The Best Essential Oils for Weight Loss
There’s no better time than right now to evaluate your habits and make some changes for your well-being! For some, losing some pounds is the goal in order to reduce the risk of health problems. You might just be carrying around a few extra pounds from previous pregnancies or from enjoying yourself a little too much on vacation.
Whatever the case, if you’re curious about some ways to lose weight naturally, look no further. Today I’ll share some reasons why you may be holding onto those stubborn pounds and how to get rid of them: mainly by using essential oils for weight loss with other natural remedies.
Why Do You Gain Weight?
For the most part that can be narrowed down to a few main issues. I think it’s important to talk about so that later, you’ll understand why essential oils for weight loss can be so helpful!
Unstable Blood Sugar
If you eat a doughnut, you will spike your blood sugar, which then leads to a spike in insulin to process that sugar. This will cause blood sugar to drop again, making you feel hungry. And this is why sugary, high-carb foods cause that feeling of yo-yo cravings.
Over time, this cycle can lead to insulin resistance and when insulin levels in the body are constantly elevated, you gain weight. A more dangerous long-term effect of insulin resistance is the risk of developing diabetes (1).
Sugar also doesn’t provide satiety the way fats and proteins do. In fact, it can interfere with a hormone in the body called leptin. Leptin is released from fat cells and sends a signal to the brain that we’re full and nourished. If sugar blocks the movement of leptin up to the brain then we miss the signal that says we’re full and to stop eating (1). So we overeat.
This is how unstable blood sugar eventually leads to fat storage.
Chronic stress can cause all sorts of health problems including depression, heart disease, stroke, hormonal dysfunction, stomach issues like ulcers and even weight gain (2).
The nervous system had two branches: fight or flight mode or rest and digest mode. It can’t be resting and digesting if it’s fighting or fleeing, so that means our digestive system gets thrown off if we’re chronically stressed and our metabolism suffers.
Another way this works is that cortisol (a hormone that gets released when we’re stressed) causes weight gain around the middle of the body- hello belly fat. Cortisol can also increase appetite and induce cravings for junk food (3).
For women, hormone imbalance can cause an increase in fat, especially around the midsection. Balanced hormones promote healthy cholesterol levvels and has a positive effect on thyroid health and metabolism (4). When estrogen drops around menopause and after childbirth these are common times that women complain about holding onto stubborn weight.
But there are other reasons that your hormones could be out of whack, including PCOS and extremely rigorous exercise. Because your endocrine system is all linked up, an issue with one hormone could affect all the others.
This could be a whole blog post in itself, but your best bet, if you think your hormones might be out of balance, is to consult with a functional medicine doctor. They will help you get the tests you need to determine whether there is a problem and can help you get back into balance naturally.
Too Many of the Wrong Kind of Calories
What I’m talking about here is sugar and processed food. Unfortunately, junk food is everywhere these days and it’s much easier to find than real food is. In fact, most of the aisles in a grocery store are dedicated to this stuff.
That’s why people say that if you’re trying to change your diet and you don’t know where to start, make a loop around the supermarket without going down the aisles. That means buying fresh fruits, vegetables, healthy meats and eggs, or in other words: whole foods.
The middle aisles usually contain the processed stuff with added sugars and oils that may fill your belly but don’t offer much else. Eating junk food sets you up for failure again and again, because they will always leave you wanting more. High sugar and saturated fats also stimulate dopamine which is the same neurotransmitter that gets activated in addiction (5).
Not Enough Exercise
This is a given right? That doesn’t necessarily mean hitting the streets for a five-mile run every day but aim to get your heart rate up at least three times a week doing something you enjoy. Whether it’s kickboxing, hiking, dancing or taking your baby for a long walk with the stroller, get moving!
Building muscle is another big part of exercise because more muscle means more fat burning capability. It’s also important for women to keep our bones healthy, as doing weight-bearing exercise helps prevent against osteoporosis (6). I
Okay now that we’ve gone over some of the main causes of weight gain and why it happens, let’s dive into essential oils and how they can help you reach your weight loss goals. The perks of essential oils for weight loss is they have a variety of health-boosting properties, they aren’t addictive and you won’t have to worry about harmful side effects or toxins (as long as you’re choosing high-quality oils.)
8 Essential Oils for Weight Loss
Cinnamon Essential Oil
Cinnamon can help stabilize blood sugar, which is important to weight loss because of the potential of high blood sugar to cause insulin resistance and food cravings.
It also has an ingredient called eugenol, which can have the effect of curbing cravings for sweets (7). So next time you’re feeling the need for sugar try inhaling a little cinnamon either in a diffuser or from the bottle.
It can be applied topically but is very strong, so make sure you use only a drop, well diluted in a carrier oil like coconut or almond oil before applying it. I recommend applying to the soles of the feet. This is a great location for getting the benefits of this oil systemically.
Another way to use cinnamon essential oils for weight loss is to add a single drop to a cup of tea or in your cooking, but no more, as cinnamon also has a compound called curcumin which is a blood thinner.
In order to consume it, cinnamon essential oil must be therapeutic grade meaning it doesn’t have any extra additives or chemicals. This is why I stick with doTERRA essential oils. This is the most well researched essential oil brand in the industry and the oils are recognized for their purity and potency.
Fennel Essential Oil
Fennel is a spice often used in Indian cooking to help facilitate digestion. It helps to relax the gut, which supports it to function healthfully and prevent gas and constipation (8). Apply a drop or two in carrier oil directly to the stomach and massage it in. Fennel essential oils for weight loss works by supporting digestion, which in turn can boost metabolism.
It is also a food-based essential oil that can be consumed in small doses, simply add a drop to a glass of water and drink it once daily before a meal. This should help your digestive system and could stop you from eating too much!
Geranium Essential Oil
Remember how we talked about the importance of hormones in maintaining a healthy weight? Geranium essential oil can help balance your hormones and ease anxiety. Diffusing it is a great way to use geranium for mood and hormone balancing, just add 4 to 6 drops to a diffuser and enjoy!
Geranium essential oil is also very toning for the skin, which could help with cellulite. To apply it topically, mix 2 drops of geranium with 1 tablespoon of carrier oil and massage all over the skin, especially areas with extra fat or cellulite, like the hips, belly and thighs.
Ginger Essential Oil
This is one of those essential oils for weight loss that works in a few different ways. For one thing, it promotes digestion and helps protect the whole system from inflammation. Ginger is holistic in that by supporting the whole digestive system, the body can digest food, absorb nutrients and turn fats into energy.
Apply a drop or two of ginger essential oil for weight loss to a diffuser and inhale if you’re struggling with indigestion or cravings.
Another interesting property of ginger is that it suppresses cortisol. Remember how elevated cortisol helps us hold onto fat, especially around the belly? By keeping cortisol low, ginger eases stress and supports the metabolism to function optimally (7).
Ginger essential oil can also be consumed by adding a drop in a glass of water or you can add a drop to a spoonful of raw honey. It tastes great in tea or better yet, lemonade.
Grapefruit Essential Oil
Grapefruit has been around forever as a weight loss hack because a chemical in it known to increase fat burning hormones in the body (7). In this way, grapefruit essential oil literally burns fats and boosts the metabolism. Because it’s bitter, it will also stimulate the liver which is responsible for the breakdown of fats and other toxins in the body.
Make yourself a detox drink by adding a drop of grapefruit essential oil to your morning glass of water or before eating a fatty meal. It’s also great in a diffuser to help control any cravings and like other citrus fruits can be mood-boosting and energizing.
If you’re taking prescription medications definitely consult your healthcare provider before using this essential oil (and really any of these oils).
Lavender Essential Oil
Essential oils for weight loss don’t just have to work on the digestive system. Remember how stress and anxiety can cause weight gain? It can also cause emotional eating, which happens as a response to feeling low. In this case, foods provide a little hit of pleasure and therefore eating becomes about feeling good as opposed to nourishing the body.
Lavender essential oil calms the stress response, which gets your nervous system into the rest and digest mode that it needs to be in for your metabolism to work properly. It also eases anxiety and uplifts your mood so you’re less likely to turn to food for comfort.
So next time you feel like reaching for ice cream, try this. Make a cup of your favorite herbal tea, something like rooibos would be good. Then add a drop of lavender and blend it in a high-speed blender with a teaspoon of coconut oil.
The lavender will soothe you and the coconut oil will make for a frothy drink that has its own fat-busting and appetite suppressing qualities. Lavender is also great in lemonade or your morning coffee.
You can add a few drops of lavender to a diffuser, a bath, or even on your wrists or temples to get its benefits with aromatherapy.
DoTERRA Slim and Sassy Essential Oils
This is a blend of essential oils that is made specifically for weight loss and takes the guesswork out of which oil to choose? Slim and Sassy is designed to boost metabolism, curb cravings and support your digestive system. It’s not addictive and contains no stimulants or harmful ingredients.
In fact, it’s made from some of the essential oils for weight loss I’ve listed above like cinnamon, grapefruit and ginger, with added lemon and peppermint.
It can be consumed in water, tea or a smoothie. Just add 4 drops to at least 4 oz of liquid. It can also be diffused and applied topically, although since these are all fairly strong oils, it would need to be diluted in a carrier oil.
DoTERRA Zendocrine Essential Oils Blend
Another important part of any weight loss journey is detox. If your body is overloaded with chemicals and toxins, then chances are your liver and lymph aren’t working properly. If your liver is overburdened it won’t be breaking down fats. And if your lymph is stagnant your chances of cellulite increase.
DoTERRA’s zendocrine blend of essential oils for weight loss and detox contains tangerine, rosemary, geranium, juniper and cilantro all of which support healthy liver and kidneys while helping the body to get rid of toxins. When you enhance detoxification the whole system gets a boost and this is a great addition to your weight loss routine.
To use zendocrine, add 1-2 drops to tea or other beverage or apply directly to the soles of the feet to support detox pathways. It can also be diffused.
Essential Oil Safety
When using essential oils for weight loss, especially when consuming them internally, there are a few things you should remember.
- As a rule, don’t ingest essential oils if you are pregnant or breastfeeding. Because some oils may be hard for babies to break down, avoiding them internally is the safest choice.
- Buy high quality, organic, therapeutic grade essential oils. Do your research on this. Because most essential oils aren’t regulated, you have the be careful in choosing the right brand.
- For internal consumption stick to very small doses, 1-2 drops max. I always think it’s a good idea to start small and see how your body reacts. And always make sure it is an oil that is safe for internal use!
- Mix essential oils with a carrier oil if you’re going to apply them topically, and start small. If you’re using a quality oil, you won’t need much!
- Use caution with essential oils around pets and children, they are much more sensitive than adults and some oils are toxic to animals, like tea tree to cats. Again, be an informed consumer and you’ll be fine.
Other Natural Remedies for Weight Loss
While essential oils for weight loss are my main focus, here are two other natural remedies that can be really helpful in dropping pounds.
Coconut oil for weight loss can be used on its own as well as with essential oils. Remember that herbal tea, lavender essential oil and coconut oil latte drink I shared earlier? The reason coconut oil is so successful for weight loss is its medium-chain triglycerides.
These fatty acids head straight to the liver where they get converted into energy. Another perk of MCTs is that they don’t store in the body the way other fats can (9). Consume 1-2 tablespoons of coconut oil a day, added into smoothies or hot drinks.
Here are some other interesting things about coconut oil. It actually helps burn fat in the body while increasing satiety or the feeling of fullness. This means that chances are you’ll crave fewer calories throughout the day, while also increasing your ability to burn fat.
Another way to use coconut oil would be as a carrier oil for geranium, grapefruit and lavender to create a balm for cellulite.
Apple Cider Vinegar
There is a lot to say about apple cider vinegar but right now I want to focus on how it can help with weight loss. First, it increases stomach acid which can help the body break down food and facilitate digestion.
It can then help the liver work better by producing more bile. You need bile to burn fat, so there you go, apple cider vinegar helps the body process fats! It can also help stabilize blood sugar, which we know is important to keep the metabolism working properly and shed weight. If your blood sugar is stable you’ll probably have fewer cravings to battle as well.
A great way to use essential oils for weight loss with apple cider vinegar is to put two tablespoons into an 8 oz glass of water and add 1 to 2 drops of cinnamon essential oil. Then drink it before a meal to help burn fat, stabilize blood sugar and prevent overeating.
Okay I know that was a lot of information but there is so much to say about using essential oils for weight loss and I hope this has gotten you excited to try! Have you used them this way? Or do you have some of your own ideas? Leave a comment below if so, I’d love to hear about it!
For more information on essential oils, check out our Ultimate Essential Oils Guide!
- Gunnars, Kris (2013). “4 Ways Sugar Can Make You Fat.” Retrieved from: https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/4-ways-sugar-makes-you-fat
- WebMd (2018). “Stress Symptoms.” Retrieved from: https://www.webmd.com/balance/stress-management/stress-symptoms-effects_of-stress-on-the-body#2
- Sass, Cynthia (2014). “5 Ways to Beat Stress Related Weight Gain.” Retrieved from: https://www.health.com/nutrition/5-ways-to-beat-stress-induced-weight-gain
- Galan, Nicole (2018). “Can Estrogen Levels Affect Weight Gain?” Retrieved from: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/321837.php
- Rada, P. Avena, N.M. Hoebel, B.G. “Daily Bingeing On Sugar Repeatedly Releases Dopamine in the Accumbens Shell.” Retrieved from: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0306452205004288
- NIH (2018). “Exercise for Your Bone Health.” Retrieved from: https://www.bones.nih.gov/health-info/bone/bone-health/exercise/exercise-your-bone-health
- Up Nature (2017). “Top 14 Amazing Essential Oils for Weight Loss.” Retrieved from: https://www.up-nature.com/blogs/news/top-14-amazing-essential-oils-for-weight-loss-and-how-to-use-them
- Oliver, Kyra (2018). “6 Benefits of Fennel Essential Oil.” Retrieved from: https://draxe.com/fennel-essential-oil/
- Gunnars, Kris (2017). “How Coconut Oil Can Help You Lose Weight and Belly Fat.” Retrieved from: https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/coconut-oil-and-weight-loss