Can You Really Lose Weight In Just 3 Days?


We live in an era when faster is better. Whether it is your wifi or online shipping, nothing seems to be fast enough. People even order takeout online, ahead of time, at places like Taco Bell and Panera, just so they won’t need to spend any time waiting! Ironically, just like we don’t like to wait for our Taco Bell, we don’t like to wait to see weight loss results from our newest diets. Because of this, people want diets that will show them how to drop weight fast.

Per usual, the diet inventors of our world were on top of what people wanted and created a new wave of diets aimed toward helping people lose weight in 3 days. Among these diets are The 3 Day Diet and The Military Diet. Now, before anyone gets too excited, it’s important to remember the number one principle regarding diets: If it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is! However, this principle isn’t necessarily true 100% of the time, so we looked for the real answers.

3-Day Diet Plans:

For those of you who haven’t heard about them, 3-day diet plans are diets that last over the span of 3-days, like the weekend. They’re most commonly called just the 3-Day Diet, or the 3-Day Military Diet. The main concept behind this type of diet is to intensely reduce your caloric intake for 3 days to drop a large amount of weight quickly. Typically, these diets suggest that someone on their diet can expect weight loss up to 10 pounds throughout the duration of the diet.

If you’re waiting to hear some sort of secret ingredient to this diet, then you’re wasting your time. It really is that simple, this diet works merely by making major decreases to the amount of calories you eat. And by major decreases, they mean that you eat, on average, somewhere between 850 and 950 calories per day. Additionally, unlike other diets, the 3-day diet doesn’t require you to buy their special delivery meals, or anything like that. Rather, the diet just details a 3-day eating plan that focuses on extremely small proportions of tuna, toast, coffee, fruit, cottage cheese, and a few other items. Although there is not much room for variance with the 3-day diet, it is relatively cheap as its cost is whatever you need to buy at the store. Regardless of what it is, though, people are mostly concerned with whether it works. So, we checked whether it works.

Does it Work?

As with most questions, there’s a long answer and a short answer. For a relatively short answer, the answer is not really. This diet violates the two main rules of thumb when evaluating diets. The first, if it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is, and second, if you cannot adopt this diet for the rest of your life, it’s not a healthy diet. Losing 10 pounds in only 3 days sounds way too good to be true, and no adult could get away with eating 900 calories per day for the rest of their life and find themselves at a healthy point.

Then, for the longer answer, we provide the because to the why. This diet does not work quite like it indicates for a number of reasons.

First, this diet lacks the necessary balance that every person needs in their diet. With such limited proportions and options, it is extremely likely that you will miss some of the vitamins and minerals that you need on a daily basis. Also, this diet tends to be high in sodium, which is very bad for anyone that wants to lose weight because of heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol, or anything similar.

Second, it is nearly impossible to compliment this diet with exercise, which is crucial for any effective weight loss regimen. It takes energy to exercise, and as you can imagine, eating a mere 900 calories in an entire day will not provide you with a lot of energy. Many websites that suggest this diet even warn that you may feel lethargic and tired while on this diet, and the extremely low caloric intake is exactly why.

Third, there is very little carry over from this diet to the following days. As with most faddy diets, it is highly likely that you will regain the weight in a matter of days. The specific issue with the 3-day diet is it usually causes people to overeat for the 4 days after the diet in order to make up for the extreme lack of energy. This diet is also very difficult to maintain, which means it quickly becomes difficult to maintain the discipline to do as the diet says. Slow and steady wins the race, and this is definitely true with the most effective diets. After all, your impulsive thinking is often one of the main contributors to why you need to go on a diet, so it’s time to drop those habits.

Finally, this diet doesn’t work because you aren’t really losing any fat. The weight you lose in any extremely short term diet is usually water weight and muscle. And, not only does the water weight come right back on, but losing muscle makes your body less efficient at burning calories for effective weight loss and losing muscle also makes you look flabbier than you would’ve look beforehand, which is contradicts one of the reasons why people diet in the first place.

Such an extreme drop in caloric intake can be very unhealthy and dangerous for your body because it’s used to functioning on whatever your normal caloric intake is, and it needs a certain amount of energy to function effectively in general. This diet, at best, might get you very temporary, misleading results, but in the end it does not seem to work that well. If you want to read a little more on the most important aspects of any effective diet, read our blog on How to Lose Weight and Keep It Off. Also, even if this diet does not work, you still might be wondering whether you can lose weight in three days.

So, how much weight can you lose in 3 days?

The answer to this question isn’t so clear-cut as the 3-Day Diet plan, but it is likely more important and truthful. You burn fat and lose weight, generally, by burning more calories than you take in. The common rule of thumb is that a 3,500 calorie-deficit for one week will equate to 1 pound of fat lost in that week. That averages a 500 calorie-deficit per day, but if you truly wanted, you could increase your deficit for a few days. However, always remember that any healthy diet will not go below a 1,200 calorie intake for day. Depending on how active of a person you are, multiply your weight by 13-15 times if you are a male, and 11-13 times if you are a female. This can give you an estimate of how many calories you need to intake every day to maintain your weight. From there, you can better calculate how many calories you can safely cut from your typical diet.

So, assuming you maximally cut your calories while maintaining a health caloric intake, it is possible that you can lose 2-3 pounds in 3 days. However, it is also a possibility that this weight loss might come from your muscles. Additionally, keep in mind that any time you lessen your caloric intake by that amount you are likely to lose a significant amount of water weight as well, which will immediately come back once the diet is finished.

Ultimately, it seems unlikely that you can lose more than just 2-3 pounds of actual, maintainable weight loss in a 3-day period. However, effective and long-term weight loss does not happen overnight, just as you did not put that weight on overnight. It is a slow, difficult process that takes time and effort. Diets that guarantee fast, significant weight loss need to be approached with caution. Any healthy diet should cut your weight no more than 2 pounds a week, maximum. Instead, focus on smaller goals like losing 1 pound per week for 6 months. It might seem like forever, but before you know it you could lose 25-30 pounds in half a year. Just remember, any healthy and effective diet consists of balance, exercise, and good habits. 

Written by: Russell McBurnie