People keep finding new ways to lose weight, even by going to wild lengths. Dieting to lose weight is hardly a new concept. Most diets find their roots in the distant and not-so-distant past, where the military diet is a new part of modern Western life that promises the results you’re looking for. The military or 3-day-a-week diet restricts what you eat for three days and loosens up for four days. In other words, you follow three days of a rigid meal plan and four days of a regular food plan.
This 7-day meal plan could result in weight loss, but it may not be sustainable for healthy weight change. The military diet has fans, though, with nearly 55,000 Instagram posts tagged #military diet. It is easy to follow and doesn’t require expensive proponents, claiming to help you shed 10 pounds within the first week. Read on to know if it’s the one you’re looking for.
How Does the Military Diet Work?
There are two phases in a military diet. Phase one focuses on the strict, low-calorie meal plan for three days. The calorie intake for each day of the first phase is around 1,100 to 1,400 calories (men can have 100 more calories). Phase two or the next four days are “off” days, where you’re encouraged to keep your calories under 1,500. You must continue eating healthy foods during this period.
The HealthifyMe Note
One of the central focuses of the military diet is to intake 1,100–1,400 calories per day during phase one. This three-day change in eating habits includes certain “fat-burning” food combinations. As a result, you may lose weight, as you could expect from any low-calorie diet.
Foods to Eat on a Military Diet
Similar to other diets, the military diet plan encourages you to consume sufficient calories while keeping you away from binge-eating junk foods. If you try this diet, do not forget to include more lean protein options. Research shows that protein is essential in maintaining muscle mass and provides energy to perform daily activities.
Here are some foods that can be added to the military diet plan while staying in the calorie-burning zone.
Fruits: Pomegranate, banana, apple, orange, muskmelon, guava, watermelon, tangerine, and kiwi.Vegetables: Broccoli, celery, cauliflowers, bottle gourd, bitter gourd, bell pepper, leek, cabbage, eggplant, asparagus, green beans, spinach, swiss chard, kale, carrot, beetroot, radish, peas and tomato.Protein Source: Chicken breast, fish, lean ground turkey, tofu, kidney beans, lean ground beef, mung beans, black-eyed peas, soy chunks, chickpeas, and lentilsDairy Products: Low-fat milk, low-fat yoghurts, fat-free frozen yoghurt, eggs, and buttercream.Oils: Olive oil, hemp seed oil, flaxseed oil, and rice bran oilBeverages: Fresh juices, coconut water, and detox drinksHerbs and Spices: Mint, coriander leaves, rosemary, fennel seeds, cumin seeds, coriander seeds, fenugreek seeds, turmeric powder, and black onion seeds.
Issues with the Military Diet
When starting on a diet plan, the first question that comes to one’s mind is whether the specific diet plan is safe. While the military diet plan promotes speedy weight loss, it might cause adverse side effects on your health. Here are some downsides of the diet to consider before you make your decision.
Low Energy Levels
The military diet or crash diet is about consuming a deficient number of calories. According to the NHS, the recommended calorie intake for men is 2500 and 2000 for women. However, a long-term military diet will lead to calorie deficiency, affecting the energy level and eventually harming bodily functions.
Lacks Essential Nutrients
While looking at the list of food items in the military diet, you might notice that the plan lacks various nutrients but is high in sodium. As a result, it will cause dizziness and high blood pressure and might lead to heart attack, strokes, and other severe conditions.
Affects Mental Health
The restrictive nature of the military diet can negatively affect your physical and mental health. In addition, intense tracking of calories will create an unhealthy relationship with food and cause eating disorders.
The HealthifyMe Note
The safety and effectiveness of the military diet are unknown due to the lack of scientific research. Anyone planning to follow a military diet must visit a doctor first to ensure their body can handle this type of diet. If you follow this diet for months at a time, it increases the risk of nutrient deficiencies.
Benefits of the Military Diet
A more sensible weight-loss approach is following a calorie-controlled diet and regular exercise. The three-day prescription weight loss plan is designed to promote fast weight loss, which does sound too good to be true. However, here are some benefits of the military plan.
Quick Weight Loss
The primary benefit of a military diet is rapid weight loss. Even though there is no scientific backup, looking at the numbers and experiences of those who have tried the diet ensures it works. Advocates say you can lose 10 pounds within three days without weight-loss pills or supplements.
Easy to Follow
A considerable advantage of the military diet is that it is pretty simple to follow. Each meal gets concisely planned, so there will be no tiresome cooking time. You can even preplan the portion of your meals in advance if you have a busy lifestyle.
The military diet is one of the most affordable fitness diets out there. Furthermore, food items recommended for the diet are readily available in nearby supermarkets. There are no mandatory requirements for superfoods or expensive supplements.
Reference Diet Plan
The first three days of the military diet have a strict eating plan, while the following four days are pretty easy and regular. Below is the suggested military diet plan for weight loss.
Day 1: 1400 Calories
Slice of toast combined with two tablespoons of peanut butter: 1Half grapefruitBlack tea or coffee: 1 cup
Slice of toast: 1Tuna: ½ cupBlack tea/coffee: 1 cup
Meat: 3 ounces (approx. 100 g)Banana: ½ (medium)Green Beans: 1 cupSmall apple: 1Vanilla ice cream: 1 cup
Day 2: 1200 calories
Slice of toast: 1Egg: 1Banana: ½ (medium)
Small crackers: 5Hard-boiled egg: 1Cottage cheese: 1 cup
Grilled chicken breast: 1Banana: ½ (medium)Broccoli: 1 cupVanilla ice cream: 1 cup
Day 3: 1100 calories
Cheddar Cheese: 1 sliceApple: 1 small
Toast: 1 sliceEgg: 1
Banana: ½ (medium)Tuna salad: 1 cupVanilla ice cream: 1 cup
Besides the food mentioned above, you must drink plenty of water to stay hydrated and feel fuller. You can replace the egg, meat, and tuna with cottage cheese, soy, tofu, or almonds if you are a vegetarian. Make sure to keep up with similar meal timings all three days.
Tips and Points to Note Before Starting the Diet
Even though a military diet plan sounds easy to follow, you would find it challenging to stick to the dietary restrictions in some instances. Hence, before you start the plan, here are a few points to keep in mind to lead to healthy weight loss.
Exercise is the perfect way to lose weight in the long run. However, you may find it difficult to perform exercises due to calorie deficiency and lack of energy.Even after completing the diet, ensure a precisely planned diet with the perfect combination of protein, carbs, and fats.Keep a positive attitude when it comes to weight loss. It will assist you in making healthy food choices, even when you are not following any diet.Instead of fizzy drinks, begin your day with plenty of water. It will drive away the hunger pangs and cut down your sudden cravings.
The military diet has a cyclical pattern where one needs to follow a strict diet for three days and then alter it in the following four days with a more relaxed plan. It is pretty popular due to its quick and promising weight loss results. Although a military diet for weight loss is a considerably safe option, it is not sustainable for long-term goals. Hence to accomplish long-lasting weight loss results, ensure to focus on making small yet significant dietary and lifestyle changes.