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How to Lose 20 Pounds: Best Practices and What to Avoid
Weight Loss

How to Lose 20 Pounds: Best Practices and What to Avoid

HR_author_photo_Edibel
Written by Edibel Quintero, RD | Medically reviewed by Medically reviewed by Rosmy Barrios, MD check
Published on July 13, 2022
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7 min

Weight loss is never easy, but it is possible with the right strategy. Find out how to shed those extra pounds with safe and proven methods.

how to lose 20 pounds

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Weight loss success is tricky. People are forever fighting body fat and trying to maintain a healthy weight. With so many claims from diets and training programs promising leaner legs and decreased belly fat, just navigating where to begin can be a minefield. 

Often with weight loss, it’s time to get back to basics. 

Losing weight comes down to a calorie deficit, where you burn more calories than you take in. Living a healthy lifestyle can help you achieve this. When you eat right and maintain regular physical activity, you will soon burn fat and reduce your body weight.

Now, 20 pounds is a significant goal for weight loss, so how can you achieve it? 

How Long Does It Take to Lose 20 Pounds?

We all lose weight at different rates. While your friend might have dropped a dress size in days or weeks, it doesn’t mean it’s the norm. 

Your journey to better health is highly personal. You can’t predict precisely how long it will take to get there. Be patient!

It’s not only the strategy you use that affects how quickly you lose weight. Age, sex, height, current weight, activity level, and health status all play a role in your journey. 

What we can predict, however, is that rapid weight loss will have potentially damaging effects on your overall health. Always play it safe and focus on losing weight slowly, as most health experts recommend, regardless of whether you want to lose one pound or twenty.

According to the CDC, losing 1–2 pounds per week is considered a healthy goal. It allows your body time to transition, so you don’t gain weight when you return to your usual eating pattern.

To put it simply, you could lose 20 pounds in 10–20 weeks at a healthy rate.

Can You Lose 20 Pounds in a Month? 

While it is technically possible to lose 20 pounds in a month, this would be considered extremely rapid weight loss, which would require intense physical exercise and calorie restrictions that could put your health in danger. 

What’s more, if you were to drop 20 pounds this quickly, it would mostly be water weight rather than body fat. 

Chances are, you’d be physically exhausted and unable to maintain such a strict plan. Plus, you’re more likely to experience weight gain when the crash diet is over.

How Much Water to Drink to Lose Weight? 

Did you know drinking water can help combat hunger? Increasing your water intake and drinking water before meals take up space in your stomach, providing greater feelings of fullness.

The result is that you eat less, consuming fewer calories to aid your efforts. Swapping other beverages like sugary drinks for calorie-free water will reduce your liquid calories.

In terms of how much water to drink, everybody has different needs. For example, an individual who works out a lot may need more water than someone who has a sedentary lifestyle.

As a general rule of thumb, 64 ounces (8 cups) of water per day keeps your system functioning at optimal levels. 

So, ensuring you meet the daily requirement should be enough to facilitate weight loss.

How to Lose 20 Pounds: Weight Loss Strategy That Works

We’ve included these proven strategies to help you achieve long-term success with weight loss and weight maintenance. Ready for our weight loss tips? Keep reading.

#1 Have a schedule

Consistency, consistency, consistency! Implementing a schedule that suits your lifestyle is the ideal starting point for anybody who wants to shift stubborn weight. 

Going to sleep and waking up at the same time promotes good sleep hygiene, which will help you better manage your weight loss program in the long run. Sleep deprivation can make you feel hungry, so getting enough rest is critical.

You can also stick to healthy meals and regular exercise with a sustainable schedule.

#2 Try the keto diet

The keto diet is one of the trendiest methods for weight loss because it switches the body into a metabolic state called ketosis, where the body burns fat for fuel instead of using carbs.

It can be tricky to navigate the diet, so the personalized Keto Cycle app for keto enthusiasts is well worth a try. It helps you manage what you eat with custom meal plans that help you lose weight quickly.

Plus, it provides constant guidance on maintaining keto, whether you’re a beginner or well-versed in the health benefits of ketosis.

#3 Try cooking at home

Home-cooking is essential to control your food intake, from ingredients to portion size. You can track exactly what you’re putting into your body without worrying about the calorie and macro content of the meals you order in restaurants – which are often high in fat and salt. 

And it goes without saying that it’s also an excellent way to save money.

#4 Practice mindful eating

Eating more mindfully means genuinely paying attention and taking care of what you eat. When you focus on your food intake, you are more likely to choose, prepare, and consume healthier foods that actually benefit your body. 

It may steer you away from unhealthy choices in the quest for a healthier relationship with food.

#5 Consume fewer calories

Burning and counting calories are the main two things that you need to do when losing weight.

When you reduce your calorie intake, you can ensure that you burn more through exercise. 

Calorie counting is a primary way to keep track of things. Some people use a food journal to document eating habits throughout the day, making calorie counting easier.

A popular way to naturally reduce calories is with intermittent fasting, a scheduled eating pattern that cycles between an eating and fasting window. 

If you are having trouble tracking your fasting windows, try the DoFasting app. DoFasting is a fasting assistant that can help you master the method

With thousands of recipes, training routines, calorie tracking, and progress tracking, the complex approach of intermittent fasting is made accessible to everyone. 

#6 Have a cheat day

It sounds controversial, but having a cheat day may help facilitate weight loss. 

It allows you to occasionally enjoy the foods you love rather than continuously restricting yourself, which may increase cravings and the risk of binge eating while dieting. 

Just don’t turn your cheat day into a cheat week, or worse!

Weight Loss Foods

Diet is key to any weight loss program. It’s essential to eat a balanced diet rich in whole foods that contain nutrients to support your overall health and well-being. You should minimize your intake of processed and refined foods that provide no benefits.

Here’s what you should include in your diet to reach optimal results.

#1 Vegetables

Vegetables are vital to any diet as the high fiber content makes you feel fuller for longer. 

At the same time, the dose of essential vitamins and minerals keeps you healthy and may increase metabolism, helping you burn fat.

#2 Lean protein

Protein is king for weight loss, as it produces satiety, reducing hunger and calorie consumption. 

It also boosts energy levels and aids muscle strength and recovery, making a high-protein diet ideal if you want increased muscle mass and lean muscle mass.

Include lean beef, poultry, beans and legumes, and low-fat cheese and yogurt in your diet.

#3 Berries

Berries are perfect for weight loss because they have a high-water content, fiber, and low calories. 

They contain various vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants to support optimal health. For example, blueberries and raspberries contain vitamin C, vitamin K, manganese, and potassium.

#4 Nuts and seeds

Nuts and seeds are excellent sources of protein, fibers, and healthy fats that keep you feeling fuller for longer. They are superfoods rich in antioxidants that boost overall health. 

The best belly-fat-burning nuts and seeds include almonds, walnuts, pistachios, chia, pumpkin, and flax seeds.

#5 Whole grains 

Whole grains help facilitate weight loss with high-fiber content that creates a feeling of satiety. They’re also linked to a decreased risk of heart disease, diabetes, and some cancers. 

Examples include brown rice, oats, wheat, and barley. They are superior to refined grains such as baked goods, white bread, and white rice, stripped of nutrients. 

How Long Does It Take to Notice Weight Loss?

Generally, weight loss is most visible in the initial stages of a diet program.

Most people notice weight loss quite early on, with changes to their appearance and how clothes fit. It’s perfectly normal to find that you lose weight relatively quickly at first. 

Often, this weight loss is water weight, not fat loss. Water makes up 60% of your body, and it’s the first thing you lose. It takes a little time for your body to dip into fat stores, but it will come!

The weight loss journey is not linear, and you may see more weight loss one week and less the next.

A Word From Our RD

Losing 20 pounds is a big target, but you can reach your weight loss goals with a solid plan.

Although weight loss demands patience, you must keep up with lifestyle changes to ensure you lose excess weight and optimize your health.

Losing weight has many benefits, including a reduced risk of health conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, and stroke.

You lose weight when you create a calorie deficit. You need to burn more calories than you take in by reducing your overall calorie intake and sustaining regular exercise.

Setting up a routine is critical to keeping on top of your training and meal planning. You must focus on a healthy diet rich in nutrient-dense whole foods while limiting processed foods and refined carbohydrates. Don’t forget protein either to maximize weight loss.

Speak to your doctor before implementing a fat loss regime to ensure the plan is appropriate for you and your health.

Conclusion

Reduce your body weight and lose 20 pounds with safe methods that deliver actual results. Practicing healthy eating, reducing your calorie intake, and staying active are clinically proven to help you reach your desired weight.

Ignore yo-yo dieting and find a routine that you can uphold for life. To speed things up in the meantime, you may want to do intermittent fasting or the keto diet but always consult a medical professional first. 

HR_author_photo_Edibel
Written by
Edibel Quintero is a medical doctor who graduated in 2013 from the University of Zulia and has been working in her profession since then. She specializes in obesity and nutrition, physical rehabilitation, sports massage and post-operative rehabilitation. Edibel’s goal is to help people live healthier lives by educating them about food, exercise, mental wellness and other lifestyle choices that can improve their quality of life.
Medically reviewed by Rosmy Barrios, MD
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