If you’re wondering how to lose 20 lbs quickly, you're probably looking for a good place to start. All fitness plans require a well planned diet, efficient workout routine, and a positive mindset. This guide outlines a few simple steps you can use to to prepare for swimsuit season and keep the weight off for good!
How Do I Lose 20 lbs?
When you ask yourself how to lose 20 lbs, you probably already the amount of time it takes to drop the weight depends on the meal plan you choose, how many calories you’re eating, and how active you are.
While rapid weight loss of 3-5 pounds weekly is possible using very low-calorie diets (containing 800 calories or less daily), shedding pounds at a slower pace is better for long-term success.
Lose Weight at a Safe Pace
A good rule of thumb is to drop 1-2 pounds per week by lowering your energy intake by 500-1,000 calories per day. If you lose 2 pounds weekly, you should be able to safely shed 20 lbs in about 2-3 months.
Set Weight Loss Calorie Goals
Eating 1,200-1,500 calories daily helps many women lose about 2 pounds per week, but the amount of weight you'll lose weekly depends on your usual intake. For example, if you’re used to eating 2,500 calories a day, dropping to 1,500 calories daily is a good weight loss goal.
Space Out Meals Properly
Space out meals evenly throughout the day to achieve optimal weight loss results. For example, when eating 1,200 calories daily to drop 20 lbs, try eating:
- Five 240-calorie meals
- Three 300-calorie meal plus two 150-calorie snacks
- Six 200-calorie meals
- Three 325-calorie meal plus two 110-calorie snacks
- Four 300-calorie meals
If you feel hungry while eating 1,200 calories per day, try slightly boosting your calorie by adding fresh fruits and vegetables, healthy fats, or protein.
How to Lose 20 lbs: Tips for Success
When a 20-lb weight loss is your goal, try the following tips and tricks to get and keep the weight off for life:
Tip #1 Get More Sleep
Getting enough sleep helps you more than you think when you want to shed 20 lbs for summer. More than one-third of Americans don't get enough sleep on a regular basis, and studies show sleep deprivation negatively impacts hormones within your body. Researchers found that sleep disturbance is associated with obesity, diabetes, insulin sensitivity, hormonal imbalance, increases in appetite, and weight gain.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends women get 7-9 hours of high-quality sleep in each night. If you’re having trouble sleeping, try to:
- Reduce stress
- Work out regularly
- Sleep in a cool, dark, quiet room
- Use a white noise machine
- Avoid nicotine, alcohol, and caffeine before bed
- Avoid going to bed hungry or very full
If you’re still having trouble sleeping, check in with your doctor for treatment options.
Tip #2 Reduce Time Spent Sitting Down
Being sedentary is a chronic disease risk factor, as studies show sitting down more is associated with obesity, heart disease, diabetes, and more. One review found that sitting in a car more than 10 hours per week is associated with an 82% increase in heart disease death compared with people who sit in a car fewer than 4 hours weekly – and increasing sedentary activities by just one hour daily increases the risk of becoming overweight by 13% and the risk of abdominal obesity by 26%.
Becoming more active involves more than simply working out 30-60 minutes a day. Avoid time spent sitting down by:
- Use a standing desk at work
- Take the stairs whenever possible
- Take short walking breaks to break up periods of sitting
- Do house chores or yard work daily
- Choose active outdoor hobbies – such as hiking, biking, or roller blade skating
- Stand up at sports games vs. sitting
- Make it a point to walk your dog daily
Remember, the less time you spend sitting down the easier it is to drop 20 lbs quickly and keep the weight off!
Tip #3 Drink More Water
Increasing your water intake is one of the best ways to create feelings of satiety without the calories, eat less at meal time, and curb junk food cravings. That’s because water takes up space in your stomach, tricking your body into feeling full. The best way to use this strategy to lose 20 lbs is to:
- Drink 2-4 cups of water when you first wake up
- Drink 2 cups of water before meals and snacks
- Aim to drink at least 12 cups of water daily for women (16 cups per day for men)
If you’re having a hard time meeting daily water recommendations, add ice to water or flavor it with lemon or chunks of fruit.
Tip #4 Eat Non-Starchy Vegetables First
Because non-starchy veggies are loaded with water and fiber (but low in carbs), these low-calorie foods fill you up without the extra calories.
Fill half of each plate with non-starchy vegetables when creating weight loss menus, and eat your veggies first (after drinking water). Examples of some non-starchy veggies and their calorie content for a 1-cup portion include:
- Lettuce and other leafy greens: 8 calories
- Celery: 14 calories
- Mushrooms: 15 calories
- Cucumbers: 16 calories
- Bell peppers: 18 calories
- Zucchini: 19 calories
- Tomatoes: 27 calories
- Cauliflower: 27 calories
- Asparagus: 27 calories
- Green beans: 31 calories
- Broccoli: 31 calories
- Onions: 45 calories
To add extra flavor to non-starchy vegetables, sauté veggies in olive oil, season them with herbs, create a vegetable salad with oil-based dressing, or dip raw veggies in hummus or Greek yogurt.
Tip #5 Eat Proteins and Carbs After the Veggies
After filling each plate with non-starchy vegetables, fill up the remainder of your plate with protein-rich foods plus fiber-rich carbohydrates. Examples include:
- Very lean meats, chicken, and turkey
- Fish and seafood
- Tofu and seitan
- Low-fat cottage cheese
- Greek yogurt
- Plant milks
- Nuts and seeds
- Protein powder
- Sweet potatoes
- Brown rice
- Wild rice
- Dried beans
- Other legumes
Fill about one-fourth of each plate with protein foods and another one-fourth of the plate with nutritious carbohydrates.
Tip #6 Don't Forget About Healthy Fats
Dietary fat is higher in calories than protein and carbs, but adding nutritious fats to weight loss menus keeps you full for longer time periods. Knowing your fats is a very important part of knowing how to lose 20 lbs.
Examples of healthy fats that can help you drop 20 lbs include:
- Olive oil and other plant oils
- Nuts and seeds
- Nut butters
- Fish oil
You might also choose an omega-3 fatty acid supplement, such as fish oil, which has helped reduce abdominal fat in numerous studies.
Tip #7 Weigh Yourself Daily to Track Progress
After you have figured out how to lose 20 lbs, you'll probably want to know how long it's going to take. You'll want to know if you're on the right right track and nip negative trends in the bud.
Weight yourself on a regular basis helps more than you might think. Studies show that daily weigh-ins are a more effective for weight loss than weighing yourself less frequently.
As a rule, weigh yourself at the same time each day, like when you first wake up in the morning or right before bed.
Tip #8 Reduce Stress
Stress in your life affects your weight more than you might think. As with sleep deprivation, studies show chronic stress alters certain hormones within your body that can increase appetite and your risk of abdominal obesity. There are numerous ways you can de-stress during the busy hustle and bustle of daily life:
- Get a massage or a pedicure
- Say no to extracurricular activities that overbook your schedule
- Take regular vacations
- Try yoga or tai chi
- Get outdoors regularly
- Take a walk
- Work out regularly
- Get enough sleep
- Take time for yourself
Don’t feel guilty about taking much needed time to yourself. Doing so plays a crucial role in optimizing mental and physical health, effectively dropping excess weight, and being the best wife and mother you can be for your family.
Tip #9 Eliminate Certain Foods
While it’s okay to take a cheat day every now and then, avoid certain foods and drinks when possible to cut calories for weight loss. Some foods you should steer clear of include:
- Alcoholic drinks: 100-600 calories (or more) per serving
- Desserts and other sweets: 150-600 calories per serving
- Sugary drinks: 100-300 calories per serving
- 1 large bagel: 300-400 calories
- White rice, regular pasta, and other refined grains: 250 calories per cup
- Fried chicken: 400 calories per serving
- A large order of fast food fries: 500 calories
- A Big Mac: 500-600 calories
- Fried cheese curds: 500 calories per serving
- Bacon or other processed meats: 150-300 calories per serving
Even if you don’t eliminate all the foods on the list above, it’s easy to see how cutting certain foods from your diet is an excellent way to reduce your intake by 500-1,000 calories a day and drop 2 pounds per week.
Tip #10 Choose the Right Workouts
Picking the right workouts plays a key role in getting the slim body you desire. When weight loss is your goal, boost cardiovascular exercise or choose workouts that combine aerobic workouts with strength training to save you time. Choose from the following workouts to shed pounds and tone up for summer:
- Complete aerobic exercise most days of the week for 45 minutes per session (aim to burn 400-600 calories during each sweat session)
- Try high-intensity interval training
- Lift weights regularly (try fat-burning circuit training workouts)
For best results, change up your workout routines regularly when losing 20 lbs is your goal.
Tip #11 Eat at Home vs. Dining Out
Dining out can be fun every now and then, but don’t make eating out a habit if you want to boost your chance at weight loss success. Restaurant foods can contain hidden ingredients and calories, making it harder to reduce your calorie intake and shed pounds. In fact, studies show that at-home cooking is associated with healthier eating and lower body weights compared with eating at fast-food or sit-down restaurants. Cook at home as much as possible to drop 20 lbs quickly.
Tip #12 Join a Weight Loss Program for Accountability
With the busy hustle and bustle of daily life, it can be difficult to stay accountable for your health, plan workouts, create menus, and find healthy recipes. Signing up for an organized weight loss program keeps you accountable and can significantly boost your chance of dropping excess weight and keeping it off for life!
The Fit Mother Project is a healthy weight management program designed for busy moms of all ages seeking:
- Healthy weight loss
- Fat loss
- Long term weight loss maintenance
- Better health
- More energy
- A boost of confidence
- Coaching from health experts
- Support from fit mom community members
Studies show that weight loss programs providing education and expert health coaching significantly boost your chance of successful weight loss.
It’s Not all About the Scale
If you’ve recently starting workout out and the weight isn’t coming off immediately, don’t give up quite yet. A lag in weight loss, or even weight gain, after starting a new workout program is expected due to increases in lean muscle, inflammation from micro tears in your muscles, and water weight. But over time, you’ll notice the weight come off if you eat right and maintain healthy lifestyle habits.
Record more than just your body weight to track weight loss success. Are your clothes fitting better? Are you losing inches in your waist, hips, and thighs? Do you look leaner? These are all key things consider in addition to what the scale says.
How to Lose 20 lbs or More — Change Your Lifestyle
Joining the Fit Mother Project 30X (FM30X) will show you how to lose 20 lbs, and the program is designed to keep you healthy for a lifetime. Once you’ve reached your goal weight you’ll follow the weight maintenance phase of the program – so you can enjoy increased energy, high self-esteem, and a smaller waistline for life. The maintenance phase of the program helps you avoid weight regain that's common among dieters.
When you’re ready to give the Fit Mother Project a try, sign up for the FREE Fit Mom Jumpstart Kit today! In it, you’ll receive a:
- Free 24-minute metabolism boosting workout
- Free 1-day fit mom fat loss meal plan
- Free email coaching from health experts
- Free access to the private fit mom Facebook group
With all of this added support from the Fit Mother Project and numerous free tools to get started, what do you have to lose by giving it a try?
Writer, The Fit Father Project
A 15-year freelance writing veteran, Erin is registered dietitian and health educator who is passionate about health, fitness and disease prevention. Her published work appears on hundreds of health and fitness websites, and she’s working on publishing her first book! Erin is a wife and mom of two beautiful children.