What Is The Military Diet or 3 Day Diet Plan?

The Military Diet plan- also know as the far less intimidating ‘3 day diet plan’- promises a more then impressive ‘up to 10 pounds' of weight loss in a single week.

If you're looking for a fast and dramatic weight loss solution for the short term- and one that won't cost the world- this rigorous and dramatic short term diet plan may be for you. But be prepared for a challenge and a half!

Tell me more about the Military Diet Plan!

The name ‘Military Diet Plan' comes from a supposed association of the formula and thinking behind this plan with squaddies who needed to lose weight urgently for their weigh ins, or new recruits being whipped into shape by the armed forces.

It's not clear whether this association can, in fact, be verified or if it's just urban legend but it doesn't really matter- while this is a diet plan without accompanying exercise, it will sure feel like a boot camp to you! If 3 day diet plan sounds less intimidating to you, stick with that terminology- the principals are all the same in the end, after all, and it’s the results that matter most.

Whats Involved?

This particular meal plan certainly offers the world and promises really big results- 10 pounds is an awfully tempting weight loss! Of course, bear in mind that results vary for everyone, so your own losses may not be that high, but you will lose with this particular eating plan, that’s for sure.

There’s a couple of other more-than-appealing features to the 3 day diet plan. It’s cheap, working with foods you'll already have at home rather than expensive branded supplements. It also works without strenuous exercise- while we all know we need it, it's always hard to do it, isn't it?

It also doesn’t need special pills or prescriptions to eat into your budget. Instead, it [supposedly- scientific proof of this particular claim is lacking] works with optimal balancing of the chemical constituents of food to create lean and rapid weight loss. Sounds absolutely ideal, doesn't it? But remember that nothing in this world is perfect!

So, what's the ‘skinny' behind the military diet plan?

It's best to step back a moment and understand a few things the Military Diet plan isn't. Keep in mind that this plan is a 3 day diet plan- so that’s 3 day on the diet, then 4 days off. However the 4 day's ‘off' are not really ‘off ‘days in the strictest sense- at least, not if you want to gain the best results possible.

It is recommend that you stick to a 1300-1500 calorie “off day” for those 4 days to help maximize results, especially if you’re on the diet to meet a specific goal in a quick time. The already diet-savvy will recognize those figures immediately. They’re the minimum recommended calorie intake for women and men respectively.

Regularly consuming less then these amounts will slow down your metabolism, place your body into survival mode and undo all your hard dieting work. And remember- this is the ‘off’ day amount.

You will be eating less then this recommended intake on the ‘on’ days- it’s as little as 860-1000 calories on the on days! Overusing the Military Diet plan and its severe calorie limitations will thus impair rather than boost the results you gain. This is a quick-fix diet designed for quick results over the short term and should be used sensibly with that in mind.

This is not a sustainable eating plan, either. While the 3 day diet plan will help you meet a short term goal fast, and whilst it can be a super kick start to your weight loss and provide much needed motivation to continue the journey, it's not teaching you sustainable eating habits for long term diet success and shouldn't be used with the expectation that it is.

If you do, you are setting yourself up for failure, and it would be better to leave the whole thing alone to start with. Rather use it as a valuable tool towards meeting your goals, and embrace it as the short term diet it is. What a great way to kick-start your weight loss, after all!

The last thing to bear in mind is that this diet plan is by no means easy. It is a severely calorie restricted diet- even over such a short term as 3 days- and if you wish to use it you need to make sure you are both dedicated to the plan and your end goal, and willing to sustain the mental integrity needed to achieve them.

There's no point in trying this diet and then waffling around and cheating on the calorie intake- it's only 3 short days of limiting and you need to make the most of them. It will be tough if you already have an exercise or sports program making calorie demands on your body, and as with most diet plans, it's a good idea to keep an eye on how you feel and watch for warning signs like dizziness and excessive fatigue.

You may be ok with suffering a bit for your goals, but your vitality and health should never be sacrificed- listen to your body, especially when dieting, a period of stress for the body’s natural systems.

On To The diet Itself:

You'll see a couple of different variants of the 3 day diet plan, or Military Diet plan floating around the internet- heck, you’ll see those two different labels used everywhere too- but the most proven, trusted and original form of the plan [whatever you choose to call it] is as follows:

Day 1

  • Breakfast of ½ a grapefruit, a single slice of toast, 2 tablespoons of peanut butter and coffee or tea taken black.
  • Lunch of ½ cup of brine tuna, a single slice of toast and once again coffee or tea taken black
  • Dinner of 3 oz of any lean meat of your choice, 1 cup of green beans, ½ a banana, 1 small apple and a small cup of vanilla ice cream. Some people recommend warming the apple or banana to eat with the icecream to make this a more decadent and filling treat.

Day 2

  • Breakfast of 1 slice of toast, 1 egg done however you prefer it and ½ a banana
  • Lunch of a cup of cottage cheese, 1 [preferably hard boild] egg and 5 crackers of the saltine variety.
  • Dinner of 2 [bun-less, alas] hot dogs, 1 cup of broccoli, ½ a cup of carrots, ½ a banana and ½ cup of vanilla ice cream.

Day 3

Day 3 is by far the strictest, be warned! It's the last hump you need to cross to make it to your goals on this 3 day diet plan.

  • Breakfast of 5 of the same saltine crackers, a thin slice of cheddar cheese and a small apple.
  • Lunch of 1 hard-boiled egg and a toast slice
  • Dinner of 1 cup of brine tuna, ½ a banana and a cup of vanilla ice cream.

As you can see, it's not an easy plan to follow, although it makes just enough wiggle room for treats to keep a sweet tooth at bay. You are, however, urged to use only salt and pepper as spices, and to limit salt to the best of your abilities.

Remember that there's severe calorie restriction on Military Diet plan- you're looking at a decidedly slim approximate of 860-1000 calories a day on the 3 ‘on' days. Your ‘off' day 1500 calorie allowance will feel like sheer luxury in comparison!

You can, of course, substitute ingredients if you have food sensitivities or similar issues with any of the ingredients, but do be aware that proponents of this diet method supposedly base their recommendations in the plan on the way the ingredients interact with each other chemically- if at all possible, it's best to stick rigidly to their recommendations.

If you do find yourself substituting, remember to stick to that 1000 calorie limit, or you'll be losing the point of the exercise.

Tips to keep in mind on the 3 day diet plan.

There are a couple of other things to remember. Firstly, other than the coffee or tea choices on the first day, you should be drinking nothing but water throughout the plan. As with most diets [and healthy living in general] make it as much water as your body needs- adults should always be aiming for at least half their body weight [in pounds] as ounces as a general rule.

If that sounds confusing, it may be easier to grasp that as a recommendation of at least 100 ounces a day for a 200 pound man. Remember that that’s ‘at least’. If you’re active, you may well need more. Non-caffeinated teas are also a great beverage choice and provide hydration with a touch of non-calorific flavor.

If you absolutely have to have your caffeine fix, black coffee has very little calorie impact [about 11 calories a cup]- but leave out the oh-so-tempting milk, sugar and additives.

They also urge you to avoid artificial sweeteners, tempting as they are. That's a great general tip, of course- most of the non-nutritive sweeteners are chemically dubious at best and have no part in a healthy diet. Use Stevia if you need a touch of sweet taste.

That’s about where the great nutritional tips end on this diet. Do always bear in mind that whilst effective for the plan itself, some of the foods used in the Military Diet plan are not ideal for a ‘clean' diet- hot dogs are tasty, that's for sure, but if you're goal is to keep your diet as clean, nutritious and healthy as possible you will want to steer away from them after you achieve your results.

Almost any severely calorie restrictive diet will suffer the same problems.

So What's The Verdict?

As a short term diet plan, used sensibly and occasionally to provide a quick boost to weight loss by healthy individuals, to meet a specific weight goal or provide an initial burst of motivation to a longer term diet, the Military Diet plan will work for you. It's a rigorous 3 day diet plan that will help you develop strong thinking, resist temptation and achieve what you want.

Tose are always valuable lessons, particularly when embarking on changing and shaping your body. But it should not become a long-term attempt at a quick fix, and you need to understand that long term sustainable weight loss results will not come from a severely calorie restrictive diet alone.

It will take the much harder to develop [but ultimately extremely worthwhile] shift in habits to healthy, clean eating to take off the weight- and keep it off permanently. You will set yourself up for failure if you use the 3 day diet plan believing it will be the be-all and end-all of the weight loss effort you will need.

Proponents of the Military Diet Plan suggest taking up to 4 cycles [i.e. up to a month] of the 3 day on, 4 day off cycles. Of course, you’ll always find people on the internet who’ve taken it further- some of whom have still had result’s they’re happy with. But it’s best to stick with the 4 cycle suggestion. Any more is likely to start slowing your weight loss progress, rather than speeding it.

We've said it already, but it's worth saying again- this is a short term diet plan, not a long term solution to excess weight. To keep the results you will inevitably gain on this diet plan, you will need to make a long-term commitment to healthy living and exercise and training- whether it's spells in the gym, playing squash with your neighbor or running the dogs daily. A fit life is a healthy one, after all!

The 3 day diet plan does exactly what it promises- it will whip you into shape quickly and give you fast results over a short period if you can tough it out. Remember to make the long-term commitment to those same goals to be sure that the fast results you gain translate into long-term success too. With that firmly in mind- get to it, soldier!

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Kelly is a personal fitness trainer and nutrition expert who has worked with clients all over the world. With over 15 years in the health and fitness industry she will be sharing her knowledge with the Fitness Fixation community.