Shedding those extra pounds can be a real challenge. There may come a time where no matter how hard one tries, the scale won’t budge. Hitting a weight loss plateau is perfectly normal and happens to most people. One major reason for this is the battle that occurs between people’s bodies and minds that makes exercise and diet alone fail to bring about the desired long-lasting changes. For that reason, it’s important for people to load up their weight management arsenals with all the useful tools they can get to help them achieve their ideal weight.
Besides physical activity and good nutrition, essential oils can be instrumental in reaching those elusive slimming goals. Let’s take a closer look at how essential oils can aid weight loss efforts.
Essential Oils as a Weight Loss Aid
It’s common for people to assume anything that doesn’t target fats or burns calories doesn’t contribute to weight loss. Nothing could be further from the truth. Weight loss efforts don’t just work your physical body; they work your mind and emotions too. A healthy balance is therefore vital to persistently pursuing weight loss goals and getting the desired results consistently.
The root of most obstacles to successful weight loss and weight maintenance is psychophysiological. Aromatic essential oils are believed to stimulate the brain, positively affecting the mental, emotional, and physical states. They have been used therapeutically for more than 6,000 years. Although there hasn’t been extensive modern research on these benefits, the scientific studies that have been done so far have produced encouraging results.
Once the human nose detects an odor, the olfactory gland almost immediately interacts with the hippocampus and amygdala — the brain’s memory and emotional centers. Nasal breathing also influences the brain receptors tasked with controlling heart rate, blood pressure, attention span, pleasure, learning, motivation, and stress levels — all the more reason to always breathe through the nose rather than the mouth.
While using essential oils won’t replace the 20 minutes of weightlifting or cardio exercises, it can help with the emotional and mental lows that tend to creep in as people carry on with their weight loss programs. Incorporating them to the programs could make all the difference between succeeding and failing at overcoming emotional eating, lack of motivation, chronic fatigue, persistent bad moods, sugar cravings, sluggish metabolism, and other weight loss hurdles.
The Top Essential Oils for Weight Loss
There are numerous essential oils available. While most of these can boost health and wellness, there are particular ones that have been proven ideal for weight loss. These include:
- Grapefruit Oil — Its fragrance is crisp, sweet, and uplifting. It has appetite-reducing and fat-burning benefits. The nootkatone compound in grapefruit stimulates the AMPK enzyme. Therefore, interactions between the two result in improved endurance, lower body fat, and reduced weight gain. When applied topically on the abdomen, grapefruit oil can help reduce the circumference of the waist.
- Lime Oil —This citrus oil has an energizing and uplifting effect on a person’s emotional state. Data obtained on its use suggests that it can be useful in not only shedding extra pounds but also keeping them off. As a result, it could be useful in the treatment of obesity.
- Cinnamon Oil —This aromatic essential oil is derived from the leaves or bark of the Cinnamomum tree species. It has been shown to offer protection to the pancreas, which is the body’s insulin regulation center. As a result, it helps the body deal with glucose better, assisting in weight loss and weight gain prevention.
- Peppermint Oil — The menthol in peppermint essential oil has a calming effect and aids digestion. Researchers have also found that inhaling the minty and intense aroma of the oil can help elevate mood and improve mental alertness and memory. Peppermint oil also helps curb appetite.
- Bergamot Oil — The bergamot orange has a tangy but spicy aroma. It has been used traditionally as a pick-me-up to combat low-spiritedness, tension, and stress. A recent study found that inhalation of bergamot oil increased positive emotions and energy, provided immediate psychological benefits, and lowered levels of cortisol, which is a stress hormone that’s usually associated with increased appetite and weight gain.
How to Use Essential Oils to Boost Weight Loss Efforts
Now that we know some of the best essential oils as well as what they’re capable of doing, it’s essential to learn how to use them. One of the ways to benefit from essential oils is by holding a bottle of them close to the nose and inhaling the aroma for at least five minutes. Alternatively, an oil diffuser can be used to imbue a home with the fragrance of the oils, letting the occupants enjoy the benefits of aromatherapy easily and conveniently.
The oils can be applied topically over the troubling fat zones or the entire body. However, they should only be applied after dilution with carrier oils like sweet almond or coconut oils. It’s advisable to first apply a small patch of the mixture on a sensitive part of the skin. If it remains unharmed after 24 hours, it’s safe to use the oil over the entire body. It’s also worth mentioning that grapefruits and other citrus oils can make the skin extremely sensitive to sunlight. Therefore, it would be best to avoid direct sun exposure for 12 to 18 hours after use.
Other ways to use essential oils is by purchasing an aromatherapy necklace for relief on the go and adding a few drops of the oils to a warm bath.
Homemade Essential Oil Recipe Ideas
Several tried-and-tested blends of essential oils help address weight loss issues. Here are some quick ideas:
- Boost metabolism by adding 10 rosemary drops, 10 cypress drops, 8 drops of grapefruit oil, and 2 jojoba oil tablespoons to a warm bath
- Soothe sore muscles and rejuvenate the body by blending a few drops of lavender, sandalwood, and orange and adding them to a hot bath
- Beat cravings by adding 80 fennel essential oil drops, 24 patchouli oil drops, and 40 bergamot drops to half a cup of olive oil and mix the solution, then massage onto the abdomen
- Melt the stubborn fat away by mixing five drops of grapefruit, cypress, and lemon oils, then either diffusing the solution or mixing it with a quarter cup of almond oil and massaging the mixture on the problem areas of the body
- Feel full for longer by blending 5 drops of lemon, 10 drops of mandarin, and 3 drops each of peppermint and ginger into a diffuser
When used in conjunction with other slimming techniques, essential oils can play a significant role in the achievement of weight loss goals.