The 3-Day Military Diet Review – The Ultimate Scientific Guide September 19, 2016

The military diet is the most trending and effective diet plan that guarantees a fat loss of about 10 pounds in just three days. This allows the dieters to eat nutrition-dense and negative-calorie food to burn fat quickly.This diet plan is strictly not advisable for the elderly and nursing or pregnant women.

The Military Diet is also popularly known as the Navy Diet, Army Diet, AHA Diet, 3-day Military Diet and Fax Diet. This diet is widely followed in America, followed by the Cape region of South Africa, Australia, and India. This diet gained popularity in the West due to rise in obesity and cardiovascular and lifestyle-related diseases. Therefore, doctors, nutritionists, and fitness experts advised their clients to lose weight by following the military diet. It became popular in the other parts of the world for the same reason – to escape the risk of heart attack or diabetes.

3-Day Military Diet To Lose Weight

  1. About Military Diet
  2. How Does It Work – Scientific Evidence
  3. The 3-Day Military Diet Plan
  4. Diet Chart
  5. The Best Part Of The Military Diet
  6. Substitutions
  7. Role Of Exercise
  8. Benefits
  9. Side Effects
  10. Dos & Don’ts
  11. Results
  12. Best Tips

1. About Military Diet

How Did The Military Diet Originate & Why?

There is no clear evidence of how or when this diet originated. However, there are many who believe that this popular diet was designed by a military nutritionist to get the soldiers back in shape quickly without making them weak. Soldiers who were at the risk of failing their biannual fitness assessment test are believed to have gone on a three-day low-calorie diet to lose weight. However, the military does not endorse or recommend this diet for weight loss.

Others believe that this diet originated in the 1980s and was made popular by people who faxed diet plans to one another. This diet was labeled a “magical diet” that helped people to lose about 10 pounds in 3 days. This is why the military diet is also known as the Fax Diet.

Many say that the 3-day military diet plan was developed by medical institutions, such as the American Heart Association, Cleveland Clinic, British Heart Foundation, and Mayo Clinic. But, none of the institutions have come forward to acknowledge this claim. In fact, they deny any involvement in the creation of this diet plan.

If you want to lose weight by following the military diet plan, please check with your doctor first. If your doctor gives you a thumbs up, you can go ahead and lose the extra flab in just three days!

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2. How Does The Military Diet Works – Scientific Evidence

2. How Does The Military Diet Works – Scientific Evidence

Image: Shutterstock

The 3-day military diet works best if you are committed to losing weight. Here are the precise reasons this diet plan has worked for many and will also work for you:

a. Boosts Metabolism And Burns Fat

Your metabolism is the rate at which your body converts food into usable energy. The faster your metabolism is, the more calories you will burn, even at rest. The three-day military diet helps you speed up your metabolic rate. The foods included in the diet are high in protein, such as eggs, peanut butter, hot dog, and tuna. More energy is required to convert the proteins into energy, and therefore, more calories are expended. The veggies contain a high amount of fiber. High fiber foods are essential for any diet. They let you feel full for longer and help you fight off hunger pangs. Ice cream, cottage cheese, and a few veggies included in the military diet are excellent sources of calcium. It has been found that the more the calcium in the fat cells, the more the cells burn fat. Fruits and veggies contain essential amino acids, vitamins, minerals, and dietary fiber that help to boost immunity and burn fat effectively.

b. Calories Are Limited

Even though the military diet is quite generous and allows you to eat a lot of nutrition-dense food, it strictly forbids snacking of any kind. This is because the diet has set a specific calorie intake for each day. This calorie intake allows your body to get the nutrition it requires while still giving you a calorie deficit. A calorie deficit means your body is burning off more calories than it is consuming, the key to any weight loss plan.

c. It Is A Form Of Fasting

Even though it may not seem like it, the diet puts your body in an intermittent fast. This allows your body to improve insulin absorption. It does this by increasing insulin sensitivity and lowering the levels of Insulin-like Growth Factors (IGF-1). The lower the IGF-1 levels, the lesser the risk of diabetes, weight gain, and early death. As you fast for three days a week, your body will switch to the repair mode and help burn the stored fat.

d. Easy To Cook Balanced Diet

Each meal is designed to give you the right combination of proteins, fats, and carbohydrates. This means your body still receives everything it requires to function. Additionally, the diet clearly specifies what should and shouldn’t be eaten, leaving you in no doubt as to what you have to do. The diet is built around foods that are easily available and require very little preparation.

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  • Review: Is Military Diet Safe And Sustainable?

When starting on a diet plan, the most common question that comes up in one’s head is whether that particular diet plan is safe and sustainable. If the same question has popped in your head regarding the 3-day military diet, let me tell you a few important points that dieters often overlook before starting on a diet plan.

Losing weight depends on various factors such as the current body weight, current activity levels, current body fat percentage, body type, medical condition, medical history, genes, food habits, and lifestyle. Therefore, always consult your doctor or dietitian before starting on any diet plan.

Now, coming to 3-day military diet, yes, it has worked for many women around the world, and it is safe and sustainable. Once you start eating natural and homemade food, you will lose water weight and burn the extra fat in the body. The fruits and veggies will improve your digestion, which in turn will help you to lose weight, and the proteins will help you build muscle. Once you have lost weight and start to look good in any attire, it will be hard for you to give up on that body. The mantra is to burn the calories that you intake and stay hydrated.

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3. The 3 – Day Military Diet Plan

The 3-day diet plan includes foods that are nutritious, filling, and low in calories. You will be allowed to consume not more than 1000 calories per day for these three days. Here is the diet plan that will guide you on what to eat, how many calories to consume, and what recipe you can try with the allowed ingredients.

Day 1 – Monday

As you start the diet, Day 1 is probably the hardest. If you’re someone who is used to eating only what they like, the diet can seem restrictive. Additionally, depending on how many calories you’re used to consuming, you may feel hungry even after eating a meal.


What You Need
  • 1/2 grapefruit – 10 calories
  • 2 slices of whole grain bread – 120 calories
  • 2 tbsp peanut butter – 100 calories
  • Coffee or tea – 10 calories
  • 1/2 cup tuna – 100 calories
  • 100 gms chicken or fish – 160 calories
  • 1/2 cup green beans – 31 calories
  • 1/2 banana – 53 calories
  • An apple – 77calories
  • Vanilla ice cream – 70 calories
What You Need To Do

For Breakfast: You must eat half a grapefruit and a slice of whole grain toast topped with two tablespoons of peanut butter. Wash it all down with a cup of coffee or tea.
For Lunch: You can eat half a cup of tuna with a slice of whole grain toast and a cup of coffee or tea.
For Dinner: For the final meal of the day, you can eat 100 grams of any lean meat, half a cup of green beans, half a banana, an apple, and a small cup of vanilla ice cream.

Why This Works

On the first day of the diet, you will consume a maximum of 1200 calories. This puts your body in a calorie deficit. This particular combination of foods is also supposed to help in boosting the metabolic rate.

Suggested Recipe For Day 1

Shredded Pepper Chicken

Shredded Pepper Chicken

Image: Shutterstock

What You Need
  • 100 grams chicken breast
  • Lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon chili flakes
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • Salt
How To Cook
  1. Pour three inches of water in a pot and put in the chicken breast. Let it cook until the chicken becomes soft.
  2. Take out the chicken breast and shred it.
  3. Transfer the shredded chicken to a bowl.
  4. Add a pinch each of pepper and salt, oregano, chili flakes, and lemon juice.
  5. Toss the meat around to mix the spices.

Day 2 – Tuesday

Day 2 of the diet follows a similar pattern to Day 1. If you found Day 1 to be easier than you expected, then Day 2 will be another cakewalk.

What You Need
  • 1 egg – 78 calories
  • 1 slice of whole grain bread – 53 calories
  • 1/2 banana – 53 calories
  • 1/2 cup cottage cheese – 164 calories
  • 5 saltine crackers – 63 calories
  • 2 hot dogs – 300 calories
  • 1 cup broccoli – 15 calories
  • 1/2 cup carrots – 25 calories
  • 1 small cup vanilla ice cream – 70 calories
What You Need To Do

For Breakfast: Have a boiled egg, a slice of toast, and half a banana.
For Lunch: You should eat half a cup of cottage cheese, a hard boiled egg, and five saltine crackers.
For Dinner: Have two hot dogs, a cup of broccoli, half a cup of carrots, half a banana, and a small cup of vanilla ice cream.

Why This Works

Eggs and cottage cheese are high in protein, bananas are rich in potassium, and broccoli and carrots have fiber.

Suggested Recipe For Day 2

Diced Hot Dogs With Veggies

Diced Hot Dogs With Veggies

Image: Shutterstock

What You Need
  • 2 lean meat hot dogs
  • 1 cup broccoli florets
  • 1/2 cup baby carrots
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 2 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
How To Cook
  1. Pour 2 inches of water in a soup pot and let it come to a boil.
  2. Add the hot dogs, broccoli florets, and baby carrots.
  3. Take out the veggies after two minutes, and take out the hot dogs after six minutes.
  4. Dice the hot dogs and veggies and toss them in a bowl.
  5. Add salt, lemon juice, and dried thyme. Mix well.

Day 3 – Wednesday

Day 3 is the final day of the diet restrictions. After this, you can consume up to 1500 calories a day.

What You Need
  • 5 saltine crackers – 60 calories
  • 1 slice of cheddar cheese – 110 calories
  • 1 small apple – 75 calories
  • 1 boiled egg – 78 calories
  • 1 slice of whole grain bread – 75 calories
  • 1/2 cup tuna – 190 calories
  • 1/2 banana – 53 calories
  • 1 small bowl of ice cream – 70 calories
What You Need To Do

For Breakfast: Eat five saltine crackers, a slice of cheddar cheese, and a small apple.
For Lunch: Eat one hard boiled egg and a slice of toast.
For Dinner: For the last meal of the diet, you must eat half a cup of tuna, half a banana, and a cup of vanilla ice cream.

Why This Works

Once again, the diet allows you to eat enough food to keep away from junk and binge eating while still keeping you in the calorie-burning zone.

Suggested Recipe For Day 3

Spicy Boiled Egg & Toast

Spicy Boiled Egg & Toast

Image: Shutterstock

What You Need
  • 1 boiled egg
  • 1 wheat bread or flour bread (if you are gluten sensitive)
  • 1/4 teaspoon oregano
  • A pinch of black pepper powder
  • A pinch of salt
How To Prepare

1. Cut the boiled egg into slices. You can also grate the boiled egg.
2. Add black pepper, salt, and oregano. Toss well.
3. Spread on the slice of toast.
4. Enjoy the spicy boiled egg with toast for lunch.

Day 4 – Day 7 (Thursday-Sunday)

Day 4 – Day 7 (Thursday-Sunday)

Image: Shutterstock

From Day 4-Day 7, you will consume a nutritionally balanced diet, which should not exceed the limit of 1500 calories per day. On these four days, your body will be able to rest and recover from the 3-day low-calorie diet. However, this is also the time you will tend to overeat. To prevent overeating, maintain a calorie journal to record how many calories a food contains, and how many calories you’ve consumed in a day. Eat soup, blanched veggies, baked fish or chicken, fruits or fresh fruit juices. Snack on one or two digestive biscuits, have your coffee or tea without sugar, exercise, and get good sleep to prevent weight gain.

It is best that you start the diet plan on Monday so that you can indulge on the weekend. Do not continue to be on a very low-calorie diet beyond three days. If you want to go on the 3-day military diet again, start again on the next Monday.

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4. The 3 – Day Military Diet Chart

Wondering what could be the 3-day military diet menu? Here’s all you need to know.

Click here to view an enlarged version of this infographic

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5. The Best Part Of The Military Diet

  • The military diet is easy to incorporate into your routine.
  • The foods recommended are all common and can be found in most households. Hence, it is easy to follow.
  • The diet lets you eat three meals a day on all three days, and you can see why people love this diet so much.
  • In stark contrast to other diets, you don’t have to adopt a radical all-liquid diet or survive on foods that you hate. The diet includes hot dogs and even ice cream, and at no point during the diet will you crave for other foods.
  • For people who struggle with long and rigorous diets, the military diet lasts for a total of three days. After three days, you can return to your regular eating pattern and daily exercise routine. Even if you are someone who struggles to stick to diets, three days shouldn’t be a problem.

Since the diet tells you exactly what you need to eat, you don’t have to worry about constantly counting calories. That’s a big relief as you can only stick to the meal plan and trust that you will meet your weight loss goals.

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6. Military Diet Substitutions

If you are allergic to certain foods, or if you are gluten sensitive, or don’t like the taste of a certain vegetable listed here, and these reasons are preventing you from following the 3-day military diet for losing weight, we have a solution for you. Here are a list of substitutes for all ingredients mentioned in the military diet plan.

Chicken Substitute – If you are a vegan or simply do not want to eat chicken while you are on the military diet, you can choose other lean protein options such as salmon, tuna, lean cuts of turkey, soy chunks, kidney beans, chickpeas, black-eyed peas, mushrooms, lentils, etc.

Peanut Butter Substitute – If you are allergic to peanuts or don’t like the taste of peanut butter, you can substitute it with flax seed butter, pumpkin seed butter, almond butter, sunflower seed butter, hummus, or soy butter.

Whole Grain Bread Substitute – If you are gluten sensitive or suffer from Irritable Bowel Syndrome, you can opt for gluten-free bread or white bread.

Cottage Cheese Substitute – If the calories in cottage cheese bother you, or if you are not a fan of cottage cheese, you can substitute it with a medium bowl of ricotta cheese, Greek yogurt, or a tablespoon of cheese spread or goat cheese.

Broccoli Substitute – Well, not many of you are a fan of this highly nutritious vegetable. So, don’t force yourself to eat it. Substitute it with other healthy veggies such as celery, bok choy, kale, leek, spinach, cabbage, Chinese cabbage, cauliflower, greens, etc.

Ice Cream Substitute – If you want to eat a delicious dessert without gaining as much fat, opt for low-calorie frozen yogurt.

Banana Substitute – Banana can be substituted with plums, peaches, papaya, or two dried apricots.

Hot Dog Substitute – Supermarket-bought hot dogs have way too many trans fats, calories, preservatives, flavoring agent, etc. Hence, always check the label for the ingredients and their quantities to know what exactly you will eat. If you are a vegan, opt for other protein sources such as soy, lentils, mushrooms, and beans.

Saltine Crackers Substitute – There are 13 calories in one saltine cracker. However, if you have gluten sensitivity or you do not want to munch on a saltine cracker, opt for gluten-free crackers, rice cakes, or oats crackers (do not eat if you are gluten sensitive).

Egg Substitute – If you are not an egg fan, substitute it with skim milk, soy milk, nuts, chicken breast, flax seeds, pumpkin seeds, or a slice of bacon.

Tuna Substitute – Tuna is full of lean protein, which is good for your health. However, if you are not a fan of fish and don’t want to eat tuna, you can substitute it with almonds, chicken breast, lean cuts of turkey, chickpeas, tofu, mushroom, lentils, kidney beans, or soy chunks.

Carrot Substitute – The best substitutes for carrots are pumpkin, squash, celery, and beetroot.

Green Beans Substitute – If the taste of green beans makes you cringe, substitute it with other green vegetables such as celery, leek, lettuce, cabbage, bok choy, kale, bottle gourd, etc.

Grapefruit Substitute – If you are on medication that prohibits you from eating grapefruit, or if you don’t like the taste of grapefruit, substitute it with apple, kiwi, watermelon, tomato, celery, or flax seed powder.

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7. Role Of Exercise During Military Diet


Image: iStock

You will be on less than 1000 calories per day. Therefore, it is best to walk and practice yoga rather than doing any strenuous exercises. Also, a few people feel more active and less hungry when they workout regularly (even when on a low-calorie diet), but that might not be the case for you. You might feel weak due to lesser calorie consumption. Check with your gym trainer before following your regular workout regimen while you are on this diet plan.

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8. Benefits Of The 3 Day Military Diet

The 3-Day military diet plan has some benefits. They are:

  • The first and most obvious benefit is weight loss. You stand to lose anywhere between 8 to 10 pounds over the course of a week
  • The military diet increases your metabolic rate. This means, over the week, your body will consume more calories even when at rest, which will allow for faster fat loss.
  • It can have a detox-like effect on the body. As the diet prescribes eating whole foods most of the time, and you have to follow the diet strictly, it will cleanse your system.

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9. Military Diet Side Effects

There are no side effects of this diet. As there are no radical dieting or foods involved, and because of the extremely short diet span of just three days, there are no side effects of the three-day military diet.

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10. Dos And Don’ts Of The Military Diet

Things To DoThings Not To Do
  • You should follow the diet plan entirely. There is no case for improvisation or cheating on the diet. The diet was designed to help maximize weight loss.
  • You should be prepared to be hungry. You will have to keep off the hunger pangs and the temptation to overeat.
  • Once the diet is done, you need to restrict your calorie intake to about 1500 calories, failing which you will gain back the weight you lost.
  • You shouldn’t have any snacks in between meals. The success of the diet hinges on you following the diet plan exactly as specified. Snacking will derail the whole diet.
  • Don’t overeat. Limit your portions to the sizes mentioned in the plan. The diet will only work if you do.

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11. 3-Day Military Diet Result

Miss Vivian, the popular and gorgeous YouTube vlogger, took the 3-day military diet challenge. And guess what? She lost a whopping 7 pounds in just 3 days! Check out her video to see how she achieved more than her weight loss goals.

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12. Best Tips

Before we get to the tips, let us first understand why we tend to overeat.

Why Do We Overeat?


Image: iStock

A number of reasons trigger our hunger, and these reasons vary from person to person. The most common reasons to overeat these days are stress and depression. This type of eating is also known as emotional eating. The lack of a feeling of accomplishment or achievement suppresses the “feel good” hormones. Therefore, by eating a lot more than what the body needs, people get a feeling of satisfaction.

Overeating can also be due to insulin resistance or less production of insulin. The body needs energy to function, and this energy comes from the breakdown of nutrients into sugar. Insulin is needed for sugar absorption. When less insulin produced, or if the body is resistant to insulin, sugar is not absorbed. This raises the blood sugar levels. However, since the body lacks nutrition, the person feels hungry and continues to munch on food, raising the blood sugar levels further. This finally leads to diabetes.

Here are a few handpicked tips and secrets to help you through this 3-day ordeal of dieting to lose weight.

Best Veggies For Military Diet


Image: iStock

If you want to lose weight, you have to eat a lot of veggies that will help you burn fat and boost your metabolism. Vegetables contain vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, and dietary fiber. These make you feel full and active, fight various diseases, and improve brain function. True, not all veggies are palatable for everyone. Therefore, we have listed out few fat burning veggies here to help you out:

  • Celery
  • Broccoli
  • Bok choy
  • Asparagus
  • Kale
  • Watercress
  • Cauliflower
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Chinese cabbage
  • Carrot
  • Radish
  • Turnip
  • Squash
  • Bottle gourd
  • Bitter gourd
  • Collard greens
  • Chili
  • Cabbage
  • Leek
  • Arugula
  • Bell pepper
  • Beetroot
  • Spinach

Best Beverages For Military Diet


Image: iStock

The best beverages that aid weight loss are green tea with lemon, detox drinks, homemade lemonade, fresh fruit juice (without added sugar), tender coconut water, and plenty of water.
When it comes to losing weight, you should also keep in mind the extra calories that the sweetened, aerated, and packaged drinks contain. Be it packaged fruit juice, coconut water, soda, or energy drinks, they all contain more calories and should be strictly avoided. Also, alcohol consumption can make you bloated. Therefore, it is better to consume limited or no alcohol when you are committed to losing weight.

Best Condiments For Military Diet


Image: iStock

If you are used to buying sauces, salad dressings, ketchup, etc. from the store and mixing them with veggies or healthy proteins, thinking that they are completely healthy, think again! Most condiments sold by food companies contain high amounts of added sugar, salt, artificial colors, artificial flavoring agents, unhealthy fats and oils, and way too much omega-6 fatty acids. All these will only increase LDL, cholesterol, and blood sugar levels, which ultimately will lead to weight gain, no matter how much veggies you eat.

The solution to this problem is to make your own condiments or to avoid condiments that contain too many fattening products. Here is the list of healthiest condiments:

Salsa – This delicious Mexican condiment is an excellent substitute for tomato sauce. It is made with fresh ingredients, is easy to prepare, and has no extra sugar or unhealthy fats.
Mustard – Give an extra zing to your salads, sandwiches, or wraps with this healthy condiment. Mustard contains a good amount of antioxidants, has anti-inflammatory properties, and fights cancer.
Avocado – Avocados are rich in flavor and have healthy fats. When made into guacamole, they taste heavenly. Avocados help to maintain cell membrane integrity, curb appetite and prevent hormone imbalance. You can make fresh guacamole at home to avoid trans fats and extra salt.
Hot Sauce – Peppers are a good source of vitamin C and aid weight loss. Homemade hot sauce is the best, and it is quick and easy to prepare.
Hummus – Hummus is a good source of protein, vitamins, minerals, and good fats. This delicious condiment can be cooked in few minutes and is a good replacement for mayonnaise in your vegetable or chicken wrap.
Pesto – This amazing Italian condiment will spice up your pasta, sandwich, wrap, or meats. Full of antioxidants, this homemade sauce is free of unhealthy fats and preservatives.

Can You Eat Protein Bars?


Image: iStock

The much-hyped protein bars contain corn syrup, sugar, trans fats, artificial color and flavor, and processed soy protein. Big red flag! These ingredients are used to mask the unpalatable taste of the fiber, vitamins, and minerals, and do more harm than good. Therefore, think before you snack on a protein bar. Drink sports drinks that are fortified with carbs and protein before, during, and after workout sessions. This will prevent you from feeling extremely hungry and weak after working out and curb the need to snack on a protein bar. Also, snack on a bowl of carrot, cucumber, fruits, fresh fruit juices, yogurt, etc. to keep your weight in check. However, if you still want to snack on a protein bar, make sure to check the ingredients and their amounts before buying the bar. The lesser the number of ingredients, the better.

So, what can we conclude from this radical diet plan? On the face of it, the three-day military diet plan seems like a win-win situation for anyone willing to try it. Since it only requires a three-day diet plan that allows you eat a healthy amount of food, the diet is easy to stick to. There are no side effects of the military diet, which means people of ages can follow it.

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Expert’s Answers for Reader’s Questions

Can I snack while on this diet?

Unfortunately, no. The 3-day military diet is planned in a way to help you lose weight. If you snack, you will not get the desired results.

Can I drink wine while on the 3-day military diet?

No. You should avoid consuming alcoholic beverages. Alcohol is broken down into sugar and stored as fat if you don’t burn the calories.

What cooking method will benefit the most?

The best ways of cooking are boiling, blanching, grilling, and baking. Use healthy oils such as olive oil and rice bran oil in limited quantities for grilling or baking. If you want to eat stir fried veggies, make sure not to use too much oil.

Do I need to take vitamin supplements while I am on this diet?

If you feel weak or fatigued during the diet, you may take vitamin supplements. Consult your physician who will prescribe the appropriate supplements.

What does the military diet entail?

The military diet entails following a three-day diet plan followed by four days of down time. During these three days, you have to eat only the foods that are listed in the diet plan.

Can I take coffee or tea while I am on the military diet?

Yes. You may take black coffee, black tea, green tea, or white tea when you are on this diet. However, avoid adding sugar, artificial sugar, milk, or cream.

How much weight can you lose on the military diet?

If you follow the military diet diligently, you can lose 10-12 pounds.

How difficult is the three-day military diet plan?

The military diet is a relatively easy diet. It doesn’t follow any radical liquid diet plans or induce forced starvation, so it’s easy to stick to the diet.

How many calories should I consume after the 3rd day?

You may consume about 1600 calories per day after the 3rd day. Keep yourself hydrated, exercise regularly, and refrain from eating high-calorie foods.

Can anyone follow the diet?

Yes, people of all ages can follow the diet. However, it is always best to check with your doctor.

Can I follow the military diet continuously?

Yes, there is a more hardcore version of this diet. This means, once the three days are over, you repeat the process for another three days. This is not advisable for everyone. Make sure to check with your doctor before undertaking this.

I have not lost any weight, please help!

Since weight loss depends on many factors, you have to first find out if your weight gain is due to hormonal imbalance, insulin resistance, or any other medical condition. Stress can also lead to weight gain, and if you remain stressed, you will not lose weight. Check with your doctor to know the underlying problem.

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