One thing we all share in common as humans is the requirement to eat — constantly. It’s a need that never goes away, and it’s an activity that carries implications ranging from nutritional, to social, to psychological. It’s no wonder, then, that people are forever searching for the magic combination of dietary ingredients that will combine to produce a fit body that falls within our desired weight range.
The problem, however, is that our optimistic nature may lead us to buy into poorly designed health plans put together by random people on the internet — with the intention of making a quick buck. By spreading misinformation on highly specialized dieting sites, these people prey on our better nature. They leverage our willingness to believe outlandish claims about nutrition in order to monetize their false information.
The so-called “military diet” is the latest and most popular of these scam programs. Claiming to be based off of a 3-day diet crash course given to overweight recruits in the military, this bizarre dietary plan includes items such as ice cream… a clear red flag to anyone who knows anything about nutrition and health. Yet, the diet itself is spartan enough that it’s believable to some people that it might actually work. As a side note, the United States military has come out with an official statement discrediting and disavowing this diet, noting that their rations’ nutritional value is far greater than the bizarre requirements of the “military diet.”
What makes dieting (and exercise) hard is not the actual process that practitioners must follow to see results. In other words, knowing what to do to lose weight and become healthy is very, very straightforward. On the other hand, the psychological and emotional commitment required to follow through on those plans consistently enough to see results — well, that’s another story.
Ultimately, weight loss comes down to a formula that we have covered before here at the Urgent 9 blog. Every person has their own unique metabolism that requires X amount of calories eaten per day to maintain their current weight. Every day that they eat more than their maintenance number is essentially adding weight, and every day they eat less than that will eventually result in weight lost. It’s a simple formula that can also be affected by the amount and nature of exercise the person incorporates into their daily routine as well.
The reason that these fad diets sometimes gain traction is that, often, the diet prescribes a daily caloric intake that is almost guaranteed to be below everyone’s daily caloric maintenance amount. So, in one sense, the diet can “work” just based on caloric requirements alone. However, these diets are not designed by knowledgable nutritionists and/or doctors, and are usually drastically deficient in important nutrients. In fact, because of the way many of these fad diets work, much of the weight that ends up coming off is water weight (which will be the first thing to come back as soon as the diet is over) and muscle atrophy (which is obviously not ideal).
When in doubt, design a dietary plan with your personal physician to ensure that you’re taking steps to see actual, quality, lasting results. Your body will thank you, and no fake “military” meals will be necessary.