Losing weight can be grueling. It demands time, effort, and a lot of patience. And given that weight loss is not achieved overnight, you might be tempted to give up when the progress is too slow or when you hit a plateau.
Much as it is challenging, it is possible to lose weight quickly and without jeopardizing your health. The basics of weight loss are diet and exercise, but several other strategies can help you shed weight fast, be it 20 or 50 pounds. Are you 20 pounds overweight and trying to shed that extra weight? Here are the ten best and safest ways to lose those extra pounds.
Tips For Safely And Quickly Shedding 20 Pounds
Am I 20 pounds overweight? How bad is 20 pounds overweight? You might be asking yourself these questions and more. You might also be wondering, ‘if I am 20 pounds overweight what should I do?’ Below we look at how to lose weight quickly.
About 39% of the world’s population are overweight, and 13% of these are obese. Carrying a lot of extra weight puts your health at risk. According to experts, being overweight (possibly even 20 pounds overweight) increases the risk of diseases including high blood pressure, diabetes type 2, cardiovascular disease, and osteoarthritis (18).
Weight gain is a result of an imbalance between calories consumed and energy expended. The body gets the energy to perform life-sustaining functions from the food we consume. When you consume too little or too many calories, you may develop health issues.
The amount of energy in a food or drink is measured in calories. When you consume more calories than you use up, the body stores the excess as body fat. If this trend continues, over time, you may gain weight.
Is 20 pounds overweight obese? To determine whether you are overweight or obese, a measure known as Body Mass Index (BMI) is used. A person’s height and weight are used to estimate their BMI. If your BMI is between 25 and 29.9, you are classified as overweight, and if it is 30 or higher, you are considered obese (18).
The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute advises that individuals should initially aim to lose about 10% of their total body weight. If this is successful, then further weight loss can be attempted (1). If you have a significant amount of weight to lose, it is best to seek help from a doctor or a dietitian on how to do so safely.
So, how much does an overweight person need to lose a week to lose 20 pounds? How much weight to lose in a month if 20 pounds overweight? It is advised that you aim to lose 1 to 2 pounds a week. To lose one pound, you need to burn about an extra 3,500 calories (3).
Losing weight involves making gradual lifestyle changes like eating healthy, exercising more, and cutting back on processed and high-fat foods. If you’re thinking, “I am 20 pounds overweight how to lose it”, then here are some science-approved weight loss tips.
Reduce Calorie Intake
Excess calorie consumption leads to weight gain over time. The first step to weight loss is lowering your calorie consumption. To do this, you will need to count your calories and determine your average daily calorie consumption.
You can easily determine your approximate calorie requirement using an online calculator. They use your age, weight, gender, and physical activity level to approximate your calorie requirement. The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute recommends reducing your daily calorie intake by about 500 to 1000 calories to lose weight (1). Reducing your portion sizes, eating slowly, and avoiding mealtime distractions can help you eat less and reduce your calorie intake.
It is also crucial to count your calories. Much as it sounds odd, counting your calories helps you become more aware of what goes on your plate. This, in turn, can help you make more healthy meal choices.
What’s more, several studies confirm that weight loss programs that include calorie counting resulted in a 3.3 kg more weight loss on average than those that did not (8). You can use a food journal or an app to monitor your calorie intake.
Are you wondering how to lose 20 pounds of fat? You can start by exercising more. Increasing your level of physical activity can help you burn calories by increasing the amount of energy your body uses.
It can include walking, swimming, jogging, running, cycling, hiking, jumping rope, high-intensity interval training, or cardio. Different types of exercise burn different numbers of calories.
When you combine exercise and reduce calorie intake, you create a calorie deficit, resulting in weight loss. Exercise helps you boost your metabolism and burn fat. It also helps you build and strengthen your muscles and also strengthens your bones. It also reduces your risk of diabetes, osteoporosis, and obesity (15).
To lose weight, you should aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity weekly, or a combination of both (19). It is important to rest in between exercises and eat proper meals. When you exercise too much, you may experience intense hunger, which makes you overeat, and you gain weight instead.
Go for the activities that you enjoy doing, for instance, swimming, yoga, or cycling. An individual man or woman 20 pounds overweight may also benefit from weight lifting and cardio. A gym instructor can help you come up with a personalized workout plan.
Cut Back On Refined Carbs And Added Sugars
Our eating habits are the main culprit behind weight gain. Refined carbs and sugary foods with added sugars such as fructose and corn syrup are among people’s favorite foods. And given that they are very sweet, they are very easy to overeat.
Refined carbs include white bread, pasta, and pastries. These foods are processed, so they contain very little nutrients and are high in calories. So, you end up stuffing yourself with empty calories when you consume these foods.
Additionally, refined carbs have a high glycemic index. They are, therefore, absorbed and digested very quickly. This may result in spikes and crashes in blood glucose levels and increased hunger (14). Research also links refined carbs to increased belly fat (26).
If you are trying to lose weight being 20 pounds overweight, it is best to reduce your intake of these foods. Replace them with whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and legumes. Also, avoid fried foods like burgers, chicken nuggets, and french fries.
Eat More Protein
One of the best foods to eat to lose weight is protein. High-protein consumption has been linked to decreased belly fat and increased metabolism. Protein has a higher thermic effect of food compared to fats and carbohydrates. This means that the body uses up more energy to digest proteins (5).
Along with its high thermic effect of food, protein also increases the number of calories you burn at rest, including during sleep (10). Protein also helps you build muscle mass and strength. It also prevents muscle loss, which is common with weight loss (12).
Protein also helps reduce your appetite as it plays a role in regulating hunger and satiety hormones. Protein appears to be the most satiating macronutrient. In one study, a high protein breakfast lowered ghrelin levels by a much greater degree than a high-carbohydrate breakfast (7).
Rich protein sources include meat, poultry, fish, seafood, eggs, dairy products, legumes, nuts, and seeds like flax seeds and pumpkin seeds.
Whether you’re looking to simply pep up your fitness routine, jazz up your diet with mouth-watering low-calorie recipes or want to get your act together and significantly drop that number on your scale – BetterMe app has got you covered! Improve your body and revamp your life with us!
Opt For Plant-Based Diets
Eating healthy is fundamental in weight loss. Evidence shows that plant-based diets help promote weight loss (11). Plant-based diets emphasize the intake of whole fiber-rich plant foods such as vegetables, fruits, legumes, and whole grains. If you are vegan, a plant-based diet is a great weight loss dieting strategy.
Foods such as vegetables and fruits are low in calories and have high water content. They are also very nutrient-dense as they contain vitamins and important minerals such as magnesium, calcium, potassium, and phosphorus. You can therefore fill up on veggies and fruits without worrying about consuming excess calories.
Plant-based foods are also rich in fiber. A high-fiber intake has been shown to aid in weight loss (16). Fiber helps fill you up. It moves slowly and undigested through the digestive tract, slowing emptying of the stomach, which keeps you full for longer.
One review found that upping your fiber intake by about 14 grams daily was linked to a 10% reduction in energy intake and 1.9 kilograms weight loss over 3.8 months (4). Another study in healthy adult males reported that consuming 33 grams of insoluble fiber helped decrease appetite and food intake (17).
Drink Lots Of Water
It seems pretty basic, but drinking water helps with weight loss. Water is important for proper digestion, kidney function, waste removal, and lubrication. Additionally, water is a natural appetite suppressant.
Drinking water before a meal helps reduce energy intake as the water fills up some space in the stomach. In review, drinking 500 ml of water before a meal helps reduce subsequent energy intake by about 13% (24). Drinking water before meals can help you deal with overeating.
Water may also promote weight by temporarily increasing your metabolism. Research shows that drinking 500 ml of water increases your resting metabolism by about 10 to 30% for about 30 to 40 minutes. This effect may be greater if you take cold water since the body expends energy to heat the water to body temperature (25).
To maximize this benefit, try drinking over two liters of water each day. Always carry a bottle of water with you wherever you go.
Incorporate Healthy Fats In Your Diet
Adding fats to your diet might seem like the wrong thing to do since you are trying to lose body fat, so why would you need more of it? Remember that fats are an energy source, insulate the body, and are major components of cell membranes (13).
A 2015 study observed that excluding fats from the diet doesn’t result in greater weight loss. Researchers further observed that individuals who ate a higher percentage of fats had greater weight loss (9).
You, therefore, need to get rid of foods rich in added fats such as trans fats. Instead, go for healthy fats such as avocado, olive oil, nuts, and seeds. Fish like salmon, mackerel, and tuna are also rich sources of healthy fats, especially omega-3-fatty acids.
Stress often contributes to overeating. Some individuals find comfort in eating, so when they are stressed, they turn to food. When your stress levels are high, the primary stress hormone cortisol is released. Elevated cortisol levels can cause an increase in appetite, gradually leading to weight gain (20).
An increase in cortisol levels can cause your body to produce lower amounts of testosterone. This may slow down calorie-burning and cause a decrease in muscle mass. Studies show that adverse stress affects weight gain and abdominal obesity (6).
If you are prone to stress eating, you need to manage your stress levels to lose weight effectively. You can try meditation or yoga. Hobbies you love, such as listening to music, reading books, dancing, or going out with friends, are great stress relievers. Reducing your cortisol levels can help you manage your weight.
Get Plenty Quality Sleep
You probably have a busy schedule, so you probably hardly get any sleep. But if you are overweight and are trying to avoid 20 pounds overweight health problems, you need to get better sleep. Sleep allows your body time to rest after a long day.
Several studies link sleep loss and deprivation to higher body mass index and weight gain. Sleep deprivation alters glucose metabolism. Additionally, it interferes with hormones that regulate hunger and satiety – which causes an increase in ghrelin levels and a decrease in leptin levels (23). The result is an increased appetite and calorie intake that causes weight gain.
One study including over 68,000 females over 16 years found that those who slept 5 hours or less gained approximately 1.14kgs more than those who slept for 7 hours (2). In a different study, women who slept at least 7 hours every night increased their chance of weight loss success by about 33%, as did those who subjectively reported higher sleep quality (21).
Aim for about 7 hours of quality sleep each night. Stick to a wind-down routine, reduce caffeine and alcohol intake before you go to bed. Also, schedule your dinner way before bedtime, preferably 3 to 4 hours before.
To effectively lose weight and keep it off, you need to be consistent. Long-term behavior change is, therefore, crucial. Techniques such as self-monitoring are an integral part of weight loss (22). Self-monitoring includes recording calorie intake and physical activity and helps you stay aware of your behaviors.
Think of weight loss and how it affects your health in the long run. By being accountable and keeping track of your progress, you can identify challenges and find potential solutions. A food diary can help you keep track of your food intake. You may also consider using food and exercise apps or having a work buddy.
If you are 20 pounds overweight, you need to put in a lot of effort to lose the extra weight. Much as weight loss is intimidating, it begins by making small changes such as increasing your physical activity, getting better sleep, and drinking more water.
The short-term goal is losing weight, but you want to become more healthy in the long run. So, after achieving your desired weight, you should embark on a weight loss maintenance process to avoid weight regain. Keep in mind that weight loss is a gradual process and cannot be achieved overnight, so be patient with yourself while at it.
Check out this 20-min Full Body Workout at Home.
This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!
- Aim for a Healthy Weight: Key Recommendations (n.d, nhlbi.nih.gov)
- Association between Reduced Sleep and Weight Gain in Women (2006, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Counting calories: Get back to weight-loss basics (2010, mayoclinic.org)
- Dietary fiber and weight regulation (2001, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Diet induced thermogenesis (2004, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Does stress influence sleep patterns, food intake, weight gain, abdominal obesity and weight loss interventions and vice versa? (2017, researchgate.net)
- Effect of a high-protein breakfast on the postprandial ghrelin response (2006, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Effect of behavioural techniques and delivery mode on effectiveness of weight management: systematic review, meta-analysis and meta-regression (2014, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Effect of Low-Fat vs. Other Diet Interventions on Long-Term Weight Change in Adults: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis (2015, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Effect of protein overfeeding on energy expenditure measured in a metabolic chamber (2015, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Effects of Plant-Based Diets on Weight Status: A Systematic Rev (2020, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Fat-free mass is maintained in women following a moderate diet and exercise program (1995, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Functional Roles of Fatty Acids and Their Effects on Human Health (2015, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Glycemic Control and Hypoglycemia (2008, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Health benefits of physical activity: the evidence (2006, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- High Fiber Diet – StatPearls – NCBI Bookshelf (2021, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Insoluble cereal fiber reduces appetite and short-term food intake and glycemic response to food consumed 75 min later by healthy men (2007, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Obesity and overweight (2021, who.int)
- Physical Activity for a Healthy Weight | Healthy Weight, Nutrition, and Physical Activity (2020, cdc.gov)
- Psychosocial Stress and Change in Weight Among US Adults (2009, academic.oup.com)
- Relationship between sleep quality and quantity and weight loss in women participating in a weight-loss intervention trial (2012, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Self-Monitoring in Weight Loss: A Systematic Review of the Literature (2012, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Short Sleep Duration Is Associated with Reduced Leptin, Elevated Ghrelin, and Increased Body Mass Index (2004, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Water consumption reduces energy intake at a breakfast meal in obese older adults (2008, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Water-induced thermogenesis (2003, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Whole-and refined-grain intakes are differentially associated with abdominal visceral and subcutaneous adiposity in healthy adults: the Framingham Heart Study (2010, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov