How would you like to lose 10 pounds in less than a week?
I know I would, and I bet you'd too.
This is what the 3 day military diet plan has been enticing and promising people with.
That dieters can lose 10 pounds in less than a week following their 3 day strict meal plan.
Needless to say, this claim has made this diet wildly popular.
Originally spread as a rigorous weight loss, low-calorie diet plan used by the military to get overweight officers in shape in time for their physical fitness test, but it actually has no relation to the military or Department of Defense for that matter.
Where it picked up its name is still unknown, but their popularity has been wildly supported by many dieters who've tried and succeeded on this plan.
Many rave about it and attest to its effectiveness. All while it's also attracted many warnings and criticism from the health and even dieting communities.
When it comes to this highly controversial 3 day diet, there are so many questions you want answers to before getting started.
In this post, I aim to answer all the questions you are itching to ask.
And if you decide the diet is for you, you can grab the complete military diet menu and its shopping list towards the end of the post to get started.
If you are a vegetarian, grab our vegetarian substitution list.
What Is the 3-Day Military Diet?
The three day military diet plan is a low-calorie meal plan that promises dieters to lose 10 pounds fast.
It involves 3 days of following a set menu from breakfast to dinner and 4 days of eating healthy meals completely your way.
Totaling between 1,000 to 1,500 calories depending on the day.
The menu is made up of rather a random group of foods including ice cream, steak, toast, crackers, string beans, grapefruits, and banana.
Their selection makes no logical sense, but the plan's overall effectiveness is the attraction, not the foods or its solid nutritional ground. So if you are looking for a plan rooted in some solid guiding principle, this diet is not for you.
The strict first 3 days are then followed by 4 off days.
There are no instructions for the 4 days other than to eat healthy meals under 1,500 calories a day. "Healthy" of course is defined by you, so whatever your idea of eating healthy is, it's fair game.
Your weekly cycle ends at the end of your 7th day on the plan, and you can supposedly repeat the plan until you reach your goal.
Despite last 4 days being as laid as can be, this week-long plan is still considered a crash, fad diet with characteristics of extreme dieting. Know this if you must try.
Does the 3 Day Military Diet Plan Work?
Yes, the 3 day military diet plan has worked for many who've tried.
Since the diet has no logical explanation for its menu selection, it's hard to say what truly drives the weight loss. But one thing that’s adding to the result is their low-calorie consumption the first 3 days.
Weight loss for the majority is a matter of calorie deficiency.
By driving your daily calorie intake way low, you can achieve a reasonable to even an extreme weight loss as claimed by the military 3 day diet plan.
To sum up, yes, it works for many.
How Much Weight Can I Lose On The 3-Day Diet?
Up to 10 pounds.
Some claim the three-day diet has actually helped them lose 10 pounds or 4.5kg in a week as advertised.
But the "results" vary from person to person.
Here is what may influence your result.
The amount of weight you may lose during this plan depends on several factors, such as your age, sex, and your current health conditions.
So don't rely solely on the diet's before and after pictures. Always be willing to consider your personal factors and aim for a healthy weight loss.
For those overweight or obese, going on an extremely low-calorie meal plan such as this will probably result in a greater, faster weight loss.
On the contrary, for those who are already at a healthy weight, losing 10 pounds in a week even with a diet like this can be challenging and much harder to achieve.
Regardless of the actual figure, the military diet can help with weight loss —at least for the short term.
But you are also likely to regain the weight back very fast too. Though the diet is repeatable, it's no way designed to be long-term.
If you're serious about losing weight and keeping it off, then there are many weight loss methods that focus on healthy food choices instead.
What Do I Eat On The 3-Day Diet?
It varies, but their 3-day eating plan includes foods from all three macronutrients: protein, fat, and carbs.
Toast, grapefruit, and egg make frequent appearances on the breakfast menu, and so is black coffee.
For lunch, things like tuna, banana, crackers, cottage cheese, and cheddar cheese make up a majority of the meal.
Dinner is the best part. You'll be eating a scoop of vanilla ice cream and even steak on day 1.
Since the original menu includes a lot of dairy, seafood, and meat, I put together a vegetarian's substitution list for vegans and vegetarians. If you are gluten-free, substitute any toast and crackers with gluten-free varieties.
The actual 3-day meal plan is at the bottom of the page.
How Many Calories Are in the Three Day Diet?
I mentioned briefly on this earlier, but from day 1 to 3, it's about 1,000 to 1,300 calories a day without any snack.
During the last 4 days, you're allowed to eat any healthy meal totaling up to 1,500 calories a day.
Can I Repeat It for a Month?
Yes, you can repeat this diet after every 7th day. And some people do.
But I wouldn’t suggest doing that.
It should at least be conditional.
You should at least take your basic calorie needs into consideration.
If you need a minimum of 1,500 calories a day, it's unhealthy to stay on a diet like this that offers far less. That's simply not the right calorie diet plan for you, especially for the long term.
Also, if this plan leaves you hungry and unsatisfied the first time, I highly recommend against staying on it for a month. Starvation should never be part of any dieting, and this military plan is no exception.
Instead, shift your focus to making healthy food choices after the first week and aim to build healthy habits that foster weight loss.
Why Does this Diet Work so Well?
The primary reason is the low-calorie, low-carb aspect of the diet.
Limiting the daily calorie intake to 1,300 is enough to cause weight loss in many people.
Another aspect is the food selection.
Granted, not all foods on the menu are weight loss friendly.
For example, ice cream is no friend to dieting. It's basically sugar and cream in a frozen form.
But there are many other foods that are indeed diet staples.
Black coffee, grapefruit, banana, tuna, steak, and even eggs are foods with powerful nutritional and weight loss benefits.
Proteins such as tuna, steak, and eggs contain a thermic effect, burning a good portion of the food's its own calories to digest the food.
What this means is that your body may only absorb 70 calories eating a 100 calorie steak.
When trying to limit the calorie intake, certain foods' natural reaction within the body can be a quite helpful resource for creating an even bigger calorie deficit.
Other foods like banana, grapefruit and black coffee are similarly known for their weight loss benefits.
So when looking at the diet as a whole, it may look nothing but illogical planning, but if you look closely at each food individually, you may start to discover why the military diet works.
Is the Military Diet Bad for You?
It can be.
Anything that's extreme and not sustainable can be bad for you. And this 3-day military diet is no exception.
If the calories set by the diet are too low for you, then your body will be running low on energy to fuel the normal bodily functions.
Inevitably, it can lead to health issues.
It can slow down your metabolism, break down muscle mass, and dull your brain and other bodily functions.
Depending on how you decide to eat during the 4 off days, you may run the risk of nutritional deficiency.
The key is to understand your caloric needs and assess how well the diet will satisfy your needs. Generally speaking, 500 calories or more of a daily calorie deficit is too dangerous.
Use our calorie calculator here to find out your daily needs now to find out if the plan can be safe for you.
3 Day Military Diet Menu
Reading up this far, I hope you found all the answers you were looking for regards to the military diet.
If you decide that you want to give this diet a try, here is the meal plan for the first 3 days.
Day-1 Meal Plan: 857 Calories
For day 1 on the Military Diet Plan, you'll be eating a meal plan that contains around 857 to 1,300 calories.
Breakfast: 222 calories
- 1 slice of whole grain toast with 2 tablespoons of peanut butter.
- 1/2 Grapefruit.
- 1 cup of coffee or tea.
Lunch: 172 calories
- A slice of whole grain toast.
- 1/2 cup of Tuna.
- 1 cup of coffee or tea.
Dinner: 463 calories
- 3-Oz (85 grams) serving of any meat
- 1 cup of green beans.
- 1 small apple.
- 1/2 banana.
- 1 cup Vanilla ice cream.
That was your first day on the Military Diet plan. As you can see, the overall meal for day 1 is pretty simple and doesn't require a lot of planning and cooking, making the 3-day diet plan easy to try.
Day 2: Meal Plan 973 Calories
For day 2, your meal plan is going to be a little bit different as your calorie intake increases slightly.
Calories for the day is going to be around 973 to 1,100 calories. Much of an increase in calories is due to the addition of bananas and cottage cheese, but since they're both fairly healthy, you can rest assured you are taking in some essential nutrients along with them.
Breakfast: 206 calories
- 1 slice of toast (whole grain).
- 1 hard-boiled egg.
- 1/2 banana.
Lunch: 305 calories
- 1 hard-boiled egg.
- A cup of cottage cheese.
- 5 saltine crackers.
Dinner: 462 Calories
- 2 hot dogs without a bun.
- 1/2 cup of carrots and 1/2 cup of broccoli.
- ½ banana.
- 1/2 cup of vanilla ice cream.
Day 3: Meal Plan 719 Calories
This is the last day of the 3-Day Military Diet Plan. On day 3, you'll be consuming the least number of calories compared to the first two previous days.
The total calorie count for day 3 is around 719 to 1,000.
Breakfast: 253 calories
- 1 slice of cheddar cheese.
- 5 saltine crackers.
- A small apple.
Lunch: 153 calories
- 1 slice of toast.
- One egg (hard boiled or cooked according to your likes).
Dinner: 313 calories
- A cup of tuna.
- 1/2 banana.
- 1 cup of vanilla ice cream.
Though this is the main diet plan, there are other versions that consist of alternative options.
For example, an orange instead of a grapefruit, cottage cheese instead of tuna, and so forth.
It should not matter which plan you follow. What's more important is finding a version that accommodates your likes and dislikes, allergies, and dietary preference.
Is The 3-Day Diet Evidence-Based?
Most likely not.
I dug deep but I haven't found any actual published studies on the origin of the military diet.
But that's because there's none.
If you must try, know that you are doing so at your own risk.
The Military Diet can work —for the short term.
With a strictly restricted 3 day diet, you may lose some pounds rather quickly.
But that weight you see drop may not be sustainable and stick for the long term especially if you neglect to eat healthy the following days. Too often, you experience regaining the lost weight quite fast.
It's nothing more than a short-term fix with some noticeable results.
To keep your weight off, be sure to follow a long-term healthy weight loss plan that's much sustainable and can be part of your lifestyle.
Related weight loss articles you may like:
- How to Lose Weight Without Exercise
- What to Eat to Lose Weight
- How Many Calories Are in a Pound of Body Fat?
These articles above show that there are many other ways to lose weight besides going on a low-calorie diet like the 3 day military diet plan.
Have you tried the three day diet? Please share with us your experience in a comment below.