Is the 3-Day Military Diet Right for You?

The Military Diet is a 3-day diet plan designed to help you lose up to 10 pounds in just three days. Rumor has it that this diet first became popular in the US military as a way for recruits to cut weight before their scheduled physical fitness assessments, but its origins are not well-documented.

Does the 3-Day Military Diet Really Work?

Like most popular diets today, The Military Diet works for most people who follow it strictly. It is a reduced-calorie diet that offers about 800-1,000 calories daily, and it does not require that you follow an exercise plan during the three days. In fact, because it restricts calories so severely, only light to moderate physical activity is recommended during the diet phase. You should definitely exercise more intensely on your days off, but you don’t need to work out much – if at all – during the 3-day diet phase itself.

Some people new to The Military Diet decide to make substitutions based on the recommendations of other diets – such as switching to caffeine-free, low-fat, fat-free or sugar-free options – but this is a mistake. The foods in this diet are combined to work together in a very specific way, keeping your metabolism elevated while providing your body with enough basic nutrients and sustenance to maintain energy while stimulating fat loss.

If you start making substitutions, you are going to throw off the macronutrient balance that the diet provides and will end up sabotaging your results. You only have to stick with it for three days, and then you can play around with your macros on your days off. But during the 3-day diet phase, do not make substitutions unless you have specific medical issues or nutritional needs that require those modifications.

Drink plenty of water throughout the diet, and do not eat any snacks or use any sweeteners except Stevia. On your days off, follow a balanced diet and bump the calorie count up to about 1,500 per day.

3-Day Military Diet Plan Menu

Day 1 – Breakfast

  • 1 slice wheat toast
  • 2 Tablespoons peanut butter
  • ½ grapefruit
  • 1 cup coffee or tea, w/ caffeine (straight or with Stevia)

Day 1 – Lunch

  • 1 slice wheat toast
  • 4 oz. (1/2 cup) canned tuna packed in water (drained)
  • 1 cup coffee or tea, w/ caffeine (straight or with Stevia)

Day 1 – Dinner

  • 3 oz. meat (any type)
  • 1 cup cooked green beans
  • ½ banana
  • 1 small apple
  • 1 cup vanilla ice cream

Day 2 – Breakfast

  • 1 slice wheat toast
  • 1 egg, cooked any style (no added oil/butter)
  • ½ banana

Day 2 – Lunch

  • 1 cup cottage cheese
  • 1 hard-boiled egg
  • 5 saltine crackers

Day 2 – Dinner

  • 2 hot dogs (no bun)
  • 1 cup broccoli, steamed or raw
  • ½ cup carrots, steamed or raw
  • ½ banana
  • ½ cup vanilla ice cream

Day 3 – Breakfast

  • 1 small apple
  • 1 oz. cheddar cheese
  • 5 saltine crackers

Day 3 – Lunch

  • 1 slice wheat toast
  • 1 egg, cooked any style (no added oil/butter)

Day 3 – Dinner

  • 8 oz. (1 cup) canned tuna packed in water (drained)
  • ½ banana
  • 1 cup vanilla ice cream

Will the Military Diet Work for Me?

The bottom line is that The Military Diet will help most overweight people lose 5-10 pounds in only three days, but it is not something that most people can follow long-term. You will be hungry. Your energy levels might drop. You might even feel a little bit cranky.

This diet is best used as a last-ditch effort to shed a few more pounds before a major event like a wedding, an athletic event weigh-in, a high school reunion or a photo shoot. But if you want to follow the diet for a few weeks at a time, just be sure to allow yourself to eat more food on the days off and include exercise on those days to keep losing weight.

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