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The Military Diet . . . Safe or Not?

Updated on April 1, 2016

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?

Have Fad Diets Helped You Lose Weight?

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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.

Day One

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)

Day Two

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

Day Three

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 Trick

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.

Some Warnings

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!

A Testimonial

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.

Words of Advice

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!

Comments

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      JonNeice 5 weeks ago

      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.

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      Lynnette 7 weeks ago

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

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      sharon 7 weeks ago

      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

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      witmerchewning 4 months ago

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

    • profile image

      Tanvi 7 months ago

      no deosnt work

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      rrc 10 months ago

      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

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      Tania 10 months ago

      I lost the first week 2kg second week 4kg and the 3rd week pick up 400grams. WAS VERY DISAPPOINTING...

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      anamika 11 months ago

      this one is awesome i had tried it couple of month ago and i lost 5lbs in 3 days but due to spring break i started eating junk. i love whatever is there in the menu and i even walk for 20 minutes as fast as i can and guess what i started it again.

      hope it also works this time

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      Monique Kassay 11 months ago

      I started the diet on Tuesday. I had to go out for dinner for a party , that was a challenge being at a party not eating or drinking anything but water ! But I did it . Day two was fine , now I'm on my last day. I did everything exactly as stated. I walked 3 miles the first day . I walked the third day and did yoga. I only have to finish tonight's dinner. I can't wait to see if it worked in the morning. I will let you know. If it worked, I will continue until I lose my 30lbs. I'm keeping my fingers crossed?

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      11 months ago

      I lost 9lbs on the 3 day diet.I walked for 20mins every day.

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      Luces 11 months ago

      The word from the author really touched my heart

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      Neb 11 months ago

      I love the foods so far, not the coffee but so far day one has been great. Recommend to anyone looking to loose a few pounds or more or even less.

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      Kya87 12 months ago

      I am a 70 years old woman and I lost 5 pounds in the 3 days, and it never happen before with any other diet. Totally recommend.

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      Sal 13 months ago

      I did the 3-day diet and lost 3 pounds. It was really hard after day 2 and I felt really sick. By day 3, I was really, really hungry -- despite drinking lots of water. I felt dizzy and weak and don't think it was a good thing for my body as my blood sugar got too low. I think I will just continue to eat less food/more veggies and increase exercising.

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      Mali 13 months ago

      3rd day 5 lbs down.....but feeling so hungry and dizzy.....

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      Angela 13 months ago

      Day 1 of this diet for me . i work out every day and try to keep it clean . i just wanted to try something different. I don't have any expectations . just going to see how it goes. i think the difficult thing for me would be not eating as often as i used to. i used to eat every 2 hours . but having 3 staight meals a day seems ok. will see after 3 days!

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      frank 14 months ago

      i have tried this diet twice, and it has worked, but i would not recommend this diet.

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      Jamie 14 months ago

      I"m on day 2 and lost 5lbs already.

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      Sarah 14 months ago

      I want to try this out. If I do, after I'm done will I just gain the weight back from water weight?

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      Blair 14 months ago

      Malika let me know if it worked for 11 tools I have a 12 year old who needs it!!

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      Blair 14 months ago

      This diet is the only thing that has worked for me, I'm not sure if a kid could handle it or not, it is difficult!!

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      Malika 14 months ago

      Tell me now! Is this diet safe for an 11 year old otherwise I'm just doing it! I know I'm acting strict but I want to know lol.

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      Lu 16 months ago

      The coffee can have black sugar or have to be unsweet?

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      Dee 17 months ago

      This is Thursday and I'm down 6 lbs YAY!! Going to do it again in a few days!!

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      Dee 17 months ago

      Started this today! Will come back Thursday morning and post my results!

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      17 months ago

      Is this diet safe for a 13 year old girl?

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      cbryan 18 months ago

      I do not like eggs. can I substitue anything for the eggs?

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      edenportal 19 months ago

      I really want to know why we are supposed to eat a hotdog because once it is digested nitrites and nitrates can form nitrosamines, which have been linked to cancer in test animals. To reduce it a tad they inject it full of chemicals.

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      Maggs 20 months ago

      I've done this diet. The first week I lost 8 lbs, second week I lost 6 lbs, third week I lost 5 lbs. I'm currently on my 4th week.

      The first week was the hardest, i was hungry but I drank lots of water.

      After the second week it was a piece of pie. I actually like this diet and will continue to use it until I've reached my weight goal.

      I do a lot of walking and exercises which I think that's what has helped too.

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      Cindy 22 months ago

      started this dieted yesterday, following it exactly as is! Will be back on Wednesday morning with my results!

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      Leslie 23 months ago

      Im 4 weeks pregnant and im over weight, is it safe for me to do this diet?

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      Victoria 23 months ago

      I only lost 1,5 pounds, followed diet exactly. I was 138 the first morning before diet and on fourth day morning I was 136.5. Not worth it.

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      Ty 23 months ago

      Do you have to eat the meals exactly? For example, can I eat the toast from lunch with the toast and peanut butter from breakfast as one meal? Or, the two pieces of toast with the tuna? What I want to know is it okay to eat the plan out of order? I would still only eat what is required of the day.

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      Victoria 23 months ago

      Is this diet safe for 11 years old girl?

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      Chris 24 months ago

      This is day 3 for me and I just finished my last meal. Every morning I woke up hungry but today was the worst. I was hungry all day and what little I ate for each meal wasn't filling or satisfying in the least. I'm anxious to weigh tomorrow to see if I did lose anything. If so, I may try it again with a few small tweaks.

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      Ev 2 years ago

      would it change things drastically if I had one cup of coffee in the am of day 2 &3

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      anna 2 years ago

      Hi , I have lost 4 pound in 3 days, last day i didnt lose any i wonder why, but i didnt gain any back in 4 days , i started today again after 4 day break ....

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      anna 2 years ago

      I am on day 3 of this diet, i changed some things as i don't eat meat, first day i had salmon for dinner and instead of chewing grapefruit i made juice , it is easier for me just to drink it, also on day 2 and 3 i had one coffee as i was getting headaches.... but it is very good, i feel lighter, first day i lost 2 lb. and second day i also lost 2 lb., i am very happy, tomorrow is day 4 i will let you know how much i lost. I didn't drink much water ..... or did exercises, i didn't have time.... probably would lost more

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      d. frame 2 years ago

      I'm on my second go. I don't eat sugar or soda only water and cranberry juice so I didn't expect to lose 10, pounds. I hit my 7 pound goal. The third night was a bit tough waiting to weigh in I was dreaming of food lol but, pleased when I stepped on the scale.

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      Renee 2 years ago

      Day 1 for me... I just need to tell myself it is only 3 days and stay light and healthy over the weekend. Not being able to have a few adult beverages will be my challenge!

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      Joany 2 years ago

      Today is day one. Black coffee is not my thing, but so far I made it through breakfast and lunch. Three days a week seems easy enough. Will let you know.

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      Helen 2 years ago

      am in england so what can I use instead of saltine crackers and is the vanilla ice cream low fat low sugar or any vanilla ice cream?

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      Penny Ostby 2 years ago

      Looking forward to try this one. Me and my husband.

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      connie 2 years ago

      Definitely going to try this

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      Martha 2 years ago

      Can I use milk for my tea or coffe?

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      Heaven 2 years ago

      Is this a hoax

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      Claire 2 years ago

      I lost eight pounds (and I cheated my third day) so it is a good diet. It's not miserable, and I didn't even feel particularly starved. I don't mind it and it works.

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      Dee 2 years ago

      Well I just have to say, I did this 3 day diet to the letter and thankfully I have to report I have lost 7 pounds in the three days. I will try my hardest to eat light and healthy for the next 4 and do this again. I'm very glad I tried thus diet.

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      Wanda 2 years ago

      I gained a pound. Hopeless!!

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      Debbie 2 years ago

      Can Chicken be substituted for tuna???nota tuna fan

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      Panda 2 years ago

      Trying this out, today was day 1. Feel great after completing meals and an hour workout.

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      virginika 2 years ago

      can a diabetic be safe doing this diet?

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      Valerie 2 years ago

      First day lost 4 lbs

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      camile 2 years ago

      I lost 8lb the first week and 6 the following week. On the 3 day the 1/2 bananas instead of the egg. Couldn't take eating egg again.

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      Georgia 2 years ago

      I did the military diet 280lbs when I started followed except for drinking a lot of water when I weighed on day 4 I was 275 lost 5lbs in three days I am doing it again this week following it exactly it works

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      unnati 2 years ago

      You r not wrong. I had same experience but at the day four I lost 4 lbs and I was surprised and happy. So keep doing it.

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      amirah 2 years ago

      I'm on the 3rd day of the diet and cheekily weighed myself and so far NO weightloss. I am really active with going gym 5-6 days a week and usually eat about 1500-1800 calories so I was really expecting some loss. I also drink over 2 litres of water everyday and have done for over 10 years. SO where am I going wrong? :(

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      Cyn 2 years ago

      Catkas did you lose any inches?

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      Catkas 2 years ago

      I lost 7 pounds in the 3 days, and it never happen before with any other diet. Totally recommend

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      jane 2 years ago

      I don't understand how the substatutes are sometimes less or more than the other when its all about the calories very condradictive !

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      Colonel 2 years ago

      you forgot to list the penut butter on day one for breakfast

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      Dianna 2 years ago

      Can someone with Type 2 Diabetes do this diet...?

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      Chloe 2 years ago

      Substation for a Hot Dog is any 3 oz of lean meat.

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      christiana 2 years ago

      Can I do this diet and take hcg drops?

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      Ann 2 years ago

      If u type millatary diet online it will tell u substitutions

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      Ann 2 years ago

      If there any food you can have beside hot dogs? please help.

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      Idalia R. 2 years ago

      If I'm doing weights in the morning and doing this diet, can I drink amino acids or Whey protein(both with water) ?

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      Giggles0805 3 years ago

      @Um Abdulaziz - I have not done the diet yet, but i have been pregnant before and I can tell you that you should NOT go on this diet unless you doctor tells you otherwise. You need a healthy amount of calories a day to keep you and your little one energized. 1000 calories is not enough.

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      Um Abdulaziz 3 years ago

      can a pregnant women do the military diet. how much is it safe in pregnancy.

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      PATIENCE 3 years ago

      I have tried this diet and it has worked. I just think after reaching your you have to eat health or else you will gain the weight back.

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      CrisSp 3 years ago from Sky Is The Limit Adventure

      I love grapefruit and coffee but maybe the diet is not for me. Sounds interesting though and I know some people who might be interested. So, passing it along.

      Cheers!

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