Losing excess weight is in many ways synonymous with good health – cutting all that extra fat means improvements in terms of cholesterol, blood pressure, bone health, physical fitness as well as psychological well-being. But achieving it can be confusing because nowadays there are literally thousands of “ideas” and diets for weight loss. Too much choice is as paralyzing as no choice, psychologists say. So today we’re taking a shortcut and we are taking a look at the so-called military diet.
The best part? It lasts three – 3 – days. Yup, you read that right! Some say the diet can make a person lose up to 10 pounds, as Providr reports. While it’s not clear if the diet itself is actually used, or invented by, the military, it probably got the name due to its “no-nonsense” approach to cutting weight.
A word of note, however: described here is the military diet for women – the version for men recommends a surplus intake of 100 calories per day, in the form of protein.
Well… I haven’t tested it myself, but no harm in trying I guess. Here’s how you do it:
1. DAY ONE
Nutritionists often remind us that breakfast is the essential meal to kickstart your day because it will rouse your metabolism and give you a ‘full tank’ of energy. According to the military diet, the breakfast for the first day should consist of the following: 1 slice of whole wheat bread (toasted), 2 tablespoons of peanut butter applied to it, half a grapefruit and 1 cup of coffee, or tea with caffeine.
For those who are allergic to peanuts, you can use almond butter, sunflower seed butter, soy butter or hummus instead. Additionally, pumpkin butter and bean dip are also fine.
However, and this is important: remember that you can’t add any sugar, milk, cream or sweeteners to your morning drink (tea or coffee, regardless). Or, you can simply have a glass of water, but the idea here is that black coffee suppresses appetite, while green tea has thermogenic properties – it accelerates the burning of fat.
Lunch should consist of the following: half a cup of tuna, one more slice of toast (no peanut butter this time) and either water, coffee or tea. If you want to season your lunch, use pepper, garlic, honey mustard or other low-calorie spices.
This is the drill for dinner: 3 ounces of meat (any type), 1 cup of green beans, 1/2 banana, a small apple and 1 cup of ice cream. As you can see, this diet is based on cutting down calories, while still eating a diverse selection of food.
2. DAY TWO
The next breakfast should consist of: 1 slice of multi-grain toast, 1 egg, and half a banana. The military diet goes like this – you follow it for three days, then take four days off. Then you repeat the process until satisfied with the results. But if you binge eat the other 4 days, don’t expect to lose weight. Stick to balanced meals (around 1.500 calories per day).
For the lunch on your second day, you are allowed 1 cup of cottage cheese (or a slice of cheddar), a hard-boiled egg and finally 5 saltine crackers. During the days you’re following the diet, it’s best not to engage in physically intensive work. A short half-hour walk is fine, though.
Dinner time! Excited? Yeah, thought so… Here’s your menu: 2 hot dogs (no buns), 1 cup of broccoli, a handful of carrots, half a banana, and 1/2 a cup of vanilla ice cream. I have no clue why this diet insists on eating specifically vanilla ice cream, but if you’re bored with that, you can replace it with 1 cup of apple juice or 1 cup of almond milk (strawberry or banana flavored).
All vegetables are to be steamed, boiled, baked or eaten raw. As for meat, it should be grilled or baked. For those of you who are vegetarian, you can replace the meat proteins with beans, lentils, tofu, and/or portobello mushrooms.
3. DAY THREE
You’re almost done, just a little push! For your final military diet breakfast, you should have five saltine crackers, 1 slice of cheddar cheese and a small apple. If you’re not fond of those crackers, you can replace them with rice cakes, while the cheddar cheese can be substituted with eggs, cabbage, ham, or soy cheese. And don’t forget the black coffee or caffeinated tea!
Your final lunch in the military (ahem) is fittingly small. You’re having 1 slice of whole wheat or multi-grain toast and 1 egg (hard-boiled). You can replace the egg with a cup of milk, a chicken wing or two slices of bacon. You probably noticed that as the days progress, there is a gradual reduction of the calorie intake. Which is actually the goal of the diet.
For your last dinner, though, you get 1 cup of tuna, half a banana and (again) a cup of vanilla ice cream. And no snacking allowed! All you can eat is listed in these menus. When you’re in the military you MUST adhere to the strict rules of discipline, and this diet is the same. All in or get out!
Alcohol is also forbidden while following this diet, and this includes your 4 days off too. The only exception is 1 glass of wine.
Always keep this in mind: fat loss and cutting weight are two different things. Losing 10 pounds in several days doesn’t mean that you lost 10 pounds of fat. An overall calorie reduction regime will help you shed some fat, but also water mass and intestinal mass.
So, do you have what it takes to jump into this military diet? It’s challenging, I admit. But also, before doing so, please consult your physician.
* This information is meant to supplement, not replace advice from your doctor or healthcare provider and is not meant to cover all possible uses, precautions, interactions or adverse effects. This information may not fit your specific health circumstances.