But don’t lose hope just yet. You can still incorporate strategies that help you lose total body fat, which will benefit your belly. At the end of the day, nothing sheds belly fat like diet, exercise, and everyday changes to your lifestyle. The slimmer stomach of your dreams is always within reach, but it takes time and dedication. Commit to these habits, and you’ll start dropping pounds before you know it.
One of the central claims of the Military Diet is that your meals are arranged in “fat-burning” food combinations. However, “There’s no science behind it,” says Gomer. You may still lose weight if the calories you’re consuming are less than the calories you’re burning off throughout your day. But nothing about pairing grapefruit with peanut butter toast will necessarily help you slim your waistline more than another combination of similarly caloric foods, Gomer says.
The military diet is similar to other three-day diet plans (think: the Mayo Clinic and Cleveland Clinic three-day diet plans) as it claims to promote weight loss in a short period of time by restricting calories. The diet also bears a striking resemblance to the retro Drinking Man's Diet (or the Air Force Diet) of the '60s, according to Adrienne Rose Johnson Bitar, Ph.D., postdoctoral associate at Cornell University who specializes in the history and culture of American food, pop culture, and health. Much like the military diet, the Drinking Man's Diet incorporated martinis and steak in the diet but kept carbohydrate and calorie counts fairly low, she explains. "Both of these diets were low-calorie or low-carb plans that promised impressive short-term results, but included unhealthy or indulgent foods," says Bitar. (Another unhealthy diet trend that includes lots of red meat: The Vertical Diet. Safe to say, you can skip that diet plan, too.)
Selecting the right food will be easier as you become accustomed to the Keto approach. Instead of lean meats, you’ll focus on skin-on poultry, fattier parts like chicken thighs, rib-eye steaks, grass-fed ground beef, fattier fish like salmon, beef brisket or pork shoulder, and bacon. Leafy greens such as spinach, kale and lettuce, along with broccoli, cauliflower and cucumbers, make healthy vegetable choices (but you’ll avoid starchy root foods like carrots, potatoes, turnips and parsnips). You can work in less-familiar veggies such as kohlrabi or daikon.
Artichokes are delicious when marinated in a little olive oil, thrown on a salad, or added to lightened pasta dishes. “This vegetable has more fiber than any other vegetable, making it one of the best choices when you're looking to boost your fiber intake,” says Zigler. Artichokes are also loaded with antioxidants, which can lower inflammation to promote weight loss.

On the face of it, skipping meals seems like a path to losing weight — if you don’t eat as much, you’ll drop fat. But in practise, it doesn’t work out like that. A 2015 study from Ohio State University found that skipping meals messes up your metabolism and your hormones (specifically insulin), which results in an increased likelihood of abdominal weight gain. Researchers recommended eating several small meals throughout the day as opposed to one or two big ones.
While 1,200 may be the right number for some, it can be super restrictive for others, says Jaclyn London, MS, RD, CDN, Nutrition Director at the Good Housekeeping Institute. Try basing your meals and snacks off this plan and double up on veggies at any opportunity — more fruit at snack time works too! You can also add an extra ounce or two of protein at all meals if you find yourself feeling hungry. The combo of fiber from produce and lean protein makes this an adaptable strategy that’ll help you lose weight safely — one meal (and snack) at a time!

Nuts, the second food to watch, contain a fair amount of carbohydrate, and it’s very easy to unwittingly scarf down large quantities. Cashew nuts are among the worst carb-wise – you’ll find that they contain around 20% carbohydrate by weight. For someone following a strict keto diet with a 20 grams of carbs per day allowance, this means that consuming 100 grams (which happens in a flash!) will have filled their daily quota. Peanuts tend to be around 10-15% carbohydrate – not putting them in the clear either.
Military diet vegetarian modifications are possible! Just because you’re a vegetarian doesn’t mean that you can’t do the military diet. You’ll have to make some modifications where the diet includes meat products. Instead of the tuna, meat and hotdogs, you can use tofu, Portobello mushrooms, lentils, beans, cottage cheese, peanuts or almonds. Ideally, you’ll choose a substitute that has plenty of protein- since meat is protein-heavy.
You may have any kind of tuna or meat that you choose. Fresh or canned tuna doesn't make a difference for the 3 Day Military Diet. You can also choose between beef and turkey dogs; but it's recommended to avoid hot dogs from mixed meat sources. Since hot dogs aren't typically a nutritious choice, if you are concerned with your health and avoiding highly-processed food then another food option may be better for you. Just make sure that your meat or meat substitution for the 2 hot dogs contains between 250 and 350 calories, as that is the approximate calorie count in 2 hotdogs.
Starvation mode is when you restrict calories over a period of time and lose weight quickly, causing your body’s metabolism to slow down. This is a natural side effect of just about any type of weight loss. The less you weigh, the less body tissue your body has to maintain and so your metabolism may drop a bit. Think of it this way: if you carry a backpack up a hill, you burn more calories than if you walk up without a backpack. Extra weight that you carry, even if it’s some extra fat, causes your body to work harder and burn more calories. Another effect of starvation mode is that your body prefers to preserve fat and consume muscle in an effort to help you survive. However, the Military Diet minimizes the effects of the so-called “starvation mode” by including plenty of protein intake in the form of eggs, cottage cheese, tuna, meats and peanut butter. Research supports this strategy, saying that you can preserve both your muscle and metabolism while dieting. In addition, because the diet is only 3 days, after which you return to a more acceptable caloric intake, your body, muscles and metabolism won’t suffer too much.
Wilder's colleague, paediatrician Mynie Gustav Peterman, later formulated the classic diet, with a ratio of one gram of protein per kilogram of body weight in children, 10–15 g of carbohydrate per day, and the remainder of calories from fat. Peterman's work in the 1920s established the techniques for induction and maintenance of the diet. Peterman documented positive effects (improved alertness, behaviour and sleep) and adverse effects (nausea and vomiting due to excess ketosis). The diet proved to be very successful in children: Peterman reported in 1925 that 95% of 37 young patients had improved seizure control on the diet and 60% became seizure-free. By 1930, the diet had also been studied in 100 teenagers and adults. Clifford Joseph Barborka, Sr., also from the Mayo Clinic, reported that 56% of those older patients improved on the diet and 12% became seizure-free. Although the adult results are similar to modern studies of children, they did not compare as well to contemporary studies. Barborka concluded that adults were least likely to benefit from the diet, and the use of the ketogenic diet in adults was not studied again until 1999.[10][14]
Total calories are low on all three days of the plan, but extremely low and not capable of meeting energy needs for an adult on at least two of these days. In addition, numerous other nutrients were below the USDA’s recommendations. When you look at daily average intake provided, these include getting only 10g fiber, 10% DV for Vitamin D, 37% DV for calcium, 42% DV for iron, and 40% DV for potassium.
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You can use zero calorie seasonings to make your Military Diet meals a bit more appealing. Here are some suggestions: salt, pepper, lemon juice, garlic, ginger, cilantro, dill, hot pepper flakes, cumin, curry powder, turmeric, rosemary, sage, etc. Beware if you use items like mustard, soy sauce and garlic sauce, as they do contain a few calories, so you’ll have to be sure to compensate. Avoid using high calorie seasonings such as ketchup, mayonnaise, oils, etc.
There are countless ways to enjoy the fruit (yes, technically it is one), but you can't beat the classic combination of whole-wheat toast with mashed avocado, lemon juice, and sunflower seeds. Sass also recommends whipping avocado into a smoothie, pureeing it with herbs and citrus juice to make a creamy salad dressing, or adding it to a veggie omelet.
But if no carbs are available, our bodies start burning fat as a primary fuel source and producing ketones in the liver, which the body can turn into energy. This metabolic state, called ketosis, is what happens when someone is starving. But it's also how Harper's body works every day. His system relies on fats like butter, oil, and lard as a primary energy source instead of packing them on as in-case-of-emergency poundage.
A systematic review in 2018 looked at sixteen studies on the ketogenic diet in adults. It concluded that the treatment was becoming more popular for that group of patients, that the efficacy in adults was similar to children, the side effects relatively mild. However, many patients gave up with the diet, for various reasons, and the quality of evidence inferior to studies on children. Health issues include high levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL), high total cholesterol, and weight loss.[23]
I used to be 100 pounds heavier than I am now. My eating habits were out of control and pretty much the epitome of mindless. I am A.D.D., I have two kids under four, and I work full time, so eating without constant distractions just doesn't happen. But over the years I’ve learned what it takes for me to lose my weight... and most importantly, keep it off.
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