activity are two steps toward losing and maintaining a healthy weight. However, often overlooked are some of the physiological and psychological factors that contribute to successful weight management. For those who desire to lose more than just a few pounds, there can be a huge battle between mind and body. There are many other factors at work as well such as a person’s brain chemistry, genetic makeup, living environment, hormones and emotions. Exercise alone is not always enough to help with long lasting weight loss.
Essential oils have been used for centuries due to their healing properties. Oils are derived from a variety of plant sources including leaves, stems, fruits, seeds and flowers. Ancient Indian, Greek, Roman, Chinese and Egyptian cultures used essential oils for medicinal, spiritual and cosmetic purposes. More recently, oils have been studied for their curative, physiological, and mood-altering benefits. Recent studies have discovered that aromatherapy may stimulate parts of the brain which can have a huge positive impact on the brain which can influence one’s physical, mental and emotional state. The nose amazingly is capable of detecting a trillion different smells. Olfactory glands have a nearly immediate interaction with the parts of the brain that control the memory and emotions, the hippocampus and amygdala. When molecules are inhaled through the nose, it communicates with the receptors in the brain that control heart rate, attention span, blood pressure, stress levels, motivation, learning and pleasure.
Aroma therapy may provide key treatment options for managing hormone imbalances and anxiety. Even though there is not a substitute for healthy diets and exercise, many of the psychophysiological barriers to losing weight may be overcome by using oils. No matter what area the struggle to lose weight is, emotional eating, lack of motivation, cravings, low energy, dieting fatigue, depressed moods or poor digestion, oils can be an effective part of a fitness program that helps propel you toward and sustain you in your weight loss efforts.
4 Essential Oils to Help with Weight Loss
There are numerous essential oils that can be used to aid with weight loss efforts. Here are the top four choices.
Grapefruit EO is often used for its antiseptic and disinfectant properties as well as its crisp, sweet and uplifting aroma. The grapefruit contains a natural chemical compound, nootkatone. This chemical stimulates the enzyme that controls both the energy level and metabolic rate. When it is introduced to the body, nootkatone stimulates the enzyme AMPK which speeds the chemical reactions in tissues found in the liver, skeletal muscles and the brain. This seems to help increase endurance, reduce weight and decrease body fat while improving physical performance. Recently there was a study using grapefruit oil. Rats were exposed to grapefruit oil for is short intervals three times a week. They demonstrated weight loss and reduced appetites. It is thought that the grapefruit’s basic component, limonene induces lipolysis which is the process that breaks down and dissolved protein and body fat. In short, grapefruit oil:
- Curbs food cravings
- Boosts the metabolism
- Increases endurance and energy
- Reduces the accumulation of abdominal fat
Emotional eating is often the result of anxiety and depression. Eating can offer temporary comfort, but piles on weight as well as many other negative emotions like self-guilt or self-criticism. Bergamot essential oil may be able to break this cycle. When used as aromatherapy, it seems to help improve positive emotions and increase energy. In a study conducted recently, researchers used saliva samples to test for cortisol, the hormone released by the body in response to stress. Those who had inhaled bergamot EO had lower levels of cortisol than those who didn’t. In short, bergamot:
- Boosts the mood
- Increases energy levels
Fennel essential oils are earthy and sweet it is steam distilled from fennel seeds. Fennel provides a source of melatonin which is a hormone that helps regulate sleep cycles and circadian rhythms. It can also help control weight gain as the melatonin helps create “beige fat” that is burned off as energy, instead of “white fat” that is stored to use for energy later. People in the middle ages ate fennel seeds to suppress the appetite. A study conducted on how aromatherapy using fennel might affect rats concluded that rats who inhaled the oil ate fewer calories and had a faster rate of digestion. In short, fennel:
- Can improve digestion
- Suppress the appetite
- Reduce weight gain
- Help with sleep
Peppermint contains as much as 70% menthol. It’s been used for many years for treating indigestion. Peppermint essential oil can be effective as a muscle relaxer and can be combined with caraway EO to help ease stomach muscles, reduce bloating and increase the flow of bile. This helps food pass through the body quicker. One experiment indicated inhaling peppermint were more alert, calmer and had better memory function. It’s also a natural appetite suppressant. In short, peppermint oil can:
- Increase energy
- Improve mental alertness
- Elevate mood
- Aid digestion
- Reduce appetite
Warnings & Risks
In general, essential oils are safe to use, but there are a few things to consider. First of all, essential oils shouldn’t be consumed, or ingested. Oils are very potent, and a few drops of the wrong oil could cause severe gastrointestinal discomfort. If you ingest an oil and experience an adverse reaction, seek immediate medical treatment.
Don’t use oils undiluted as they can cause skin irritation or swelling. Do a patch test in a small area to be certain your skin will not react to larger amounts of diluted oils.
If you are nursing or pregnant, ask your medical caregiver about the use of essential oils.
Some oils can make your skin more susceptible to sunburns, use caution in applying oils to your skin if you will be exposed to sunlight.