I’ve never been a fan of fad diets.
Most of them are overly restrictive and impossible to maintain.
The only time I’ve ever done a fad diet is when:
- I wanted to lose weight quickly and knew the weight would come back on.
- I wanted to “cleanse” or “reset” my system for continued healthy living.
It’s been a looooong time since I’ve found one that I wanted to try.
Until last week!
Lose 10 lbs. in three days?!
The word “military” in the title?!
Both of those things sounded awesome, so I clicked on the pin.
The more I read, the more interested I became.
The Military Diet = worthy fad diet.
A fad diet, it is. There’s no doubt about it. Check out the original website for the Military Diet here. This diet requires a restricted caloric intake. A pretty unrealistically restricted caloric intake, unless you’re rail thin. My BFF probably eats like this 24/7, the lithe supermodel.
Now, I knew the Military Diet wouldn’t sustain me for the rest of my life, but with a little bit of willpower, I knew I could survive three days of it.
Which means it would be a PERFECT way to initiate some healthier eating habits.
Stiiilllll battling it. I would love nothing more than to drop a few L-Bs.
And I am in serious need of a get-back-on-track regimen.
The Military Diet sounded ideal for FOUR reasons:
Reason #1: By nosediving into strict portion control, I could set the stage for future healthier eating habits.
Did you know that the diet includes vanilla ice cream?
I eat dessert every single night. Lots of people do.
The Military Diet includes ice cream for precisely this reason. The diet promoters don’t want to see you crash and burn and/or cheat because of sugar withdrawals.
Reason #2: I can eat ice cream!
The Diet includes foods that are designed to help boost your metabolism and keep you stabilized. Though the portions are small, they’re protein-packed, and I only have to survive on them for three days.
Reason #3: I only have to do the Diet for three days.
I’ll just come out and say the last one.
Reason #4: I wanted to see how many pounds I could drop in three days.
My mind was made up.
I went shopping and stocked up on tuna, cottage cheese, apples, and ice cream.
I started the diet on Monday, 2/8.
I ended it Thursday morning, 2/11.
And I lost weight!
I’ll tell you how much I lost at the end of this post.
In the meantime, I’ll detail my 3-day experience so you can determine if the Military Diet is something you want to try.
The day before my diet started, I boiled some eggs, stuffed my face like a piglet, and created my food plan.
Here’s my beautifully scribed food plan.
Sunday night, I fell asleep with a full tummy and dreamed of green beans.
Day 1 Breakfast
Diet says: 1/2 grapefruit, 1 slice toast, 2 T. peanut butter, coffee/tea (must be caffeinated).
I had: Soda water, apple chunk, 1 slice toast, 2 T. sunflower seed kernels, coffee.
I woke up at 5:40AM and went straight to the kitchen. I knew I didn’t have a grapefruit for Day 1 Breakfast and needed to substitute.
Grapefruit substitute = mix 1/2 t. baking soda with a cup of water. Let sit for at least thirty minutes before drinking. Add a small piece of fruit to compensate for missing grapefruit.
Why baking soda? Because it helps to alkalize your body the same way grapefruit does. Lots of people consume more acidic foods than alkaline foods, sending their bodies out of whack. We need a good balance of both. You can learn more about why it’s important to alkalize your body here.
Anyway, I mixed my soda water at 5:45AM and made the rest of my breakfast while the soda water “rested.” I pondered which “small piece of fruit” I would eat with my delicious baking soda water.
I also brewed coffee. Obviously.
I then toasted two pieces of toast (one for breakfast, one for lunch). This is the kind of bread I eat.
Since I didn’t have sugar-free peanut butter, which the diet requires, I prepared my peanut butter substitute.
Peanut butter substitute = equal amount of sunflower seed kernels.
So, I measured out 2 T. of sunflower seed kernels and piled them beside my dry piece of toast.
I still had a few minutes before I could drink my baking soda water, so I weighed myself and mentally recorded the number. I’m not telling you said number because French women are always saying American women aren’t mysterious enough, and I refuse to perpetuate that stereotype.
And because no WAY am I telling you how much I weigh! That’s for my scale to know and for me to cry about.
Post-weigh-in, I returned to the kitchen with an AH-HA moment for my grapefruit-fruit-substitute: I would use part of Day 1 Dinner’s apple (apple of choice: Honeycrisp).
I cut the apple in half, originally intending to eat half, but then I cut it smaller, stuffing the extra chunk in the bag with Dinner’s half. Dinner required a full small apple, and I didn’t want to jack up Day 1 Dinner by only eating half.
I chose to use part of Dinner for Breakfast because I didn’t want to eat more food than I was supposed to for Day 1. Plus, I couldn’t figure out the exact caloric ratio of banana-/apple-to-grapefruit, so I played it safe and ate part of Dinner’s apple.
I forgot to take a picture at the time, so I collected all the items and snapped a photo of what comprised Breakfast:
Day 1 Breakfast Opinion:
Lots of food! I’ve been experimenting with skipping breakfast lately, so this breakfast seemed like too much food to me. It took me twenty minutes to eat it.
I sprinkled the sunflower seeds on the toast, and the result was delightful.
The baking soda water was pretty gross; I had to eat the apple chunk right away to get the weird salty/tangy flavor out of my mouth. Will buy grapefruit in the future.
The Military Diet recommends mild exercise. It is not required. If you do exercise, they ask you to keep it light, since you’ll be restricting your caloric intake.
I enjoyed my mini workout because it was quick and my arms were a little wobbly afterward (not a regular pushup-doer).
However, I pulled a muscle in the back of my neck during the last 20 jumping jacks, so I spent the rest of the morning walking around like C3PO.
I showered, packed up enough water to saturate a farm, and headed off to work.
I didn’t feel hunger pangs until 10:00AM.
Increasingly uncomfortable neck pains required me to pop some Ibuprofen at 10:20AM.
By 10:40, my neck already felt better. Love Ibuprofen.
Day 1 Lunch
Diet says: 1 slice toast, 1/2 c. tuna, coffee/tea (must be caffeinated).
I had: 1 slice toast, 1/2 c. tuna, spiced chai tea.
I ate Lunch around 1:30PM. Hunger pangs were absent by then, but it seemed like the right time for tuna.
My little tuna can boasts 10 grams of protein PER SERVING. No wonder fitness junkies eat this stuff all the time. My 1/2 c. Lunch allotment = 1 can.
Day 1 Lunch Opinion:
I tried to eat the tuna straight from the can with a fork, but it was so DRY. I piled it on top of my bread slice and ate it tostada-style, instead.
Tuna Tostada was extremely filling. I ate almost 100% of it. A 1/2 c. of tuna is a TON of tuna. Did you realize? I didn’t. I re-read the can label to make sure I didn’t mis-compute. Nope!
Gee whiz, how the heck am I going to stuff down a full cup of tuna on Day 3 Dinner? I pondered post-tostada.
Normally, I munch on radishes/bell peppers/cucumbers/celery in the morning and eat a big salad for lunch, so this was a new eating experience for me.
I really miss all those vegetables I did NOT say.
Chai tea smells like home and tastes delightful. I don’t usually consume liquid caffeine after my morning coffee, so nom nom tea energy.
Overall, a wonderfully simple and satiating lunch.
When 3:30PM hit, I started to go a little crazy.
I was standing in my apartment on my lunch break, hungry and panicking. Food surrounded me. I was having trouble rationalizing how I’d make it through the three days.
My Ibuprofen was wearing off at the time, so my neck pain probably worsened my panic.
Also, I smelled fish. Everywhere. It wouldn’t go AWAY. I doused my split ends in faucet water, thinking they’d brushed up against some tuna. Nope.
While I was panicking on lunch, I pulled out a piece of frozen chicken for Day 1 Dinner. I had no idea what 3 oz. looked like, so I did some frozen chicken bag math and chose the smallest strip.
Then, I googled it. Apparently, 3 oz. of meat is the size of a deck of cards. I figured my strip was around that size.
Also while on lunch, I retrieved my remaining apple from the fridge and lined it up beside the banana I’d halve for dinner. Yeah, I was that hungry.
When I returned to work, I found a mini Jimmy John’s sub on my desk.
Sometimes, our local Jimmy John’s dices up extra subs into 3-inch pieces, individually wraps them, and delivers them to businesses around the area. It’s great!
Except not today.
Thankfully, I work five feet from my brother, who graciously ordered his favorite flavor for me in my absence. He didn’t know I was on the Military Diet; he just assumed I wouldn’t want the sub. It’s a trusty assumption, since I normally turn down everything presented to me in the office.
Brother was so ready to take it off my hands, I almost didn’t have to ask. Thank goodness for him!
Bad timing on Jimmy John’s part.
Day 1 Dinner
Diet says: 3 oz. meat, 1 c. green beans, 1/2 banana, 1 small apple, 1 c. vanilla ice cream.
I had: 2.5 oz. chicken, 1 c. green beans, 1/2 banana, 1 (remainder of) small apple, 1 c. vanilla ice cream.
When I got home, I looked at my dinky chicken strip and realized it was much smaller than a deck of cards. So I called it 2.5 oz.
I cooked it with the green beans for flavor. I squeezed half a lemon over the beans/chicken while they cooked, squeezing the last of it over them just before eating. LOVE lemon. It’s an approved addition to the Diet.
While chicken/beans cooked, I polished off the bagged apple from breakfast and 1/2 a banana.
I gulped down Dinner.
Then, I filled every crevice of this 1 c. measuring cup with vanilla ice cream. Yeah, those are finger marks on the top. I made a huge sticky mess jamming that ice cream in there.
Day 1 Dinner Opinion:
I was ravenous for sugar when I got home, so I ate the apple immediately.
The chicken/beans mixture with my lemon juice was delicious. I added a teeny tiny amount of salt and lots of pepper while it cooked.
My banana bunch is filled with tiny bananas, so half a banana is like 2-3 inches. Wolfed that down in one bite.
The ice cream was my savior. I’ve never eaten ice cream so slowly in my life. It improved my existence by temporarily closeting that clawing monster of depravity inside me. (Half a cup would have sufficed, but I ate the whole thing because I could.)
I chose to lie down in bed at 6:45PM that night. Parks and Recreation wasn’t sufficiently distracting me from my snack cupboard.
It took me a few hours of Chiving and Pinning to fall asleep.
I woke up a few times in the middle of the night. Out of hunger. And thirst, once, oddly enough. I drank enough water to fill a camel hump on Day 1, so my thirst made me suspicious.
Hunger makes me suspicious of everything.
Day 2 Breakfast
Diet says: 1 egg, 1 slice toast, 1/2 banana.
I had: 1 egg, 1 slice toast, 1/2 banana, coffee.
You’re not supposed to have coffee when it’s not called for, but you can if you subtract those five black-coffee calories from something else.
I scrambled the egg and cooked it in a mini sauce pan because
I was out of clean fry pans it sounded like a cute idea.
Day 2 Breakfast Opinion:
After Day 1, I was sick of eating more than I wanted to in one sitting. The egg did it for me during Day 2 Breakfast, so I stopped there.
That egg was good! I added tons of pepper.
I ate the banana after my walk (see below).
I brought the toast to work.
Day 2 Exercise: I went for a thirty-minute walk outside after breakfast. It was a brisk walk for two reasons: 1) I was moving quickly and 2) it was 27 degrees outside. The wind made it way colder. My ears almost shattered off my head. The exercise felt good, though.
I ate the toast at 10:00AM.
Day 2 Lunch
Diet says: 1 c. cottage cheese, 1 hard-boiled egg, 5 saltine crackers.
I had: 3/4 c. cottage cheese, 1 hard-boiled egg, 5 saltine crackers.
I bought low fat, small curd cottage cheese. A 1/2 c. serving = 80 calories. I read a Military Diet article somewhere that told me the cottage cheese serving should = 100 calories. I couldn’t find the article again, so I played it safe and split the difference with 3/4 c. at 120 calories.
Here’s my teeny lunch all packed up.
I finally ate my long-awaited egg at 2:00PM. Lunch was EXTREMELY delayed on Day 2 because I was working feverishly on my FREE eBook and time flew by.
I reached a thrilling turning point with eBook, though! SO EXCITED. The topic’s a surprise. Cannot WAIT to share it with my subscribers. Make sure you’re signed up so you get a copy as soon as it’s published!
Day 2 Lunch Opinion:
The egg was delicious. Had to work for it, though. Perfectly shucking an egg from its shell is impossible.
I held off on immediately consuming the cottage cheese and saltines for fear of being smacked in the face with 3:30PM starvation (again).
I caved and ate the cottage cheese 25 minutes after the egg. The first bite was delicious. The tenth bite was so gross. Almost gagged trying to get it down. Cottage cheese is WAY too intense at 3/4 c.
I brought the saltines home and ate those on my lunch break.
I noticed on Day 2 that a lot of the Military Diet’s foods are salty. And very dairy. I don’t eat a whole lot of dairy, and salt is for nighttime, normally. I think the novelty of eating new things (and eating them at odd times) helped me survive.
Day 2 Dinner
Diet says: 2 hot dogs (no buns), 1 c. broccoli, 1/2 c. carrots, 1/2 banana, 1/2 c. vanilla ice cream.
I had: 3 oz. cooked lentils, 7/8 c. broccoli, 1/2 c. carrots, 1/2 c. vanilla ice cream.
There were a lot of discrepancies in Military Diet articles on hot dog substitutes.
Hot dog substitute* = equal amount of lentils. Each hot dog is around 4 oz., so 8 oz. of lentils.
*My Pinterest article said to substitute like this. So, I measured out 8 oz. of lentils, or 1 c. (my 16 oz. bag of lentils contained 2 full cups).
After I measured my lentils out, I read this substitution article that said to aim for caloric equivalents when substituting in the Military Diet.
Apparently, 2 hot dogs = 250-300 calories.
Look at the nutrition label on my lentils. If you didn’t notice the whopping 350 calories per serving, you do now. (Look at the fiber and protein, too, while you’re at it. HOLY HANNA, RIGHT?!)
So anyway, I removed 1/2 c. lentils from my strainer. 350 calories for a dinner protein makes more sense to me. For the record, I did think that a full cup of lentils was a bit much, but I also think 2 hot dogs is a
one-way ticket to a casket bit much, so I didn’t question it.
I washed and chopped my adorable carrots and ugly broccoli and measured out the portions.
A few minutes before my lentils were done, I tossed the broccoli in to soften it. Also, lemon juice. Everywhere. And pepper.
I am SO GLAD I didn’t cook 8 oz. of lentils, because 4 oz. was a TON. I couldn’t even finish my lentil/broccoli concoction. Not because it wasn’t very tasty (it wasn’t), but because I was sick of eating it. The picture below is what I threw out. The bowl was nearly full to start.
I had my sister-in-law over on Day 2 night to make Valentine’s Day crafts. The get-together was just as adorable as it sounds. I munched on my 1/2 c. of carrots while we snipped and taped and folded.
I totally forgot to eat my half-banana.
After Sister-in-Law left, I started to get that panicky feeling again, the one where I wonder how I am going to survive without food. I wasn’t even hungry. I was just going a bit crazy. I think this happens when my blood sugar gets low. I immediately portioned out my 1/2 c. of ice cream and gobbled it up and went to bed.
Day 2 Dinner Opinion:
The Valentine’s Day crafts provided an excellent distraction from the boring food I had to eat.
Red split lentils have a slight tomato tang to them, which was a nice addition to the mush they turned into.
No likey broccoli.
I was really grateful for my 1/2 c. of carrots. Those were deliciously fresh.
By the time I had remembered I’d forgotten my 1/2 banana, I was ready to eat my ice cream. Since it was after 8:00PM and I wasn’t exactly starving, I chose between them. Banana didn’t stand a chance.
Day 3 Breakfast
Diet says: 5 saltine crackers, 1 slice cheddar cheese, 1 small apple.
I had: 5 saltine crackers, 1/2 c. cottage cheese, 1 small apple, coffee.
Cheddar cheese substitute = 1 c. of cottage cheese (according to my Pinterest article).
I did 1/2 c. instead because cottage cheese is not a friend of mine. I was relieved, though, when I re-read my Breakfast list and realized I didn’t have to eat another egg.
I ate the cottage cheese with 2 of my crackers. I bagged the (diced) apple and remaining crackers and packed them in my lunch pail.
The apple slices were gone my 9:30AM. The saltines, shortly after.
Day 3 Breakfast Opinion:
6:00AM cottage cheese is the devil. Scooping it with saltines made it a little better. Honestly, I felt super full and bloated after the cottage cheese, so I didn’t want to eat the rest of Breakfast.
Day 3 Exercise: I wasn’t going to work out Day 3 morning because I was feeling tired and short on time. I changed my mind at the last minute, though, and did the same exercise I did on Day 1. It’s quick, purposeful, and perfect in a pinch. I was still a little sore on Day 3 from doing this workout on Day 1, so my abs and pecs struggled to lift me. I was glad I pushed through it.
At 10:00AM, I said uh-oh, because I was starving and Breakfast was gone. Stupid workout!
I took a bite out of Lunch’s toast at 10:30AM.
Day 3 Lunch
Diet says: 1 hard-boiled egg, 1 slice toast.
I had: 1 hard-boiled egg, 1 slice toast.
Here’s what I packed for work, though the apple and saltines were gone before lunchtime.
My office ordered the most aromatic pizza in the world on Day 3, BTW. The smells crashed into my brain so heavily that I didn’t even have to taste the pizza to enjoy it. Mmmm.
Anyway, back to my flavorless lunch.
I peeled and ate my egg at 12:15PM. I wanted to wolf down the rest of my toast, but I held off.
With such little food remaining, I thought about going home on my lunch break and eating 1 of the 2 tuna cans awaiting me for Day 3 Dinner.
Day 3 Lunch Opinion:
Toast is just so satisfying. I love all the seeds in my bread, too.
The egg was delicious but so TINY. Plus, I am a crappy shell peeler, so some egg went into the trash.
I ended up nibbling on the toast throughout the afternoon, which kept hunger at bay and changed my mind about having a can of Dinner’s tuna before Dinner.
Day 3 Dinner
Diet says: 1 c. tuna, 1/2 banana, 1 c. vanilla ice cream.
I had: 1/2 c. tuna, 1/2 banana, 1 c. vanilla ice cream.
I only ate 1 can of tuna (1/2 c.) because 1 can filled me up.
Did you know? I LOVE crushed red pepper flakes. I had gone without them for two whole days, assuming they were not an approved Diet addition (they weren’t on my Pinterest article’s approved list).
But then I checked the Military Diet’s website and found out that they are an approved addition!
So I dumped them all over my 1/2 c. of tuna. I squeezed some lemon on top, too.
I ate 1/2 a banana shortly after.
I wasn’t planning on eating a full cup of ice cream for Day 3 Dinner, but then Husband started sizzling chicken and rice in the kitchen and the smells were killing me.
Full cup it is!
Husband had been away for Day 1 and Day 2 (he’s a pilot = gone a lot). I was nervous about his return on Day 3 because I knew he’d be eating normal dinner food in front of me. I hadn’t had to deal with normal-food-exposure at nighttime, yet, so I was panicking.
But I timed it perfectly by eating my tuna and nursing my ice cream while he finished his dinner. No issues!
By 5:50PM, I was done eating for the day.
Day 3 Dinner Opinion:
Red pepper flakes make my heart sing and turn boring tuna into a Military Diet delicacy. I did not smell fish everywhere after Day 3 Dinner tuna. Probably got it in my (way too long) hair on Day 1.
The banana went down in two bites.
And the ice cream was my end-of-day saving grace, again.
Though it wasn’t a lot of food, Day 3 Dinner was my most satisfying meal.
Day 3 night, Husband rented a movie called The Martian, so we spent the night snuggling/watching it. GREAT movie, by the way.
I went to bed around 8:30PM. Though it had been a few hours since dinner, I wasn’t hungry. I thank the tuna.
Husband started making monster popcorn.
And I could smell it THROUGH the bedroom door.
Day 4 Morning
I behaved and didn’t weigh myself until Day 4 Morning.
So, how much did I lose?
I was actually surprised by how much weight I’d lost.
I know I gained some muscle from the Day 1/Day 3 exercises, and I was sure it would raise the end number on my scale.
Plus, my pants weren’t any looser on Day 2. I think I felt a little bit of wiggle room in them on Day 3. Who knows, though.
Plus, I ate a full cup of ice cream on Day 1 and Day 3. It was essential for survival, but not waistline-friendly.
Plus, I don’t think I really LOOK any different.
…I did weigh myself in the early morning on both days, so before and after measurements were both taken on an empty stomach (most accurate time to weigh-in).
…and the scale says I lost 5.2 lbs.
So I’ll take it!
What did I have for breakfast on Day 4?
1 small apple.
And for lunch on Day 4?
1 salad (how I’ve missed you, salad!) which contains: 3 c. greens (arugula + kale mix), 1 T. olive oil/vinegar dressing, 1 T. freshly minced ginger, and a squeeze of lemon juice.
1 hard-boiled egg
And for dinner on Day 4?
To be determined…
…but I do see some chocolate in my future.
Here are some things I learned/realized while doing the Military Diet:
- Though I was guzzling water, I still woke up thirsty. Really strange. I attribute it to the salty foods the diet requires.
- Distractions are key to surviving on the Military Diet. I spent most of my time working on my eBook (publishing soon for my subscribers!). When I was tired of that, I watched TV. If that didn’t work, I went to bed.
- Lemon juice makes everything taste better. I’ve discovered that my taste buds confuse “tangy” with “salty,” sometimes, so lemon brought out just as much flavor as salt did. Plus, lemon juice is full of nutrients, which made it a great addition to my already nutritionally-dense meals.
- I can survive on very little food. Some days, I’d grow hungry and pout. But when I started spreading my food out throughout the day, I was fine.
- Which leads me to my TIP: space your foods out! It helps immensely in staving off hunger pangs. On Day 1, my stomach was punching me in the face when I left work at 5:00PM. On Day 2 and Day 3, it was only grumbling, if anything.
- I don’t really think the diet got easier as the days passed. Each day presented challenges I had to face/overcome.
- Before this diet, I had no idea how few animal products I consume on a normal basis. I knew I didn’t eat a lot of meat, but I had no idea I consumed such little dairy. Or eggs. I only eat eggs when they’re mixed into cookie dough and brownie batter. You think I’m kidding!
- I’m not a fan of savory foods for breakfast. I usually have sweetened oatmeal or sweetened cereal with almond milk. Eating eggs and cottage cheese and plain toast first thing in the morning was just weird for me.
- It is possible to eat vicariously. If you stare at pizza eaters and smell pizza while eating a hard-boiled egg, you forget you’re eating a hard-boiled egg.
- I have a much deeper appreciation for food, now. And for tastes. I had trouble deciding what to eat on Day 4 because I wasn’t sure I really wanted anything other than what I’d been eating. Military Diet Stockholm Syndrome.
- I would love to try a plant-based Military Diet! According to Google, this doesn’t exist. Maybe I’ll create my own.
Some people choose to continue the Military Diet in its recommended pattern of 3 days on, 4 days off.
Am I planning on resuming the Military Diet next week Monday-Wednesday? NO.
Am I going to slip back into my chocolate-is-a-main-food-group eating habits? NO.
This diet was a success for me. I reset my eating habits and shed a few pounds, which is a powerful incentive to keep going.
Maybe I’ll do another three-day spurt soon.
I do have some extra cottage cheese to
throw away consume.
So, what do you think about the Military Diet? Would you ever try it? Have you ever tried it? Leave your thoughts and fad diet recommendations in the comments!