According to the CDC roughly 60% of those of us living in the United States are overweight. I know I’ve sure put on a few pounds sitting here working on the computer for a large part of the day and Lori struggles with the problem. You will find online sites that tell you that essential oils can help you lose weight. The purpose of this post is to investigate whether this is fact or fiction.
The basis of the claims
The hypothalamus factor
Dr Alan Hirsch, Neurological Director of the Smell & Taste Research and Treatment Foundation in Chicago, Illinois here in the U.S., did a study on the scent and hunger relationship.
I’ve already covered the Hirsch study extensively in the post “Essential Oils for Weight Loss.” Be sure and check it out. The following is a recap.
The Hirsch study included 3,193 overweight people (mostly women) to sniff what he terms neutral sweet scents deeply three times in each nostril whenever they felt hungry for 6 months. The conclusion was that the average weight loss was 5 pounds a month. It was more successful for people who sniffed the aroma frequently.
The key is to vary the scents each day using a different combination such as peppermint, banana, green apple and vanilla. An interesting aspect of the study was that those who did not lose weight were people with poor olfactory abilities; those that didn’t like chocolate; and those that snacked frequently. The idea is that the right scent entering your nose when you’re hungry will trick your brain into believing it has eaten the food.
It has been suggested that essential oils besides vanilla and peppermint might work if they are reminiscent of a food. You’ll have to experiment to see which works best for you. Don’t forget the apples, bananas, coffee and chocolate (not essential oils) to try.
I’m going to give his theory a try and see if it works. I’m going to use vanilla, cinnamon, allspice, clove and grapefruit.
The hormone factor
Gherlin has been identified as a hormone produced in the stomach signaling hunger and scientists are working on a magic bullet to suppress this hormone. There are medical conditions where this hormone goes unchecked and the person is always hungry. This is not the case for the average person.
Leptin is a hormone found in fat cells that signals when we’re full. It’s been associated with the brain hormone melatonin. It appears that melatonin interacts with insulin and decreases leptin is increased. At least that’s what one study on rats says.
One of the best ways to increase serotonin is with a good night’s sleep. To get this, lavender essential oil is one of the most helpful. Use it in a diffuser or as a sachet under your pillow.
The stress factor
Stress is a huge factor in weight gain due to biochemical changes in your body. Then there’s the compulsive eating that comes as a result of emotional stress and anxiety. Ever hear of “comfort food?” Too many of those comfort foods can add pounds fast. I have several posts on controlling stress so I won’t go into that hear. I’ve included links at the bottom of this page where you can find them.
There are a number of essential oils that can really help alleviate stress and anxiety. Think lemon oil, lavender, Clary sage, chamomile, sandalwood and many others. I use these oils to keep my hurly burly schedule from driving me nuts. They are all wonderful and strongly recommend our goddesses use them to help keep calm.
The lifestyle factor
If you consume 2000 calories and burn 1500 calories, that extra 500 calories will probably make it to your hips, thighs and or belly as a fat bulge. The increase in childhood obesity is probably due at least in part to kids spending more time sitting than moving thus consuming more calories than they work off.
I’m too weak willed to diet to lose the extra pounds I’ve accumulated, but I can make moderate changes that are totally fun. For instance, I enjoy a nice walk in the park and so does Misty, my little Yorkshire terrier. I can diffuse essential oils to stay calm. I can eat a little slower so my stomach has time to tell my brain I’m full. When all the small things are added up, they amount to a big step in taking off the extra pounds.
I’ve lost a lot of weight this way before and it stayed off. It didn’t come back either for years. However, over time and with a high stress, lousy, and unbalanced lifestyle, the pounds returned and my energy level plummeted. That’s already starting to change I’m happy to report and my essential oils are helping a lot with the stress. Whether sniffing the oils I mentioned above will help when I feel the urge to grab a 5 gazillion calorie snack or not, remains to be seen.
Why don’t you try the Hirsch method and comment back here or send us an e-mail. Let’s do our own experiment. We’ll publish the final results here at Spa From Scratch.
Now go have fun and relax.