There's not a lot of reliable information available about how the military diet plan was started — or, for that matter, who started it. MilitaryDiet.co and TheMilitaryDiet.com, the two main resource sites for the diet regimen, are both run by fans and proponents of the diet without any cited health professional credentials. According to them, though, the military diet plan is an intermittent fasting diet that combines three days of a strict, low-calorie meal plan with four days of eating whatever you want (as long as it still falls below the calorie intake).
Sometimes, meals must be prepared in the field with limited resources. This meal was prepared out of UGR's, or Unitized Group Rations, using only a vat of boiling water. UGR's are pre-prepared, processed and shelf-stable foods packaged in hermetically sealed steam table containers. Each of the three breakfast and 14 lunch/dinner menus contains all necessary food and disposable items to feed 50 people, according to the Defense Logistics Agency.
After about two to seven days of following this eating routine, you go into something called ketosis, or the state your body enters when it doesn't have enough carbs for your cells to use for energy. Then it starts making ketones, or organic compounds that your bod then uses in place of those missing carbs—and oh, it also burns fat for more energy, says Beth Warren, R.D., founder of Beth Warren Nutrition and author of Living A Real Life With Real Food.
The Military Diet is a strict, short-term plan that requires drastically reducing your caloric intake. The restrictions work over a three-day period, and then you take four days off from the diet. Some users participate in the Military Diet on an occasional basis, while others might do three days on and four days off for a month at a time. In fact, the Military Diet website touts that people who follow the plan for 30 days could “lose up to 30 lbs,” though registered dietitians strongly advise against doing so. (More on that later.)
If you’ve got weight to lose and you want it gone fast, try swapping out your usual proteins in favor of fish. Not only is fish lower in calories than an equivalent amount of beef or chicken, a study published in Obesity reveals study subjects who added omega-3 fatty acids, like those found in fish, to their diets shed more weight and had an easier time keeping it off than those who skipped them.
According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans those who achieve and manage a healthy weight do so most successfully by being careful to consume just enough calories to meet their needs, and being physically active. According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), healthy individuals seeking to maintain their weight should consume 2,000 calories (8.4 MJ) per day.
Remember that it takes a 3500-calorie deficit to lose one pound of fat. That is, you have to either burn off 3500 calories through exercise or eat 3500 calories less than you burn in a week. Break this up into daily limits. To burn 3500 calories a week, you should aim to have a 500 calorie deficit every day. For example, you can exercise to burn 250 calories and cut 250 calories from your diet.
"When going out for fast food, I used to get the large-size value meal. Now, I satisfy a craving by ordering just one item: a small order of fries or a six-piece box of chicken nuggets. So far, I've shaved off 16 pounds in seven weeks, and I'm on track to being thinner than my high school self for my 10-year reunion later this year." —Miranda Jarrell, Birmingham, AL