You may know Carol from the many years she worked with Dr. Thomas Najarian in his Los Osos practice. Dr. Najarian is responsible for ground-breaking work in inventing new medical, non-surgical approaches to weight loss. He and Carol worked together to design approaches to thyroid treatment that make sense for many who struggle with symptoms of low thyroid that often accompany weight loss attempts.
Carol received her B.A. from Boston University in Chemistry and her Ph.D. from the University of Utah in Biology. Her area of specialty was ecological physiology, which involves determining how animals detect and respond to environmental changes such as day length, temperature, and food availability to determine when to breed and what time of day to be active.
After deciding to change careers, Carol received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in nursing at the University of Utah, with an emphasis in diabetes care.
Upon moving to the Central Coast, she met up with fellow nurse practitioner Kris Dilworth. Together, they co-founded Diabetes Wellness Center in the South County. For several years, they worked together in diabetes management and education. Eventually, Carol left to work with Thomas Najarian, MD, in Los Osos. Dr. Najarian is a pioneer in the field of using combinations of medications for decreasing appetite in patients struggling to lose weight.
Carol has a good understanding of the challenges people face trying to lose weight and keep it off. She also follows the scientific literature in this field and participates in The Obesity Society annual conference. As you may have seen, she and Dr. Najarian recently published two papers in the online journal, Thyroid Science, providing an explanation of why they believe that most of the health care community does not interpret thyroid lab values appropriately. This is particularly a problem for people trying to lose weight. Carol N. Rowsemitt, RN, FNP specializes in weight loss in San Luis Obispo county.
I think about the human body based on our evolutionary history. Despite modern society, our bodies are very primitive in the way they respond to changes in food availability. We are designed to live in an environment where we had to work hard to obtain enough food to survive and produce offspring. We are all here today because we had ancestors eons ago who were good at cramming in as much food as possible when it was available.
Also, when times were not good, our ancestors needed to burn fewer calories to save energy. It’s well known that the human body decreases thyroid function when there isn’t enough food available.
So the body is designed to do the opposite of what you and I want when we are trying to lose weight or avoid gaining weight. We still find high calorie foods very appealing. And when we eat fewer calories than we burn, the body says, “We’d better burn fewer calories or we’re going to die of starvation.” This is known as the famine response. No wonder it’s so hard!
Not everyone has these problems. We all know that. Some people can easily say no to extra portions and treats; some people find it extremely hard. Those who find it easy often feel that they have more will power than the rest of us. We now know that the “will power” involved here is strongly influenced by brain chemistry. Just as we don’t all have the same genes for hair color or potential for height, we don’t all have the same brain chemistry.
Being aware of these issues and the serious health problems of excess weight, I believe it is often appropriate to use medications for both appetite suppression and adjustment of thyroid hormone levels to normalize metabolism.
But it isn’t just about controlling appetite and keeping the metabolism normal. Food is love, food is comfort, food is distraction from paying attention to other things. Food is social, food is sharing, food is what friends do for us and what we do for friends. Our primitive bodies put food right up there as the most important immediate need. And, in our society today, food shows up everywhere: on billboards, TV and radio commercials, gas stations, you name it and you will see a reminder to eat food. (As if we need reminders.)
Given the importance of food to us and its constant presence in our society, working on habit changes, stress management, and planning strategies are all necessary components of losing weight and keeping it off. For many people, deeper issues exist around food and psychotherapy can be an important piece of the answer.
Those of us who struggle with our weight need a permanent change of mindset regarding food. We must learn to focus on healthy food and eliminate the junk that is so common in the American diet. For you, maybe it’s the sweets. Or maybe it’s the fast food. Let’s learn to face the reality – some of these foods are killing us; they are not really meant to be eaten at all and certainly not on a daily basis.