If somebody told you that you could lose 10 pounds in the next 3 days, would you believe them? Probably not. But that’s the tempting claim made by the military diet, a strict weight loss diet that is taking Pinterest pinners, YouTube vloggers, and other internet health enthusiasts by storm.
The challenge? follow the rigorous diet plan for 3 days, then maintain a healthy lifestyle for the next four days and watch as the weight just falls right off.
The military diet is also free to try. Unlike with most diets, there aren’t many military diet books, supplements, or products.
In fact, you don’t even need to buy any expensive or hard-to-find foods!
To be quite honest, you are actually going to save some money by trying the military diet.
But does the diet even work? And is it a diet that you should consider trying?
The following article aims to explain everything you’ll ever need to know about the military diet.
What Is The Military Diet?
The military diet is an incredibly popular weight loss diet that claims to help you lose 10 pounds in 3 days by obeying a strict 3-day meal plan, followed by 4 days off. And then once you finish the week, you are encouraged to repeat the cycle until you reach your desired weight goal.
Despite it’s name, the honest truth is that the military diet is not affiliated with the US military in any way, shape, or form.
Does this diet sound familiar? Perhaps you know it by one of the other various diet names it has be given over the years. The diet is often referred to as the 3 day diet, the army diet, the navy diet, and the ice cream diet (you’ll see why, keep reading).
Summary: The military diet is a strict, week long diet that is intended to be repeated until you reach your desired weight goal. Despite it’s name, the military diet is not affiliated with the US military in any capacity.
Does The Military Diet Work?
To be quite honest, the military diet is really no different than any other calorie restriction program. When you cut calories and create an energy deficit, your body burns excess fat as fuel and you lose weight as a result.
Although there haven’t been many formal studies done, you should not encounter any complications by partaking in a week-long calorie deficit diet.
Why you ask?
By burning more calories than you consume, you are very likely to lose a few pounds. Scientists don’t need to do any studies to figure that one out.
But I do have some concerns about the diet. Like I mentioned above, the military diet is jut like any other calorie restriction program, but it lacks one crucial aspect – teaching. If you need to lose weight, you can use just about any program to help you reach your weight goal. But can you keep the weight off? I don’t know about you, but when I go on a diet, I want the results to be permanent.
In my opinion, unless you learn to eat portioned controlled, nutritious meals – something that the military diet fails to teach users – then you are likely to put the weight back after you reach your goal.
Summary: The military diet is really no different than any other calorie restriction program. When you cut calories and create an energy deficit, your body burns excess fat as fuel and you lose weight as a result. The military diet works, but I believe there are better alternatives out there.
Military Diet Shopping List
Unlike most diets found on the internet, the military diet does not require you to shell out a ton of money on supplements or prescriptions.
In fact, the military diet actually replaces your normal diet, and probably costs just a fraction of what you typically spend on groceries.
If you are serious about trying out this diet, here is a complete list of all the foods you’ll need to pick up from your local grocery store.
Keep this tab open on your phone that way you can quickly reference it while walking through the aisles.
What you’ll need: 1 grapefruit, 1 small jar of peanut butter, 1 can of green beans, 1 small loaf of bread, 2 bananas, 1 head of broccoli, 3 ounces of any meat, 1 package of hotdogs, 1 sleeve of saltine crackers, 1 small apple, 1 can of tuna, 1 cup of cottage cheese, 2 eggs, 1 ounce of cheddar cheese, 1 pint of vanilla ice cream, a small amount of caffeinated coffee or tea, and some water.
You shouldn’t have any problems finding any of these items in your local grocery store, but just in case I’ve added a list of military diet substitutions further in this article.
Summary: Unlike most diets found on the internet, the military diet does not require you to shell out a ton of money on supplements or prescriptions. Bookmark this article that way you can reference it while walking through the grocery store.
Military Diet Meal Plan
Here is a 3-day military diet meal plan, followed by a guide on how to eat for days 4-7. If you are a vegetarian, have food allergies, or just dislike some of the foods listed below, make sure to read our list of military diet substitutions down below.
Day 1 (1400 Calories)
- Breakfast – 1 slice toast, 2tbsp peanut butter, .5 grapefruit, 1 cup coffee
- Lunch – 1/2 cup tuna, 1 slice toast
- Dinner – 1 cup green beans, .5 banana, 1 small apple, 3oz any meat, 1 cup vanilla ice cream
Day 2 (1200 Calories)
- Breakfast – 1 egg, 1 slice toast, .5 banana, 1 cup coffee or green tea
- Lunch – 1 cup cottage cheese, 1 hard-boiled egg, 5 saltine crackers
- Dinner – 1 broccoli, .5 cup carrots, .5 banana, 2 hotdogs (no bun), .5 cup vanilla ice cream
Day 3 (1100 Calories)
- Breakfast – 1 apple, 1oz cheddar cheese, 5 saltine crackers, 1 cup coffee or tea
- Lunch – 1 egg, 1 slice toast
- Dinner – 1 cup tuna, .5 banana, 1 cup vanilla ice cream
Day 4-7 (1500 Calories Max)
After completing the first three days of the diet, you should continue to eat and exercise normally for days four through seven.
Don’t use this time to just pig out however. The military diet still recommends you keep your calorie intake below 1,500 – which fairly demanding considering the USDA states that the average sedentary male (age 25) needs to consume 2,400 calories in order to simply maintain calorie balance.
It’s worth noting that people often have a difficult time accurately counting calories, so make sure you keep a journal or sign up for a fitness assistance program like My Fitness Pal (don’t worry, it’s free).
Summary: After completing the first three days of the diet, you should continue to eat and exercise normally for days four through seven. Don’t use this time to just pig out and eat whatever you’d like however. Be reasonable.
Military Diet Substitutions
If you are a picky eater and don’t want anything to do with some of the foods in the military diet, there are a few common military diet substitutions that can be made.
- Cottage Cheese — Let’s start with the obvious one. If you hate cottage cheese as much as I do, you’ll probably want to substitute one cup of cottage cheese with a cup of plain greek yogurt, tofu, ham, cheddar cheese, or even ricotta cheese.
- Tuna — Hate the fishy taste and smell of tuna? Try substituting 1/2 cup of tuna with some almonds. This is a great alternative for vegetarians.
- Peanuts — If you have the unfortunate pleasure of being allergic to peanuts, swap out peanut butter with almond butter.
- Broccoli — Hate broccoli? Good substitutions include an equal portion of greenish vegetables including spinach, brussel sprouts, cauliflower, or asparagus.
- Hot Dogs — Hot dogs in general are not very nutritious, especially those that contain nitrates. That being said, you can swap hot dogs out for comparable foods including tofu dogs, turkey dogs, soy dogs, bratwurst, deli meat, or baloney. Just as a reminder, there are roughly 300 calories in two hot dogs, so make sure you keep your equivalent food source down around the same amount of calories.
- Eggs — Eggs can be substituted for a cup of milk, a 1/4 cup of nuts, two slices of bacon, or even a chicken wing.
- Saltine Crackers — People who don’t enjoy having their mouths dried out by eating saltine crackers can eat some delicious rice cakes instead. Don’t eat too many though because a saltine cracker contains just 15 calories.
- Grapefruits — As strange as it may sound, grapefruits can interfere with certain medication. If this is the case with you, put 1/2 a teaspoon of baking soda into a glass of water, stir, and then drink it. Why does this work? It has to do with the pH levels in your body. Baking soda combined with water mimics the fat burning qualities created by consuming grapefruits. You can also exchange a grapefruit for an orange.
- Banana — Good question! If you can find a good substitution for a banana, let us know on our Facebook or Instagram!
Summary: Military diet substitutions are actually quite common, so all that really matters is that you replace calories with the same amount of calories. If you change the military diet meal plan above at all, make sure that you are keeping an accurate count of your calories.
Military Diet For Vegetarians
Vegetarians who come across the military diet may be disappointed to learn that the diet calls for tuna, two hotdogs, and three ounces of a meat of your choice.
But don’t worry, there are a few substitutions that they can take advantage of as well.
Vegetarians are encouraged to exchange the three ounces of meat and hotdogs for portobello mushrooms, lentils, or beans.
And like we mentioned above, vegetarians are also encouraged to substitute tuna with almonds, cottage cheese, or peanuts.
Military Diet Before And After
The military diet is insanely popular amongst people on the internet. If you want to check out a few before and after pictures and videos prior to taking the plunge yourself, check out a few of the stories listed below.
- YouTube Teenager Loses 2.5 Pounds In 3 Days – Highschool vlogger Jenna talks about her struggles with snacking, hunger, and energy in this short YouTube video.
- Yanyi Loses 2 Pounds In 3 Days – Yanyi is already in very good shape, so it’s not shocking to see that she only lost 2 pounds throughout the course of the diet. Regardless, Yanyi does an excellent job of recording her progress for the world to see.
- Wife Loses 5 Pound In 3 Days – This blogger doubts she will be able to keep the weight off, but her results are impressive nonetheless.
- From 157 Pounds Down To 151 Pounds — YouTube vlogger Rob gets challenged by fellow YouTuber Miss Yanyi (shown above) to do the military diet. He struggles at first, but after learning that salt and pepper are acceptable additions to the diet, Rob finishes with a bang. Side note: This is Rob’s most popular YouTube upload.
- 3 People Get Challenged Into Trying The Military Diet — Piggybacking off the success of Rob’s military diet success, ZestVIP and Pretty Good Videos bring the exuberant vlogger back for another installment of the diet. Except this time Rob recruits others to do the diet themselves.
Take Action: If you liked the military diet information you’ve read so far, now is the time to take action. Click here to download our free printable military diet meal plan.
I said it before and I’ll say it again – If you need to lose weight rapidly, there are thousands of diets that you can use that cut calories. But you’re more likely to put the weight back on (and possibly gain back a few extra pounds) unless you learn to eat nutritious, portion-controlled meals for the long-term.
The military diet is an easy and inexpensive diet that gets the job done, but it does not prepare or teach you how to keep the weight off for life.
Regardless, if you liked the military diet information you’ve read so far, now is the time to take action.
To make your life a little bit easier, I decided to create a printable military diet for you all to check out. Click here to print out our quick meal plan and stick it on your fridge today!