Finding it difficult to lose weight through different diet plans and finally decided to give the Military Diet a try? Then, you should first know some basics about the program. Also popularly known as the ‘3 day diet’ or ‘army diet’, it is said that the followers will lose up to 10 pounds in a week or 30 pounds in a month while eating their favorite foods like Vanilla Icecream and hot dogs.
But, Is it really worth trying the 3 day military diet program? Let us find out the credibility of the diet with a detailed review.
How Does the Military Diet Work?
First of all, please be aware that the Military Diet is not affiliated with any military organization or whatsoever. It is just a pure low-calorie diet, where you eat a combination of foods that are designed to help you lose weight quickly.
Although, the diet says just 3 days, you’ll have to follow a 4-day maintenance diet routine after the diet in order to keep those lost pounds from gaining back.
Below is how the menu looks like during the three days of the diet.
Military Diet Day 1 Menu (1200 calories):
- Breakfast: 1 slice of toast (brown bread) with 2 tbsp of peanut butter, half grapefruit, and either black coffee or tea (your choice; but without sugar)
- Lunch: 1 slice of bread or toast, ½ cup tuna, black coffee or tea
- Dinner: 3 oz meat (skinless), 1 cup of green beans, ½ banana, 1 small apple, 1 cup vanilla ice cream
Military Diet Day 2 Menu (1100 calories):
- Breakfast: 1 slice of toast, ½ banana, 1 boiled egg (whole)
- Lunch: 1 cup of cottage cheese, 1 hard boiled egg, 5 saltine crackers
- Dinner: 2 hot dogs without buns, 1 cup broccoli, ½ banana, 1 cup vanilla ice cream
Military Diet Day 3 Menu (1000 calories):
- Breakfast: 1 slice of cheddar cheese, 1 small apple, 5 saltine crackers
- Lunch: 1 slice of bread, 1 hard boiled egg
- Dinner: 1 cup of tuna, ½ banana, 1 cup vanilla ice cream
If you’re allergic to any foods mentioned in the diet, then you can substitute those with healthy alternatives as long as you stay within the calorie limits. Here are some of the common food substitutes on the 3 day diet.
Once you’ve successfully completed the 3 day military diet, it is recommended to consume a 1500 calorie meal plan during the off-days (remaining 4 days of the week). If you’re a female, you can consider the 1200 calorie meal plan for better results. The four-day off diet actually helps you maintain your lost weight.
Does the Military Diet Really Work?
However, a lot of people will also put the weight back once they’re back to their regular eating habits. So, it is highly advised to know about the basics of the diet before trying the program.
#1.This is a Low Caloric Diet:
On an average, men burn around 2000 calories per day and a women burn around 1800 calories a day without performing any strenuous activities like going to the GYM or doing cardio etc… That is what their basal metabolic rate is supposed to do. Whereas the military diet provides you with less than those suggested by your BMR. You usually get less than 1000 calories per day on the military diet plan. So, your body will compensate the missing calories by burning the stored fat in your body, thereby helping you lose weight.
#2.The Military Diet is Partly an Intermittent Fasting:
Not just the military diet, any diet that provides you with less than 1000 calories a day is a form of fasting. There is a myth that says fasting is an unhealthy practice. But, it is completely wrong. Fasting for a period of time will help in lowering the IGF-1 levels, which are similar to Insulin. Here the lower levels indicate only goods like increased metabolism, longevity and lesser diabetic risk. When our body finds the decrease in the IGF-1 levels, it enters into a fat burning machine, thereby letting you lose more pounds than usual.
#3.Military Diet Menu Boosts Metabolism:
Most of the foods that are suggested in the military diet menu are proven to boost your metabolism, thereby promoting fat burn. Say for example, the caffeine from Coffee slightly improves your metabolism for up to 2 hours after drinking. The calcium from cottage cheese and ice cream help in burning more fat. Likewise, the high protein sources like eggs, tuna, peanut butter and meat, usually require more energy to process them and so the body is forced to burn more energy (fat) to digest those foods.
In the same way, Grapefruit is another food suggested in the military diet menu and turns the liver into a fat burning machine. Pectin is another ingredient which limits the ability of your cells to absorb any fat. It is found heavily in Apples.
So, almost all the foods that are recommended in the military diet have been proven to kick-start your metabolism and thereby turn your body into a fat burning machine. Apart from these, vegetables are also suggested in the diet as they’re rich in fiber content and contain very less calories and carbohydrates. So, you don’t have to worry about them at all.
Although, the above facts prove that the 3 day military diet does work, there are still a few confusions among the people. So, let us look into them one by one.
#4.Is It the Water Weight that I Lose on the Military Diet?
A lot of the diet programs these days help you lose around 15 pounds in a week, but all that you’re losing is the water weight and not the body fat. People who lose weight by following such weight loss diets will surely get back all their lose weight within no time.
Fortunately, the military diet is not of such kind, as it emphasizes on burning more calories by creating a calorie deficit. Of course, you may also lose some water weight through this diet, but that is the effect of a healthy diet.
#5.Are My Weight Loss Results Permanent on the Military Diet?
Unfortunately, there is no word like ‘permanent weight loss’ in any dictionary. It is impossible to achieve permanent results unless until you follow a healthy lifestyle for your life. So, even if you lose some pounds doing the military diet or any other diet for that matter, you’ll regain it once you get back to your regular/unhealthy eating patterns.
So, in order to keep your weight off, it is always advised to eat/maintain < 2000 calories a day. Anything above the 2000 calories and you’ll end up gaining weight again. Of course, it also depends on your daily activities. In case you’re burning more than 2000 calories a day through different activities like running, exercising, etc., then your case might differ from the rest.
Here is a how a simple 2000 calories look like:
#6.Will I Starve During the 3 Day Military Diet?
This is one of the biggest myths of the military diet. Our body enters into the starvation mode only if we go beneath the 1000 calorie mark per day for at least a week continuously. Fortunately, you’ll be getting more than 1000 calories per day through the military diet and that too only for 3 days a week.
On the remaining 4 days, you can follow the high protein, low calorie diet so that you can lose up to 10 pounds in a week. It is suggested to include either the 1500 calorie meal or the 1200 calorie diet for maintaining your lost weight.
#7.Is the Military Diet Expensive?
Absolutely not! Almost half of the ingredients are found in your kitchen already and the remaining foods can be easily bought from any local grocery store for less. Since, there are no special or magic ingredients in this diet; you don’t have to shell out more for losing pounds.
All being said, it is just a 3 day diet + 4 day maintenance period that helps you lose up to 10 pounds in 7 days guaranteed. So, it is just three days of your life for the military diet, and you won’t be losing anything except unwanted weight. Why not give it a try?
#8.This isn’t Just a Three Day Diet:
You’ll need to follow a calorie restricted diet plan both during the ‘on’ and ‘off’ days i.e., 3 days weight loss diet and 4 days maintenance diet. But, if you’re already eating healthy, I suggest you to avoid the military diet and just reduce the intake of calories from your current regime. The diet is only advised and/or best works for extremely obese people.
Conclusion: Does the Military Diet Plan Really Work?
That brings us to a conclusion that the military diet does work in burning pounds, if only you follow the diet plan carefully without cheating (skipping meals or stuffing calorie dense snacks). However, you should also note that the diet/exercise alone can’t help you lose weight. Some people may not be able to lose weight because of several physical and mental problems, which are mentioned in another article in detail.
If you’re obese or extremely overweight, then this diet may help you get started with the initial weight loss success.
However, if you want long-term results, it is advised to change your eating habits completely and permanently as you’ll regain all the lost weight if you start eating normally (i.e., your old unhealthy eating habits). Hope, that clears the dilemma whether the 3 Day Military Diet really works or not.