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The Military Diet . . . Safe or Not?

the-military-dietsafe-or-not

We've all heard of fad diets, diets flashing in bright, shiny letters: Lose 10 lbs fast! And sure enough there are many people who attempt them everyday.

One in particular I would like to survey is The Military Diet, also known as The Grapefruit Diet or The Coffee Diet. The synopsis of the diet is simple:

Eat a strict 3-day menu and take the other 4 days of the week off to eat as you normally would. Following this routine is supposed to allow the dieter to lose up to 10 lbs per week. Sounds pretty simple, right?

For anyone who has dieted before, it's not an easy game. Eating a salad with little dressing, while all your friends chow down Big Macs can be downright miserable, especially the first week or so while you're starving your butt off.

It's really no surprise that fad diets were created. Everyone wants an easier, faster route to lose those last few pounds before the big wedding day or prom, but is there any truth to them.

Well sure, theoretically. Each person is different, for instance someone who is 50 lbs overweight is going to have an easier go of it losing 5 lbs on a diet faster than say somebody who is 10 lbs overweight.

So back to the question at hand: Is the Military Diet codswallop, or is there actually some truth to the claim?

The Menu . . . Can You Handle It?

What strikes me the most about this diet is lack of propaganda. This is one of the only diets I know of that doesn't claim that a product they created is going to be your miracle weight loss solution.

All of the menu items on this list can be bought at your local grocer for around 20 bucks. The menu, as seen below is very simple to make.

Breakfast

  • 1 slice of whole wheat toast
  • 1/2 grapefruit
  • 1 cup coffee or tea (caffeinated)

Lunch

  • 1 slice of whole wheat bread or toast
  • 1/2 cup tuna
  • 1 cup coffee or tea (caffeinated)

Dinner

  • 3 ounces of ANY meat (about the size of a deck of cards)
  • 1 cup green beans
  • 1/2 banana
  • 1 small apple
  • 1 cup of vanilla ice cream (Does NOT have to be sugar-free)
Scroll to Continue

Breakfast

  • 1 egg (cooked how you like)
  • 1 slice of whole wheat toast
  • 1/2 banana
  • Coffee or Tea

Lunch

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

Dinner

  • 2 hot dogs (no bun)
  • 1/2 cup carrots
  • 1 cup broccoli
  • 1/2 banana
  • 1 cup vanilla ice cream

Breakfast

  • 1 slice cheddar cheese
  • 1 small apple
  • 5 saltine crackers
  • coffee or tea

Lunch

  • 1 slice whole wheat bread or toast
  • 1 egg (cooked how you like)

Dinner

  • 1 cup tuna
  • 1/2 banana
  • 1 cup vanilla ice cream

(Source: http://themilitarydiet.com/military-diet-plan/)

The menu items above don't seem too unhealthy, right? So let's break it down.

  • The grapefruit in the diet is supposed to adjust your pH levels, bringing your liver in high gear to start breaking down fats.
  • The proteins from the peanut butter and meats require more energy for your body to burn.
  • The apples you eat on the diet have pectin in them, which supposedly limits the amount of fat your cells store.

Sure these things may help a bit, but when it comes down to it, it's always about the calories. 1 pound of fat is made up of 3500 calories.

The Military Diet only consists of consuming around 1000 calories during the 3-day menu. Add the fact that usually even a mostly sedentary person can burn 1000 calories a day and the diet will most definitely work.

Keeping those pounds that you lost once you stop the diet however can present a bit of a challenge. If you read on the website, it will tell you that this diet is considered a form of fasting. Any diet where you consume 1000 calories or less a day is a form of fasting.

When you go from consuming 2000 or more calories a day, and suddenly cut your intake in half, it's going to shock your system a bit and this can boost your metabolism and cause weight loss.

On the diet, to achieve maximum results, the dieter is told to only drink water, coffee, or tea. This will also, to be blunt, make you pee more, which is going to reduce the amount of water weight your body will hold in. So all in all, yes the diet can work, but how about keeping the weight off?

For the other 4 days of the week, you're encouraged to eat as you normally would. Well, that could be a recipe for failure. Many people will over-compensate for the lack of calories they consumed while on the diet.

The best way to really keep this weight loss off is going to be to follow a 1500-2000 calorie diet, and making sure to burn the calories you consume.

With any diet, you should always contact a doctor before beginning. Making sure your body can handle this kind of diet is incredibly important.

  • If you begin to feel sick, dizzy, or too weak, discontinue the diet IMMEDIATELY
  • Always give your body a break from exercise, your body needs at least 1 day a week to recuperate after intense dieting or working out.
  • Make sure to stretch before and after working out, as keeping limber muscles will help to avoid muscle strains and spasms.
  • 20 minutes a day of walking is considered great exercise for those who are unable to do high-intensity workouts.
  • Work up to a goal, if you are new to working out, start at low-intensity. When you can do that without getting too winded or needing a break, it's time to take it to the next level. You'll be up to high-intensity in no time!

After having my son, I had some unwanted weight leftover to lose. I had heard of this diet in the past and decided to give it a try. I went to the grocery, pumped up and ready to diet my booty off. I bought all the items and began the diet the very next day.

Day One

The first day of the diet wasn't bad at all. I rationed my food, knowing that I only had a certain amount I could eat for that day. I went to bed that night feeling light and fit.

Day Two

The next morning, I felt like an empty pit. I woke up to my stomach growling so I guzzled a cold bottle of water to try to fill what seemed to be the giant empty black hole in my belly. The small breakfast, along with the water and coffee seemed to take the edge off my hunger.

As the day progressed and I kept myself busy, I found it a bit easier to stop thinking about the huge Caramel Frappucino I would love to down.

I finished out the day and went to bed, still feeling hungry but hoping that I had lost some weight.

Day Three

The third day is without a doubt the hardest. My body felt weak and I felt tired most of the day.

Results

The day after I finished, the first thing I did was go weigh myself, and TA-DA! I had lost 5 pounds!

I was super happy, but I made the mistake of over-compensating what I lacked in calories those few days. The next week I weighed and had gained 2 of the pounds back.

My Long-Term Plan

I did the diet every week for an entire month, and during the diet itself, I rarely had enough energy to do a high-powered workout, so I took those three days off and the rest of the week I ate around 1700 calories a day and worked out.

I found that seemed to be the ticket. In one month I lost 23 pounds. As the month progressed each time I followed the diet, I would see a bit less of weight loss. Naturally my body was getting used to it. So if I had any advice at all for someone looking to attempt this diet, I would suggest trying the diet every week for a month, then giving yourself a month off of it.

This diet, for me personally, gave me some structure. After finishing it, the next month I gave myself some restrictions, but I also gave myself one day a week to where I could have pretty much whatever I wanted.

I think if you allow yourself a bit of a reward here and there, you're more likely to keep it up and not feel miserable.

Any diet is difficult, even this one. Always have a feel for how your body is doing. It will tell you if you're able to handle it or not.

If this diet doesn't work for you, there are always more ways to lose weight. Don't get discouraged and give up. Allow the failures of past diets teach you the ways of the future. Remember, water is key to fitness.

Drinking at least 8 glasses of water a day will help to rinse your system. Finding 20 minutes a day to work out IS possible, maybe not everyday, but try for a few times a week to start.

Losing weight is not easy. It will take time but the more time it takes, usually the longer it will stay off.

Lastly, dieting is changing your lifestyle, but don't let that make you think you can't have a splurge day here and there. Food is one of the simplest pleasures of life. Denying yourself completely is cruel.

A word from the author: If you don't hear it from someone today: Keep it up! You can do it! You're stronger than your cravings! And lastly, You're beautiful no matter what!

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.

Comments

jodie on July 03, 2018:

I did this diet the first time in the 80's and lost over 100lbs .. I didn't go back to eating the way I was the 4 days off.. what I did was eat lots of salad,, avoided sugary drinks and sugar.. and limited my bread .. my weight stayed off for years,, i went through some dramatic life changes started eating real bad and here I am in my 50's struggling.. I don't remember ever feeling weak on the diet but I also did not do a lot of exercising the days I was on the diet.. I exercised the days I was off and able to eat more .. not more calories so much but things like fresh veggies that kept my body happy. SO far so good.. I haven't weighed myself yet I will wait until the end of this week!! I will check back and let you know how it's going. The good news is there are substitutes you can use for example instead of 1 bread you can do 2 rice cakes which I prefer when doing tuna because I use only 1 rice cake .which is 35 cal.. and add my light mayo also 35 calories per tablespoon to my tuna,, the good news,, it only take about 1 1/2 teaspoons to keep the tuna from being so dry!! And for me well it keeps me from messing up as I can not do dry tuna!! I also sometimes sub the ice cream for Coconut Bliss or yogurt. But the ice cream again is an item that keeps me from straying as I feel like I get a little reward at the end of the day for being good and I LOVE Vanilla Ice Cream!

Debbie on November 15, 2017:

This diet works. Just google substitutes for Military Diet. I normally substitute two or three ingredients and it works exactly the same. I love the idea of substituting ingredients that still works instead of eating something I don't like. I'm starting the Military Diet tomorrow. I'm so exited! Can't wait to loose those kg.

Elisha on September 09, 2017:

I did it and I lost 4 kg. So happy

JonNeice on June 19, 2017:

The diet was working great! I started at 223.8 lbs. At the beginning of day 3, I was 218.4. I figured there's no way I could gain it back in a day. So, on day 4, I ate breakfast for day 1 of the diet. I had fried chicken strips for lunch. 1/3 pounder Angus burger for dinner, and a Super Supreme pizza from Pizza Hut at 11:15 pm. When I weighed myself the next day, I weighed 226 lbs!!! I urge you to stick to the calorie restrictions (1500) for days 4-7 of the diet or you will undo all your hard work.

Lynnette on June 02, 2017:

I cannot eat peanut butter what can I give as a substitute?

sharon on June 02, 2017:

hi i have used this diet lots it really does work if you are in england i use low cal cream crackers the other 4 days go on you tube they do a really easy meal plan i lost 101b in a week and i have tried every diet under the sun good luck everyone

sharon

witmerchewning on February 28, 2017:

You can learn how to incrase your muscles and flexibility from WooPep diet website site.

Tanvi on November 29, 2016:

no deosnt work

rrc on September 02, 2016:

ok very confused this diet is different in the original caloriebee diet - on first day it says 1 cup of ice cream and then the other two day 1/2 cup - on this web. it says a 1 cup on the third day - and both of these are caloriebee diets ??? help

Tania on September 02, 2016: