What is your dream diet? Most likely it’s a diet that lets you eat whatever you want without gaining any weight. Sorry … you’re pretty much out of luck there.
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Maybe you’re looking for a diet that can help you lose weight, perhaps several pounds in a short amount of time, like only a week. That seems a little more reasonable, but is it possible?
The military diet certainly won’t allow you to eat whatever you want. Quite the opposite, actually — what you eat throughout the course of the diet is very structured. There is a chance, however, that trying this short, week-long diet only once could help you achieve short-term weight loss, meet your goals and give some positive military diet reviews to your friends.
Before you jump to conclusions, or start counting how many calories are in your favorite snack foods (you won’t be snacking much), let’s go over what the military diet plan is and what it is not.
Military Diet Review
So what is the military diet? First off, you should know it’s a misconception that this diet was developed by military nutritionists. It has no origins in helping soldiers get into shape faster, though the name would make you think otherwise. In fact, the only thing militaristic about it is how strict your caloric intake has to be to have a successful 3 day military diet review. It’s just another fad diet.
However, the diet does promise that if followed correctly, you could lose up to 10 pounds in just one week, multiple weeks in a row. That number might be a bit of a stretch, but most people who attempt this diet do notice some weight loss. If it gets you tipping the scales in the right direction, it could be a good motivator for you, if you’re willing to give it a try.
How does weight loss happen in just one week? Let’s look at this diet’s basic structure and rules. It is fairly simple to follow once you get the hang of it.
Military Diet Plan Basics and Rules
The military diet plan is also often called the three-day diet. This is because the diet is split into two phases over a seven-day period. For the first three days, you will consume anywhere between 1,100 and 1,400 calories. It is recommended that you stick with the higher upper limit of 1,400 calories, since experts warn never to consume fewer than 1,200 calories per day.
While everyone’s specific calorie needs are different, consuming fewer than 1,200 calories in a single day, even for as short of a time as three days, can deplete your energy levels, make you irritable and cause low blood sugar. Many people crave foods high in sugar when they deprive their bodies of adequate nutrition, which puts you at a higher risk of overeating unhealthy foods such as processed foods.
For the four days following the three-day calorie deficit, you don’t have to restrict your calories quite so much. However, you should do your best to eat as healthy as possible and still eat at least a few hundred calories less than you normally do.
Military Diet Plan Menu and Meal Planning
One of the best aspects of the military diet plan is the fact that you will know exactly what you need to eat ahead of time. Every meal for each day is already determined, all you have to do is follow directions. Below we have listed each meal you will consume on the military diet.
Breakfast: 1/2 grapefruit, 1 slice of toast, 2 tablespoons of peanut butter, and one cup of coffee or tea (with caffeine)
Lunch: 1/2 cup of tuna, 1 slice of toast, 1 cup of tea or coffee (with caffeine)
Dinner: 3 ounces of any type of meat, 1 cup of green beans, 1/2 banana, 1 small apple, 1 cup of vanilla ice cream
Breakfast: 1 egg prepared however you like, 1 slice of toast, 1/2 banana
Lunch: 1 cup of cottage cheese, 1 hard boiled egg, 5 saltine crackers
Dinner: 2 hot dogs (no bun), 1 cup of broccoli, 1/2 cup of carrots, 1/2 banana, 1/2 cup of vanilla ice cream
Breakfast: 5 saltine crackers, 1 slice of cheddar cheese, 1 small apple
Lunch: 1 egg prepared any way you like it, 1 slice of toast
Dinner: 1 cup of tuna, 1/2 banana, 1 cup of vanilla ice cream
And that is it. That’s what you will you eat for three days. As you can probably imagine, there’s a very good chance you’ll be pretty hangry for the duration of those three days. But remember, it’s only three days — after that, you can start to eat again.
Even though the diet is very specific, we are well aware that there is probably at least one thing on the meal plan that you’d rather not eat or maybe even something you have an intolerance to such as gluten or dairy. In any case, if you choose not to follow the diet to the letter, we’ve come up with a few other options for you to consider. Hopefully, they’ll help you to come up with a substitute for a specific item or even an entire meal.
The most important thing to keep in mind is that whatever you choose has the same, or close to the same, caloric content of the prescribed food. After all, the military diet plan revolves around calorie restriction. If you accidentally self-sabotage with one high-calorie choice you’ll likely say good-bye to whatever potential results you may have otherwise experienced. Remember, only three days — you can do this!
Military Diet Plan Menu and Meal Planning
The military diet plan lasts one week and includes two separate phases. You are welcome to repeat the diet more than once to reach your weight loss goals, but the longer you spend restricting your calories, the more you are at risk for developing nutritional deficiencies.
Follow the menu below as an example of what one day on the military diet might look like. Meals are small and do not exceed 500 calories each. During the three days you are eating fewer calories, you are not allowed to have any snacks, so it is recommended that you choose foods high in fiber and protein to keep you feeling fuller longer.
This sample menu should be followed for one of the three days you spend restricting your calories. It entails around 1,400 calories for all three combined meals. It is loosely based on the official military diet plan.
- 1 cup caffeinated coffee (black)
- 1 piece of toast
- 1 egg (prepared any way you want)
- 1 slice of cheese
- ½ cup carrots
- 1 hard boiled egg
- 1 cup cottage cheese
- 1 cup of canned tuna
- 1 cup of broccoli
- 1 small apple
- 1 cup vanilla ice cream
Ideas for Snacks
Snacks are not permitted during any of the three days of heavier calorie restriction, but following are suggestions for healthy snacks you can eat during the four-day “time off” period of the military diet plan.
- Sliced apples with peanut butter
- Vegetables with homemade ranch, spinach or hummus dip
- Saltine crackers
Military Diet Plan Grocery Shopping List
There is no need to count calories while you are at the grocery store. As long as you choose foods that are nutritious, low in calories and high in fiber and protein, you will find it much easier to eat less often without getting too hungry throughout the day.
You will primarily buy a variety of fruits, vegetables and minimally processed meat products. You will also choose some dairy products and a few snack foods like peanut butter and other dips for your “off” days.
If you are only trying this diet for one week, you can very easily do all of your shopping for the week prior to your military diet week without having to worry about shopping for multiple weeks in a row. We recommend you shop for one week, try out the diet and see how you do before committing to multiple weeks – and weeks’ worth of food – in a row.
Here are some of the best foods you can buy to make your military diet review a successful experience.
- Berries (blueberries, strawberries)
- Hot dogs (preferably minimally processed, sausage based)
- Bread (preferably minimally processed whole grain)
- Saltine crackers
- Peanut butter
- Cottage cheese
- Cheddar or mozzarella cheese (sliced or shredded)
- Vanilla ice cream
Does the Military Diet Plan Work?
Those whose 3 day military diet reviews are nothing but praise, claim it can help you lose weight quickly. It also claims to be able to increase metabolism and burn fat, but there is no evidence that proves a certain food or energy intake can alter metabolism. Fat-burning does occur when you eat fewer calories, but probably not at the rate you’re hoping for. Also, much of rapid weight loss has to do with water weight, which comes back quickly once you return to “normal” eating.
The military diet plan is based completely on the idea that if you eat fewer calories, you will lose weight quickly. Keep in mind that the “calories in, calories out” way of dieting isn’t usually fully effective. You could eat fewer calories of unhealthy foods and still not lose weight. Weight loss is dependent on more factors than just calories. Genetics, hormones and physical activity also play a role in whether or not weight loss can happen easily for you.
If you’re going to try this diet, make sure you are focusing not just on your calorie intake, but also on the quality of the foods you are eating. Focus on eating large amounts of fruits, vegetables and protein. Cut processed foods completely from your meals and snacks. The diet even asks you to eliminate snacks during the three-day portion. Choose nutrient-dense foods – that is, foods that are very good for you but provide very few calories per serving.
Before you decide whether or not the military diet might work for you and help you lose weight, take a look at the following military diet reviews. Everyone’s story is different, but firsthand accounts of what might occur while you are trying this diet can help you decide whether or not it’s a step in your weight loss journey you are willing to take.
Military Diet Reviews and Weight Loss Results
Is the intense calorie restriction required by this diet worth the hassle and agony of being hungry for three days? We found a couple of ladies willing to give us their 3 day military diet reviews and it does, in fact, appear to be an effective tactic for quick and temporary weight loss.
“I followed the military diet for the full three days, just the one time (although I’m going to be doing it again soon!) I lost about 6 pounds, but after going back to regular eating I gained back 2 for a total loss of 4 pounds. I did the diet in July, and now in October I’m back to 144 pounds, 2 pounds below where I was before I first started the diet. But I’ve been trying to gain muscle so that’s most likely why.
The easiest part was knowing that I had my meals planned for the next three days, so it was easy when it came time for lunch, I just grabbed what was listed for lunch that day. The hardest part was having just the 1 little cup of ice cream! Something I want to stress though is that this is a quick fix and not a long term lifestyle. I also wouldn’t recommend working out during those three days, as your energy levels are much lower than usual, and you don’t get nearly enough calories to be working out anyway! Last tip, slice the banana on top of the ice cream and add a sprinkle of cinnamon, I looked forward to this everyday!”
Before and After Success Stories
“I followed the military diet for 1 week (7 days). I lost 4 pounds. I felt less bloated and could tell my stomach was smaller.
The most difficult part was no snacking between meals. The easiest part was drinking either water, caffeinated green tea, or black coffee. I didn’t miss soda or coffee creamer.
I’d like to make sure others know this diet isn’t necessarily the best long term option. You could miss out on a lot of nutrients eating saltine crackers and tuna. It’s not too bad short term to lose a couple pounds because the meal plan is self explanatory. I did, however, pass on the ice cream and ate chicken instead of hot dogs. After, maintain a healthy diet and exercise to keep the results.”
Is the 3-day Military Diet healthy paired with exercise?
No. For the three-day duration of the first half of the Military diet, you will consume on average around 1,400 calories each day. That’s 1,400 calories between all your meals and snacks. Exercise requires energy, and you won’t have much of it consuming so few calories. Besides, it’s difficult to get adequate amounts of protein on such a restrictive diet (especially eating only the foods the diet recommends).
If you repeat the full seven-day diet every two weeks or so, and continue working out without enough protein, you’re eventually going to start losing muscle! If that’s not what you want — and obviously for safety reasons as well — skip the exercise for a few days.
If you don’t want to go three days without exercise, this diet might not be for you — and that’s okay. Exercise is a great way to gain muscle and burn fat in the long-term, especially paired with healthy eating. If you want to use exercise as part of your long-term plan, that’s excellent. But exercising while on this diet is not smart. It could even become dangerous.
Is the Military Diet healthy for teens?
The upside of the military diet is that it’s short. Most people won’t suffer any long-term side effects of restricting their calories for 3 days. As long as you research the diet thoroughly and fully understand what you’re getting into before you begin, you can expect to know exactly what you’re going to eat when, and how much. It’s not a complicated diet. Anyone could follow it/
But any teen considering the military diet should ask themselves a few important questions before deciding to give it a try. Why do you really want to try the military diet? Is fast weight loss really the solution you’re looking for? Do you know someone who has tried it, and want the same results they’ve raved about?
A healthy lifestyle is lifelong. The earlier on you adopt healthy habits and learn to take good care of your body and your mind, the better off you’ll be. The military diet might help you drop some pounds this week. But it isn’t going to teach you any valuable skills you might need later on, like how to choose the healthiest foods in the grocery aisles, cook healthy meals, tackle food cravings, or make nutrition a priority in your life.
That’s not to say you can’t try the diet if you still want to. It’s up to you. But especially when you’re younger, finding long-term solutions to health-related issues will always pay off more, and for longer, than enduring 3 days of eating hot dogs and ice cream.
Does the Military Diet work?
That really depends on what your objectives are. Whether or not the military diet “works” is really up to what you want to get out of it by the end. The original diet promises to help you lose 10 pounds over a single week. This sounds amazing — maybe too good to be true — which is why so many people are curious about its true effectiveness.
For starters: is it possible to lose 10 pounds in a week? Not healthfully. Health experts recommend losing 1 to 2 pounds weekly, so 10 seems like a lot to promise. That’s not to say people haven’t lost weight during the diet, though. Any calorie deficit compared to what you usually eat is going to help you drop a pound or two. But also keep in mind that when people lose weight that quickly, a large portion of it is water weight. As soon as you go back to eating the way you did before, you will most likely gain some if not most of the weight back.
If you’re looking for a short-term, mostly harmless diet that will help you drop a few pounds in a week, you may find it extremely effective. However, if you’re looking for a long-term weight loss solution, or you want to learn how to eat less junk food and more healthy food, the military diet probably won’t give you the exact results you’re hoping for.
The military diet, like any other fad diet, comes with its potential benefits and risks. In the short term – one week, for example – the diet isn’t going to leave you malnourished. Just be mindful of how you feel physically. Some people won’t be able to handle this kind of calorie restriction, and it could leave you feeling a little lightheaded if you aren’t careful.
It is advised that you speak to a doctor or nutritionist before restricting calories if you believe it might be a problem for you. Worst case scenario, you can try following the diet for a day. If you feel okay, you can try it for a second, and a third. The fourth day of lesser calorie restriction might be enough to replenish your energy and restore carbohydrates in your body.
Because there hasn’t been any research done on this diet, it’s impossible to say how it will affect everyone personally. It may help you lose those extra pounds you’ve been fighting for months. It might not. If you feel safe trying it, and you’re willing to follow the diet down to the vanilla ice cream, there’s really no reason why giving it a go is a bad idea. Do it because you want to try something different, not because of its promises. And let us know how it works out for you! We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments.