The transcript below has been edited for readability, conciseness, and clarity.

Michelle Kennedy 0:15

Good morning everyone. It is Monday, October 17. Dr. Simonds is on vacation, so it is Lovie and me. So you may know Lovie because she was on AMA before with Dr. Simonds. You can watch the recording online. She also has a wonderful testimonial on the website that you can watch.

We wanted to have her on today because she has a great story and can answer some questions live if you want to ask in our comment section.

Lovie is a celebrated team member in Raleigh. If you’ve ever been to the Raleigh office, you know Lovie. She’s the voice you hear on the phone typically. She is the face you see in the front, we have one other wonderful team members here, but Lovie has been here for a while.

Patients like to talk to her about her journey because we happen to have before and after pictures. So people say, “Is that you?” And it is indeed Lovie before and after weight loss.

So why don’t we start from the beginning? But how did you end up here at Dr. Simonds Weight Loss?

Lovie Watson 2:01

Initially, I started in the Durham office. I started in the Durham office as a patient. I had weight loss surgery back in 2014. And before weight loss surgery, I started every diet that you can possibly imagine. I was 244 pounds before my surgery. That was my highest weight.

Michelle Kennedy 2:46

Many say, “I don’t really know,” because they don’t want to weigh themselves when they’re not feeling great.

Lovie Watson 2:51

That was when they made me get on the scale. Because I’ve been up and down and up and down. You know, on the scale, you lose, you gain. I’ve done everything online. There’s the grapefruit diet, the cabbage soup diet, and you can eat all of this diet, and then you don’t eat for a week diet. Then there are the contracts.

Michelle Kennedy 3:26

So you went to other practices where you ended up after surgery. There are weight loss practices all over the place. Here in the triangle as well as all over the country. And you know, we definitely want patients to get help wherever they feel like they fit best and receive the best care.

And Lovie’s case, you tried some other avenues, other practices, and other programs that may be similar, and they didn’t work out quite well for you. So they might work for some people, but what were some reasons they didn’t work out?

Lovie Watson 4:01

Well, actually, what happened was the practice that I was initially going to closed, and they gave me some medication, and I said I’ve got to try something. I had weight loss surgery, I lost a lot of weight and kind of started gaining back.

And then I started getting my weight back, and I had to do something, so I went online and googled the medication I was taking. Because I needed something to shut my brain off because I couldn’t do it by myself. I knew I couldn’t do it by myself. I tried to. I was taking was diametrazene.

Michelle Kennedy 4:51

Diametrazene is a short-acting stimulant. Many of our patients are more familiar with phentermine. Phentermine is simply a longer acting stimulant and appetite suppressant. I often referred to Phendimetrazine as one of the baby sisters of phentermine, it is shorter acting, it’s a little less potent, you can take it a couple of times a day versus phentermine, it’s usually once in the morning, and it lasts the whole day. So sometimes it’s more appropriate to do.

Lovie Watson 5:26

And that was the thing that I loved about the practice when I walked in. Dr. Simonds explained everything.

It was all about me. And I sat with each provider, and I cried every single time. And every single time I came back, I may have gained or lost, I felt special.

I didn’t feel guilty because I didn’t follow the plan. That it was my plan. It wasn’t Dr. Simonds plan. It wasn’t Michelle’s plan. It was a Christina’s plan. It was Lovie’s plan. It was, what is going on with you. Are you craving? Are you hungry? I didn’t have to lie. I didn’t have to make up something.

I said, let’s figure this out. And when we figured this out, we briefly beat the plateau. And then I lost and I lost and I lost, and then I may have gained, and then I may have gained.

And you know, Dr. Simonds always says it’s a marathon. It’s not a sprint; it’s a marathon. And the finish line is a grave.

Michelle Kennedy 7:31

It’s a long journey. And things don’t always go as planned. We have the best intentions. We have our goals. We have expectations with everything in life, especially with our weight.

And it doesn’t go like this, right? There’s not this beautiful slide, when we look at trajectory of weight loss. That’s what we want. That’s what we see on TV.

Instead, we get a very ugly staircase. There are a lot of downs, but there are also ups and here are just flat lines. And it’s not a matter of if we hit a plateau. It’s when and it sounds like you experienced that. And part of your coming here was how you were able to work through those.

A lot of people plateau and give up. They don’t want to work, you know, through it, because they think that they are doing something wrong. And that’s not the case. Their body is just working a little harder to protect them from that weight loss.

That’s where we come in handy. And I think you’re really hitting that home is when you’re doing great. Coming in may not feel as great because you feel like I don’t need any help. It’s when you’re struggling, that we are absolutely here to help.

Lovie Watson 9:19

A lot of people asked me, and you know, I was one of those people, “How long did it take you to lose 125 pounds forever.” It’s going to continue because just a year ago I gained 40 of that back. Those scrubs were getting tighter and tighter.

And I said Michelle, what’s going on? Why can’t I fit into my clothes? And the question you asked me was something I love. “What do you do?” And I said, well, Michelle, I’m not sure what I was doing.

Michelle Kennedy 9:56

For those of you out there who feel like well, I don’t know if I could ever get there. Lovie did. You can, too. It is not easy. And Lovie is a walking billboard, but also a reminder of how difficult it is.

And that’s also why I wanted to do this today because it is something we get asked a lot as providers. Have you struggled and, like, what do you really know about this.

Some of us do have some degree of understanding of what it is like to be on the other side; I don’t know that anyone understands better than Lovie here.

And what’s unique is having gone through surgery. A lot of people, they’re very fearful of surgery, and they really have ideas. The idea of a surgery is too dangerous. I have to do it on my own or just with medical support. What would you say to them?

Lovie Watson 11:05

If you’re going to do the surgery, do it. If you can get the surgery, do it. Get support, get help, get a team. I have a team. I still have a team. Michelle, Dr. Simonds, Christina, Hannah, and everybody that I can get help from. Even my co-workers here in the front office.

I mean, there are so many people, medication. There are handouts here. Dr. Simonds is still working on his weight loss. We are all a team. We’re still trying to identify what it is that is working in our brains to get this and keep this weight off. We’re still picking each other’s brains. What are you eating? What did you find? I mean, just what was it Thursday? We found the little eight egg cups.

Michelle Kennedy 12:00

Oh, they’re so cool. And Jimmy Dean has a souffle thing.

So yeah, we’re always trying to learn. And so, to circle back to the point , surgery is absolutely an option. Medication is an option. Not everyone needs either or both. But they are options. And the important thing is to find what works for you. Yes, that individuality.

Lovie Watson 12:25

And that’s what Dr. Simonds Metabolics & Weight Loss is about, what works for you. And the providers here are not just this conveyor belt of people coming in and out.

It’s about you. The providers sit down and talk to you to see what works for you, and what medication works for you. Because obesity and being overweight is a disease.

And that’s the one thing I found here. I went different places. And I felt guilty because I couldn’t do it. And I didn’t feel like anybody was listening to me. I walked in this place. It sounds like somebody’s listening to me. They heard me say I couldn’t do this. And I don’t know what’s wrong with me. And Dr. Simonds said, it’s not you. It’s a disease. Let’s get this beat. And here I am, 130 pounds lighter.

I can’t turn my brain off. Because I love food. I will cook for you and I will cook for me. But the medication that I’m on and retraining my brain with this medication has helped me. Michelle and everybody laugh at me because I eat, but I don’t eat the same that I did before.

Michelle Kennedy 14:41

Let us know what questions you have. We know we have some people who are watching live. So appreciate the congratulations and the WoW and awesome, but if you have questions for Lovie or about weight loss in general, please let us know. That’s what we’re here for, to answer your questions.

And you know, we just want to hit home that there’s no length of time. This has to be done by, right? Lovie has been doing this…

Lovie Watson 15:09

I’ve been with Dr. Simonds since about 2017.

Michelle Kennedy 15:12

And prior to that you started struggling with your weight as a child, as a teenager?

Lovie Watson 15:17

As a child, I was sitting in the floor with my mom doing aerobics, going to Weight Watchers with my mom, and eating that nasty cottage cheese and peaches. I’m weighing my food.

I’ve been working on my weight for a very long time. I stopped going to dance class because I didn’t look like the other little girls in my class. Even though I could dance very well, I didn’t feel comfortable because I was “Chubby Lovie.” I could run very well, but I didn’t join track because I didn’t look like the other girls in the class.

Michelle Kennedy 15:58

A lot of our patients struggle at different points in their life. It may have started as a child for you, it may have started as a teenager, it may have started with college, it may be a post-pregnancy, or a significant life change. We’re here no matter where your journey started.

We’re going to help you wherever you’re at. We’re going to meet you where you’re at. And a big part of what we do here in our practice because we are a medical practice that treats a chronic disease.

We use medication. We get a lot of questions about needing to use medications and whether you can be on them for more than a few weeks or a few months?

And the answer is no. There are many options. And yes, you can absolutely be on them. Lovie, how long have you been on medications?

Lovie Watson 16:44

Since 2017. And I would rather be on phentermine than insulin. That’s a good point. Lots of people do not mind going to their general practitioner and then telling them, well, you have diabetes, and you’re going to be on insulin because your pancreas cannot secrete it.

Michelle Kennedy 17:11

So there’s a lot of stigmas. There’s a lot of bias. The medications that we use for weight loss are safe and effective. It’s been on the market for almost 64 years. This is a very long time to use this medication.

There’s finally been this understanding acceptance, at least in the obesity medicine community, that short-term treatment is not effective. It is not fair to take a treatment away that is helping someone. We wouldn’t do that with your blood pressure. We wouldn’t do that with your blood sugar. Okay, so when we give you medication, and you get down to go weight, we don’t take the medication away. You continue to take it. Right? And have you had times when you had to come off of the medication?

Lovie Watson 18:31

No, as a matter of fact, you fuss at me, when I find myself when I have forgotten my medication. So Michelle and I sit down every single month now. I have my appointment with Michelle and we refill my medications and we do my blood pressure and we do my weight and that’s how I got my 40 pounds off. I got back on track.

Lovie Watson 19:31

And she lovingly busted me, so I was able to get back in my scrubs.

Michelle Kennedy 20:07

We’re having some questions rolling in. So Barbara Burton is asking Lovie, do you meal plan?

Lovie Watson 20:14

Oh my goodness, I used to carry around a little bag. My friends will laugh at me because I carry lunch bag. Meal planning helps. Michelle helped me with that because Michelle is a meal planner. She brings some lunch. And she puts all of her lunch in the frigerator. So we have to move everything over.

It’s very easy to go out and grab a burger or grab french fries or something like that.

Michelle Kennedy 20:54

But instead you try to bring something.

Lovie Watson 20:58

Cooking things on Sunday like big pot of collards and cabbage, a roast chicken. I cut it up, put it in little containers and then bring it to lunch.

Michelle Kennedy 21:07

And Lovie, would you say that you have lost your love of food due to being on medication going through this? Have you lost that joy that you get? Or is it just different?

Lovie Watson 21:18

It’s different. I love food. I love texture. I love taste. I love to put it together to figure it out. And I love to do that for other people too.

Michelle Kennedy 21:25

Yeah, she does. She’s amazing. I think a lot of people are worried that the medication is going to take away their ability to be social and to enjoy food to love cooking. And that is absolutely not the case.

Lovie Watson 21:40

It’s just reworking.

Michelle Kennedy 21:42

Yes, exactly. So a question from Sharon. Have you included the injections as well as oral medication?

Lovie Watson 22:11

I used too.

Barbara asks, what are some of the things that I’ve really struggled with along the way.

Cheetos done to take the lotto. Eight o’clock at night is when I would hit my, I’m really need those carb kinds of things.

Michelle Kennedy 24:26

So Scott says do you still follow a low-carb lifestyle?

Lovie Watson 24:56

Primarily, yes.

Michelle Kennedy 25:02

We find that it’s generally the most effective for weight loss and weight maintenance.

Lovie Watson 25:07

I love carbs. But my mind doesn’t love.

Michelle Kennedy 25:12

Losing 130 pounds definitely awesome. What are some of the things that you really struggled with along the way? I think we just address that. Were you ever discouraged?

Lovie Watson 25:22

Yes, yes. Yes. Because when you get on that scale, and you think, “Oh, I’ve been doing this, I’ve been working towards working out.” And you know, you’re doing your low carb, and then you get on that scale.

Michelle Kennedy 27:56

And that speaks back to just how it can be very individualized. You will see that we talked about low carb a lot and keto on our website. Not every patient in our practice is doing a ketogenic-specific diet. We do think it’s helpful, but you have other options.

So how are things going for you now?

Lovie Watson 28:15

I love my life. I love my life. I love it. I’m not in the dressing room crying my eyes out.

I want to help other people to not sit in the dressing room and cry. I’ll get you through it. Or if you’re a patient of ours and you get affected call me. I will help you get there. I promise you.

Michelle Kennedy 28:43

She’s absolutely telling the truth. I’ve heard her providing a lot of therapy to patients, which is important. You have someone who you can really talk to. We are here to talk as well. But it’s nice when you walk in an office and you feel like you belong. Like there are people who understand where you’re coming from.

And that is what we do here at Dr. Simonds.

Lovie Watson 29:32

Also, guys when Michelle tells you to text to email her, she really means it. She will email you back. It’s for real. What doctor tells you that?

Michelle Kennedy 29:47

Support is important. So thank you, everyone.