What is Your Answer for the Obesity Epidemic?


The following question was asked to SGT Michael Volkin, military fitness expert, best-​​selling author and inventor of Strength Stack 52 fitness cards — the ultimate 52 card workout. Is SGT Volkin right? Sound off and let’s hear your comments.

SGT Volkin what is your answer for the obesity epidemic?

I don’t like the argument some experts say that UN-​​nutritious food is too available to us.  We are human beings, not animals, we have choices when we eat.  The problem is, Americans more-​​so than any other country in the world eats with their eyes and not their stomach.  Americans eat with their eyes because we act on cravings. So if we can control our cravings then we would only eat when we are actually hungry, when our body actually needs food and not just wants it. It all has to do with cravings. There are a few ways to learn to control cravings.

1)      Eat protein-​​Often our body craves sugar when it lacks in protein. If you find yourself craving something sweet, replace it with a protein rich snack which you should always keep handy. Anything from a protein shake or bars to a handful of almonds to beef jerky to cottage cheese and fruit. There are tons of healthy protein rich snacks available.

2)      Ditch the stimulants– when people hear this tip, they often put their hands over their ears because they don’t want to stop drinking coffee. But if you truly want to get rid of cravings stop being a slave to your morning cup of coffee routine. Every morning you are not only drinking caffeine, you are teaching your body to succumb to cravings.

3)      Replace any cravings with good behavior. So if you feel like eating some M&Ms and you don’t, reward yourself by taking a half day off of work, or some other reward that maybe isn’t so dramatic. This will train your brain to bypass cravings.

Those tips I just gave you though is a recipe for disaster if you stop giving in to cravings cold turkey. So make it a gradual process. It is also important to be aware of when a craving exists, which to most people is quite subtle. Food cravings are often associated with boredom. As silly as it seems, I have a saying in my head when I am about to eat out of boredom and it works really well. I say “a moment on the lips is a lifetime on the hips”. I think about how eating just one bagel means an extra half hour of treadmill work just to burn the calories in that bagel. It works; because I think to myself it really isn’t worth a half hour sweating on the treadmill just for a small bagel.



  1. olsarge says:

    get rid of all fast food resturants,ie macdonals, burger king ‚wendys,kentucky chicken and such.

  2. mike says:

    Olsarge, so you are saying if people don\‘t have the choice to eat fatty foods, then there is no way to gain weight? Why stop at fast food, why not just say any foods over 300 calories per meal are banned. Treating people like kids and banning food will only want them to desire that food more

  3. Ken H says:

    The real problem is associated with the unknown types of food preservatives designed to keep food fresh beyond expiration dates. The stuff is toxic and most likely the leading cause of obesity.

  4. The answer to the obesity epidemic is educating individuals on proper nutrition, what to eat, understanding how to read food labels so you will know what;s inside of the food you are eating, and how frequently you need to feed your body. The biggest mistake we make as Americans is skipping breakfast and making up for it by eating a big lunch. This is wrong! Your body is storing fat at this point to because it thinks you are starving it. Also, do we really know what we are eating? Processed foods contain unhealthy preservatives that store fat. If we educate early about healthy choices and how to properly eat, we can get a handle on this epidemic and change this learned behavior which poses adverse health risks to our society.

  5. I\‘m 68, average 100 miles a week on my bicycle, work out in the gym 5 hours a week and still have a stubborn 15 pounds that won\‘t go away because I eat and drink more than I should. I have always worked out so I could eat what I like and it worked pretty well until I hit 55 or so and then the pounds started to accumulate. Cravings are a big part of it. Not so much junk food and sweets, but Mexican food and beer. Hard to resist down here in the southwest. Yum…

  6. charlotte says:

    \“We are human beings, not animals, we have choices when we eat.\”

    1. We are animals. A general outline of our differences from the rest of the animals would still require a philosophical essay too long for these comments.

    2. Wild animals generally do have choices. There is no \“wild kibble\” for wild dogs.

  7. Carter says:

    Avoid meat, dairy, processed foods & soda/​high-​​sugar drinks, that will do the trick.

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Michael Volkin

Sergeant Michael Volkin is a U.S. Army veteran. He served in Operation Enduring/Iraqi Freedom as a Chemical Operations Specialist and received an Army Commendation Medal for his efforts and for the fitness programs he designed to help his fellow soldiers. He has a Master's degree in Science and is the author of the Ultimate Basic Training series of books which help recruits prepare for the mental and physical aspects of basic training.

Ultimate Basic Training Series: