What is the 3 Day Military Diet?
The 3 day military diet is known by a few names. Some of the better known names of the military diet are the Cleveland Clinic 3 Day Diet, the Birmingham Hospital Diet, the American Heart Association Diet, The Hot Dog Diet, the Three-Day Army Diet, the Three-Day Navy Diet and even the Kaiser three day Diet. Regardless of the name it is a diet that is made up of a strict menu of 3 days and then regular, or maintenance eating, for the other 4 days of the week. The 3 day military diet is one of the quickest ways to lose weight. Some have reported to losing up to 10 pounds in one week! The diet will work for anyone that wants to burn fat and lose weight. Of course the legend of the diet claims that top nutritionists from the armed forces designed the military diet for the men and women of the armed forces to build muscle and burn fat. The truth of the diet is that it probably didn’t originate from the military. Regardless of the name, the fact that we should be worried about, is that the 3 day military diet simply works.
The 3 Day Military Diet is a Only Three Days
The 3 Day Military Diet is a strict eating regimen for three days and only three days. After the three days of the strict menu, you then do four days of maintenance eating (basically normal eating). The diet is one of the few that works so fast that you can watch the pounds melt away. It is really popular for those that want to lose weight fast. When you need to be ready for an event or be swimsuit-ready by the end of the week this is a great diet to use. By the end of the first week you will notice a difference. A big struggle with many diets is that they take so long to see results. Many seem to work so slow that you are lucky if you notice a difference at all.
It is called a three day military diet because the menu is set for only 3 days of the week. You can see Day 1, Day 2, or Day 3 menus by clicking on the links or by using the buttons on the top of this page. Although the menu is spelled out exactly what you can and can not eat each day for the 3 days you are on the diet that doesn't mean you can eat like a wild-man/wild-woman for your 4 days off. It's important not to binge on your 4 days off. Simply eat normally. Don't try and "catch up" on your calories. Many like the restrictiveness of the diet. They are told exactly what to eat and how much of it. There really is no guess work. One of the reasons that it works is that there is no doubt on what you should or shouldn't be doing. It is all spelled out for you.
The diet is a combination of chemically compatible foods designed to work together to synergize your weight loss. Some of the menu items seem a little crazy (hot dogs, ice cream, etc.) But they are there for a reason. The meals give the body everything it needs in order not to feel hungry and to keep energy high. When combined with moderate exercise there is nothing more powerful on the planet than getting anyone on the diet in shape. But like a soldier, you simply need to follow the diet.
Six reasons why the Military Diet works…
1. The 3 Day Military Diet is low calorie
There are many websites out there that have the military diet menu plan under 1,000 calories a day and then want the dieter to stay under 1,500 calories on your 4 days off. That is crazy! The military diet is low calorie but it is enough above most people's basal metabolic rate (and then some) so the diet's energy doesn't drop off.
A person’s basal metabolic rate is the rate of calories your body uses just to sustain itself. A basal metabolic rate is just the calories that your body needs to sustain breathing, circulation, metabolism etc. The average basal metabolic rate in the United State is for men is around 1700. For a woman in the United States the rate is closer to 1500. Of course everyone’s body is different but this is the average.
The simple truth of diets is that in order to lose weight you need to consume less calories than you take in. The 3 day military day is made up of around 1300 calories each day. So if a person were on the diet and just lying in bed he or she would have a calorie deficit of 300 – 400 calories a day.
Of course not many people lay in bed all day. And those on the 3 day military diet are normally at least doing light exercise. This leads the body to use upwards of more than a 1000 calories more than it takes in. This means that fat comes off quick! Most lose at least 5 lbs. a week. Some have reported losing up to 10 lbs a week.
If you follow the 3 day military diet and don't cheat on your diet days, you will lose weight. A pound of fat is made of around 3500 calories. If you take in 3500 more calories than you burn you will gain 1 pound of fat (although there is some debate on this number). If you burn 3500 more calories than you eat you will lose 1 pound of fat. The Military Diet is designed to burn calories because you eat less than you burn for three days a week.
2. The 3 Day Military Diet Doesn't take a lot of willpower
Diets are hard. And most people on diets fail because they finally give in. With the 3 day military diet you only have to follow a strict meal plan for 3 days a week and then you will have 4 days off. The first day will be a little tricky for some. But if you survive the first day then the next 2 are relatively easy. After the 3 days of the diet are complete you will have 4 days of normal eating. These are important and healthy days. They are also the reason that the diet is doable. No one can eat 1300 calories a day forever! And even if you could eat 1300 forever your body would slow down your metabolism and start to burn less fat each day. You need discipline to start the diet. It is quite easy once you adjust your body (and brain) though. If you are motivated this diet works wonderfully for how easy it is.
3. The 3 Day Military Diet doesn't slow down your metabolism
The body reacts when less food is coming in. It will automatically slow down its metabolism. For an example: look at the metabolism of recent contestestants of the reality show The Biggest Loser. Their metabolisms have slowed way down.
For any diet to work you need to cut calories to lose weight. If you you take it too far it is detrimental to the diet. Going too low on the calorie count delivers a double-blow to your metabolism. When you eat less than you need for basic biological function, your body throws the brakes on your metabolism. With the 3 day military diet your metabolism will not be slowed down because you're only on it for 3 days at a time. Jimmy Kimmel's diet uses the same principle. The majority of the week you are eating normal. There are still guidelines you have to follow but you are basically eating normal
4. The 3 Day Military Diet doesn't slow down your energy
Another reason why people fail on diets is because they have super low energy and can't cope with their normal day-to-day tasks. Many on diets get lightheaded, grumpy, spacey or worse. And if you have low energy it is near impossible to get yourself to work out. A simple jog feels like a marathon. The military diet has been designed with foods that will keep you clear-headed and full of energy while still burning fat. The key to this diet is not the amount of calories consumed but rather the interaction between the different foods in each meal and how they work with your body and break down each other. And of course, the diet supplies you with the necessary fats, carbs, and proteins you need throughout the day.
5. The 3 Day Military Diet is Free
Well it is free in the sense that you don't need anything extra. We assume that you'll be eating food every day anyway. But there are no expensive gimmicky foods or diet pills here. Diets that cause the body to alter its normal function with drugs or special foods normally don't last. And diets that alter the body's chemistry are dangerous. Eating less calories and exercising is still the best way to lose weight and keep it off. Many diets work great in the short-run but the dieter ends up bouncing back to their original weight. Many times they will gain more weight than they started off with. This is a product of using unnatural methods.
The great thing about the 3 day military diet is that it will burn fat faster than almost any other diet out there. This is an all natural diet using foods that work together to burn fat. It isn't the sexiest diet in the world especially when you are choking down broccoli and fish. But there are hot dogs and ice cream on the diet to give you a break from it all. The foods used in the diet are not all low calorie but the portions are. The big secret of the 3 day military diet is the fact that they work together chemically and that is what is important. May will question finding hot dogs and broccoli as part of your dinner on Day 2 of the three Day Military Diet but the diet is set up like that for a reason.
6. The 3 Day Military Diet isn't complicated
There are many diets that complicate things. If you don't have the time to try and figure out calories or nutrition components of foods (or simply don't want to) then this diet is for you. With the 3 day military diet there is nothing to think about. You just follow the menu and go throughout your day. There are no expensive pills, crazy exotic treatments, no debilitating work-out sessions, and no counting calories. We know that counting calories doesn't work. Some prefer the diet just for its simplicity even if their goal isn't to lose weight. It is perfectly balanced nutrition for the fats, protein, and carbs you need throughout the day. You prepare the appropriate foods for that day and eat!
The 3 Day Military Diet in a Nutshell:
|DAY 1||DAY 2||DAY 3|
|BREAKFAST||1/2 grapefruit 1 slice of toast – Whole grain bread is preferable 2 tablespoons of peanut butter 1 cup of coffee or tea – No sweeteners or creamers||1 egg – Can be cooked however you like it. If frying, don’t use oil. 1 slice of toast – Whole grain bread is preferable 1/2 banana||5 saltine crackers 1 slice of cheddar cheese 1 small apple|
|LUNCH||1/2 cup of tuna or salmon 1 slice of toast – Whole grain bread is preferable 1 cup coffee or tea – No sweeteners or creamers||1 cup of cottage cheese 1 hard boiled egg - Doesn't have to be hard boiled. But you can't cook it in oil 5 saltine crackers||1 hard boiled egg - Doesn't have to be hard boiled. But you can't cook it in oil 1 slice of toast – Whole grain bread is preferable|
|DINNER||3 ounces of any type of meat – Chicken, top sirloin, even some types of pork can be lean. Grill or broil the meat without oil 1 cup of green beans 1/2 banana 1 small apple* 1 cup of vanilla ice cream *Pro Tip: Warm the apple and eat it with the ice cream.||2 hot dogs (without bun) 1 cup broccoli – Doesn’t have to be cooked (see below) 1/2 cup carrots – Doesn’t have to be cooked (see below) 1/2 banana 1/2 cup of vanilla ice cream||1 cup of tuna or salmon 1/2 banana 1 cup of vanilla ice cream|
Important points and tips about the military diet:
- Don't binge before this diet. Many dieters have the attitude of "eat, drink, and be merry for tomorrow we diet". The 1st day of the military diet will probably be the hardest. Don't make it even harder by having a Sunday on the couch eating a full pizza followed by a 2 liter of coke. Having said that, this isn't an excuse not to start the diet either. Start from where you are. This diet works if you follow it and give it enough time. It's probably a good idea not to binge after the diet as well.
- Cooking food makes the calories more available. If you don't have a preference if your broccoli or carrots are cooked, try them uncooked. This may take some getting used to but many like their foods uncooked.
- Plan on cravings. You know those sugary snacks you've been sneaking for the last few weeks/months/years? Well your brain is still going to ask for them. Your body will adjust to the food that you give it and you will be better off because of it. It's important that you stick to the military diet. The diet might not be from the military but you need the discipline of a soldier to get through the first bit of it. After the 1st day most have an easier time on the diet. And most will have more energy because their body has good food to work with.
- Only stay on the diet for 3 days. This isn't a starvation diet (which is why it works). But you don't want to lower your metabolism by staying on the diet forever. Stay on the diet for 3 days and then eat normally for 4 days. Then you can restart the diet. The trick is to keep your metabolism up, not to mention your energy!
- Your biggest urge to cheat on the diet will probably come right after you eat a meal. You may think, "This isn't enough food. I'm still hungry!" Relax and give your stomach time to tell your brain that food is in your belly. The average time your brain needs to realize the stomach is full is 20 minutes.
- Drink a glass of water before each meal. You will fill fuller and less prone to cheat. Water is what your body needs to flush out toxins. There is even some science behind only increasing your water intake to lose weight.
- This needs to be mentioned again: DRINK WATER. In addition to the foods listed for each day, you should drink lots of water. Drinking lots of water helps with weight loss, helps you flush out toxins in your body and even helps you feel fuller longer. Do NOT drink low calorie or zero calorie beverages. Diet sodas, zero-calorie beverages, and even no-calorie sports drinks will interfere with fat loss. The 3 Day Military Diet also works to flush out excess water weight. Any beverage but water will interfere with this. Only tea and coffee should be drunk on Day 1 of three Day Military Diet.
- This diet is proven to work. Substitutions are allowed but not encouraged. Try and stick to the original diet but you can substitute if you have dietary restrictions or simply won't eat one of the menu items. Salt and pepper may be used, but do not use any other seasoning, cooking oils, flavors, etc.
- One aspect of a weight loss program that many people forget or neglect is the importance of muscle mass and building muscle before/after their diet. Muscle burns more calories than fat even if you aren't consistently using your muscle. Building even a small amount of muscle can help immensely in your weight loss goals. A slight bump up in muscle also makes it more likely to keep the weight off. Some diets cause you to lose muscle mass along with the fat. This is common in starvation diets and a chief reason why many people gain the weight back when they’re done dieting. If you do not have an active lifestyle, you don’t have to do much to build muscle mass. Small free weights or even rowing machines can work wonders. We're big advocates of walking.
- Lastly, be easy on yourself. You can lose a lot of weight quickly on the 3 day military diet. But you can't lose 100 lbs in a week. You'll see results really quickly. But don't be frustrated if you're not at your target weight in a few days. Weight takes time to put on and it takes time to come off. If you are frustrated take out your frustration on your next exercise session.
Synergy of Foods and Not Feeling Deprived
There are some that argue about the nutritional value of hot dogs and ice cream. Yes there is some fat with the ice cream and hot dogs but fat is important when losing weight. High protein foods like the fish and the meat have a high thermal effect when digesting. This means that simply eating them will burn some of the calories in the digestive process. This diet also has the right balance of fat, protein, and carbs to keep your body functioning normally. But along with fat, protein and carbs there are many high fiber foods such as green beans, apples broccoli. Fiber is very important when trying to lose weight. Fiber makes you feel fuller and can also boost your metabolism.
With many diets you feel hungry, fatigued, grumpy, etc. This is normally because you are robbing your body of one nutrient or another. On the 3 day military diet the calories are low but you will still get the nutrition you need. With the right balance of foods and keeping your body in a caloric deficit each week the pounds simply melt away.
The simple fact is that this diet works! Try the 3 day military diet. I think you'll be pleasantly surprised.
See our Military Diet Substitutes page for questions on what you can substitute on the diet.