Disclaimer: This is not medical advice, it is just my opinion on low calorie diets, like The Military Diet. As stated on everything “Diet-related” you should always contact your doctor before doing any diet.
I don’t really believe in those diets that claim you will lose 5, 10, 15 pounds in a week. The only way to lose that kind of weight is to essentially starve yourself or to take pills that have you running to the bathroom quite frequently.
On website A, they tell you that you need to eat a minimum of 1200 calories per day in order for your body to survive. Eating less than this may cause weight loss, but it’s only because you are starving yourself and your body has no choice but to burn its fat reserves in order to keep you alive.
On website B, you’ll read that as long as you don’t eat less than 1200 calories consistently, it’s a great way to lose weight! It jump-starts your metabolism and you can drop those pesky 5 pounds and look great for a Friday night date.
So which one is telling the truth? I think it’s a combination of both, but I also think it’s going to vary per person. Say you are 5’1 and 110 lbs. All of your weight is around your middle and no amount of continual stomach exercises is getting rid of that flab. Many websites tell you to eat 1200 calories and you’ll lose weight. However, you already struggle to eat 1200 calories so a website telling you to only eat 1200 calories to lose weight probably isn’t going to work for you.
Let’s set the scene as to why I even bothered to try out something like this.
It’s 5 days before my high school reunion. Since high school, but mainly in the past year I have gained a significant amount of weight. I blame it on the birth control pills I was taking and my gynecologist is convinced I have a thyroid issue. We’re currently waiting on the results of the blood work. (I almost hope she is right because then I can take medication and the weight will go away, hopefully) For the past 3 weeks I have made a huge effort to eat exactly 1200 calories and exercise as much as possible.
On a regular basis, I already eat pretty healthy to begin with, so those common tricks like “stop drinking soda” or “don’t eat fast food” don’t exactly apply to me. I don’t drink soda and I rarely have fast food. What’s your next suggestion know-it-all internets? Oh, cut 3,500 calories from your weekly caloric intake. Done. Next?
The scale, however, refuses to budge. I fluctuate between 2 pounds, which is pretty common for most people. So I see one of my friends mention that she has done this Military Diet before and lost 10 pounds the first time. She had just finished it for the second time and lost 4 pounds.
10, 4, either are significant enough numbers that would show on the scale that would return even the slightest amount of hope that I can actually lose weight and my metabolism hasn’t packed up and headed for the hills. So, I decided I would try one of those crazy “lose 10 lbs. fast” diets.
However, I know what I am going into. If at any time I begin to feel faint or get really dizzy, this diet is over. I have no interest in causing significant damage because I want to lose weight. It’s not THAT important to me. I’d rather live and be fat than be skinny and die, ya know?
Day 1: Breakfast: 1 slice honey wheat toast, 2 tbsp. all natural peanut butter, 1 cup coffee, 1 apple
I already adjusted the diet because I don’t eat grapefruit and the alternative (baking soda and water) is just to vile to think about drinking. I can’t fit all of the peanut butter on the toast, so I dip the apple slices in it. I also cheated by adding a splash of creamer into the coffee. I’m sorry, but black coffee is nasty.
Day 1: Lunch: 1 can plain tuna, 1 slice honey wheat bread, 5 baby carrots, 1 bottle water with cucumber
I cheated by eating the baby carrots. It wanted me to drink black coffee again. No thank you. I sprinkled the tuna with Old Bay seasoning.
Day 1: Dinner: 3 oz. lean grilled/broiled meat, 1 cup green beans, 1/2 banana, 1 cup vanilla ice cream, 1 small apple, 2 cups Turkey Hill Diet Green Tea w/ a slice of lemon
I seasoned boneless, skinless chicken breast with a rotisserie chicken seasoning and grilled it. I steamed the green beans and sprinkled garlic powder on them. Since I had an apple for breakfast, I skipped the apple and just had the banana slices over the ice cream for dessert about an hour after dinner.
Day 1 Feelings: Surprisingly, I’m not hungry at all. I logged everything into My Fitness Pal and found that it is 1082 calories, which is much more than I was expecting for this diet. I know it depends on the type of bread, peanut butter, and ice cream (mainly) that you eat, but I was thinking this would only be around 700 calories for the day. I’m also not tired or anything. Overall, I feel the same as I usually do.
Day 2: Breakfast: 1 slice honey wheat toast, 1 egg over easy, 1/2 banana, 1 cup coffee w/ a splash of milk
You can have the egg however you like, so I opted for over easy made with non-stick cooking spray. I seasoned it with salt and pepper. The coffee isn’t part of the plan, but I require caffeine.
Day 2: Lunch: 1 cup plain Greek yogurt, 2 slices bacon, 5 saltine crackers, 1 bottle water with strawberries and mint leaves
This did not go as planned. My hard-boiled was not hard-boiled and I needed to find something I could quickly make in the morning. That left me with bacon. Which was really hard not to eat with my breakfast. I substituted the yogurt for cottage cheese.
Day 2: Dinner: 2 chicken hot dogs (no buns), 1/2 cup carrots, 1 cup spinach, 1 cup vanilla ice cream, 1/2 banana , 2 cups Turkey Hill Diet Green Tea w/ a slice of lemon
I opted for chicken hot dogs over beef ones since I can stomach them a little better, but not much. I did cheat and dip the hot dogs into 1 tsp. of yellow mustard. I ate the carrots raw but sauteed the spinach with spray butter. Again, I had the vanilla ice cream and banana for dessert after dinner.
Day 2: Feelings: I don’t really like eggs so I knew today was going to be hard for me. Breakfast was fine aside from the bacon temptation. By 11 am, I was already hungry and it didn’t help that my coworker was munching on chips. I had a hair appointment right after work and knew I wouldn’t get home until late, so I wanted to eat lunch as late as possible. I only made it until 12:30 but I nibbled on my lunch to make it last as long as possible. I didn’t “feel” hungry but I wanted to keep eating. I didn’t get home from my hair appointment until 8:15. I was starving and had a serious headache. And was seriously tempted to run into the Papa John’s next to the hair salon and inhale a pizza. I ate the carrots while the hot dogs and spinach cooked then immediately followed dinner up with ice cream and bananas. I’m still hungry. Tomorrow isn’t going to be fun. It’s the least amount of food of all.
Day 3: Breakfast: 1 egg over easy, 1 slice honey wheat toast, 1 cup coffee with splash of milk
I made this the same as yesterday.
Day 3: Lunch: 5 saltines, 1 slice cheddar cheese, 1 apple
This was really listed as breakfast, but I switched them around
Day 3: Dinner: 1 can plain tuna, 1/2 banana, 1 cup vanilla ice cream
I seasoned the tuna with Old Bay again. It was much harder to eat this without bread. Same as before with the vanilla ice cream and banana
Day 3: Feelings: I woke up with the same headache as last night. I was going to take Excedrin when I got to work, but I found out we didn’t have water. At lunch I realized that I forgot my knife for my apple. I can’t bite directly into an apple without it cutting up my gums/hurting my teeth. Hunger prevailed though because I just took teeny tiny little bites to eat the apple. It took me like 20 minutes, which definitely filled me up. I was not amused at just eating tuna for dinner when I was making poblano mac and cheese for Tom, but the thought that I’d have the leftovers for lunch tomorrow got me through it.
Final Thoughts: Isn’t that what Jerry Springer says? Ugh. This wasn’t the hardest nor was it the easiest diet I’ve ever done. There is nothing in the diet that tells you how much (if at all) you are supposed to work out. I only managed to do 20 minutes of cardio each day. I got on the scale the morning of day 4 and noticed I had lost 3.8 lbs. Which, for a diet that supposedly “guarantees” 10 lbs, I think that’s not very impressive. Maybe it would have been higher if I could have put in a real workout, but then the likelihood of me feeling much worse would have been much higher. The diet says you can do this diet once a week as long as you have 3-4 days of eating regularly in between.
I kind of would like to try it again with a more intense workout to see if I get better results but I don’t know if I’ll actually do it.
Oh, and I talked to my doctor on day 3, my blood work came back normal, so there is absolutely nothing thyroid related to me not being able to lose weight.
Additional Disclaimer: Please note that I chose alternatives from the Military diet food list and shared my real experience, which involved changing around meals and adding seasoning. I am aware this could have affected the progress. Leaving comments such as “Are you stupid? Why would you lose 10 pounds if you can’t even follow rules?” are completely inappropriate and will not be posted. Thank you for your opinion.