Nope, the 3 day military diet is not about saluting the food and shouting “sir, yes sir” to the calories. Nor is it eating military rations – it is, in fact, a diet that helps you lose weight fast, makes you feel energetic and helps you fit into that summer bikini or show off your hot bod, with only 3 days of dieting a week. Essentially, the 3 day military diet is an intermittent fasting diet in a 3:4 ratio). For three days you have to follow a strict, calorie-restricted diet of about 800 -1100 calories. For the other four days of the week, you then eat a normal and healthy balanced diet of about 1500 calories a day. 
Is The Military Diet Legit?
To its ardent followers (like Khloe Kardashian), the military diet is very legit. Celebs and bloggers who are fans of this diet often post miraculous before-and-after pictures of themselves and the diet claims to help you lose over 10 pounds a week – so a month of this diet and you could be the next best thing after sliced bread when it comes to dream bodies.
Many nutritionists though have labeled it as yet another fad diet with no science behind its food combinations and formulations. The 3-day military diet is also rather restrictive in its food choices and its portion sizes for the three meals as well as the strict no-snacking policy may leave you with hunger pangs. 
Also, the name itself may be a misnomer because there is no official record of the military using it – though many dancers and stage professionals do use it in the crucial days before a show to look their (thinnest) best onstage.
What does The Military Diet Entail?
The Military Diet is rather simple, and one good thing about it is that you do not have to procure any special or exotic ingredient from the market – a trip the grocery store will stick you up for the three dieting days. The rule is simple: you eat a specific and restrictive diet for three days a week, and eat normally, with an emphasis on healthy, for the next four days. Doing this every week for a couple of moths should bring your weight down by a 20-40 pounds, depending on how healthy you eat for the four non-diet days and how much of exercise and workouts you manage to weave in your daily routine.
The ingredients for the 3 Day Military Diet are simple: black coffee or tea (caffeinated is fine), grapefruits, whole wheat toast, peanut butter, tuna, any lean meat, beans, carrots, apples, bananas, vanilla ice cream, egg, cottage cheese, saltine crackers, broccoli and cheddar cheese. Sounds pretty doable, right? It is when it comes to the ingredients, but the portion sizes and rigid control over what you eat can leave you breathless for “real food”!
The 3 Day Military Diet Plan
So here go the rigid meals plans for the first three, dieting days of the 3 Day Military Diet. 
- Breakfast: 1/2 a Grapefruit, 1 slice whole-wheat toast with 2 tbsp peanut butter, and 1 cup coffee
- Lunch: 1 slice whole-wheat toast, 1/2 can tuna, and 1 cup coffee
- Dinner: 3 ounces of any meat (the size of a deck of cards), 1 cup green beans, 1 apple, 1/2 a banana and 1 cup vanilla ice cream
- Breakfast: 1 egg cooked (cooked the way you like), 1 whole-wheat toast, 1/2 a banana
- Lunch: 1 cup cottage cheese, 1 hardboiled egg, 5 saltine crackers
- Dinner: 2 hot dogs (no bun), 1 cup broccoli, 1/2 cup carrots, 1/2 a banana, 1 cup vanilla ice cream
- Breakfast: 1 slice or wedge of cheddar cheese, 1 apple, 5 saltine crackers
- Lunch: 1 egg (cooked the way you like), 1 whole-wheat toast
- Dinner: 1 cup tuna, 1/2 a banana, 1 cup vanilla ice cream
In case you feel hungry, feel free to guzzle water – and nothing else! In case you don’t like any of the ingredients mentioned above or have medical or even dietary reasons to not have them, you can go through the extensive list of substitutes given here. However, be prepared to be hungry!
The Four Day Non-Dieting Meal Plans
The 3 Day Military Diet also has plenty suggestions when it comes to Meals Plans  for the four days you are advised to eat normally. The only catch being that you need to keep your calorie intake to 1500 or less. According to the suggestions below, to make it through the day under 1500 calories, you can choose one breakfast item, one lunch, one dinner and two snacks. Recipes from themilitarydiet.com
Breakfast: one per day
- 1 cup plain yogurt with 1 cup mixed berries, 1/4 cup granola, and 1tbsp chopped almonds.
- 1 cup milk, 1 sliced banana and 1 cup cheerios, topped later with an orange.
- 1 egg scrambled in 1tsp butter with a slice of whole grain toast with 1 sliced tomato 1/4 avocado.
- 1/2 a whole-wheat bagel topped with 1tbsp cream cheese and 1 oz. smoked salmon. Add tomato, cucumber, and red onion slices.
- 1/3 cup oats cooked with 2/3 cup milk. Garnish with 1/2 cup chopped apple, 2tbsp chopped walnuts & a pinch of cinnamon.
- 2 whole-grain waffles topped with 1/4 cup strawberries and 1/4 blueberries and 7 chopped walnuts.
- Scramble 2 eggs with 1 cup chopped spinach. Layer on top of a whole-wheat toasted English muffin.
- One slice whole-wheat toast topped with 1tbsp almond/peanut butter and a pear on the side.
- One slice whole-wheat toast topped with 1/3 cup ricotta cheese, 4 slices of tomato and fresh basil leaves.
- Blend 1 cup unflavored soy milk, 1 banana, 1tbsp honey, 2tbsps oatmeal and 1tbsp flax seeds. Drink up.
- A 2-egg omelet with cheddar cheese.
- 2 lean sausages, 1 soft-boiled egg, and a kiwi fruit
Lunch: one per day
- Mix 1/2 can of tuna with 1/4 cup cooked white beans, 1tsp olive oil, and 1tsp lemon juice. Serve in a 4-inch whole-wheat pita with 2 leaves lettuce. Eat 1 cup grapes on the side.
- Toss 2 cups lettuce, 1 cup chopped raw vegetables, 1 hard-boiled egg, 2tsp raisins and 2tsp almonds. Top with 2tsp balsamic dressing.
- 1 piece of whole-wheat pita bread stuffed with 1-ounce feta cheese, 1 cup tomatoes, 6 olives, 1/4 cup hummus and 1 cup raw spinach drizzled with 1tsp olive oil and 1tsp lemon juice.
- 1 cup lentil soup with 1 slice toasted whole-wheat bread topped with 1tsp pesto, 2tbsps shredded mozzarella and 1tbsp chopped sun-dried tomatoes.
- 1 whole-wheat tortilla stuffed with 1/3 cup shredded Cheddar, 1/4 cup black beans, 1/4 cup each sliced peppers & mushrooms, sautéed in 1tsp olive oil. Serve with 1/4 avocado, sliced.
- Toss 2 cups of spring greens, 3 ounces of tuna, 3tbsps of walnuts, and 1 cup grape tomatoes cut in half. Top with 2tsp balsamic vinaigrette dressing.
- 2 slices of whole-grain bread with 1tsp Dijon mustard, 5 slices turkey, 1 sliced pear, and 1 slice Swiss cheese.
- Wrap 3/4 cup black beans, 1/4 avocado, 1 cup romaine lettuce, 2tbsp salsa inside 2 whole-wheat tortillas.
- Mix together 1 cup diced and cooked chicken, 2tbsp balsamic vinegar, 1/4 cup chopped scallions, 1 stalk chopped celery and 1 cup salad greens. Stuff inside a whole wheat pita.
Dinner: one per day
- 1 black bean burger cooked with 1tbsp BBQ sauce, served on a whole-wheat bun, served with slaw: Mix 1.5 cups of shredded cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower and carrots with 1tbsp apple cider vinegar with 2tbsps of olive oil.
- Cook 2 ounces frozen or fresh shrimp with 1 clove of garlic, 1 cup chopped zucchini, 2tbsp chopped fresh basil and 1tbsp olive oil. Serve with one cup whole wheat pasta noodles of your choice.
- Sauté 2/3 cup sliced chicken, 1/4 cup scallions, 2tbsp peanuts, 1tbsp hot sauce and 1 cup shredded cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower and carrot mix in cooking spray. Wrap all this in 2 whole wheat tortillas.
- 1 cup miso soup, 1 tuna roll and a small seaweed salad.
- Cook 1 cup bell peppers (red, green or orange), 1/2 small onion in 1tbsp olive oil. Spread 1/2 cup refried beans on 2 whole-wheat tortillas. Top with sautéed vegetables and cilantro.
- Sauté 1 cup chopped zucchini, 1/2 cup black beans, 2tsp olive oil and 1tsp cumin. Place mixture on 2 whole-wheat tortillas and sprinkle with 1/4 cup shredded cheddar. Fold in half and cook in a pan until the cheddar melts. Top with 2tsp salsa.
- 1 1/2 cups of warm vegetarian chili topped with 2tbsp chopped scallions, 8 broken tortilla chips, 2tbsp shredded cheddar. Eat with a side salad: 2 cups mixed greens and 1tbsp Italian salad dressing.
- Sauté 4 ounces of chicken, 3 cups baby spinach in 2tsp olive oil with 1 garlic clove. Put all this on a piece of whole-grain flatbread, topped with 1-ounce goat cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for 5 minutes or so.
- In 1tbsp sesame oil, sauté 1 cup cooked brown rice, 1tbsp soy sauce, 1 garlic clove and 1tbsp grated ginger. Then add 3 ounces of precooked shrimp and 2 cups of bok choy. Sauté another few minutes.
- Top a whole grain flatbread with 3tbsp spaghetti sauce, 1/2 cup canned artichoke hearts, 2tbsp parmesan cheese, 1/4 cup mozzarella and bake for about 10 minutes. The side salad is 3 cups mixed greens, 2tbss pine nuts and 2tbsp of Italian salad dressing.
- Top a baked potato with 1/2 cup turkey or vegetarian chili, 1 cup cooked broccoli and 1/4 cup shredded cheddar.
- Sauté 1 sliced Italian sausage, 1 garlic clove, 1/2 cup chopped mushrooms, 1/2 cup chopped onions and 1/2 cup chopped zucchini. Add in 1/2 cup spaghetti sauce to warm and serve over 3/4 cup whole wheat pasta topped with 1tbsp grated parmesan cheese.
- Sprinkle 1tsp dried Cajun seasoning on 4 ounces of chicken breast. Bake or grill. Sauté 1 clove of garlic, 1/2 cup chopped onion, 1 bell pepper in 2tsp olive oil. Add 2tbsp tomato paste and a dash of Tabasco sauce. Add 3/4 cup precooked brown rice. Serve the chicken on top of the rice.
Snacks: two per day
- Fruit-and-nut bar
- 1 cup snap peas with 1/4 cup hummus
- 1 cup cantaloupe with 1/2 cup cottage cheese
- 1 cup carrot sticks with 3tbsp hummus
- 1 apple and 22 pistachios
- 12-oz latte and 1 clementine or mandarin orange
- 10 tortilla chips with 1/4 cup guacamole
- 1 banana with 1tbsp peanut butter
- 2 crispy rye crackers with 2tbsp cream cheese
- 1 cup plain yogurt with 1 cup mixed berries
- 1/2 ounce raisins and 2tbsp soy nuts
- 14 almonds and an apple
- 1/2 cup sorbet
- 1-ounce chocolate-covered almonds
- 100-calorie mini bag popcorn
- 1-ounce string cheese and 4 whole-grain crackers
- 3 cups air popped popcorn
Does The Military Diet Have Any Fails?
All nutritionists will always advise that the best way to lose weight is to a balanced and healthy meal with moderation being the key, get at least 4 hours of exercise in a week and when in doubt, follow a healthy lifestyle… The Military Diet too comes with a few cons, side effects or even questions. 
- Lack of proof: There’s no “real” science behind the food combinations and even if supporters of the military diet stand by it, studies and research are needed to prove its efficacy.
- The foods are very restrictive: There’s hardly any cereal in the three-day restrictive diet, and also things like hot dogs and vanilla ice cream are hardly the healthiest choices for the 1000 calories you consume a day.
- The portions are tiny: The portion sizes are likely to leave you starving or begging for more, and any diet that restricts you the point of starvation is a not one you can carry on in the long term. The here days of eating like a bird may also make you feel extra jazzed to eat for the four days you are allowed to eat normally, and that may in turn working in reverse for you.
Should I Do The Military Diet?
If you are in the habit of munching on this or that all through the day, or have any blood sugar issues then this diet may not be for you – and never start a diet if you are ill or are recuperating from an illness. Remember to check with your doctor beforehand if you suffer from chronic, long-term or concurrent health issues. Remember to stop the 3 Day Military Diet immediately if you begin to feel sick, dizzy, or too weak.
And if you are also exercising along with the diet, make sure to stretch before and after working out, as keeping limber muscles will help to avoid muscle strains and spasms and if you are new to working out, start at low-intensity so that you can complete your goals without getting too winded. 
Like with all diets, it makes for a good start if you are embarking on a weight loss journey, or if your weight has plateaued and needs a good push to start shedding. That said, make sure that nothing comes in between you and good health, be it your weight or the military diet. A diet should be a tool used judiciously to give you good health, not make you thin and frail and lacking in essential nutrients as well as energy!
Featured photo credit: South China Morning Post via cdn4.i-scmp.com