Episode 32: AMA | Plateaus, Keto diet and Holiday Tips

Dr. Simonds and Michelle Kennedy, NP-C streamed live from their Raleigh, NC office to answer viewer questions that were submitted before and during the show. Find out how to keep your diet on track during the holidays, how to break through a plateau, and more.

One lucky viewer entered and won a $25 Target Gift Card. Tune in every other Monday for a chance to win!

It’s that time of year to boost your immune system. Just a reminder that we’re still offering our Metagenics Office Special Bundle, which contains Immune Active, Vitamin D3, and Zinc for a discounted price of $55.00 (The cost is $78.00 when purchased separately). 

Dr. Simonds holding Metagenics

Q: How do you stay focused on weight loss during the holidays?

A: It truly is a challenging time for many individuals to stay on track during this time of year. The holiday season, which brings colder weather, more indoor gatherings, and holidays that are literally centered around food can cause anyone to lose focus on weight loss goals. We have this discussion with patients frequently that have struggled this time of year.

We always recommend that patients have a plan and be prepared. Remember that it’s okay to celebrate and enjoy certain foods that you normally wouldn’t have on a regular day. Plan on the foods that you will partake in and stick with them. However, it’s important to quickly get back on track with your regular diet the next day. In other words, don’t let one day turn into months or a whole season of being off track. One indulgent meal such as Thanksgiving dinner or Christmas dinner will not have a detrimental effect, but a season of eating will have its consequences.

If you’re hosting a gathering, we recommend making some keto dishes or even bringing those dishes if you’re a guest. Just check with the host first, but we find that most don’t mind at all if you want to bring some great dishes along to share.

If you need some great keto recipes, check out Dr. Simonds’ popular Instagram, The Casual Keto Doctor.

If you need some additional support during this time, please contact our office. Our experienced providers are here to help guide you through the holidays and any time of the year. The goal of treatment isn’t to demonize food or develop a negative relationship with food. Instead, we like to encourage patients and teach them how to successfully maneuver through these tricky times and plan for indulgences. We want you to enjoy life and lose weight in a happy and healthy way. It’s all about balance!

Q: I’ve been losing around 3 to 4 lbs a month and recently started hitting a plateau. Nothing changed in my diet or activity level. What can I do to break through?

A: Your body has adapted to your current routine, so it’s time to change things up a bit to break through a plateau. It’s important to recognize that what you’re currently doing isn’t wrong or bad, it’s simply helping you maintain your current weight. So, if you’re not yet at maintenance level then it’s time to switch something up in your diet, activity level, or medication.

It’s a biological adaptation that’s happening and your body wants to keep you from losing additional weight. This is where lifestyle changes and weight loss medications can be extremely helpful. Fasting, intermittent fasting, eating less, or even eating more can all help with plateaus.

Even switching from high-intensity exercises to brisk walking can help with weight loss. These tweaks can really make all the difference.

Q: What are healthy snacks to eat at parties and alternatives to popcorn when watching movies?

A: We love foods such as bacon-wrapped scallops, proteins, meats, cheeses, and vegetable platters. Never go anywhere hungry and try to eat a little before leaving the house. Ask the host if you can bring along a keto-friendly platter or dip.

meat and cheese party tray

Great salty, crunchy snacks are Quest Chips and Cheese Whisps.

Q: When I first started on the keto diet I had bad stomach cramps and constipation. Can this be avoided?

A: We absolutely understand and sodium and magnesium are lifesavers! Remember that any dietary change will usually bring on some type of change to your gut and it’s not just specific to keto.

The keto diet is great in many ways, but it’s important to focus on keeping your sodium and magnesium levels up. Add pink salt or sea salt to foods and enjoy salty foods such as olives, cheeses, and pickles. Keeping your sodium levels up will allow the water to follow the sodium into the bowels, which allows healthy bowel function and movement.

We also recommend the mineral magnesium citrate for healthy gut function and avoiding constipation. Magnesium help will draw water into your bowels. Milk of Magnesia is also a great option to take regularly to avoid constipation. Make sure that you’re drinking plenty of water too, at least 100 ounces a day.

Q: I love fruit but know it’s not great for weight loss. Is there any fruit that is a better choice over others?

A: Berries are a wonderful choice! Blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, and blackberries are all great lower-sugar fruit options. Just make sure not to add sugar to them! And, as long as you’re not eating them in excess, we recommend them.

Green apples, granny smith apples, or other less sweet apple varieties are acceptable choices. Also, if you have a serving of your favorite fruit immediately after exercise, that’s okay too. After exercising, your muscle glycogen is usually depleted and ketosis will not be affected. So, you can enjoy fruit either directly before or immediately after exercise.

Q: How tenured is your team? They are just so great at what they do.

A: Thank you for such a lovely comment and question! We really don’t think you’ll find another team as tenured as ours. There really isn’t much training being offered at the moment throughout the country, but we use our experience and clinical interactions to continue to grow. We love attending conferences such as those offered by the Obesity Medicine Association.

Our team continues to train and continue their education as much as possible and it’s really a team effort. Staying up to date and hiring and educating a great, caring team allows us to offer the best in weight loss medicine.

Q: Can you help explain how to go on and off the keto diet safely and effectively without gaining all the weight back?

A: We definitely recommend you consider adopting a low-carb diet as a lifestyle for the long term. If you decide to go off the keto diet, it’s important to remain disciplined and not go back to former eating habits. Regular weigh-ins, keeping track of your food, and slowly increasing your carbohydrates to determine your threshold are all helpful.

Q: What are your thoughts on exogenous ketones in addition to a low-carb/keto diet?

A: While we’re not really on board with their current marketing, such as eating pasta and other very high-glycemic foods, we do think they can be helpful in certain circumstances. It’s important that you generate your own ketones through fat and not rely solely on a supplement.

If you’re already following a keto diet and generally eating the correct foods, then exogenous ketones can be a helpful addition to a low-carb lifestyle.

Q: I’ve struggled to get back into the groove of intermittent fasting. Any suggestions?

A: Plan it! We also love apps to make intermittent fasting super easy.

Q: I have been exercising and I’m 53. My issue is losing the weight and stubborn belly fat and I don’t feel I am accomplishing weight loss.

A: We have a lot of women that experience this especially in the stubborn abdomen area. We recommend a low carbohydrate or keto diet to lower insulin levels, which helps target abdominal fat. We find that exercise alone isn’t the most effective way to lose weight, especially in this age group.

Diet is key! Medication, behavioral changes, and lifestyle changes will really make a difference and go a long way.

Q: Any plans to expand to Wake Forest or other cities in North Carolina?

A: While we would love to be in every city in NC, we don’t have any immediate plans to expand to other cities at this time. Like most businesses, we are experiencing a shortage of employees, particularly in the healthcare field. It’s also very important that we hire and train the right individuals for our practice. We may offer a virtual program in the future.