Episode 21: AMA Live | Frozen Meals, Vitamin D & Loose Skin

Welcome back to our Ask Me Anything Live event featuring Dr. Simonds and Michelle Kennedy, NP-C. Stay tuned as they answer your questions regarding weight loss and the treatment of obesity.

Q: Do you work with children to lose weight? If so, what ages?

A: We receive this question frequently from parents that have children that are struggling with their weight. There are quite a few great programs available in the area by Duke and Wake Med. In our practice, we do work with younger teenagers, but it’s more about the mental readiness of the child. So, age isn’t necessarily the deciding factor.

It’s important that the child is motivated to lose weight and they want to be here and have asked for help. They need to be able to be ready to track food and make difficult life changes. A family approach is incredibly important for support, providing healthy food options and preparing meals. So, it works really well when one or both parents are already patients at the practice.

Weight loss medication may also be an option for our younger patients, but it will depend on certain factors that will all be discussed at your visit. The lifestyle approach is the most important factor and medications and supplements can be a nice complement to weight loss.

Q: Do you suggest diet sodas? Or no soda, period? I need a great-tasting low/no calorie drink that will taste good.

A: Filtered water is always the best but we realize that not everyone will stick with just water. The worst beverage for you is anything sweetened with real sugar such as a regular soda, juice, sweet tea and regular sports drinks. If you must drink something other than water, we recommend you drink diet soda. While it’s not the healthiest for you, it will not cause you to gain weight. Good options are Crystal Light, sparkling water, infused water and herbal teas. Dr. Simonds is a big fan of the Diet Monster Energy Drink and enjoys those a few times a week.

Q: Are there preventive ways to avoid loose skin after a major weight loss?

A: It really depends on some individual factors such as age and gender. We do treat many women at the practice who are peri-menopausal or menopausal that struggle with their weight and are concerned about loose skin. For patients that have lost weight and are concerned about loose skin, we recommend giving yourself at least six months of weight maintenance and regular exercise before making any decisions. We have seen great improvements in loose skin after that time period if a good effort of weight maintenance and exercise has been made. Losing weight can also cause a reduction in muscle mass, so we find that rebuilding muscle mass can be helpful. We also recommend taking a collagen supplement for healthy skin.

For a large amount of excess skin, surgery with a board-certified plastic surgeon may be your only option. If it’s not an excessive amount of loose skin, there are some great non-surgical treatments that can help tighten the skin and further reduce non-subcutaneous fat. We are excited to be offering a painless, effective non-surgical treatment called InMode very soon at the practice. Be on the lookout for some exciting news and updates about InMode. Watch the show for an amazing before and after example of this new service.

Q: What low-calorie frozen meals do you recommend or should they be avoided altogether?

A: There are definitely a lot of options out there in the frozen section. Always choose the meals that are carb-controlled and do not contain cheap fillers such as rice, pasta and potatoes. Read the label and look for ones that have higher protein and more vegetables. Atkins and low-carb Lean Cuisines are okay to consume.

We are big fans of companies that cook and deliver fresh meals according to your diet. Check out our website for some great meal prep delivery companies in the area.

Q: My doctor told me I’m deficient in Vitamin D. Will improving this help in weight loss?

A: Vitamin D has many benefits and supports cardiac health, strong bones, the immune system and is incredibly important for good health. Many of us are deficient in this vitamin, so we highly recommend a good quality supplement. While we do not advocate taking Vitamin D for the purpose of weight loss specifically, we do recommend it for overall good health. We recommend between 2500-5000 units daily of Vitamin D.

We highly recommend a supplement brand called, Metagenics. Shop Metagenics supplements here.

Q: My wife is pressuring me to lose weight and work out more because diabetes runs in my family. Can it really be avoided?

A:  Generally, Type II Diabetes can absolutely be avoided and reversed through proper diet. Type II Diabetes is basically a disease of carbohydrate intolerance. The human body is not designed to eat an excessive amount of carbohydrates which raises blood sugar and may eventually lead to diabetes. Chronic disease such as diabetes responds very well to regular exercise and a low-carb diet.

Q: I feel like I’m more focused with I’m taking phentermine. Is that real or in my head?

A: That’s real! Most patients do experience better focus when taking phentermine along with better energy, an increase in metabolic rate and more motivation. Phentermine is considered a cousin to the medications that treat ADD and ADHD. We find that patients prescribed phentermine have great results on their weight loss journey without any side effects such as addiction and are better focused in general.