Given a chance to lose 10 pounds in just a week, wouldn’t you run after it? Think about it again – the best thing ever, right? Is it the healthy way to lose weight? I don’t think so.
Rapid weight loss involves loss of water, fat mass, and muscle mass.
In the fast weight loss process, you lose the water stored in muscles hence the rapid success. Unfortunately, once you are off this diet, you will gain back most, if not all or more than your initial weight.
This rapid weight loss is a kind of crash diet called the military diet. It is a low-calorie diet plan which you can choose to follow through a few days every week to lose weight quickly.
To pull off this diet plan, you need a soldier’s discipline.
SIDE EFFECTS & CONS OF MILITARY DIET
1. HUNGER PANGS
Despite the protein servings, following a military diet will bring you the worst hunger pangs. You will be hungry all the time, and this is, therefore, a miserable way of losing weight.
You also have to plan ahead.
The worst bit is that you aren’t allowed to snack, even on a healthy fruit. With all these under consideration, it is easy to fall into the temptation of munching a snack midmorning.
If you are working, your productivity will hit a slump because of low blood sugar that slows down your brain activity. To beat hunger pangs, check out this article: Experts Reveal 15 Tips to Beat the Hunger Pangs
2. MISSING SUPERFOODS
The diet plan doesn’t include nutrient-packed superfoods like salmon, quinoa, almonds or avocado. You need these healthy foods because they provide you with your healthy dose of omega-3 fatty acids.
This affects cognitive function.
You can also say that it isn’t nutritionally balanced because this diet plan gives you the right to take two ounces of ice cream every night.
Make sure that you eat more of the called superfoods after you are done with this diet. Feel free to consult this article for the foods to eat: 25 Greatist Superfoods and Why They’re Super
3. FASTING THAT LONG IS UNSAFE
Going three days eating under 1500 or 1000 calories may leave you weak, and you may faint, experience dizziness, headaches, nausea, and binge for three days after the fast. So, you are most likely to gain all the weight back immediately after abandoning the military diet.
If you want to avoid regaining all your lost weight, you need to prepare a healthier meal plan for next few days after military diet. For managing issues with fasting and eating low calories overall, check out 5 Healthy Fasting Tips From a Nutritionist
4. WATER WEIGHT LOSS
The worst part about this diet plan is that you will most likely lose weight only in the form of water. Failing to lose fat means that you will get back to your weight after the diet when you start to eat like you used to.
This increase of water weight will be worse especially if you return to your regular diet that may be rich in salt, carbohydrates and processed foods. If you want to get rid of water weight, consult these tips here: 13 Easy Ways to Lose Water Weight (Fast and Safely)
5. NO LONG-TERM PLAN
This diet outlines what you should and shouldn’t eat in three days but, there is no long-term dieting plan. For sustainable weight loss, you need a long-term and a lifestyle diet plan.
Also, the menu is nutrient restrictive. If you continued with this diet for a longer period of time, you may face malnutrition and serious health risks in the future.
6. CAUSES HEADACHES
Every time you reduce calories, start skipping meals or if you try to stay away from any type of macronutrient, your body will suffer. One of the many negative symptoms of the military diet are headaches.
Headaches often happen because of low blood sugar, blood sugar swings or due to imbalance in electrolytes.
As you will reduce calories during this diet, your body might have difficulties maintaining healthy levels of blood sugar and this may lead to headaches. Make sure to check out these tips here to fix this issue: 7 Weight-Loss Headache Fixes
7. MAY CAUSE STARVATION RESPONSE
Military diet, which is low in calories, may cause starvation mode response and affect your delicate hormonal balance. This means you will regain the weight lost and gain much more weight when you start to eat normally after you are done dieting.
If you are not familiar with the starvation mode, here is excellent summary from HealthLine:
- When you lose a lot of weight, the body starts trying to conserve energy by reducing the amount of calories you burn.
- It also makes you feel hungrier, lazier and increases your cravings for food.
- This can cause you to stop losing weight, and may make you feel so miserable that you abandon your weight loss efforts and gain the weight back.
- This phenomenon is often called “starvation mode,” but is really just the brain’s natural mechanism to protect you from starvation.
To read more about starvation mode and some tips on how to prevent weight gain and slowed down metabolism after dieting, check out this great article: Is “Starvation Mode” Real or Imaginary? A Critical Look
8. CORTISOL WILL SKYROCKET
Did you know that dieting leads to increase in the bad hormone called cortisol? Too much cortisol circulating in your blood will lead to some serious side effects and may even cause the worst diseases in the long term.
These are the symptoms of too much cortisol:
- Rapid weight gain mainly in the face, chest and abdomen
- Puffy face and water retention
- High blood pressure
- Bruises and purple stretch marks
- Muscle weakness
- Mood swings, which show as anxiety, depression or irritability
- Increased thirst and frequency of urination.
Every diet will cause rise in cortisol levels but military diet is one of the worst because it is very low in calories. For effective tips to reduce cortisol levels naturally, check out these awesome tips: 13 Proven Natural Ways to Lower Cortisol
9. HIGHER RISK OF HAIR LOSS
As with other diets out there, when you severely restrict nutrients and energy from food, there is a higher chance that you will start to lose hair. When your body starts to sense lack of energy and vital nutrients, protective mechanisms start and your body will focus more on surviving rather than growing new hair.
As pointed out by experts from DietDoctor.com if your body experiences significant stress, more hair than usual can enter the resting phase at the same time.
This can happen for many reasons:
- Starvation, including calorie-restricted diets and meal replacements
- Unusually demanding exercise
- Nutrient deficiencies
- Psychological stress
- Any big diet change
As you can see from the information above, dieting causes significant stress on your body and you can expect to lose some hair in the process. For tips on how to prevent this from happening. check out these tips here: How to Prevent Hair Loss When Losing Weight
10. EXPERTS ADVISE AGAINST IT
As stated on the CNN, despite the name Military Diet, active members of the military and military officials claim that they aren’t aware of this diet and they don’t use it because it is nutrient limiting.
Also, organizations like the Cleveland Clinic, the American Heart Association, Birmingham Hospital, or Mayo Clinic disassociate themselves from the military diet.
BENEFITS & PROS OF MILITARY DIET
1. POSSIBLE WEIGHT LOSS
Looking at the numbers and the experiences of those who’ve tried this diet, it works. Even though it is limiting in terms of the number of nutrients in the diet, the number of calories you eat is less than what you need.
This is because any active adult will need between 2000 and 2600 calories for healthy weight yet you only get 1500 calories from the military diet.
Keep in mind that this isn’t a healthy way of losing weight and that weight loss is not equal to fat loss. For healthy approach to losing weight, check out this great article here: How to Lose Weight Fast: 3 Simple Steps, Based on Science
2. SERVINGS OF FRUITS & VEGETABLES
There is room for improvement, but military diet includes servings of fruits and veggies. These give you essential nutrients, vitamins, and minerals. However, do not think that this is a balanced, vitamin-packed diet. Not at all.
3. DIETING FOR JUST THREE DAYS
Unlike other diet plans, it doesn’t cost anything, and you don’t have to join a support group, buy supplements or special foods. Also, the foods on this diet plan are easy to prepare.
This way, you are actually saving your money as your daily allowed food costs just a small portion of 3 regular meals.
5. CUTTING DOWN ON CALORIES
The unexpected benefits of cutting calories include better sleep, a boost in your mood and enhancement of your sex life. Not only that, you can experience a weight loss and potential fat loss if maintained for a longer period of time.
Here is a page where you can find how many calories you should be eating to lose weight naturally and in a healthy way: How Many Calories Should You Eat Per Day to Lose Weight?
6. MAKES IT EASY TO DIET IN FUTURE
If you are doing the military diet once, you will learn a few things about your lifestyle and what foods you need to stay away from. This is because you are only allowed to drink water, tea and black coffee with no sugar or cream.
Not only that, you will get used to basic rules of restriction diets, as well as your stomach will get used to smaller portions of your meals hence making your future dieting efforts much easier.
7. YOU DON’T HAVE TO EXERCISE
Though exercise facilitates weight loss, under a military diet, you won’t need any HIIT or cardio exercises. All you can do (if you find enough strength) is to do some light stretching, spot jogging or basic Yoga poses.
As you can see, these are some advantages and benefits of the 3-day military diet.
THE THREE DAY MEAL PLAN
1 Slice toast, ½ grapefruit, 2 tablespoons peanut butter & 1 cup coffee or tea (with caffeine)
½ Cup tuna, 1 slice toast & 1 cup coffee or tea (with caffeine)
3 Ounces of any meat, ½ banana, 1 cup green bean, 1 small apple & 1 cup vanilla ice cream
1 Egg, 1 slice toast & ½ banana
1 Cup cottage cheese, 5 saltine crackers & 1 hard-boiled egg
2 Hot dogs (without bun) ½ cup carrots, 1 cup broccoli, ½ banana & ½ cup vanilla ice cream
1 Small apple, 1 slice (1 ounce) cheddar cheese & 5 saltine crackers
1 Hard-boiled egg & 1 slice toast
1 Cup tuna, ½ banana & 1 cup vanilla ice cream
To lose the 10 pounds, you can’t follow it through for more than three days, and you cannot stray from the regime. You need to exercise a high level of restraint to pull off this diet plan. The military diet plan comprises of a stepwise food and fluid guide that provides between 860 and 1150 calories daily.
The numbers depend on the number of calories you need to lose one pound of fat.
This comes down to about 3500 calories to lose 1 pound of fat. By eating less than you are burning, your body will target fats first. This makes the military diet a form of fasting. This intermittent fasting regime has three days of controlled caloric intake and four days off.
But, there is a strict list of approved food on the list and no snacking.
FEEDBACK FROM 3RD PARTIES
EXTRA TIPS FOR A SUCCESSFUL FINISH
Some people struggle the first time they try the Military Diet. They might feel hungrier than expected, forget to buy certain ingredients or have a hard time committing the whole way through. These five tips will help ensure you get the most out of the Military Diet on your first try. The fourth tip is one of the most important.
DRINK LOTS OF WATER
Drinking water not only keeps you hydrated, but it is also an excellent way to keep your appetite at bay. Make sure you drink lots of water in the morning and throughout the day, so you feel less hungry when it’s time to eat.
BUY EVERYTHING IN ADVANCE
Planning ahead is a great way to succeed on the Military Diet. We all know the dangers of grocery shopping while hungry, so plan your meals and buy all your groceries ahead of time. That way, everything you need will be close by, and you won’t be tempted by other food that will hinder your success.
WORKOUT IN THE MORNING
Your metabolism is highest in the morning, so working out before breakfast is a great way to take advantage of that. Mild exercise will only enhance the results of the Military Diet and is a great way to get you pumped for the day. Just keep in mind that you will be exercising on your own risk.
DIET WITH A FRIEND
It’s easy to be tempted to cheat on the Military Diet, and doing it with a friend will really help you stay on track. Having someone hold you accountable will drive you to work for it, and sharing the experience as well as results will keep you both motivated.
TRACK YOUR PROGRESS
Make sure you take before and after measurements so you can have something tangible to demonstrate your progress. This includes keeping track of your calories, especially if you use some food item substitutes. Keeping a log of both your calorie intake and weight loss will keep you on track and highlight your success.