Episode 13: Ask Me Anything Live | Dr. Simonds & Michelle Kennedy, NP-C

Dr. Simonds and Michelle Kennedy, NP-C are back to answer your weight loss questions Live. Thank you for sending in all of your questions and keep them coming! This is a very special AMA as we have a sneak-peak on a new service that we are excited to be offering soon.

Q: How can I figure out how much protein I need to be eating daily? Is there a formula? Is it okay to uses protein powder to meet these goals?

A: Absolutely! Protein powder is fantastic, especially Whey protein powder. We do offer a great selection for sale in the office too. Plant-based protein powders are also great options. As far as the amount of protein to consume, we recommend 30 grams of animal-based protein per meal. This is what gives us a big metabolic boost, keeps blood sugars stable, keeps us full and helps us hold on to lean body mass when losing body fat.

For females or smaller individuals that weigh less, they may need a little less such as 60-90 grams per day. For men, sometimes they will need a fourth or fifth serving of protein daily.

It’s important to recognize that consuming fats and carbohydrates only, will not give you the metabolic boost that protein will. If you reach the 30 grams of protein in a meal, your metabolic rate will be significantly increased for several hours. Remember, it’s not harmful to eat too much protein and it’s really hard to eat too much.

America is highly deficient in protein and eats an excessive amount of carbohydrates. So, don’t be afraid of protein! Great sources of protein other than protein powders include eggs, cheese, seafood, Greek yogurt and meats.

Q: I really enjoy exercising for my mental health, but I’ve noticed that I’m actually hungrier on the days that I exercise and have a harder time sticking with my meal plans. I just want to snack all day! Do you have any tips on how to exercise effectively while maintaining hunger levels?

A: This is such a common dilemma that many patients face. It’s important to not overdo exercise and find the right balance that works for you. Protein is so important to keep you full. The timing of your meals around your exercise can also be helpful. For example, some people find that exercising fasted helps and then to consume a meal directly after exercising. It’s very individualized and it’s about finding what works for you.

It’s also important to recognize that exercise does not help you lose weight. People with obesity will generally not respond well to exercise for weight loss. If you decide to exercise, it’s important to moderate the intensity of your workouts. We find that low-intensity, longer workouts such as walking are more effective with weight loss and keeping hunger levels under control. Higher intensity workouts are great for your physical fitness, but may not be helpful with weight loss.

We do agree that exercise has some great health benefits, but is not necessarily the best tool for weight loss. If you’re still struggling with excess hunger, we recommend a medication for appetite control.

Heavy, more intense exercise is great for those that are trying to maintain their weight loss, while lower intensity exercise is much more effective for those with weight to lose. And exercising more will not result in more weight loss.

Q: Are you still offering telephone sessions? If so, how do they work? I actually prefer facetime vs just a phone call. Is that an option?

A: We are all about making weight loss as convenient as possible for patients. We know how busy you are so we love offering alternatives to coming into the office, such as phone sessions. At this time, we are only offering phone sessions. However, prior to your phone call, we ask patients to send us photos of their weight, blood pressure and diet journal. A provider will call you at your scheduled appointment time to discuss your goals, any challenges your experiencing, treatment plan and make any modifications.

It’s really not that much different from an in-office visit. Medications can be shipped directly to you or we offer curbside pickup as well. The cost is the same as an in-office visit except the only additional charge is for the shipping cost of the medication. We find that most patients do prefer to come into the office, simply for accountability.

As always, safety is a top priority and we are doing everything possible to keep everyone safe. If you are experiencing any covid-19 symptoms, we ask that you stay home. We have remained open during this entire time and our triple-screening process has been highly effective.

Q: Both my husband and I are trying to lose weight and think it might be best to seek professional help. Would we both be able to come in for appointments at the same time? If so, how would that work?

A: Yes! We actually encourage this and offer discounts for immediate family members. You can be seen together for your initial appointment and all follow-up appointments as well. We have many patients that come in with a family member for joint appointments. We highly encourage a team effort! We find that adherence and accountability is so much easier when couples are in it together.

Q: How do you recommend tightening loose skin after weight loss when you haven’t exercised during your weight loss?

A: Unfortunately, loose skin is an after effect for many that have lost weight even if exercise was part of their journey. There are other scenarios that will cause excess skin after weight loss, especially if the weight loss was significant. We have many patients that have cosmetic surgery and experience great results. We understand that losing weight is not only about feeling better, but it’s about looking great too! We do not judge and are supportive if you choose to have cosmetic surgery in areas with loose skin. On your weight loss journey, we recommend collagen and consuming enough protein to help with skin elasticity.

We are excited to be offering a non-surgical service early next year that will help with skin tightening. It’s a non-invasive, affordable procedure, called InMode that has no downtime or pain. Paula Abdul is the celebrity spoke person for this technology and we are so excited to be offering this to patients. Stay tuned for announcements and when we’ll be launching this service!

Q: Is a ketogenic diet safe for those with high cholesterol?

A: Yes! There are many incorrect assumptions about how the keto diet affects cholesterol levels. Eating fat is not the problem. It’s the combination of consuming refined carbohydrates with fats. Your good cholesterol actually increases when fats and proteins are consumed simultaneously. So, your cholesterol will not be negatively affected while following the keto diet. There are many factors that negatively affect cholesterol levels in the body such as inflammation, lifestyle choices and consuming sugars and refined carbohydrates. Consuming fat does not put fat into the bloodstream.

Q: I’m getting ready to begin the keto diet and was wondering how long does it take to be in ketosis? And will I need to consume only 20g of net carbs for the duration of the diet? I’ve heard from other dieters that you can up the carbs once you’re at a maintenance level.

A: While it greatly depends on the person, some individuals can get into ketosis within 24 hours and it may take up to a week for others. It really does depend on your metabolic health at the start. So, those with very high insulin levels will generally take longer to enter ketosis.

We find that the lower the net carbs, the better to enter ketosis. In the beginning, we find that many people can consume 30 -50 net carbs without any consequences. Where your carbs are coming from is very important as well. Everyone is different but we have found that 3/4 of our patients can enter ketosis while consuming around 50 net carbs. Since it’s highly individualized, some experimentation may be necessary to find out what best works for you.

Q: Is it safe to continue the keto diet during pregnancy? I’ve been a keto dieter for about 2 years now and I’m not sure if it’s safe to continue at this point.

A: Yes, we have found the keto diet is safe for pregnancy. We understand that there is a lot of scary information when it comes to the keto diet and pregnancy. We like to refer back to our ancestors, which basically consumed a keto diet for thousands or even millions of years. Our early ancestors were in ketosis and gave birth while in ketosis as well. If keto was dangerous for pregnant women, then we wouldn’t be here today.

Q: Is it true that eating after 8 p.m. makes you put on pounds or stalls weight loss?

A: It’s more about what you eat versus the time you eat. If you eat refined carbohydrates late at night, your body does go into a fat-storage mode. However, if you consume protein such as chicken breast or a protein shake late at night, your metabolic rate will increase and you will still burn fat. If you are concerned about feeling too full before sleep but find yourself hungry, a protein shake is a perfect solution. It will satisfy cravings while providing you with an excellent source of protein. We find this is a common concern for those that work late shifts or are a night owl in general. So, it’s what you eat, not the time you eat.

Thank you so much for joining us today and submitting your questions! Our experienced obesity experts at Dr. Simonds Metabolics & Weight Loss are ready to help you achieve your goals and get you started on your weight loss journey. Contact us for more information or to schedule an appointment. We are here to help!