So, this year you actually stuck to your New Year’s resolution to lose weight. You’ve diligently followed your diet, upped your exercise regime, and yet summer is fast approaching and those extra pounds just aren’t budging quick enough, or you’ve hit deadlock and nothing more is moving.
Dieting and exercise is all very well, and whilst these may be the core components for effective weight loss, there are other factors involved that can be having an adverse effect on reaching your desired goal:
Good quality sleep is extremely important for weight loss, and your overall health in general. Studies have confirmed that poor sleep is one of the top risk factors for obesity, with adults presenting a 55% greater risk of becoming overweight, and children a whooping 89%. Seems incredible, until you realise that five different hormones which have a negative impact on your weight are triggered by a lack of quality sleep.
For starters, you become less sensitive to insulin, which subsequently increases blood sugar levels and causes weight gain, or neutralises any weight loss from dieting. Ghrelin, the hunger hormone, simply goes crazy, whilst leptin, which signals fullness, drops dramatically, both resulting in permanent hunger pangs and cravings. Meanwhile, a lack of quality sleep causes cortisol, the stress hormone, to surge which triggers the storage of more fat, particularly in the belly region. Lastly, a lack of deep sleep means that you deprive your body of the Human Growth Hormone which results in body fat being burnt at a decreased rate.
Anxiety, Depression or Stress
Stress, depression, anxiety, mental exhaustion – all part and parcel of the world we live in today, but all having an adverse affect on a weight loss regime. All of these feelings stimulate higher levels of the hormone cortisol which increases the desire to eat and, worse still, also increases the production of a chemical in the brain called neuropeptide Y which makes you absolute crave carbs, and to top it all off, any excess sugar is stored as belly fat! Studies have concluded that constant exposure to work related stress can cause women to put on weight.
Our body and brain respond to daylight and darkness, in what is known as the circadian rhythm, that affects hormones, metabolism, and inevitably weight loss. The closer it gets to night time when your body is expecting sleep and starts to produce melatonin, the less energy it extends to digest and burn off the food. So regardless of whether the meal you’ve eaten was healthy, the body is not going to digest it as efficiently as if you had eaten earlier, which means that your body will struggle to clear excess weight. A study conducted on students who continually ate close to bedtime actually confirmed that they had a higher body-fat index and higher percentage of body fat than those who ate at a more conventional time.
Poor Digestive Health
Our gut is home to trillions of bacteria and yeast, and a healthy gut should have a healthy balance of bacteria. However a lack of sleep, obesity, a poor diet and other factors can cause an unhealthy shift in the balance which can cause inflammation and even insulin resistance. The gut makes up a large percentage of the immune system, and also plays a huge role in your metabolism. If you constantly suffer from gas, bloating, unhealthy bowel movements (diarrhoea or constipation), or sugar cravings, then it’s a fair assumption that your gut is not as healthy as it should be, and this can ultimately cause weight gain.
These issues are precisely where essential aroma oils can help. Each oil has it’s own unique health boosting and healing properties, and some are ideally suited to lending a helping hand to a weight loss regime, and may posses fat-burning compounds, curb hunger cravings, improve digestion and gut health, boost metabolism, stabilise hormones, relieve your emotional state, promote sleep, and much more. Whilst essential aromas oils cannot magically rid you off your excess pounds, they can be an excellent support tool.
Don’t let your own body sabotage your weight loss. Give it some TLC with essential oils to help get you back on track.
GRAPEFRUIT OIL FOR WEIGHT LOSS
Well known for its fat-burning properties, grapefruit oil is the perfect ally for weight loss. A unique phytochemical called nootkatone, contained within grapefruit, stimulates enzymes relating to metabolism, and promotes the body’ to use more glucose and burn fat. Another key compound, D-limonene was shown in studies to stimulate lipolysis, the process whereby the body breaks down dietary or stored fat to be used as energy in our cells. Grapefruit is particularly effective at burning stubborn abdomen fat. As additional benefits to weight loss, this oil acts as a natural appetite suppressant, since the aroma activates active enzymes in saliva to promote weight loss, and also helps to reduce bloating and water retention.
LEMON OIL FOR WEIGHT LOSS
Like grapefruit oil, lemon oil contains D-limonene and is able to stimulate fat burning. Likewise it also acts as an appetite suppressant. Additionally, lemon oil is a mood booster, relieving stress and anxiety and therefore dispelling sugar cravings. It also gives a much needed energy boost, to ensure that you can complete your exercise regime. This oil is well known for its positive effect on digestion, as well as its potential to balance hormones.
CINNAMON OIL FOR WEIGHT LOSS
Cinnamon oil helps to regulate blood sugar, glucose tolerance factor, and insulin levels, effectively helping to reduce appetite and prevent cravings. One study found that cinnamon is able to mimic the effect of insulin and can therefore help to move glucose to the body’s tissues for fuel. A further study indicated that the active compound in cinnamon, cinnamaldehyde,can improve the metabolic process by stimulating thermogenesis to burn fat for energy.
PEPPERMINT OIL FOR WEIGHT LOSS
Peppermint is an ideal solution for improving digestive health, reducing bloating and flatulence, and calming an upset stomach. Furthermore, the active compound menthol, can help to reduce stress and anxiety and prevent food cravings. This oil directly influences the part of the hypothalamus controlling the feeling of satiety, and promoting the release of hormones such as leptin which represses appetite, and also suppressing the release of ghrelin, the hunger hormone, thus preventing overeating. Peppermint oil is a natural energiser, relieving fatigue, boosting energy levels, increasing focus and offering a more positive mindframe. It helps to enhance exercise performance, thereby burning more calories and fat..
FENNEL OIL FOR WEIGHT LOSS
Fennel is a traditional remedy to enhance digestion and suppress the appetite. As a diuretic it also helps to remove toxins, excess fluid and eliminate bloating. One study confirmed the effectiveness of fennel in not only improving digestion but also increasing the amount of nutrients absorbed by the food whilst reducing the number of calories consumed. Furthermore, fennel contains melatonin and helps to regulate circadian rhythms, which improves sleep. Quality sleep reduces stress levels, boosts energy levels and also suppresses levels of ghrelin, the hunger hormone.
HOW TO USE ESSENTIAL OILS FOR WEIGHT LOSS
Add a few drops to your diffuser or oil burner and use as a support system such as before a meal to reduce appetite, to alleviate stress and induce relaxation, to reduce cravings, or when you know that you would usually turn to snacking or comfort food if feeling emotional or bored. If you don’t have a diffuser or oil burner, the oil can be inhaled directly from the bottle, or a drop added to a tissue. Or add a few drops to a carrier oil and apply to your wrist, to smell whenever you need support.
Firstly it is very important to be aware that essential oils are very potent and should never be applied directly to the skin without first being diluted as they can cause skin damage. Add a few drops to a carrier oil such as coconut oil or jojoba oil (which also have their own therapeutic benefits for the skin) or even to a favourite body lotion, and massage onto the abdomen, arms, legs, or soles of the feet to reap the benefits. To receive maximum benefit from the oils which reduce fat-storing cells, target the areas where the fat is stored such as the tummy and thighs.
Add a few drops to a bath product or some sea salts or epsom salts and run under hot running water. Soak for a minimum of 20 minutes.
Let essential aroma oils provide the extra punch in your fight to lose weight. Eliminate factors which try to sabotage your weight loss journey, and look good and feel good this summer.