The Military Diet
The Military Diet is reported to be a fast solution to losing weight without the need for special diet foods or pills. Claims of up to 30 pounds per week weight loss by those strictly adhering to the menu plan are one of the major selling points of the diet.
The Military Diet: Coffee, hotdogs & crackers are all part of the three day phase
Many of the items on the menu are likely to already be in your pantry and the others are easily attained at the supermarket making it inexpensive to participate in. It's a very simple diet plan which technically is easy to follow (although may be difficult to actually stick to, given how strict and limited the food plan is).
The Military Diet is essentially a form of intermittent fasting. Those who commit to the diet will follow a strict calorie controlled plan for breakfast, lunch and dinner for three days, followed by four days off.
Military Diet Menu Plan
3 Day Diet Phase
Each meal has a specific reason for the choice of food with combinations that reportedly maximise your weight loss. The tuna, eggs, peanut butter and lean meat for a high protein emphasis, use more calories than they provide when being digested. A small amount of bread and, believe it or not, ice-cream is included to satisfy cravings and help diet subscribers stick to the strict three day plan.
The prescribed "diet" part of the program only goes for three days at a time and is restricted to between 800-1000 calories. While this stage is effectively fasting, the program designers also claim that it will not slow participant metabolisms, but will in fact cause the body to produce less IGF-1 and go into repair mode which promotes fat burning.
Each day of the three day phase has a strict set menu. Some items can be substituted, but it is important to note that the diet designers suggest that substitutions may affect the results. The specific food combinations have been chosen to chemically complement and enhance their weight loss properties.
- Day 1
Breakfast - 1 cup Coffee or Tea, 1/2 Grapefruit, 1 Slice of Toast, 2 tbsp of Peanut Butter
Lunch - 1 cup Coffee or Tea, 1/2 Cup of Tuna, 1 Slice of Toast
Dinner - 3 ounces of extra lean meat, 1 cup of green beans, 1/2 banana, 1 small apple, 1 cup of vanilla ice cream
- Day 2
Breakfast - 1 slice of toast, 1 egg, 1/2 banana
Lunch - 5 saltine crackers, 1 egg, 1 cup of cottage cheese
Dinner - 2 hot dogs (meat only), 1 cup of broccoli, 1/2 cup of carrots, 1/2 banana, 1/2 cup of vanilla ice cream
- Day 3
Breakfast - 5 saltine crackers, 1 slice of cheddar cheese, 1 small apple
Lunch - 1 egg, 1 slice of toast
Dinner - 1 cup of tuna, 1/2 banana, 1 cup of vanilla ice cream
Four Day Off Phase
For the four day phase, there is an extensive suggested menu. This includes options for breakfast, lunch and dinner as well as two snacks a day. The dieter picks and chooses from the menu to create their own diet plan for the four "off" days. This creates a calorie controlled diet plan of 1500 or less calories per day.
Scrambled eggs, omelette, egg on toast, whole-grain, wheat-free toast, banana, yogurt parfait, cinnamon oatmeal, pear
Tuna, ham, hot dogs, chicken salad pita
Meat (any) or if vegetarian (lentils, beans, tofu,portobello), mushrooms, black bean burger, sushi, cajun chicken, rice, green beans, lettuce, cherry tomatoes, Spinach, broccoli, cauliflower, asparagus, cheddar cheese, cottage cheese
Why Choose the Military Diet?
There are a number of reasons why you might choose the Military Diet;
- It's fast. It gets results quickly. So if you have been pigging out on chocolate and cake and your sister's wedding is coming up in two weeks, this is the diet for you.
- It's easy and free to organise and understand. The plan is super simple and easy to organise. You don't have to get any special pills, buy a menu or plan, or subscribe to anything.
- It's (technically) easy to stick to. The actual diet is very simple and very prescribed. There are not really any options, so all you have to do to lose the weight is follow the meal plan.
- Little or no exercise. This is the big one for those who hate sweating it out! Because the diet has such a low calorie count, it is suggested that those who are on it shouldn't exercise, or at least not vigorously as they won’t have enough calories to sustain them.
What makes you think "NO WAY"?
As with all diets and meal plans, there are some things about it that make us run screaming the other way.
- While it's great for short term and "event" weight loss, the Military Diet is not great for long term weight loss and developing healthy living habits. As soon as you come off the diet you will put the weight back on.
- It's not sustainable over time, being highly restrictive, VERY low in calories, and extremely prescribed. Sticking to the diet long term is hard.
- The diet is essentially a calorie controlled diet. There are lots of other different ways of creating an interesting and exciting calorie controlled diets that are not as restrictive and are more exciting than the three day strict Military Diet plan.
- There is no actual evidence or research to show that people are losing the claimed 30 pounds of weight with the Military Diet, and the origins of the diet are ambiguous.