With hundreds of fad diets and meal plans floating around the internet, it can be hard to separate fact from fiction and find something that actually helps you lose weight. “The Military Diet” claims to solve all of your problems and says that you will lose ten pounds in one week. What exactly is this fad diet, and can it really deliver such astonishing results? Read on to find out.
“The Military Diet” (which has no association with the armed forces) surged in popularity in 2015, when restrictive diets were still the norm. Though there is now a trend towards healthy eating and exercise over calorie restriction, the allure of a diet that seemingly gives instant results has caused the military diet to make its way back into the spotlight.
This diet is constructed of a 3-day calorie restrictive meal plan followed by 4 days of normal “healthy eating” and a decreased calorie intake. TheMilitaryDiet.com asserts that following this meal plan will allow you to lose ten pounds in a week without exercise and while eating ice cream.
Remember, if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Experts explain that though overweight people may experience dramatic weight loss by following such a plan, the results are not normative, and most of the weight loss is simply water weight that will return once you resume a standard diet.
The military diet meal plan:
This is an increasingly calorie-restrictive diet; 1,400 calories on day one, 1,200 calories on day two, and roughly 1,100 calories on day three. To put this into perspective, the average man needs roughly 2500 calories each day to maintain a healthy weight.
- Breakfast: 1/2 Grapefruit, one slice of bread/toast with two tablespoons of peanut or almond butter, and one cup of coffee
- Lunch: one slice of bread or toast, 1/2 can of tuna, and one cup of coffee
- Dinner: 3 oz. of any meat (the size of a deck of cards), one cup of green beans, one small apple, 1/2 banana, and one cup of ice cream
- Breakfast: one egg cooked (however you like), one slice of bread or toast, 1/2 banana
- Lunch: one cup of cottage cheese, one hardboiled egg, five saltine crackers
- Dinner: two hot dogs (no bun), one cup of broccoli, 1/2 cup of carrots, 1/2 banana, one cup of ice cream
- Breakfast: one slice of cheddar cheese, one small apple, five saltine crackers
- Lunch: one egg (cooked however you like), one slice of bread or toast
- Dinner: one cup of tuna, 1/2 banana, one cup of ice cream
If you understand the basics of a healthy lifestyle, this meal plan should raise some serious concerns. Ice cream and hot dogs? Those aren’t healthy, right? Absolutely not. There is no nutritional value in most of the food on this meal plan. It is carb-heavy and does not include many vital nutrients that are needed to maintain healthy bones, skin, and organ function.
Is it dangerous?
Though you are unlikely to experience any long-term adverse effects from following the military diet for one week, there is also no benefit in it either. Any weight you do lose will return rapidly once you’re off of it and following this diet for any longer than a week is not sustainable. In fact, if you try to exercise while restricting your calories so much, you may experience dizziness, fatigue, and nausea.
Yes, you may lose weight. However, it may not be a safe amount of weight. 1-2 pounds per week is considered healthy weight loss, though even this will depend on your metabolism and body type.
Calorie counting is not the answer. It is important to follow recommended serving sizes and enjoy healthy foods in moderation; however, depriving yourself of food when your body needs it for fuel is inviting many harmful factors. Eat a whole foods diet and, if you are trying to lose weight, cut out sugar, and hit the gym every day or even just get out for a brisk walk. Your body will be stronger, you’ll feel better, and your lifestyle change for good, not just your waistline for a few weeks. Getting healthy does take time, so be patient with yourself and commit to your long-term goals. Reconsider your relationship with food and focus on forming lifetime habits of healthy eating and living.