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The Key to Healthy Weight Loss — It’s Not What You May Think.

The Key to Healthy Weight Loss — It’s Not What You May Think.

Feb 20, 2024 | Holistic Health, Research Findings

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links that I may earn a small commission from, at no additional cost to you. I only recommend products I use or have used myself. All opinions expressed here are my own.

Three Simple Methods for Supporting a Healthy Weight

While there is no shortage of strategies for weight loss, very few have science-backed results. Many times, it seems as though we are spinning our wheels with eating and exercise plans — only to find little shift in our body fat composition. Trends will come and go with the annual $72.6 billion weight loss industry in the United States, but studies show Americans are heavier than ever. Beyond avoiding processed foods, refined sugar, and getting enough exercise, researchers have found three methods for supporting a healthy weight. Their findings may surprise you.

bowls of porridge with fresh fruit

​Encourage a Robust Microbiome

I have written plenty about the importance of gut health for immune function, inflammation, and autoimmunity. It is after all the foundation of health. But did you know it also impacts whether or not you are able to maintain a healthy weight? Interestingly, researchers have isolated a gut bacteria and single-celled organism implicated in obesity — Prevotellaceae and Archaea, respectively.3 When a person has an abundance of these in the gut, body fat storage becomes prominent due to an increased capacity to harvest energy from food. The team suspects this may be why obesity can run in families as the bacteria are transmitted from one person to another.1

However, obesity isn’t set in stone. Another study found when gut bacteria known for producing butyrate were supported, it led to weight loss.2 Their recommended method to do this? Consume probiotics. These can be found in active yogurt, kefir, kimchi, sauerkraut, miso, tempeh, and kombucha. Eating a diet high in fiber and prebiotics also encourages a thriving microbiome and butyrate production, as noted in this post. For additional gut support, see my Balanced Gut Blend in the apothecary.

Fairy Glen Stone Circle at Sunrise

Manage Stress Levels

Most are aware that excessive stress can cause weight gain because it increases fat-storing, appetite-increasing cortisol.4 Chronic stress can also trigger cravings for “comfort” and junk foods in an attempt to boost the feel-good neurotransmitter serotonin; impairs the effectiveness of insulin, thereby leading to fat storage and obesity; increases the accumulation of dangerous abdominal (or visceral) fat; and contributes to insomnia and subsequent weight gain.5 Stress also disrupts the microbiome, leading to the proliferation of harmful bacteria in the gut.

Best practices for managing stress include: exercise, breathing techniques, stretching, meditation and prayer, gratitude, and spending time in nature. Our Anxiety & Stress Blend is also an outstanding option for soothing the stress response — more on this potent formulation below.

Nicole Apelian waking up and smiling

Get Enough Quality Sleep

If you are suffering from insomnia or poor sleep, this too can encourage weight gain. How so? Research suggests that when we are not getting enough quality sleep, it slows down metabolism, promotes insulin resistance, and increases cortisol.6 A number of studies have also found getting less than 5-6 hours per night leads to a greater risk of obesity.7 My potent Sleep Blend can help. Learn more here.

Seeking additional science-backed weight loss tips? Have a look at these posts.

Nicole's Apothecary Anxiety & Stress Tincture

Herbal Extracts: Naturally Calming the Stress Response

Since stress disrupts both the microbiome and healthy sleep patterns, which can lead to weight gain, it is crucial to address chronic stress first and foremost. My specially formulated Anxiety & Stress Blend contains the following medicinal herbs to effectively quiet the stress response:


Calms inflammation
Soothes anxiety and depression
Balances hormones
Improves cognitive function including attention, processing speed, and memory

Lemon Balm

Anxiolytic (soothes anxiety) and helps calm the body and mind
Improves sleep quality
Reduces inflammation
Relieves insomnia
Calms ADHD symptoms
Balances blood sugar levels

Lion’s Mane Mushroom

Anti-inflammatory and decreases gut inflammation
Boosts cognitive function
Lessens insomnia, anxiety, and depression

Reishi Mushroom

Reduces inflammation
Fosters quality sleep, alleviates adrenal fatigue, and encourages healthy immune function.
Strengthens the body against the negative effects of stress, including: hormonal imbalances, high cortisol, fatigue, and low energy


“I love this tincture! I take it in the AM and it keeps me calm and happy all day long.
Thank you Nicole for an amazing product!” – Anaivette T.

Are you ready to support your weight loss goals by calming chronic stress, boosting gut health, and supporting quality sleep? If so, there is no better time than now to explore our range of high-potency tinctures. Tap here to get started!

Nicole Apelian

Nicole’s Apothecary Products in this Post

Nicoles Apothecary - Anxiety and Stress Tincture

Anxiety & Stress Tincture

Nicoles Apothecary Balanced Gut Tincture

Balanced Gut Blend Tincture

Nicole's Apothecary Sleep Blend Tincture

Sleep Blend Tincture

  1. Turnbaugh PJ, Ley RE, Mahowald MA, Magrini V, Mardis ER, Gordon JI. An obesity-associated gut microbiome with increased capacity for energy harvest. Nature. 2006 Dec 21;444(7122):1027-31. doi: 10.1038/nature05414. PMID: 17183312.
  2. Seganfredo FB, Blume CA, Moehlecke M, Giongo A, Casagrande DS, Spolidoro JVN, Padoin AV, Schaan BD, Mottin CC. Weight-loss interventions and gut microbiota changes in overweight and obese patients: a systematic review. Obes Rev. 2017 Aug;18(8):832-851. doi: 10.1111/obr.12541. Epub 2017 May 19. PMID: 28524627.
  3. “The Microbes in Your Gut May be Making You Fat” by Marlene Cimons, Live Science, December 13, 2013. https://www.livescience.com/41954-gut-microbes-make-you-fat.html
  4. Baudrand, R., & Vaidya, A. (2015). Cortisol dysregulation in obesity-related metabolic disorders. Current opinion in endocrinology, diabetes, and obesity, 22(3), 143–149. https://doi.org/10.1097/MED.0000000000000152
  5. “5 Ways Stress Makes You Gain Weight” by Christine Comizio, MPH and Heidi Godman, U.S.News Health, October 18, 2023. https://health.usnews.com/wellness/articles/ways-stress-makes-you-gain-weight
  6. Papatriantafyllou, E., Efthymiou, D., Zoumbaneas, E., Popescu, C. A., & Vassilopoulou, E. (2022). Sleep Deprivation: Effects on Weight Loss and Weight Loss Maintenance. Nutrients, 14(8), 1549. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu14081549
  7. Bacaro, V., Ballesio, A., Cerolini, S., Vacca, M., Poggiogalle, E., Donini, L. M., Lucidi, F., & Lombardo, C. (2020). Sleep duration and obesity in adulthood: An updated systematic review and meta-analysis. Obesity research & clinical practice, 14(4), 301–309. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.orcp.2020.03.004

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