As mentioned in the the first part of this article, “Just Add Oils to a New You!—Part 1,” we took a poll to see what your biggest health challenges are. We discussed ways to use essential oils for helping you stay motivated and while exercising in the first part and are ready to discuss the other health challenges below.
About 17.5% of those who took the poll said they struggle with losing weight; so if you’re one of those people, just know you are not alone! One problem with struggling to lose weight is that it can be due to a large number of factors—diet (eating the wrong foods or wrong amounts), lack of exercise (or doing the wrong types of exercise), too much stress, lack of sleep, insufficient water consumption, food intolerances, low metabolism, abnormal thyroid function, insulin levels, hormone imbalance, poor gut health, and toxic buildup in the body can all contribute to excess weight or trouble losing it. Losing weight often happens when you are able to change your lifestyle for the better (rather than going on a fad diet or any get-slim-quick plan). This is tough to do, and the struggle is real. The best advice we have is to start small—pick 1 or 2 things you can do differently, and try to make them a habit over a month. Once they become a habit, pick 1 or 2 more things to adjust in your lifestyle.
Often, the biggest help in losing weight is to increase your metabolism. Here are a few tips for increasing your metabolism:
- Eat enough food. The amount of food you eat should be enough to keep you satisfied. Be careful not to eat so much that you feel full or so little that you are left hungry. Pay attention to how you feel while you are eating, and stop when you feel satisfied. It’s okay to save your food for later when you need a snack or simply throw it away (the starving kid in a third-world country really isn’t benefited if you don’t waste your food!).
- Focus on mornings. The first thing you should do in the morning is drink 1–2 glasses of water. This helps your body wake up and get moving. You should also make sure to eat a good, healthy breakfast—don’t skip this meal! Your body has been fasting all night long and needs energy to keep your metabolism up, so don’t deprive yourself.
- Eat the right foods. If you are trying to lose weight, you need to make sure you include foods with fiber, protein, iron, and nutrients found in vegetables and fruits in your diet every day. See the Eating Healthy section below for more ideas.
- Drink plenty of water. Your body needs water to flush out toxins as well as to keep your organs doing their proper functions. See the Drinking Water section below.
- Use essential oils. Some essential oils that can help boost metabolism include clove, Grounding Blend, oregano, grapefruit, Metabolic Blend, and lemon. You can diffuse any of these oils throughout the day, or add grapefruit, lemon, or Metabolic Blend to your drinking water. If adding oils to your water, make sure to use a glass or metal cup or water bottle.
About 13% of our pollers said they struggle with eating healthy. If you’re not in the habit of making good diet choices, making a change like this can be a big process. If you are concerned about your diet, make a list of your top 3 things you want to change the most. Then make a goal that helps put you on that path. Start small (like eating a healthy breakfast) and try to make progress over the course of a month, and then add something else to it (like prepping healthy snacks once a week).
Also, try experimenting with cooking with essential oils! It’s fun to do and may help inspire you to cook healthier dishes. Take a look at our Essential Oil Cooking Recipes and our tips to help you adapt your favorite recipes (Cooking with Essential Oils – FAQs and Tips).
Here is some advice from one of our readers:
“I find that eating healthy, well balanced meals can be something that people struggle with when starting. The call of comfort foods can be very strong, and the will to ignore can be too much at times. By growing our food and only buying organic goods, we are already halfway there. Being part of the whole cycle of food production helps us to respect food and in turn respect what it does for our bodies. Having a really healthy start to the day can help to keep you on track as you have a nice feeling of well being. Try a glass of hot water and lemon to start the day and help your liver to wake up. Next treat yourself to a lovely big bowl of porridge topped with fresh fruit, seeds, and honey. This will keep you feeling content until lunchtime at least.” —Wen Morton
About 13% of readers said drinking enough water is a challenge for them. So how much water should you be drinking? To figure this out, simply take your weight (in pounds), and divide it by 2. The number you get is the minimum number of ounces of water you should drink per day. To aid in weight loss, however, your body will benefit from more than the bare minimum. Multiply your weight by 2/3 (or .67) to get the amount of water you should consume if weight loss is one of your aims. So, for example, if you weigh 200 lbs., then you should be drinking a minimum of 100 oz. (and ideally 134 oz.) of water each day.
Here are a few of our tips for reaching your minimum water intake every day:
- In the morning, fill up a large jug or several water bottles with the amount of water you need to drink during the day. You can write on the bottles a line with the time stating when the water should be at that level (for instance, having a line for 10:00 AM, 2:00 PM, and 6:00 PM). Or you can designate blocks of times for individual water bottles (such as morning, afternoon, and evening water bottles). Even if you only have 1 water bottle, just know how many times you need to empty it during the day to reach your goal.
- Set reminders on your phone to drink water. Sometimes we just forget and need a little reminder!
- Keep a glass of water in the bathroom, and set a goal to drink a glass every time you use the bathroom.
- Flavor your water. If part of your problem is that water tastes bland to you, try adding something to liven it up a little. Here’s what one of our readers says:
“I put lemon or lime in my water. It tastes better and has added health benefits!” —Abbie
You can use fresh fruit, vegetables, herbs, spices, or essential oils for healthy water flavorings. Here are some of our favorite flavor combinations:
- Strawberry Lemon: Fresh strawberry slices with a drop of lemon essential oil.
- Apple Cinnamon: Apple slices with a toothpick of cinnamon essential oil.
- Cucumber Lime: Cucumber slices with a drop of lime essential oil.
- Lemon Rosemary: A sprig of rosemary with a drop of lemon essential oil.
- Citrus Twist: A mix of citrus fruits or citrus essential oils.
- Cinnamon Orange: A stick of cinnamon with a drop of orange essential oil, orange slices with a toothpick of cinnamon essential oil, or a drop of Protective Blend.
Remember to use a glass or metal water bottle if you’re using essential oils in your water, and always shake before drinking.
Almost 10% of our respondents find depression to be their biggest health challenge. This is a sobering topic and particularly difficult to overcome. According to Modern Essentials, “While much is still being discovered about the complex psychological and physiological processes involved in emotions, researchers have discovered that emotions involve many different systems in the body, including the brain, the sensory system, the endocrine/hormonal system, the autonomic nervous system, the immune system, and the release or inhibition of neurotransmitters (such as dopamine) in the the brain. Recent research has also begun to uncover compelling evidence that various essential oils and their components have the ability to affect each one of these systems, making the use of essential oils an intriguing tool for helping to balance emotions in the human body” (8th Edition, p. 267).
Some essential oils that may help with depression include lemon, frankincense, Encouraging Blend, Uplifting Blend, Focus Blend, Comforting Blend, lavender, bergamot, petitgrain, Joyful Blend, Grounding Blend, Reassuring Blend, and Invigorating Blend. Try diffusing one or more of these essential oils (a diffuser necklace works particularly well for keeping the scent next to you) or rubbing some on your neck and wrists as perfume (a roll-on bottle is really helpful for this).
“Find something every day to be grateful for.” —Dawndee Blickenstaff
Here are a few posts we have written about this subject:
- Becoming Essentially Happy in the Face of Depression
- Coloring with Essential Oil–Scented Pencils for Mental Health
- Chart Your Own Course with Emotional Aromatherapy
- Muscle Testing and Essential Oils for Emotional Healing
About 6% of our pollers are trying to break an addiction of some kind. As you work on overcoming your addictions, you will likely experience withdrawal symptoms. Modern Essentials suggests diffusing grapefruit oil using an aromatherapy diffuser to help calm and soothe withdrawal symptoms.
Here are a few articles we’ve recently published about this subject:
How to Use Complementary Therapies within Your Addiction Treatment
Essential Oils and the Road to Addiction Recovery
About 5% of our pollers said they struggle with getting enough sleep. Many essential oils are known for their calming abilities and can help a person relax before going to bed. Some of these essential oils include lavender, Restful Blend, spikenard, Roman chamomile, and marjoram. Try mixing 5–10 drops essential oil with 1/4 cup (50 g) of epsom salt, and add to a warm bath before bedtime. You can also try making a linen spray with 5–10 drops essential oil and 1 oz. (25 ml) of water in a small spray bottle. Spray on pillows and sheets before tucking in for the night.
Here are some other posts we’ve written on the subject:
See Modern Essentials: Essential Oils for Sleep
Essential Oils for a Better Night’s Sleep
Whatever your health challenge is, don’t give up! If needed, keep your goals small and simple, but continue making progress to a healthier lifestyle. You are given these challenges for a reason, and through the process of overcoming your challenges, you are shaping your character and becoming an example to others around you. Keep trying, and eventually your efforts will turn into results.
Source: Modern Essentials™: A Contemporary Guide to the Therapeutic Use of Essential Oils, 8th Edition.
Check out “Just Add Oils to a New You!—Part 1” to read about our essential oil (and general) tips for staying motivated and exercising.