Essential Oils and Me: Curtailing the Cravings
I have long been fascinated by the power of essential oils. Not just that they can evoke emotional responses, but physical ones too.
Take lavender for example. The smell of lavender relaxes virtually everyone, animals included. It also promotes good sleep and in some, a better quality of sleep with periods of very deep restful slumber. Just from its smell. Sniffing peppermint oil can make you feel less tired, and breathing in eucalyptus can work as a great decongestant. Taking in the smell of rosemary can boost your memory as well as aiding your concentration (according to a study undertaken at Northumbria University). Of course there are many more oils, and many more benefits. I have been trying one of these out.
Now, I’m not one to encourage weight loss in others, I am a big believer that we should embrace our amazing bodies whatever shape and size they come in. That aside, I have been trying to lose weight since the birth of my third child and I’ve been struggling. I’ve tried as many plans as I can, but nothing seems to work. Either I don’t lose weight, or I feel nauseous or dizzy. I’ve even tried a combination of things but no. The weight stays stubbornly on.
So I finally decided to keep a food diary. A proper one that I actually filled in. I wanted to take a closer look at what I was eating and when. I hoped that this might shed some light on anything else that I could try.
I found that my low points when it came to food and energy were firstly around the afternoon school run then secondly directly after the boys went to bed. The first is nearly always resolved with a cup of tea and a quick burst of something, honestly anything, that might give me energy. It doesn’t normally make any difference to my fatigue, but the craving is there even if the desired outcome is not. The second time, after bedtime, is normally quite late, and I find myself eating a main meal at 8.30 or even 9 o’clock which does my digestive system no favours.
The second issue is one that can be dealt with pretty swiftly, I can simply eat with the boys. The first though, that’s a little more tricky. Having CFS I find the latter parts of the day are hard anyway, quite aside from trying to look after three tired children and making sure that they have a decent meal on the table. Cooking is absolutely exhausting for me. Just standing to stir a pot, moving food around the kitchen, chopping, preparing, sliding trays of food in and out of the oven, it can all be quite difficult. This is where the danger of snacking comes in. For me. Not for the children. Picture my head hidden deep in the cupboard pretending to look for chopped tomatoes but chomping on anything else that is immediately available.
I realised that I needed to reprogram myself. That I needed to move away from the cravings that aren’t actually resulting in any sort of success to my afternoon energy slump, to move my brain away from the expectation that falling in through the door after the school run equals a snack. I don’t have an issue with this at the weekends, so I know that it is possible!
This is where essential oils and smell come in. Did you know that smelling chocolate can lead you feel hungry, even if you are not? And did you know that smelling something sweet like vanilla can reprogram your cravings so that the association with food is not as strong and you can keep on track with healthy eating? There’s a really interesting study on this that took place in St George’s Hospital, London, if you want more specific scientific information.
The lovely Claire at Hopping Hare Candles was on hand to help me see if I could find my way through the mid-afternoon slump and stick to healthy food only. Not binge eating in a useless (in my case) attempt to retain some level of the energy required to see me through to the end of the day. All through the power of smell. I’ve introduced you to Claire before, so you will know that her candles are filled with proper, therapeutic grade essential oils. Plus I already know that I love them, so this seemed like a great place to start.
Claire sent me two candles – Soft Vanilla and Vintage Fizz. Both are sweet. Both have a lovely scent. Both make me feel relaxed and, perhaps, both are able to keep me in a state of not eating. I can’t honestly say that all of my desires for post school run food have disappeared yet, but they’re certainly less strong and overwhelming when the candles are burning. It’s as though I’m getting my sweet kick from them so when I feel as though I should be eating, reaching for an apple becomes much more appealing than it used to do. I think that I might need to try them for longer but I am feeling a difference, which is all part of the process. Nothing about weight loss is a quick overnight fix after all.
So my conclusion? I am confident that these candles will greatly assist my weight loss and healthy eating goals. I am also confident that scents work. That proper essential oils (or CO2 extracts in the case of vanilla) work. I believe that you can overcome cravings, amongst other things, through the use of scent alone. What’s more though, in the case of my weight loss journey, they don’t make me grumpy – bonus!
N.B. I was very kindly gifted these Hopping Hare Candles to assist with my experiment. Please see my disclosure page for more information.