If you’ve been looking for a new diet to try — or just scrolling through healthy recipes on Pinterest — you’ve probably come across the “Military Diet." It’s a new fad diet that promises to help you lose 10 pounds in about a week, even more if you’re lucky, and was supposedly named after a technique the military uses to help recruits shed pounds. But what’s the real deal on this diet? Does it work as well as its proponents claim — and can you really eat ice cream every day that you're on it? We took a closer look at the meal plan. Check it out.
Very low calorie diets provide 200–800 calories per day, maintaining protein intake but limiting calories from both fat and carbohydrates. They subject the body to starvation and produce an average loss of 1.5–2.5 kg (3.3–5.5 lb) per week. "2-4-6-8", a popular diet of this variety, follows a four-day cycle in which only 200 calories are consumed the first day, 400 the second day, 600 the third day, 800 the fourth day, and then totally fasting, after which the cycle repeats. These diets are not recommended for general use as they are associated with adverse side effects such as loss of lean muscle mass, increased risks of gout, and electrolyte imbalances. People attempting these diets must be monitored closely by a physician to prevent complications.
Many people claim success with this diet, but nutrition experts caution against following the plan for a long-term period. Starvation or fasting diets have been debated often, and support is still anecdotal. While this diet may meet your initial weight loss goals, it's not a long-term, sustainable lifestyle (the website itself says that it's about quick fixes and providing support in a weight loss emergency).
The idea is that the fasting induces mild stress to the cells in your body, helping them become better at coping with such stress and possibly helping your body grow stronger. The verdict is still out regarding the diet’s long-term effectiveness with weight loss, according to a review of preliminary animal research published in January 2017 in Behavioral Sciences. (17)
Sure, you can take a multivitamin while you’re on the diet. That said, you should really only be taking a multivitamin if you struggle to eat a varied diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables. The multivitamin will ensure that you’re not missing out on any minerals and vitamins that you’re not getting from your diet. Make sure that supplements and vitamins are approved by your doctor before you take them.
Make your own. It’s easy! From one 14-ounce can of no-salt-added cannelini beans, spoon out 2 tablespoons of beans. Puree the rest. In a medium nonstick pot, sauté 5 cloves of chopped garlic until translucent. Add 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth and 1 head of escarole, chopped, or a package of frozen chopped spinach. Simmer for about 15 minutes. Add pureed beans, red pepper flakes and black pepper, to taste, and cook 1 minute longer. Garnish with the beans you spooned out plus, if you desire, a little chopped red bell pepper. Refrigerate or freeze what you don’t eat for easy soup prep for a future lunch or dinner.
Since we are talking about setting a meal plan, we need to talk about how many calories you should plan to eat. If your goal is to lose weight, all you need to know is your goal weight. The equation is easy; add a zero to the end of your goal weight to find your daily calorie goal. Just be sure not to go under 1200 calories per day as this will send your metabolism into preservation mode, which may cause your body to hold onto weight instead of releasing it.
You'd think it makes sense: if you have too much belly fat, do a lot of core work to make it go away. But Sylwia Wiesenberg, founder of Tonique Fitness, says it's counterproductive. "If you have extra belly fat, you'll never see the muscles you're working underneath," she explains. "Instead, focus on building a strong lower body—the largest muscle group, and therefore most calorie burning—which will help keep your metabolism humming long after." Then, when you are ready for abs work, do it standing up. A review of core training by the American College of Sports Medicine found that it's a more effective way to tone than traditional exercises that have you on the floor.
We’ve now arrived at tip number 16. If you’re still having trouble losing weight, despite following the 15 pieces of advice listed above, it might be a good idea to bring out the heavy artillery: optimal ketosis. Many people stalling at weight plateaus while on a low-carb diet have found optimal ketosis helpful. It’s what can melt the fat off once again.
1. Bicycle Crunches are a great ab exercise and work the abs from every angle. It’s a combination of the regular crunch, a side-to-side motion that hits the oblique muscles and a reverse crunch that targets the lower abs. You can change the difficulty level by increasing or decreasing the range of motion used and the speed of movement as well as the intensity of the crunch by holding and squeezing.
And like all crash-diets known to man, Alpert says the military diet is meant to make only a short-term impact instead of teaching positive eating habits that can be sustained for a long, healthy life. As a result, she says it's very likely participants will gain back any weight lost shortly after concluding the diet. (Really. You should stop restrictive dieting.)
Thanks for the article Jenna. I actually do something very similar when approaching a comp or a photoshoot…. I wouldn’t call it a diet as much as an advanced technique to prepare for something. Planning is definitely key….. I’m pretty disciplined, but when I’m tired or really hungry that all goes out the window. I’ve found that if I eat before I get too hungry and my food is pretty much all ready to go then I’m fine. If I’m super hungry and tired and I need to go to the grocery store then it all ends terribly… unless the thing I’m preparing for is really important and then I’m usually on top of it all the way.
The best diet for losing weight is Weight Watchers, according to the experts who rated the diets below for U.S. News. Volumetrics came in second, and Jenny Craig and the vegan diet were third on this overall weight loss ranking list, which takes into account short-term and long-term weight loss scores. Some other diets performed as well or better in our rankings for enabling fast weight loss, but long-term weight loss is more important for your health.