Imagine losing 10 pounds in 3 short days while eating ice cream. It sounds like the diet of your dreams! Yet, this is what the Military Diet offers dieters: an easy to follow diet plan that promises to help you shed your love handles in just 3 days (and yes, there is ice cream on the menu!).
As with any promising diet, you might wonder if the Military Diet too good to be true? After trying all sorts of remedies and diets, most people hoping to lose weight are a bit skeptical of a diet that promises so much.
In short, if you need to lose weight and do it quickly, the Military Diet might be the perfect solution. But while it may help you drop a few pounds to rock those skinny jeans, if you are looking for a long-term health fix, search elsewhere.
But, if a few pounds of weight loss is good enough for you, then you should definitely give this diet a chance. With it, you can kick-start longer weight loss or get ready for a beach weekend quickly.
Our ultimate guide tells you everything you need to know about this diet. Read on to find out what the 3 Day Military Diet is, who it’s good for, how it works, and what you can and can’t eat on the diet. We've even included helpful grocery lists and substitution guides so that you can approach this diet ready for success.
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IN SUMMARY, Here Is What You’ll Discover in This Article (Click any of the links below to jump to each section):
- What is the Military Diet? How Does it Work?
- Pros and Cons
- The 3 Day Military Diet Meal Plan
- Diet and Substitution Information
- The 3 Day Military Diet Results
- What does an actual user of the 3 Day Military Diet say?
- Dangers of the 3 Day Military Diet
- Do's and Don'ts
- Do we recommend the 3 Day Military Diet?
- The Verdict
The Military Diet is a very calorie-restrictive 3-day diet that's based on the principles of consuming the right combination of metabolism-boosting foods. The diet also incorporates the idea of intermittent fasting by including 3 days of very restricted eating followed by 4 days of a more moderate approach.
While the diet itself is pretty straight forward, it's not for the faint of heart. This diet may be exceedingly difficult to stick with because it must be followed exactly.
During the 3 day diet, you have to follow a set meal plan. Day 1 of the diet is easier because you are consuming more food than the very limited quantities on Day 3.
The main part of the diet lasts for 3 days. However, it’s recommended you watch what you eat for a full 7 days. On days 4 through 7, you can eat whatever you want but should stay under 1500 calories per day.
In addition to following the meal plan, many people also exercise while on the Military Diet.Does the Military Diet Work?
Whether or not the 3 Day Military Diet works for you really depends on your overall goals. If your goal is to lose a few pounds and lose them quickly, then it will probably work for you.
However, if your goal is more long-term, like substantial weight loss or improving your overall health, this diet will not work for you.
It is too restrictive to sustain for a long period of time to help you do more than jump-start a large weight loss. Furthermore, it doesn't have enough vitamins and nutrients to help you improve your health or reach your fitness goals.
The good news is that when you combine the specific food combinations and recommended portions with the willpower to stick to the diet- weight loss is almost guaranteed.
The foods included in the diet are chosen for a reason. Each food has a relatively low calorie count, as well as having protein, carbs, and fats that interact and promote fat-burning action. These food combinations jumpstart your body's fat-scorching power and speed up your metabolism so the pounds melt away.
Drinking extra water while on the diet will help to ensure that this happens. The water helps you feel full without adding any calories, while it also helps to flush the nasty toxins out of your system. Those toxins are the same toxins that keep those stubborn extra pounds hanging around.
Who is the 3 Day Military Diet best for?
The 3 Day Military Diet is definitely not suited for everyone. If you’re really trying to get healthy, you should think about a different diet solution. However, if you just want to shed some extra weight quickly before a big event- then this may be for you. This diet can also be helpful as a jump-start for changing your eating habits and starting a weight loss journey.
Aside from just looking for a quick way to drop pounds, you should also have very strong willpower. This diet may allow you to eat ice cream- but it doesn’t allow you to stray from the laid out plans at all. It’s also very likely that the diet will make you quite hungry; so you must be prepared to not give in to those hunger pangs.
The 3 Day Military diet also appeals to people who love structure and following pre-made plans. The diet has an exact list of meals for the 3 day duration that must be followed. People that like to improvise more will not do well on this plan.
When deciding whether or not you want to give the 3 Day Military Diet a go, you should carefully weigh the pros and cons. You are making a difficult commitment and it's important to know if it's worth it to you.
- There is no guesswork involved. The plan is all laid out for you. All you need to do is follow it.
- The meals are quick and easy to prepare.
- You might lose weight quickly.
- The diet is not new- so you know exactly what to expect.
- It encourages some amount of exercise.
- It drastically limits your calorie consumption. Very low calorie diets can be dangerous.
- The diet doesn't provide enough nutrients to support your healthiest body.
- It won't lead to lasting weight loss.
- Yo-yo dieting may be promoted through this diet
- Many of the foods on the diet are very processed and full of sugars and additives. These foods like ice cream and hotdogs are not the mainstays of a healthy diet.
- The diet doesn't teach you good eating habits or portion control that will set you up for long-term success.
- There are no health benefits to this diet.
Let's look at the 3 Day Military Diet meal plan. Each of the 3 meals are clearly laid out- making this one of the most straight forward diets to follow.
Day 1 contains approximately 1200 calories
BREAKFAST: Approximately 330 Calories
- 1/2 Grapefruit
- 1 Slice of Toast – preferably wholegrain
- 2 Tablespoons of Peanut Butter
- 1 cup Coffee or Tea (with caffeine)
LUNCH: Approximately 230 Calories
- 1/2 Cup of Tuna or lean protein substitute
- 1 Slice of Toast
- 1 cup Coffee or Tea (with caffeine)
DINNER: Approximately 640 Calories
- 3 ounces of any type of meat or protein substitute
- 1 cup of green beans
- Half a banana
- 1 small apple
- 1 cup of vanilla ice cream (coconut milk ice cream is awesome!)
Day 2 contains approximately 1230 calories
BREAKFAST: Approximately 210 calories
- 1 egg
- 1 slice of toast
- Half a banana
LUNCH: Approximately 340 calories
- 1 cup of cottage cheese
- 1 hard-boiled egg
- 5 saltine crackers
DINNER: Approximately 680 calories
- 2 hot dogs (without bun)
- 1 cup of broccoli
- 1/2 cup of carrots
- Half a banana
- 1/2 cup of vanilla ice cream
Day 3 contains approximately 1030 calories
BREAKFAST: Approximately 250 calories
- 5 saltine crackers
- 1 slice of cheddar cheese
- 1 small apple
LUNCH: Approximately 160 calories
- 1 hardboiled egg (or cooked however you like)
- 1 slice of toast
DINNER: Approximately 620 calories
- 1 cup of tuna
- Half of a banana
- 1 cup of vanilla ice cream
You’re supposed to exercise and eat normally after you complete the 3 day diet. For best results, it’s recommended that you limit your daily calories to 1500 during the first 4 days following the diet.
Military Diet Calories
As you can see, on the most calorie-intensive day, you're getting about 1230 calories. That's really not too much! But, that's what makes this diet so successful.
After completing the first 3 days, you should follow a diet of 1500 calories or less for the next 4 days. Then, slowly, you can work yourself back up to consuming a more normal number of calories.
Keep in mind that the average person needs between 2000 and 2200 calories each day. This also depends on whether you're a man or woman, your age, how much you weigh, and how much you exercise.
Curious how many calories you need to maintain your weight? Check out this nifty calculator that will give you a rough estimate.
The Military Diet Menu Nutrition Information
Are you curious to know how nutritious this diet is? The 3 Day Military Diet does provide a variety of foods that contain a range of nutrients. You’ll notice that each day contains a significant amount of protein which is especially helpful while you’re on this low-calorie diet so that you don’t lose muscle or have a metabolism slow-down. In addition, the diet contains a number of vitamin and mineral-packed foods- some of which may surprise you.
Here are the basics of the nutritional value you’ll gain from each meal on the diet.
At the start of the day, your body needs energy to get started. Luckily for you, on this diet, breakfast is the second heaviest meal of the day after dinner (except on day 2 where lunch is heavier than breakfast). This meal focuses on proteins and also includes one piece of fruit each day.
In addition, you get to have a cup of black coffee or tea with your breakfast. This is recommended because of the caffeine contained in these drinks can actually boost your energy expenditure, helping you lose weight!
Breakfast on day 1 includes grapefruit, toast, peanut butter and coffee or tea. There are a range of important vitamins and minerals present in this meal.
Starting out with the grapefruit, you’ll get 28% of the Vitamin A and over half of your Vitamin C requirements for the day, all with just a half a grapefruit! Vitamin A is vital because it helps the body in a number of areas including vision, promoting healthy skin and mucous membranes, the immune system and bone/ tooth growth.
The Vitamin C is equally important. Although it may stop short of curing the common cold, this vitamin does support your immune system and helps your body to absorb iron.
Grapefruit packs in the nutritional value and also contains Vitamin B-6, potassium and plenty of fiber. Vitamin B-6 is important for protein metabolism and is also indispensable in forming new red blood cells (1), while potassium helps to maintain fluid balance in the body, supports nerve transmission and acts in muscle contractions as well (2). Finally, fiber is what keeps your digestive system moving and is essential in any diet; especially one focused on weight loss.
From the whole wheat toast, you’ll get plenty of carbohydrates, fiber, iron, Vitamin B-6, magnesium and calcium. You’re probably familiar with most of these vitamins and minerals. Calcium of course is important for healthy bones and teeth. Magnesium is also found in the bones; but is needed too for creating protein. Iron plays an important role in blood, specifically, it carries oxygen in the body (2). That’s why iron deficiencies can cause you to feel tired, as oxygen may move more slowly throughout your body.
The peanut butter will fill you up with 8 grams of protein and healthy fats. Finally, both coffee and tea are full of antioxidants and caffeine to give you a kick start in energy. As a result, you can confidently choose either coffee or tea. If you want to obtain additional health benefits, try drinking green tea.
On day 2, breakfast gives you protein in the form of an egg. You also get to eat toast, and half of a banana. The egg and banana are both rich in vitamins and minerals. Bananas in particular are known for their high potassium content.
Breakfast on day 3 offers protein through cheddar cheese, which is also a source of calcium and fats. The apple has Vitamin C and a healthy amount of fiber. The saltines don’t add a whole lot of nutritional value; but do serve as a source of carbohydrates and sodium.
If you’ve taken a look and the meal plan and think the lunches look skimpy- it’s because they are. Lunch is the lightest meal of the day, and only day 2’s lunch is calorically heavier than breakfast. Lunch on the Military Diet tends to focus on proteins and carbohydrates only.
Lunch on day 1 is packed with protein, fulfilling about 60% of your daily protein intake requirements just in the tuna. The tuna also contributes other vitamins including Vitamin A, B-12, B-6 and minerals including magnesium and iron. Vitamin B-12 is an important vitamin often found in fish that plays an important role in the creation of new cells. It’s also important for nerve function. (1) The bread offers carbohydrates and plenty of fiber.
On day 2, lunch includes lots of fat and protein via the cottage cheese and hard-boiled egg. The cottage cheese is also heavy on sodium and contains Vitamin B-12. The crackers offer little nutritional value.
Finally, lunch on day 3 is very light, consisting of only toast and an egg. You still get a small amount of protein from the egg as well as a smattering of vitamins and minerals such as Vitamin A, D, B-6 and B-12, and iron, all from the egg. You’ve now received an overview of the functions of all of these vitamins except for Vitamin D- which helps the body absorb calcium (1).
By the time you reach dinner on the 3 Day Military Diet, you’ll be relieved to see the feast you’re allowed to enjoy. The dinners are the heaviest meal of the day- offering the most calories- and also including more fruits and vegetables than the other meals.
Ice cream is also featured in all three dinners: a much-needed treat while you’re dieting hard. This food often gets a bad rap for its poor nutritional content. Although it’s true that it contains an overdose of sugar, it also has plenty of calcium and vitamin B-12. The fat content is also important- since the rest of the diet is very low on fat. Fats, contrary to what many people believe, actually play an important role in our bodies. They are a source of energy and also help your body to absorb essential vitamins and minerals.
However, there are different kinds of fats. Some are healthy, while others aren’t. The fat in ice cream is saturated fat, and is considered an in-between fat, meaning it’s not particularly good or bad. When consumed in moderation, it won’t do you much harm. However, it’s preferable to consume polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats which are typically found in vegetables, nuts, fish and seeds.
Now that you understand the role of the ice cream; let’s discuss the nutritional value of the rest of the foods in the dinners.
Dinner on day 1 includes chicken or your choice of another meat. The meat is a source of protein. The green beans, apple and banana offer fiber to help keep your digestive system flowing. In addition, these fruits and vegetables contain Vitamin C, magnesium, Vitamin B-6, calcium and potassium. Finally, you can also enjoy some ice cream.
Dinner on day 2 is also heavy on meat, this time in the form of hot dogs, which are a source of protein and fat. You’ll also get Vitamin B-6, Vitamin B-2, iron, calcium and sodium from the hot dogs. The broccoli, carrots and banana are where you’ll get lots more vitamins and minerals- including all the Vitamin C and A that you need for the day. In addition, they contain potassium, iron, calcium, fiber and Vitamin B-6. Don’t forget your ice cream!
Day 3’s dinner is a bit simpler; featuring only protein-intensive tuna, half of a potassium-packed banana, and of course… ice cream.
The bottom line on the nutritional value of this diet?
While the diet as a whole may not be as varied as your regular diet, it does include enough rich and nutritious foods that it should meet your body’s basic needs. The diet only lasts three days, which means you’ll soon be able to eat a greater variety of foods that will fill in the gaps you’ve missed while dieting. If you were to keep following the diet, repeating the 3-day cycle over and over, you’d run into serious nutritional deficiencies.
The nutritional highlight of the diet is protein. Where calories, vitamins and minerals may be missing- protein is a priority. Protein is included heavily in all three meals every day. When following a low-calorie diet, protein can really help your body preserve your muscle and metabolism, boosting your weight loss success. This is a positive aspect of the diet.
As a whole, you should beware of following the diet for longer than the recommended three days- as nutritional and caloric deficiencies will begin to affect you. If you plan on repeating the diet- be sure to get good nutrition through a varied diet of about 1500 calories while on your days off.
The idea behind this 3-day Military Diet is that the recommended foods work together to boost your metabolism. Therefore, if you are not following the diet exactly; you may not benefit from the same results.
However, it's understandable that some people have dietary restrictions such as gluten allergies. Vegetarians and vegans will also need to make substitutions while on this diet. Take a look at these recommendations and substitutions to help you along as needed.
Food sensitivities, allergies, and ethical choices may force you to modify a bit.
Military Diet Vegetarian Options
Military diet vegetarian modifications are possible! Just because you’re a vegetarian doesn’t mean that you can’t do the military diet.
You’ll have to make some modifications where the diet includes meat products. Instead of the tuna, meat and hotdogs, you can use tofu, Portobello mushrooms, lentils, beans, cottage cheese, peanuts or almonds. Ideally, you’ll choose a substitute that has plenty of protein- since meat is protein-heavy. You'll see that the above substitutions list will be your best friend while you're planning.
Vegetarian modifications to the military diet can mean that you’ll consume fewer calories, or even more, depending on what you choose. Use a trusty calorie calculator to make sure you’re on target.
For example, for dinner on day 1, you’re allowed 3 oz of meat or a protein substitute. If you were to eat chicken, that would be about 200 calories. If you substitute that with 3 oz of tofu, you’re consuming only about 65 calories, but if you choose black beans, you’ll get 111 calories and if you eat 3 oz of almonds, you’d hit 489 calories.
It’s a bit of a difference, but also note that you could eat double the beans or tofu and get the same number of calories as you would with the chicken. Or, you could have the recommended amount of beans and still slip in a handful of almonds. Obviously, 3 oz of almonds would be too many almonds even if they weren’t so calorie heavy. So, do your calorie research well on military diet vegetarian modifications to ensure you’ll still get the same great results.
Military Diet 4 Days Off: Your After-Diet Guide
Once you’ve completed the 3 Day Military Diet plan, it’s best if you limit yourself to 1500 calories a day for the next 4 days. Other dieters follow the military diet 4 days off rule, which means that after 4 days of following a 1500 calorie diet, they do the 3 Day Military Diet again. So, what does a 1500 calorie diet look like? Here are some ideas for how you can plan your meals for your 4 days off:
Total of 1237 calories for the day
Breakfast: 206 Calories
- 1 scrambled egg
- 1 slice of whole wheat bread
- ½ cup sliced strawberries
- Coffee with 1 tablespoon sugar
Snack: 95 Calories
- 1 medium-sized apple
Lunch: 505 Calories
- 1 roasted chicken breast, no skin
- Salad of: 1 cup fresh spinach, 1 cup romaine lettuce, olive oil and vinegar (1 tbsp each)
- 1 cup pasta
- ½ cup tomato sauce
Snack: 70 calories
- 2 clementines
Dinner: 431 Calories
- ½ cup black beans
- ½ cup brown rice
- 4 tablespoons salsa
- 2 corn tortillas- 6 inches
- 1 oz part skim mozzarella cheese
Total of 1407 calories for the day
Breakfast: 467 Calories
- 8 oz plain, low-fat yogurt
- ½ cup fresh blueberries
- 1 cup of oatmeal cooked with water, salt and 2 tablespoons of honey
- Black coffee (no sugar)
Lunch: 403 calories
- Sandwich: 2 slices of whole wheat bread, 2 oz. deli sliced turkey breast, 1 slice cheddar cheese
- 3 slices each of cucumber, celery and carrot with 1 tablespoon of ranch dressing
Snack: 60 Calories
- 1 fresh whole peach
Dinner: 477 Calories
- 3 oz grilled or baked salmon
- 1 cup of steamed broccoli spears
- 1 medium-sized baked potato with 1 tablespoon of butter
Get the idea? You need to include lots of fruit and vegetables in your diet. This really helps you feel full, without packing in the calories. As you can see in these two options, you can still add a few extra snacks or calories if you still feel hungry at meal or snack-time and still meet your daily calorie allowance of 1500 or less. You can always check your food’s calories by using one of the various calorie calculators available online such as the one offered by WebMD.
Also, notice that the only included drink is coffee. Avoid sugary drinks, alcohol and soda, as these will add a lot of calories. Instead, drink plenty of water or herbal tea. If you find plain water too boring to drink- you can add a bit of lemon or try one of the many cucumber water recipes available in this post.
Make sure you plan out your military diet’s 4 days off carefully. It’s best if you know exactly what you’ll be eating so you can have the right food ready at home. This will help you to avoid the temptation of eating junk food or overeating. You don’t want to gain back the weight you just worked so hard to lose on the 3 Day Military Diet- so push through the following 4 days with the same intensity, resolve and discipline. Then, if you want to lose even more weight, repeat the cycle starting with the 3 Day Military Diet all over again.
If you choose to finish dieting after these last 4 days, you should also strive to maintain a healthy diet full of healthy fats, proteins, lots of fresh fruit and vegetables and whole grains. Other ideas for leading a healthy diet are also discussed in the sections below.
Exercising on the Military Diet
Exercise is an essential element of any weight loss program. Through exercise, you give your weight loss a boost by burning additional calories. However, since you’re on the restrictive 3-day diet, you should only do light exercise. Be sure that you listen to your body and if you ever feel light-headed while exercising- be sure to stop and rest. Each person’s body reacts differently to the diet, and for some, the calorie restriction can result in feeling a bit faint or dizzy.
As you’re planning your exercise routine- try to keep it varied. Why? A mix of cardio and strength training is best, both for burning calories and building muscle. Unfortunately, many people only focus on cardio, which is a start, but including strength training will make you appear even slimmer as the pounds drop off. In addition, muscle burns more calories than fat when you’re at rest, which means that in the long-term you’ll burn even more calories.
Here are some ideas for exercising during the 3-day restricted portion of the diet:
Do 20-30 minutes of cardio-related exercise.
You can jog, walk, swim, or even do dance-inspired workouts like Zumba. If you tend to get bored just jogging or walking, why not try a video workout? There are plenty of options out there. HIIT or high intensity interval training workouts are particularly well-known for working well at burning fat and getting you fit. Ready to get started right now? Here’s a free video workout that you can try:
Do 20-30 minutes of weight training.
You don’t need equipment to get started. Instead, use bodyweight exercises while you’re getting used to the idea. If you already have a gym membership or equipment at home, however, you can certainly make use of the weights. Need advice for working on strength training? You can learn more about strength training here.
You can do both types of exercise for each of the three days, or just one of them. Then, when you’re on your 4 days off the diet, you can do both cardio and weight training, or perhaps lengthen the time you do either one of them by up to 45-60 minutes. You can also alternate days- doing cardio one day and strength training the next. This way you get the benefits of each, but only focus on one at a time.
Pro Tip About Exercising: Make sure it’s fun! You’re unlikely to stick to a routine you don’t enjoy. So, check out that Zumba class or try swimming. Get a friend to go along with you for extra accountability. The goal here is to exercise long-term. If you do, you’ll really be able to reach and maintain your health and weight goals.
Too Dizzy to Exercise?
Exercising on diet days can be challenging because you're consuming only a very small amount of calories. If you feel too dizzy to exercise, you can focus on exercising only during the 4 days off.
Another solution is to modify the diet and extend the time you practice it as did participants in an 8-week study on weight loss. In the study, participants participated in alternating days of fasting and exercise. On the fasting days, participants severely limited calorie intake and on the other days, they ate a more normal diet and exercised. The combination of calorie restriction and exercise proved effective in helping participants lose weight and improve other health factors such as insulin resistance and triglyceride levels.
Alternatively, focus on lighter, less intensive exercise while you're dieting. For example, try going for a walk on your lunch break or doing 15 minutes of relaxing yoga.
The 3 Day Military Diet will deliver some impressive weight loss results if you stick with it as outlined during the 3 days on. Many users report military diet results between 3 and 10 pounds lost per cycle. For the best results, you will also need to make sure you don't go over the 1500 calorie limit during the other 4 days off. During those off-days, keep away from alcohol, sugary drinks, and other foods that would otherwise limit weight loss.
If losing up to 10 pounds isn't enough, people have followed the diet cycle for a full month. They repeat the cycle of 3 days on followed by 4 days off for a month. The Military Diet results on this plan are obviously much greater if you do multiple cycles- and you could conceivably lose 20-30 pounds if you do repeat the diet several times over. If choosing to go this route, make sure during the 4 days off the diet, you are eating a diet full of nutrients and vitamins that you may not be getting enough of during the 3 days on the strict regime.
Another alternative is to give your body a bit more of a rest between cycles- and subsequently perform the 3 Day Military Diet once a month. This will also boost your military diet results, but more slowly and over a longer period of time.
Adding exercise into the mix also ups the ante of your expected results. Exercise can help firm up the muscles underneath the fat you are shedding. It also keeps the metabolism running on high, and burns extra calories.
Tasmin: Blogger and Student (Lost 6 Pounds)
Tasmin recently returned home from university 12 pounds heavier! Her experience is typical of the returning college student who’s gained their “freshman fifteen.” She decided to give the 3 Day Military Diet a try to see if it would help her lose some of the extra weight.
Follow her journey through this video. In the vlog, you’ll see how she’s feeling, how she did with the meals and of course – her results! Tasmin was upbeat throughout the diet, saying she powered through it even though it was a bit tough at times. As you’ll see, she exercised while on the diet and also spread out some of the foods, using some parts of meals as snacks. She did well on the diet and lost a total of 6 pounds!
This entertaining video follows the experience of 3 couples who attempt the Military Diet, competing to see which couple would lose the most weight. The couples had varied experiences, but typically the men lost more weight than the women. In terms of enthusiasm, most couples were happy with the results, but didn’t enjoy themselves while actually on the diet. One of the couples even talked about getting grouchy and snappy while on the diet! Watch the whole video to find out who the winners were, and how much weight they lost.
Charmaine – Vlogger (Lost 5 Pounds)
In this Military Diet vlog, learn in detail about the experience of Charmaine. Although she struggles with hunger throughout the diet, she’s happy with her results. Charmaine reports that she’s hoping to lose weight for an upcoming trip so that she can feel more confident in her vacation outfits. In addition to following the diet, Charmaine hits the gym and completes workouts even though she does feel tired. She feels that exercising has contributed to her success.
Throughout the vlog footage, she shares images of her meals and talks about how she’s feeling. In the end, she lost 5 pounds! Charmaine reminds us all to continue to follow a healthy diet afterwards so that you don’t gain the weight back.
Motivated? These are great success stories to let you know that it is possible to lose weight while on the 3 Day Military Diet. Now, take a look at some other outcomes from users across the internet.
These are just some of the testimonials we have gathered.
Can You Really Lose 10 Pounds in a Week?
Now that you’ve read through the reviews and testimonials, you’ll realize that a few people actually report losing 10 pounds! Most people report losing weight in the 4-7 pound range. However, if they continue to lose weight on the 4 days off, they could feasibly reach the 10 pounds in a week goal. The short answer to the question “Can you really lose 10 pounds in a week?” is yes. But, as you probably guessed, there’s more.
Why does the diet seem to be more effective for some people than others?
It depends on a number of factors. Firstly, it depends on how much you weigh and what your current eating habits are. If you drink a lot of sugary drinks like soda and consume a high-calorie diet, this diet is a big change, which means you can probably also expect big results.
You’ll also notice that men seem to lose more weight than women. This is actually based on body composition. Sorry ladies, but men just naturally have a leg up on losing weight! Why? Because most men have more muscle tissue, so they are simply able to burn more calories than women. Muscle tissue burns more calories than fat, even when the body is at rest. If you’re a woman, you can gain the benefits of additional muscle that will help you burn more calories by focusing on strength training. That will help the body weight you do have burn more calories, essentially boosting your metabolism.
What does it take to lose 10 pounds?
Based on calories, you need to cut out or burn 3500 calories to lose 1 pound . Multiply that by 10 pounds, and you’re talking about cutting out 35,000 calories in a week. That’s quite a bit! If we consider your eating habits, most people consume about 2000 to 2500 calories every day. On the Military Diet, you’re cutting back to about 1200 calories a day on the 3 Day diet, and probably around 1500-1700 calories on the 4 days off. That means just in calorie consumption, you’re cutting out about 1000 per day during the restricted portion of the diet.
Your body consumes calories, even while you’re resting. A sedentary person (no exercise) burns an average of about 1600 calories in a day. These calories, however, are usually replaced with what you do eat. Through the first 3 Days of the diet you’ll eat less than what you consume, which means there’s an additional deficit of about 400 calories per day.
Without exercise, you can expect to cut out 1400 calories per day during the first 3 days of the Military Diet. Add in some walking and dedicate a bit of time to exercise, and you’ll eliminate another 600 calories or more! Based on these numbers, you’d cut out about 2000 calories per day, resulting in a weight loss of fewer than 3 pounds during the first 3 days of the Military Diet.
So, how can you lose more than 3 pounds then? Well, our bodies are more complex than simple calorie-counting would have you believe. Each person’s metabolism is different and reacts differently to the diet. Many people burn more than 2000 calories in a day, just through their regular activities, which would mean you’d lose more weight. It’s also possible that you typically consume more than 2000 calories in a day- making the effects of the diet even more dramatic.
If you’re looking for a quick fix to lose 10 pounds in a week, this is a great diet to try. However, it’s not a long-term solution, and you’ll eventually have to go back to eating a more fulfilling diet that meets your caloric and nutritional requirements.
This rapid weight loss does come with dangerous disadvantages. Rapid weight loss and extremely limiting your nutrition isn't the best idea for your health. Aside from being very hungry, you may experience:
- life-threatening electrolyte imbalances
- muscle loss
- loss of menses for women
These are the consequences of a very calorie restrictive diet. Weakness, irritability, and fatigue are direct consequences of not providing your body with enough food so that you’ll feel energetic and active. When forced to operate with fewer calories, chances are your blood sugar will drop at some point, no matter how much protein you eat. This produces a lethargic, irritable feeling.
Gallstones are also a common side effect of low-calorie diets. Why? As the body breaks down fat for energy, the liver secretes more cholesterol and when this combines with bile, sometimes gallstones are formed.
It's recommended that you visit a doctor first before going to embark on this kind of diet- just to be sure that your body will be able to handle it.
These dangers only increase if you try to repeat the diet over and over again. So, make sure you follow this rule:
Don't Follow the Diet for More than 3 Days
Experts agree that the Military Diet quickly becomes dangerous if you try to follow it for more than one cycle at a time. This means you must complete the 4 days off before attempting the diet again. Even then, make sure you don't do the diet more than twice in a row tops.
With the restricted nutrients and calories of the 3 day diet, you put your body at risk if you force yourself to follow it too often.
Your Military Diet Shopping List
What will you need while on the military diet? To make your life much easier, we’ve come up with a military diet shopping list so that you can see everything you’ll need in one place. So connect your printer and print this off so you’ll be ready when you go on your military diet shopping trip:
- 1 Grapefruit
- 2 small Apples
- 2 Bananas
- 1 cup Broccoli
- 1 cup Green beans
- Whole grain bread
- 2 1/2 cups Vanilla ice cream
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup cottage cheese
- Cheddar cheese (small block, you’ll only need 1 slice)
- 2 Hot dogs
- 1 ½ cups Tuna (about three 5oz cans)
- 3 oz lean meat
- 1 small jar natural Peanut Butter
- Coffee or Caffeinated Tea (enough for 2 cups)
The 3 Day Military Diet is fundamentally an unhealthy fad diet. While you may lose a few pounds quickly on the 3 Day Military Diet, there are other, healthier ways to lose weight. Instead of an unhealthy trend like this diet try some of the tried-and-true weight loss methods including:
- counting calories but not overly restricting
- eating less processed food
- increasing the amount of leafy green vegetables
- eliminating sugar
- drinking more water
- getting more exercise
- getting more sleep
- reducing stress
A combination of these tried-and-true methods will produce a healthy, sustainable weight loss. When you lose weight the right way, it becomes a lifestyle change that positively impacts your health and wellbeing; whereas the 3 Day Military Diet only has a temporary positive effect on the number on the scale.
This diet, however, is not sustainable in the long-term. It is not healthy and is very deficient in necessary nutrients. It does not lead to a healthy lifestyle, but rather to yo-yo dieting, eating disorders, and body-image issues.
Research has also shown that gradual weight loss is much healthier and more sustainable than a quick and rapid loss.
Is the 3 Day Military Diet really only 3 days long?
Sort of. Though the diet is marketed as a 3 day plan; it is actually a diet that's supposed to be followed for a full 7 days. Only 3 of the 7 days are 100 percent laid out for you though. For the other 4 days, you don't follow a set plan but it's recommended you eat a reduced calorie diet nonetheless.
So is that all the food I can eat during the 3 Day Military Diet?
Yes it is. The diet plan gives results because it is so calorically restricted. There are substitutions you can make for the 3 Day Military Diet Plan in the event that you have food allergies and can't eat some of the foods listed.
Can I still drink coffee?
One cup of black coffee only contains about 2 calories, so you can continue to drink coffee throughout the diet, even where it’s not listed in the meal plan. Just make sure you try to cut out these additional calories in other parts of the diet if you decide to drink a cup or two.
Can I eat snacks?
You can’t add any extra food, but you can split up your meals up if you want. For example, you can have the piece of fruit from your dinner as a mid-afternoon snack.
Can I add seasoning to foods?
You can use zero calorie seasonings to make your Military Diet meals a bit more appealing. Here are some suggestions: salt, pepper, lemon juice, garlic, ginger, cilantro, dill, hot pepper flakes, cumin, curry powder, turmeric, rosemary, sage, etc. Beware if you use items like mustard, soy sauce and garlic sauce, as they do contain a few calories, so you’ll have to be sure to compensate. Avoid using high calorie seasonings such as ketchup, mayonnaise, oils, etc.
"Can I drink alcoholic beverages while on the military diet?
No. Alcoholic drinks are high in calories. Save your cocktail for when you’re off the diet, or on the 4 days off. Even when you’re not on the diet, if you’re interested in maintaining your weight, you should avoid certain types of alcohol. For example, steer clear of sugary alcoholic drinks such as long island iced teas and margaritas. The sugar adds in a lot of calories that will promote weight gain. Instead, go for a gin and tonic or vodka with soda water and lime. Red wine is also a great choice. You should also try to lay off beer if you’re hoping to maintain or lose weight. If you’re really craving a beer, go for a dark beer like Guinness which is rich in antioxidants.
Can I space out the foods from the meals?
Of course! As long as you stick to the meal plan, it doesn’t matter when you eat. You can save part of your meal for a snack or skip breakfast and eat it later in the day. It’s up to you.
I need clarification on the Military Diet cycle. How many days is it and what do I have to do?
The 3 Day Military Diet is 3 days. It works like this: You follow the 3-day meal plan and then follow a more flexible diet for 4 days. During the 4 days off, it’s best to eat a diet of about 1500 calories per day. Then, you can repeat the cycle or stop dieting altogether. To maintain weight loss, it’s always best if you follow a healthy diet- free of processed foods and rich in whole grains, fruits and vegetables.
Can I take vitamins and supplements while on the diet?
Sure, you can take a multivitamin while you’re on the diet. That said, you should really only be taking a multivitamin if you struggle to eat a varied diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables. The multivitamin will ensure that you’re not missing out on any minerals and vitamins that you’re not getting from your diet. Make sure that supplements and vitamins are approved by your doctor before you take them.
How should I cook vegetables and meat while I’m on the diet?
When you’re on a low-calorie diet like the Military Diet, every last calorie counts. So, it’s best to boil, steam, bake or grill your vegetables and meat without adding any cooking oils or butter, which will pack in extra calories.
Will I be in starvation mode?
Starvation mode is when you restrict calories over a period of time and lose weight quickly, causing your body’s metabolism to slow down. This is a natural side effect of just about any type of weight loss. The less you weigh, the less body tissue your body has to maintain and so your metabolism may drop a bit. Think of it this way: if you carry a backpack up a hill, you burn more calories than if you walk up without a backpack. Extra weight that you carry, even if it’s some extra fat, causes your body to work harder and burn more calories. Another effect of starvation mode is that your body prefers to preserve fat and consume muscle in an effort to help you survive.
However, the Military Diet minimizes the effects of the so-called “starvation mode” by including plenty of protein intake in the form of eggs, cottage cheese, tuna, meats and peanut butter. Research supports this strategy, saying that you can preserve both your muscle and metabolism while dieting. In addition, because the diet is only 3 days, after which you return to a more acceptable caloric intake, your body, muscles and metabolism won’t suffer too much.
How do I calculate substitutions?
When you substitute foods, make sure you don’t use the same amount of the substitute as the original without checking caloric equivalence first. For example, if you want to substitute Greek yogurt for cottage cheese, you can actually eat a bit more of the yogurt than the prescribed amount of cottage cheese. Just 1 cup of 2% cottage cheese contains 194 calories, while 1 cup of 2% Greek yogurt contains 150 calories, meaning you can have additional 1/3 cup of the yogurt. Make use of a calorie calculator if you’re not sure about your allowances.
Will I get the same results if I substitute foods?
No. The plan is very specific for a reason. The 3 Day Military Diet is designed with certain combinations of food for a reason: to maximize your body's fat burning potential. When you substitute these foods for any reason (even with the ones approved on this list) you are compromising the premise of the diet and therefore any potential results.
Can I follow the 3 Day Military Diet longer than 3 days?
Because the diet is so restricted, you won't get all the recommended nutrition that your body needs to function at its best. It is therefore not advised to follow the diet for more than 1 week. If you decide to go full throttle with the diet- you can try to follow it for a week. If you do it, the plan is as follows:
- Monday: Day 1
- Tuesday: Day 2
- Wednesday: Day 3
- Thursday: Day 1
- Friday: Day 2
- Saturday: Day 3
- Sunday: Day 1
Can I repeat this for longer than a week?
If you can deal with a long-term restricted diet then it is possible to repeat it for more than a week, but you generally shouldn't. Eating that restricted of a diet can have serious health consequences long-term.[/su_spoiler]
Calorie counting is a pain. Do I have to do it while on the 3 Day Military Diet?
It depends. If you plan on strictly adhering to the outlined diet, then you don't have to count calories while on the 3 day diet plan. However, if you need to use any substitutions whatsoever, you will want to substitute the food with the proper number of calories.
If you follow the diet for the rest of the week without repeating the 3 day diet plan portion, then yes. You will need to count calories for the other 4 days. It is recommended that for the 4 days off the meal plan, you consume no more than 1500 calories. In fact, many people decide to follow the 1500 calorie portion of the diet for much longer.
How many calories am I eating on the 3 Day Military Diet
If you follow the meal plan exactly as laid out, you will eat between 900 and 1200 calories per day.
I'm a guy. Shouldn't I eat more than that?
Yes. Men need more calories than most women. Therefore men following the diet can add an additional 100 calories to the diet plan. Adding an extra tablespoon of peanut butter or an extra piece of fruit should do it.
What about exercise? Should I exercise?
Yes, you should exercise while on the 3 Day Military Diet. This diet was developed for the very hard-exercising military after all. Exercise helps you burn fat and lean out even more.
However, the average person should keep their exercise light while they are on the diet, and stick to one of these options:
- Light jogging
- Elliptical training
Don't overdo it while following the diet, and remember that you simply aren't eating enough to run a marathon or complete a triathlon while on this very restrictive diet.
Is It Healthy to Lose 10 Pounds in 3 Days?
No, it's not healthy for the average person to lose 10 pounds within only 3 days. To lose 10 pounds in a healthy and sustainable way, you need at least a month.
According to Mike Russell, MD: "If you weigh 180 pounds and your goal weight is 130 pounds, losing 20 pounds in one week—the right way—teeters on the brink of impossible. If you’re more like a Biggest Loser contestant, weighing 380 pounds, then losing 20 pounds in one week is plausible (especially considering a large amount of water weight you would lose during the first week)."
Generally speaking, it also depends on your size. If you are overly obese, by simply cutting down on junk food and moving your body a bit, you may drop 10 pounds in less than a week easily without causing a health problem. However, for someone who is only slightly overweight or within the normal range wanting to slim down a bit, this is not healthy or sustainable. You may lose weight, but the pounds will creep up again when you stop the diet.
If you are not concerned about your health or long-term, sustainable success, and your only goal is to fit into your wedding dress or look slimmer for one single occasion- you may have success with the 3-day Military Diet. For those looking for long-term and healthy solutions, you may want to look for a more sustainable alternative.
Are You Losing More than Just Water-Weight?
Dropping weight very quickly is usually referred to as losing water weight.
But what does that mean? What is water-weight?
Have you ever noticed that sometimes after a high sodium meal or eating certain kinds of foods your belly looks bloated, your pants feel tight, and even your fingers swell? Your weight can fluctuate as many as 5 pounds in just one day depending on what you eat, or for ladies, depending on their menstrual cycle.
According to Katherine Zeratsky, dietician, and nutritionist, your kidneys “decide whether to hold on to water. If you’ve had too much salt the night before, then your kidneys will hold on to more water to dilute or correct that salty imbalance…then they flush it all out.” Your kidneys also able to restore your salt balance naturally on their own. According to Zeratsky any extra water stored in your tissues or blood vessels often shows up in your fingers, toes, or lower legs.
If you read any reviews from raving fans of the 3-day Military Diet, they will tell you that you are losing more than water weight, but body fat instead. But there is no scientific evidence or research to back up this statement.
The diet includes coffee or tea, which are well known diuretics that instead of hydrating your body will drain it from water that promote your kidneys removing excess water. As a result, the number on the scale will drop.
Water weight can drop incredibly fast. Fat loss is much slower. Water weight is also easier to put back on if you are not exercising and not following a healthy diet. Again, if you are looking to lose weight quickly, but not sustain it, dropping water weight through the 3-day Military Diet may be a good option for you. For long-term success, you cannot avoid leading a healthy lifestyle through eating whole foods, exercising, sleeping, and taking care of your emotional well-being.
Does the 3-Day Military Diet Really Speed Up Your Metabolism?
The 3 Day Military Diet supposedly revs up your metabolism by combining specific foods at certain times. The higher your metabolism is, the more weight you will lose in theory.
The foods in the 3 Day Military Diet may have some metabolic benefits. High protein foods have thermal effects; therefore, you see eggs, tuna, peanut butter, and meat in the plan. High-fiber foods also boost your metabolism, hence the appearance of some vegetable and fruits in the diet. Foods high in calcium are also linked to faster fat burning, therefore, the diet includes ice cream, cottage cheese, and cheese.
Though the 3-day Military Diet claims to have magical metabolism-boosting qualities- there is absolutely no scientific evidence or research to back this up.
There are much better and proven ways to boost your metabolic rate without eating sugary and processed foods, like ice cream and crackers…
- Do some interval training workouts. Interval training burns more calories and creates an after-burn effect that will keep your body busting through calories long after the workout is done.
- Eat more Omega-3 fatty acids. They balance your blood sugar, reduce inflammation in your body, and regulate your metabolism. You can get Omega-3 through flax seeds, chia seeds, hemp seeds, fish, fish oil supplements, and vegan omega-3 algae supplements
- Do some strength training to build muscles. Muscle burns more calories than fat. Building muscles therefore increases your fat-burning potential.
- Drink green tea. It contains catechins that may improve fat oxidation and thermogenesis to improve your digestion. Caffeine has also been proven to increase metabolism. So, coffee is another good drink.
- Enjoy several small meals throughout the day. Eating more frequently, 5 – 6 smaller meals rather than eating 2 – 3 large meals is better for your metabolism.
- Don’t cut back calories. Limiting your calories excessively can lead to starvation mode which slows down your metabolism. As a result, it may also lead to yo-yo dieting, binges, or other forms of disordered eating.
Is the 3 Day Military Diet a fad diet?
According to University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, a fad diet is "diet that promises quick weight loss through what is usually an unhealthy and unbalanced diet."
By that definition, that is exactly what the 3 Day Military Diet is. The 3 Day Military Diet promises quick and easy weight loss with a fundamentally unhealthy, unbalanced diet.
UPMC cautions that most fad diets, including a diet like the 3 Day Military Diet, will not result in lasting weight loss. Additionally fad diets, like this one, pose serious risks from reduced muscle mass which will ultimately slow metabolism to kidney stones.
Like most fad diets, the 3 Day Military Diet is extremely rigid with strict rules. Though it doesn't specifically rule out entire food groups, as a result of the rules most foods are off-limits. It therefore lacks variety. Though it doesn't promote unlimited consumption of anything, it does promote unhealthy, processed foods that are high in sugar, fat, and cholesterol. These include ice cream, hot dogs, and cheese.
On the first day it promotes coffee or caffeine-rich tea, which may not be much for some, but for those of us who don't drink coffee, it may be a shock. It promises incredible fat-burning and metabolism-boosting properties without being backed up by research.
As Michael Dansingel, MD from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics said: "First, if a diet sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Second, if you can’t see yourself following the diet for the rest of your life, it’s not for you." This basically holds true to the 3 day Military Diet: it sounds magical, yet when you take a closer look, you realize its pitfalls.
What About After Your 3 Day Military Diet?
As noted earlier, the 3 day Military Diet suggests that you stick to a 1500 calorie, low-carb, and restrictive diet for the rest of the week. This means you can't cheat, binge, or enjoy a slice of birthday cake.
Remember, whether you are following a 3 day Military Diet, or any short diet/ cleanse, in order to keep the weight off and continue to experience health benefits- you have to continue eating “clean” with plenty of whole foods. You must generally follow a healthy lifestyle.
What is the military diet?
The military diet is a strict diet plan that lasts for 7 days. For the first 3 days, you must follow a strict diet plan. For the last 4 days, you must simply watch your calories and try to eat fewer than 1500 calories each day.
How does the military diet work?
The foods included in the military diet are known for their fat-busting powers. When eaten together as indicated in the diet plan, the foods help you lose weight. In addition, you’ll restrict your calorie consumption, which is also great for weight loss. Finally, the military diet can help you reset your eating habits and ditch junk food and soda.
Why does the military diet work?
The military diet works because you eat very few calories. In addition, the foods in the plan, when eaten together, are known for helping with weight loss. For example, the diet includes lots of lean protein which is great for helping you stay fuller and maintain muscle mass.
How many calories is the military diet?
For the first 3 days, the military diet allows you to have an average of 1200 calories each day. During the last 4 days, you should have fewer than 1500 calories each day.
What to eat after military diet?
After you complete the military diet, you’ll understandably want to keep the weight off. How can you do it? Focus on eating a healthy diet high in whole grains, vegetables, fruits and lean proteins. Avoid heavily processed foods, sugary drinks and eating out. This will help you keep your calorie count down and ensure the calories you do consume are nutritious. If you need help with your diet, resources such as Harvard’s healthy eating plate can help you plan a good diet. In addition, you can always talk to your doctor or a registered dietician for more assistance in maintaining a good diet.
How to do the diet (Can you simplify it for me?)
All you have to do is follow the strict eating plan. The plan is 3 days long. Afterwards, count calories for 4 days, making sure you consume fewer than 1500 calories. That’s it!
How much weight can you lose on the military diet?
Users report losing up to 10 pounds while on the military diet! Most people lose a more moderate 5 or 6 pounds, but depending on your starting weight and lifestyle, you might lose more.
How effective is the military diet?
The military diet is very effective thanks to the calorie restriction and special combination of foods used. Almost everyone who reports doing the diet loses at least a few pounds.
How often can you do the military diet?
Due to the calorie restriction and extreme nature of the diet, you miss out on nutrients when doing this diet. For that reason, you should limit how often you do it. While you can do it 2 weeks in a row, it’s best if you space out your dieting and only do the diet once a month, or even less.
What can I substitute for grapefruit on the military diet?
Because grapefruit is alkaline, it can be difficult to find a substitute for it. One option is to have a half teaspoon of baking soda mixed in a glass of water so that you can get the same alkalizing effect. If it’s the taste you can’t stand, you might also consider squeezing the grapefruit juice into a cup and adding stevia to sweeten it up.
What does the military diet consist of?
The military diet consists of restricting your calories and following a very specific diet for 3 days. There is a strict meal plan or military diet menu that you must follow for these 3 days. Then, you must limit your calories to 1500 calories per day during the 4 days following the diet.
What can you drink on the military diet?
No. Alcohol is often full of calories, especially if consumed in the form of beer or sugary cocktails. So, try to avoid it at all costs. Even after the diet, you should opt for low-calorie, healthier alcohols such as a glass of red wine or a gin and tonic.
The 3-day Military Diet is essentially a restrictive fad diet that is dangerously low in calories.
The inclusion of unhealthy, sugary, and processed foods, such as ice cream and hot dogs, and the deficiency of necessary vitamins and minerals makes the diet unhealthy. These foods may lead to diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, and cancer.
The promise of the diet that specific food combinations would boost your metabolism is not backed up by science. Also, the low-calorie intake recommended in the 3-day Military Diet is potentially dangerous and not sustainable. It leads to yo-yo dieting, and potentially dangerous eating disorders.
Lastly, the restrictive nature of the diet certainly removes the joy from cooking and eating!
For long-term success, it is recommended to avoid short fad diets and focus on a gradual lifestyle change. Start eliminating processed foods, and begin eating a mostly organic, plant-based whole food diet with plenty of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, seeds, nuts, beans, and legumes. Exercise at least 20 – 30 minutes a day. Get enough sleep, reduce stress, and practice a positive mindset.
If you follow these basic healthy eating and living principles, over time you will notice that the pounds will drop, your health will improve, and you will feel happier, more energetic, and overall fantastic!
We’d love to hear from you! What did you find helpful about this article? Do you have first-hand experience with the Military Diet to share with other readers? Share your thoughts and reactions to the article in the comments area below.
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