young people at sportsgameFall is right around the corner! It’s my favorite season hands down. The change in light, colorful leaves, and college football tailgating (Go Buffs!)Everything feels more energized with the cooler temperatures. It’s also harvest time and there’s plenty of delicious squashes, pears, potatoes, and apples to enjoy. It’s the time when we traditionally start packing on the fat to help us through the scarcity of the Winter. This is how we evolved to survive the natural cycle of seasons. It’s an amazing adaptation, this ability to store sugars (from the starchy veggies and fruit) as fat. Think about what sorts of veggies are traditionally available. They’re primarily starchy and high in sugars. Our bodies adapted to store these calories so we could survive until Spring and procreate.

fresh apples

Our modern lives are very different from the world in which our bodies evolved to survive. The Paleo diet points to how differently Paleolithic man ate compared to when we began to cultivate grains 10,000 years ago. But, our modern 2014 world is also dramatically different from 100, 75, even 20 years ago. Inventions such as electricity, refrigeration, all the way up to hybridization and genetic modification have changed our food system quickly and significantly. The way our bodies work, how they evolved to survive, does not match up with our current food system. We have abundance at ALL times, especially an abundance of carbohydrates. We must now work against our natural inclination to eat all available sugars so we can survive the time of famine. While this weight gain was a great thing back in the day, if you didn’t store fat, you probably died. It doesn’t work in our favor now. The famine never comes.

Understanding how we evolved and how our bodies work is the key to maintaining a healthy fat percentage. You must send the right signals to get the desired results. Eating a large amount of carbohydrates signals your body to store the calories as fat. It signals the body to prepare for the upcoming Winter.

This is why the Fall is a great time to become even more mindful about what you’re eating and what signals that food sends to your body. Getting your health in line now, will set you up to make it through the holidays without gaining weight.