How To Lose Weight in 3 Days Enlisting in The Military Diet

Lose weight with 3 day military diet
Angie Moore
Written by Angie Moore

Ten-hut! Are you stressing about being able to squeeze in that new dress next week? Do you need to shed some pounds in a hurry? Are you looking to learn how to lose weight in 3 days? If you answered yes, then the military diet wants you!

In all seriousness, the military diet has seemingly come out of nowhere, and it’s quickly becoming one of the most popular diets on the net for people that need to lose weight fast. The diet claims that it’s possible to lose 10 pounds a week by following its regimen, which is an impressive feat to say the least. How does it do this? With a strict calorie consumption that lets the weight watcher eat foods like hot dogs and ice cream.

See also: Does The Military Diet Work? A Point by Point Review

Yes, you read right; a diet that lets you eat hotdogs and ice cream. Though this might appear tempting, this diet isn’t for people who aren’t prepared to go through meal hell. The regimen is extremely low in calories, and is only for the very disciplined. However, it is only 3 days on and 4 days off, which means after the heavy restrictions you can eat more normally for the rest of the week. Less than 4 days of toughing it out is a small price to pay for a fabulous beach body.

Why is this diet different?

The military diet bases its results on how the food from each meal interact with each other. The 3 day formula is about the chemical balance of each food, which is why the diet is very constrained. Other than the foods being limited however, the diet is quite fast and easy to follow.

The army diet basics

Other weight loss programs can get complex and extensive, which often require that you weigh out every food product in every single one of your meals. That means you need a ton of time and a ton of different foods. There’s no telling how much money you could go through and how much time you can waste measuring out that one sandwich. Do read our guide on our military diet food shopping list for more information.

This is what makes this diet so unique; it’s unbelievably fast and easy. The program only demands that 3 days be put in, and most of the foods you’re eating can be commonly found in every grocery store. The food used here is familiar so you don’t have to wander through shopping aisles looking for that expensive protein shake. The most striking thing about the diet is that the results are quick, which means you won’t get frustrated when your scale numbers don’t drastically change like most long-term diets.

How does it work?

As stated before, the diet works on two levels. The first is that you’re eating substantially less calories than before so you have more room to burn. The second is that this specific combination of foods comes together to maximize your metabolism and give your body the best chemical balance that it needs.

Fat is your body’s number one enemy when it comes to gaining weight. There are two types of fat you consume; essentially a good kind of fat and a bad kind. The good kind is called fatty acids, which are necessary for any healthy body. These are usually in nuts, peanut butter and certain types of fish.

Peanut butter on the table

The unhealthy fat you want to watch out for is called saturated fat. Also known as trans-fat, this stuff is found in sugary products like cupcakes and unprocessed meats. If you’re not burning these extra fat calories, then your body will have no choice but to store them, causing you to gain weight.

The military diet in this aspect is ideal as it has a very low calorie count, meaning your body will have no choice but to burn those stored calories for energy.  Since the diet is 3 days of intensive calorie cut back, it is considered a form of irregular fasting. Don’t let the word fasting intimidate you though. Irregular fasting is when you eat a strict diet for a brief period of time followed by a return to eating objectively normal.

Protein in eggs fat burning food

The main thing that this diet works incredibly well at is maximizing your metabolism. To lose weight, you have to burn a number of calories throughout the day. The number of calories you burn each day is referred to as you metabolic rate. Have you ever seen people that can just eat whatever they want, and still not gain any weight? That’s because they have a very fast working metabolism, thus they’re metabolic rate enables them to burn calories quicker.

The military diet kicks your metabolism into overdrive with a collection of food that has fat burning boosters. The menu is filled with food that contains calcium, protein and high amounts of fiber. Together these ingredients come together to make your metabolism work at optimal levels.

Keep in mind that:

  • Calcium is known to burn fat quickly by helping it pass through the digestive system at a fast rate.
  • Eating and digesting protein makes your body use a lot of excess calories.
  • Foods with high fiber content not only boost your metabolism, but they are rich in nutrients and vitamins.

The meal plan

The military diet is so simple that you could probably walk into your kitchen right now and find half of the ingredients in your cupboards and fridge. The plan consists of you eating a limited menu over the course of three days.

That combined with a little aerobic and lifting exercise, and that’s pretty much it. Each meal is calculated to have a very low calorie count and provide the right amount of proteins, carbs, and fatty acids that will help your body lose the optimal amount of fat.

Diet plan concept

The diet may sound too good to be true, but it has everything a person needs to start losing weight quickly. The meal plan for this diet is strict, but easy to follow. All of the foods are laid out so you can lay out your meals for the day in a manageable fashion. Thus, the three day plan is as follows:

Day 1


  • ½ of a grapefruit
  • 1 slice of toast
  • 2 tablespoons of peanut butter
  • Coffee or tea (no sugar or creamer)


  • ½ cup of tuna
  • 1 slice of toast
  • Coffee or tea


  • 3 oz. of any meat (Ideally chicken or steak)
  • 1 cup of green beans
  • ½ of a banana
  • 1 apple
  • 1 cup of vanilla ice cream

Day 2


  • 1 hardboiled egg
  • 1 slice of toast
  • ½ a banana


  • 1 cup of cottage cheese
  • 1 hardboiled egg
  • 5 saltine crackers


  • 2 hotdogs (without the buns)
  • 1 cup of broccoli
  • ½ cup of carrots
  • ½ of a banana
  • ½ cup of vanilla ice cream

Day 3


  • 1 slice of cheddar cheese
  • 5 saltine crackers
  • 1 small apple


  • 1 hardboiled egg
  • 1 slice of toast


  • 1 cup of tuna
  • ½ a banana
  • 1 cup of vanilla ice cream

Each of the three day’s meals are clearly laid out which makes this one of the easiest diets to follow. You can substitute the hardboiled egg with scrambled, but be sure not to add any salt or additives. You can also substitute the cottage cheese on Day 2 for 1 slice of cheddar cheese. Subsequently if you are vegetarian or vegan, the meat and tuna can be subbed for lentils, tofu or additional cottage cheese. For more information, see our popular article on essential food substitutions in the military diet.

Military diet food options

Make sure that whatever you are substituting you are not adding any additional calories. If you want to replace the cottage cheese with cheddar, don’t go crazy and have 4 or 5 slices.

Stick to the guidelines and follow them diligently. If something contains a certain amount of calories and you replace it, make sure what you’re replacing it with has the same amount of calories. If you follow these meal plans, you will start to see that the military diet is a very calorie intensive program. The total calorie count for Day 1 is 1,250, 1,350 for Day 2, and a mere 1,000 calories for Day 3!

Days 4 – 7

For the 4 remaining days of the week you should keep your calorie count to about 1,500 a day. You don’t have to limit your foods to the ones mentioned above though, you can choose different options just as you don’t exceed that 1,500 count and they’re relatively healthy.

Don’t throw away all the hard work you did in those 3 days by eating frozen waffles for dinner. Try and keep a notebook with you to record how many calories you’re consuming and what types of food you’re eating throughout the day.

Diet Meal Plan

You should also try to drink a lot of water during your days off and on. Water is important in any diet, and it’s especially important to stay healthy, period. Many people don’t drink enough during the course of their day, leading to mild dehydration.

On average you should drink about 2 liters of water a day, which amounts to about 8 glasses in an 8 ounce cup. If you have trouble remembering how much you’ve drank, purchase a cheap water bottle and record how many times you’re refilling it.

Working out

Although working out is not required on the military diet, most people that use it say that it is recommended. What many dieters tend to forget is that dieting is only half the battle. In order for these foods to maximize your metabolism, a little exercise is essential.

That doesn’t mean you have to go out and join a gym, get a personal trainer, and start body building. All that is required is a little cardio and lift training in order to get the desired results. Start your workout out with a little bit of cardio exercise. See our tips on what exercise to do in the military diet for more information.

Take a jog around your block or spend a little time on the treadmill, but don’t overdo it. While you might think doing loads of running will keep your body slim, it’s important to do cardio in moderation. If your body starts to burn too many calories than it resorts to burning muscle. It is best to keep your cardio training to about 20 – 30 minutes max.

Cardio trening

Once you put in some cardio you can move on to some light weight training. Lifting will start the process to convert that unwanted fat and extra calories into lean muscle. All you need for this is a basic set of barbells or a pair of dumbbells. Concentrate on precise areas of your body during the workout.

Make chest a priority on one day, concentrate on the back muscles on another, biceps for another and so on a so forth. It’s important to take a few days off after concentrating on a desired area, so if you work out your chest on day 1, move on to your back or legs the next day.

Doing your workout routine should be less of a chore and more enjoyable to make the experience rewarding. To keep up your exercises, take a set time of the day to make it your workout time. Workout at this same time each day. This will keep you from falling behind and will allow it to become part of your daily schedule so it starts to feel like part of your basic routine.

Working out

If you are already heavy into working out you can keep your up your normal regimen. Keep in mind however that you will start to feel weaker on the days you are dieting. 1,200 calories isn’t a whole lot to run off of, so you might wind up burning some muscle if you’re not careful. It would be wise to only workout on days 4 – 7 when you have more energy to burn through.

Important reminders

  • Don’t overeat on your days off of the diet, it will just ruin all of the progress you’ve made. It may be hard to resist that jelly donut or pepperoni pizza, but don’t let those urges get the better of you.
  • Try not to snack. If you’re someone who likes eating a bag of potato chips late at night, don’t! Clear your entire house of any unhealthy snacks or junk foods that might get in the way of your progress.
  • Follow the meal schedule to a T. There’s a reason why the meals are laid out as straightforward as they are; they’re designed to work. So don’t go trying to tweak or fix something that isn’t broken.
  • Get a friend involved. If you know someone else who is interested in losing some weight, have them follow the diet with you. That way you can watch each other’s backs and make sure no one is sneaking in those afternoon nachos or late night chocolate. It will also help your workout regimen if you have someone to exercise with.

But does it really work?

Losing up to 10 pounds in a week while eating ice cream, does sound a little farfetched, so there’s no reason to not feel skeptical about this diet. If it makes you feel more comfortable before committing yourself, do some research on the internet. There are various sites that are dedicated to the explanation and the science behind it all. Try also getting reviews from people that have already tried it or are currently on it. There are some striking before and after photos that are circulating the internet that detail the results, so check them out.

Technically speaking the diet is not so much revolutionary than it is popular. It isn’t actually used by the military; the name came to fruition because it is a very rigorous and diligent program. Also, 3 day diets have been around for years so it’s nothing that dieting trends haven’t seen before. That doesn’t mean that it doesn’t work however. Compared to other 3 day dieting plans, the military diet has a substantial increase in the amount of calories you are allowed.

Does it work

Some diets have meal plans as low as 800 calories a day! A calorie count that low could not only provide you with enough energy, but it could also be potentially harmful to your body in the long run. Most who try the military diet state that losing substantial amounts of weight in a short window of time is entirely possible.

Is this diet right for me?

The military diet is quickly gaining a popular following thanks to forums and various YouTube videos. And why shouldn’t it? With such a short timeframe for drastic results, it certainly sound inviting. But how do you know if this new diet is right for you?

Before diving into this headfirst, you might first want to check if you fall into any of these categories.

  • First, if you like diets that aren’t overly complicated with food weighing and workout routines, then you’re going to love this diet. Some plans leave many of the decisions up to the dieter and while this idea might be good in theory it can lead to people slacking or cheating. The military diet has a laid out meal plan that is straightforward so there’s little if no room for error. Although being told what foods to eat might be constricting, it’s worth it to see the desired results you want.
  • Second, you should not attempt this diet if you don’t have a strong determination. The main diet may just be for 3 days, but it’s a tough 3 days. The calorie count alone is enough to put people off because it is so drastically different from what you might be used to. You may feel extremely hungry which can lead to irritability throughout the day. If you don’t feel like you can make it through those first 3 days, the military diet might be more than you can handle.
  • If you’re one of those people that don’t have time to cook big, expensive meals for dinner, this diet will probably appeal to you. The meal plan is incredibly easy to prepare. If you can crack open a can of tuna and can hard boil an egg, then you should have no problem preparing the breakfast, lunch or dinner.
    If you’re looking to diet on a budget, the military diet should be right up your alley. A lot of money can be wasted buying expensive ingredients and food products that sound healthy when you could be getting just as much nutritional value from products much cheaper.

The verdict

Admittedly, eating only 1,000 calories on a third day of a strict diet doesn’t sound very appealing. While the military diet is certainly a rigorous program, the results are quite promising. During the diet you may have times when you become angry, irritated and just plain hungry, but the end results are worth the stretch.

If you’re fed up with the overly complicated diet programs and interested in trying something convenient and straightforward, then you’re going to love this program. So if you’re looking to shed some weight, and do it fast, then you might want to look into enlisting in the military diet today!

About the author

Angie Moore

Angie Moore

Angie brings a mix of knowledge and experience in diet creation and fitness best practices. With Kansas State University‘s bachelor’s degree in dietetics and over 7 years of experience working with thousands of clients to better their life, Angie is passionate about your health and well-being. She is also a well-known foodie, having published a few books about diets that work. For most of the time, you can find her in the gym working out with friends and clients, pushing them for top results and fulfilled life.