Episode 1: Ask Me Anything Live | Dr. Simonds & Michelle Kennedy MSN, NP-C, FOMA

Dr. Wickham Simonds and Family Nurse Practitioner, Michelle Kennedy MSN, NP-C, FOMA recently hosted a Live Ask Me Anything Facebook Event at the Raleigh location to discuss weight loss, weight management, diet, and to answer viewer questions live. Dr. Simonds is a leader in the treatment in obesity medicine and is board certified by the American Board of Emergency Medicine and the American Board of Obesity Medicine. Michelle is a highly qualified nurse practitioner that practices obesity medicine at Simonds Metabolic and Weight Loss at their Raleigh, NC location.

Q: I’m currently staying home with my spouse and feeling stressed. My stress is not from the fear of the virus, but due to staying home and spending so much time with my family. When I feel this kind of stress, I stop losing weight and actually gain weight. In the past, I thought it was a cortisol issue and began taking the herb, ashwagandha. It seemed to help, but I felt much less active. Should I continue to take ashwagandha and if so, how much is recommended?

A: Michelle actually takes ashwagandha and agrees that it has many health benefits.  It’s a plant that has been shown to lower cortisol levels and treat many other ailments. Even though you may feel less active while taking this herb, that’s okay, especially if you’ve had a positive experience taking it in the past. Dr. Simonds also emphasizes that while exercise is great for your health, it’s not necessary for weight loss. Michelle recommends taking 500mg of ashwagandha in the evenings, since it can help with sleep.

Q: Due to the Covid-19, with the gyms being closed and everyone staying home due to social distancing, I’m finding it difficult to find the time to workout.

A: Dr. Simonds stresses that sometimes exercise is not about just setting aside an hour to workout. Many activities that we perform on a daily basis called NEAT (Non-exercise Activity Thermogenesis) can have a bigger impact on your weight than traditional exercise. For example, if you spend a lot of time working on a computer, standing instead of sitting at your computer all day can have a big impact on your weight. It’s about fidgeting more and just moving around a little more throughout the day. Dr. Simonds recalls that during his days in the Army, when working in a very busy clinic, he would see at least 70 patients per day. He didn’t always have time for formal, scheduled exercise. Instead, in between patients, he would do 10 push ups and actually lost a lot of weight that way. This is a perfect example of NEAT. Michelle agrees and recommends to add NEAT whenever possible. Do squats or wall push ups throughout the day. It’s the movement that counts and it all adds up.

Q: I love your protein bars! Is the practice open as usual due to the coronavirus to come by and purchase some?

A: Yes, we are currently open as normal. Due to the coronavirus, we are taking all of the precautions necessary to keep everyone safe. We ask that if you are feeling sick, to please not come into the office. This is the same information we are telling our staff members and healthcare providers as well. If you are not well enough to make it into the office, we do offer appointments over the phone and are happy to mail you any medications that you need. We never have more than 10 people in the office at one time, so social distancing is definitely being practiced. Both of our office locations are open as usual we are well stocked with protein bars, popcorn, meal-replacement shakes, chips and other weight loss snacks.

Q: If I’m consuming protein bars and protein snacks, do I need to worry about over consuming protein? How much protein is too much protein?

A: There is a lot of miss information out there about protein and we get asked this question quite frequently. Eating excess protein does NOT cause a negative impact on your kidneys, unless your on dialysis. Protein is very filling and it’s actually very hard to consume too much. We recommend to consume 30 grams of protein per meal, however you don’t need to worry if you consume more than that amount.

Q: I’m not going to the grocery store as often due to Covid-19 for fresh produce. What are some alternatives?

A: Fortunately during the pandemic, there are other ways to receive fresh produce through delivery services such as Instacart. Simply place your order online and a personal shopper will shop and then deliver your groceries to your door. Frozen vegetables are an excellent option right now and are great to stock up on.

Q: Are you open and do you provide telehealth services?

A: Yes and yes. Rest assured, we are disinfecting the office on a regular basis to keep everyone healthy. Yes, both of our office locations in Durham and Raleigh are open as usual and we do provide phone appointments as well. We are disinfecting the office on a regular basis to keep everyone healthy. We just ask that you do not come in if you’re feeling unwell and we can provide a telephone follow-up instead. The cost will be the same as a regular office visit and we do have an on-site pharmacy and will ship your medications to you. The cost is $15.00 for shipping and we ship through UPS next day delivery.

Most of us are spending a lot of time in the kitchen and are cooking more at home due to the coronavirus. Don’t forget to check out Dr. Simonds Instagram, TheCasualKetoDoctor for amazing Keto friendly recipes.

Q: I’m stress eating due to the coronavirus? What supplements do you recommend taking regularly to help out during these times?

A: We are all definitely sharing and experiencing some extra stress during this time. We previously talked about the herb, ashwagandha and its benefits. Even though it’s not a supplement, physical activity is also important for stress relief. Getting some fresh air outdoors and getting adequate sleep is also very important to your overall wellness and reducing stress. 0.5 -1 mg of Melatonin can also be helpful in the evenings if you’re having trouble sleeping. We also recommend fish oils and CBD oil as stress relievers. We carry some great CBD oil, called Naternal in our office too. Due to the impact of Covid-19, Naternal CBD oil is currently 50% off for the next 2 weeks. We also offer other weight loss medications to help with stress eating. Please call our office for details.

Q: I want to rebel against my weight loss plan due to the extra stress I’m experiencing due to the coronavirus. How can I work past this?

A: It’s important to recognize that eating comfort foods or overeating in general acts on the reward centers in our brains, which is a response to stress and seems like an easy route. There are other healthy activities that can act on the reward center of our brains to help relieve stress such as exercise, dancing, singing and even physical touch. Start to incorporate activities that act on the pleasure center of the brain vs. eating.

Q: Do we treat patients with thyroid disorder and does this medical condition make it harder for weight loss?

A: Thyroid conditions are quite common and 1 in 5 women will suffer from a thyroid condition at some point in their life. So, yes we do treat male and female patients with thyroid conditions in our practice that have wonderful results with our programs. We don’t think it’s harder to help patients that have a thyroid condition to lose weight and we actually recommend the same treatment protocol as patients without thyroid problems. It’s important not to be discouraged if you have a thyroid condition because you can lose weight and it’s important to keep that in mind. Obesity is a serious disease that kills over 300,000 Americans per year, so it’s important to prevent, treat and overcome obesity.

Q: I love nachos, but they aren’t very weight loss friendly. What are some low carb alternatives to nachos?

A: Pork rinds are a great zero carb option and taste delicious. Just melt some cheese and add some toppings and you have low carb nachos. The company Quest also has a tortilla chip that is another great high protein, low carb option. We offer a variety of Quest Chips in the office. Call us for details. Dr. Simonds Instagram, TheCasualKetoDoctor is filled with great low carb recipe ideas too!

Thank you everyone for joining us and submitting your questions! We enjoyed answering your questions and look forward to joining you live again soon. Both of our offices are currently open as normal or we can provide phone appointments for follow up visits if you can’t make it into the office. Contact us to schedule an appointment and Follow us on Facebook to stay updated on Simonds Metabolic and Weight Loss.