Blog Weight Loss How Long Does It Take To Lose 20 Pounds: Taking Baby Steps Towards The Body Of Your Dreams

How Long Does It Take To Lose 20 Pounds: Taking Baby Steps Towards The Body Of Your Dreams

how long does it take to lose 20 pounds

It is human nature to compare yourself to other people. Many of us want to know exactly how someone else achieved a certain goal that we are also looking to attain. This also includes the time it took for others to achieve their goal. The same thing can be said for weight loss. So then, how long does it take to lose 20 pounds?


If you are looking for the best way to lose weight fast, you might probably be aware that the journey isn’t a walk in the park. Some solutions such as crash diets, magic pills and deprivation seem quick; however they are neither effective nor healthy. If you set a goal to lose 20 pounds, what is the realistic time you can expect to take to attain your objective?

How Long Does It Take To Lose 20 Pounds By Working Out?

Although unlikely, it may be possible to cut 20 pounds in under one month. To do this you have to make sure that your workouts require more calories than you are consuming every day, which can be difficult because exercise requires energy. To hasten the process, you can even include fasting into your weight loss plan, but this will make it even tougher to have the energy to exercise.

You should take note that the above approach could be devastating to your health. If you lose 20 pounds in a month, you may very well wreak havoc on your metabolism and in addition lose muscle mass (8).

How Long Does It Take To Lose 20 Pounds Healthy?

If you want to go for a healthier approach, you should never lose more than 2 pounds of weight per week.

This means that you will need at least 10 weeks to shed off a total of 20 pounds, if you lose 2 pounds weekly.

If you decide to lose a pound every week, it will take you about 20 weeks to achieve your goals using this healthy and sustainable approach.

Read More: How to Lose 20 Pounds In 2 Weeks: Locking Down Your Nutrition To Finally Chase Away Those Extra Pounds

How Long Does It Take To Lose 20 Pounds If You Work Out Daily?

The simple answer is that everyone moves at their own pace!

The number of pounds you shed every day depends on your metabolism. Other lifestyle aspects such as how much sleep you get daily, your diet, exercise routine and stress also play a key role.

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So, if your metabolism and other lifestyle factors allow you to shed 1 to 2 pounds every week, then you will need 10-20 weeks to achieve your goal.

how long does it take to lose 20 pounds

How Long Does It Take To Lose 20 Pounds By Walking?

The human body is not that simple. The truth is that there is no way you can accurately determine the amount or how fast you are going to lose weight.

There are many factors outside of walking that will determine how quickly you shed off those pounds.

Nevertheless, you can estimate how long you will take to lose 20 pounds by walking. Start walking every day for a week. Measure your weight on day 1 and day 7 Calculate the difference. Divide 20 pounds with the result.

The answer should give you how many weeks it will take to hit the 20 pounds’ mark. However, it is likely that as you lose weight you will need to increase the time or distance you walk in order to maintain the same rate of weight loss.

How Long Does It Take For A Man To Lose 20 Pounds?

When it comes to weight loss, a lot of people believe that men have the bigger advantage.

Women might struggle to lose a pound or two while men can just hit the gym and watch their pounds drop off.

The reason for this is that men have more lean muscles as compared to women. They burn more calories even during rest (4).

This explains why a man and woman can reduce the same amount of calories, yet the man will lose more weight.

So, men will lose 20 pounds faster than women if they engage in the same diet and exercise.

how long does it take to lose 20 pounds

The Fastest Way To Lose Weight

Losing weight is incredibly challenging, even if you want to shed off 5 pounds.

Not only does it necessitate you to change your lifestyle and diet, but it also requires you to be patient.

Fortunately, you can use some of the proven strategies to expedite your weight loss journey.

Here are the best methods to safely cut your mass by 20 pounds safely and healthy.

1. You Should Be Ready

Weight loss takes your time and effort for a very long time. You will need a long-term commitment.

So make sure you are ready to make permanent lifestyle changes. You will be ready for the journey if you have the following qualities:

  • You are motivated to lose weight.
  • You are not under any other pressures.
  • You do not use food as a means of coping with stress.
  • You are willing to change your eating habits.
  • You are willing to change your daily habits.
  • You have enough time to exercise and spend on the mentioned changes.
  • If you need support from friends or professionals, then they should have agreed to help you.
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When you are ready, you will find it easy to adhere and stay committed to your goals.

2. Set Realistic Goals

It seems obvious to set realistic goals, right? But do you know what is realistic?

Well, it is sensible to aim at losing 1 to 2 pounds every week. To lose such amount, you need to burn 500 to 1000 calories every day.

Next, set the amount of weight you need to lose for a certain period of time. 5% of your weight is one of the realistic goals you can set.

If you weigh 200 pounds, then you should aim at losing 10 pounds. If you have the said weight and you aim at losing 40 pounds that would be unrealistic (13).

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how long does it take to lose 20 pounds

3. Count Your Calories

This might sound imprudent. However, counting your calories is one of the most effective ways you can lose weight fast.

You can only lose weight if you use more calories in your daily activities than those you take in.

You can do so by reducing the number of calories you take or increasing your physical activity so that you burn more.

While this is not a sustainable way of losing weight, counting your calories is an effective tool when paired with other activities.

A review of 37 studies shows that weight programs that include calorie counting lead to greater weight loss than those that don’t (6).

4. Drink A Lot Of Water

Increasing your water consumption can boost your weight loss with fewer efforts.

One study found out that consuming a low-calorie diet and increased water consumption before eating resulted in a 44% more weight loss in 12 weeks (10).

It is said that water bumps up your metabolism and temporarily increases the number of calories your body burns. This enhances weight loss.

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According to a study involving 14 subjects, drinking 500ml of water had boosted metabolism for the next 30 to 40 minutes by 30% (12).

Drinking water before eating will also make you feel full. This will reduce your appetite and the amount of food you eat.

To get the best results, it is recommended that you have water before and after your meals. You should also ensure that your daily consumption is at least 2 litres (11).

how long does it take to lose 20 pounds

5. Reduce The Consumption Of Carbs

Another way of speeding up your weight loss is by cutting back on refined carbohydrates.

Refined carbs have their fibre content stripped off during processing. This results in a product that has few nutrients.

To add salt to the injury, refined carbohydrates have a higher glycemic index. This means that they get digested and absorbed into the blood more quickly (7).

Rapid digestion will lead to a spike in blood sugar, followed by hunger.

Consuming excess refined carbs has also been associated with weight gain and increased fat content in the body.

One study involving 2834 people concluded that taking refined carbs was linked to increased belly fat. A greater intake of unrefined carbs and whole grains was linked to less belly fat (14).

Another small research study found out that a diet rich in unrefined carbohydrates led to decreased body weight and inflammatory markers (15).

So, you should aim to replace your refined foods with whole grains for better results. You could consume foods such as brown rice, quinoa, barley, whole-grain bread, and whole wheat pasta.

how long does it take to lose 20 pounds

6. Take Proteins

You should include more proteins to your diet when losing weight.

Proteins are essential, and they have been linked with preserved muscle mass, decreased belly fat and effective metabolism.

This macronutrient can also curb your appetite and decrease your daily calorie intake.

A research study found out that consuming breakfast rich in proteins decreased ghrelin levels, a hormone that stimulates hunger, by a greater margin as compared to a high-carb breakfast (5).

You can consume poultry, fish, low-fat dairy products, lean meat, legumes, eggs, seeds and nuts to get the much-needed proteins.

Read More: Homemade Protein Shake For Weight Gain: High-Calorie Protein Shakes To Help You In Your Weight Gain Journey

7. Lift Weights

One of the best exercises for losing weight is lifting weights. This working out is known as resistance training.

It involves using your muscles to work against a certain force to build your endurance and strength.

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Adding this kind of exercise to your schedule will increase your fat burning capacity and rate of metabolism. You will burn more calories even when you are resting.

One study involving 94 women found out that resistance exercises preserved muscle mass. It also affected metabolism. Women who did aerobic or no exercise had their resting energy expenditure decrease with weight loss, while those who did resistance training did not  (9).

To get started, buy weights, go to the nearest gym or do bodyweight training at home.

8. Sleep Adequately

Exercising and switching your diet are the most important routines of your weight loss journey. Well, sleep also plays a role in the number of pounds you lose.

Sleep deprivation, on the other hand, causes you to gain pounds over time.

A single night of sleep deprivation increases your hunger hormones. This could lead to increased appetite and eventually, weight gain (2).

To lose weight faster, practice a good sleep routine every night. Make sure you sleep for more than 7 hours. To do so, minimize your caffeine intake before sleeping.

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!

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9. Consume More Fiber

Fibre is indigestible by your body. It also moves slowly through your digestive system. This slows down the rate at which your stomach empties, keeping you full for long.

Insoluble fibre is found in such foods that are made using whole wheat and vegetables. This compound will benefit you when it comes to controlling your weight.

NCBI reports that increasing your fibre intake by just 14 grams every day could cause a 10% reduction in the number of calories you take. This could potentially lead to a weight loss of 4.2 pounds in four months, even without any lifestyle or diet changes (3).

To enjoy these benefits, consume many fruits, whole grains, seeds, vegetables, and nuts.

10. Add Cardio To Your Sessions

If you want to fasten your weight loss journey, adding cardio to your sessions is a must.

Cardio, also known as aerobic exercise, is a form of activity that increases the heart rate. By doing so, it strengthens your heart as well as lungs.

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The activity also burns many calories, which causes a lot of fats to be burned and weight loss.

Performing aerobic exercises burns about 400 to 600 calories in 40-60 minutes. If performed five times a week for 10 months, it could result in an average weight loss of about 8.6 to 11.5 pounds.

Another study reported similar findings. Obese subjects who did cardio for six months reduced their body weight by 9% (1).

To fasten your weight loss journey, do cardio exercises for 20 to 40 minutes every day. You can walk, box, jump a rope, run, or row.

Final Thought

So, how long does it take to lose 20 pounds? Well, you probably won’t achieve the target in less than a month.. The best tactic is to target 1 to 2 pounds every week. This means that you will need 10 to 20 weeks to lose 20 pounds.

how long does it take to lose 20 pounds


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 any kind decisions. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!


  1. Aerobic or Resistance Exercise, or Both, in Dieting Obese Older Adults (2017,
  2. A single night of sleep deprivation increases ghrelin levels and feelings of hunger in normal-weight healthy men (2008,
  3. Dietary fiber and weight regulation (2001,
  4. Do Men Lose Weight Faster Than Women? (nd,
  5. Effect of a high-protein breakfast on the postprandial ghrelin response (2006,
  6. Effect of behavioural techniques and delivery mode on effectiveness of weight management: systematic review, meta-analysis and meta-regression (2014,
  7. Glycemic Control and Hypoglycemia (2008,
  8. Rapid Weight Loss (2019,
  9. Resistance training conserves fat-free mass and resting energy expenditure following weight loss (2008,
  10. Water Consumption Increases Weight Loss During a Hypocaloric Diet Intervention in Middle-aged and Older adults (2010,
  11. Water consumption reduces energy intake at a breakfast meal in obese older adults (2008,
  12.  Water-induced thermogenesis (2003,
  13. Weight-loss goals: Set yourself up for success (2020,
  14. Whole- and refined-grain intakes are differentially associated with abdominal visceral and subcutaneous adiposity in healthy adults: the Framingham Heart Study (2010,
  15. Whole grain-rich diet reduces body weight and systemic low-grade inflammation without inducing major changes of the gut microbiome: a randomised cross-over trial (2019,
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