Unintentional weight loss may result from loss of body fats, loss of body fluids, muscle atrophy, or even a combination of these. It is generally regarded as a medical problem when at least 10% of a person's body weight has been lost in six months or 5% in the last month. Another criterion used for assessing weight that is too low is the body mass index (BMI). However, even lesser amounts of weight loss can be a cause for serious concern in a frail elderly person.
Based on these stages I went through, I have designed three diff erent approaches to the Kind Diet—each one for a different level of readiness—and you can choose according to what feels right to you. The first plan is called Flirting, and it’s simply sticking your toe in the pool of the Kind Diet. The second plan is Vegan; it’s for experienced Flirts and those of you who, after reading this book, want to commit to a plant-based diet. The third plan, Superhero, emphasizes whole grains, organic vegetables, and sea vegetables and will make you levitate. (Well, almost.)
“Anytime you’re stressed, you probably go for food,” Dr. Seltzer says. (Have we met?!) That’s because cortisol, the stress hormone, stokes your appetite for sugary, fatty foods. No wonder it’s associated with higher body weight, according to a 2007 Obesity study that quantified chronic stress exposure by looking at cortisol concentrations in more than 2,000 adults’ hair.
Get to know the Glycemic Index (GI). It rates carbohydrates according to their effects on blood sugar. Carbs are ranked on a scale of one to 100+ (glucose is 100). Low-glycemic foods, as you would imagine, have a lower number. This means they do not spike your blood sugar, and are generally healthier for you. High-glycemic foods have a higher number; they quickly elevate your blood sugar, and are not as healthy for you. In general, I like to stay with foods that have a GI rating under 60.
Setting the right goals is an important first step. Most people trying to lose weight focus on just that one goal: weight loss. However, the most productive areas to focus on are the dietary and physical activity changes that will lead to long-term weight change. Successful weight managers are those who select two or three goals at a time that are manageable.