How to Lose 20 Pounds in a Month – 18 Tips for Fast Weight Loss

The Western diet, coupled with a more sedentary lifestyle, can really wreak havoc on your waistline, which is why nearly 50% of Americans are trying to lose weight at any given time. Searching for how to lose 20 pounds in a month is pretty common nowadays among all demographics, but the question remains: is it really safe?

Let’s face it, we all want to see results right away. We live in a society of instant gratification, after all. Plus, we tend to underestimate just how much time and energy we’ll have to commit to a weight loss journey because everywhere we look, influencers are telling us just how easy it is with this or that product. Keep in mind that many of these fad diets and weight loss products are simply smoke and mirrors.

While it’s true that a slow and steady pace partnered with a smart diet and lifestyle changes that you can actually maintain makes the most sense for overall health, sometimes you get fed up with all of that, and you want to experience rapid weight loss to help you get you motivated and stay that way.

If that is the case for you, here are the top 18 tips to lose 20 pounds in the safest way possible. We do not recommend attempting this in just 1 month though. Always check with your healthcare provider before starting any weight loss plan.

How Many Calories To Lose 20 Pounds in a Month?

Losing weight counting calories

As previously mentioned, losing weight quickly is not always the safest option or the easiest to maintain over the long term for that matter. But if your goal is to lose 20 pounds in a month, or even better the 3 to 4 months we suggest, you’ll want to focus on your total daily energy expenditure.

Your total daily energy expenditure (TDEE) is, essentially, the number of calories your body burns in any 24-hour period of time. This calorie expenditure includes any calories burned during periods of rest, periods of physical activity, and periods of food digestion, all of which are taken into account when you calculate your TDEE.

Losing weight at a pace of 1-2 pounds per week is reasonable for most people, and a calorie tracker app can help you monitor how many calories you’re taking in a day. However, in order to lose this much body fat in just 30 days, you would need to lose 5 pounds per week. Sound simple? It’s not as easy as it may seem.

When you want to burn fat, you must have a calorie deficit of 3,500 calories to lose one pound of fat.

How many calories are recommended per day for calorie intake purposes? Women should consume 2,000 calories per day according to the National Institutes of Health and the National Health Service, while men should consume 2,500 calories per day.

That being said, you would need to burn 70,000 calories in a month (2,333 calories per day for 30 days) in order to lose weight that quickly, which is a 333-calorie deficit per day for women and leaves only 167 calories per day for men.

Is It Safe To Lose 20 Pounds in a Month?

Is it safe to lose 20 pounds in a month women measuring

It may seem like the more calories you eliminate from your diet the better, but that simply is not the case. Your body needs calories in order to function properly. Whether you’re sleeping, weight training, or drinking water, your body uses these calories to keep you alive. So to lose weight safely, you need to continue taking in the right amount of calories, not avoid them entirely.

When you have a calorie deficit for too long, you are much more likely to develop nutritional deficiencies as a result, such as vitamin D, iron, vitamin B12, and calcium deficiencies. This can lead to muscle weakness, shortness of breath, loss of balance, and memory loss, respectively.

Other health conditions will also start to present themselves, like suddenly having a weakened immune system, experiencing chronic fatigue, getting gallstones, and developing anemia, to name a few. Keep in mind that this is nowhere near being an exhaustive list. You may experience a host of other health conditions if you create a calorie deficit for too long.

Plus, it can lead to a slower metabolic rate, noticeably decreasing your body temperature and wiping out all of the weight loss progress you’ve already made. Just think about it, when you create a calorie deficit long-term, your whole body starts to slow down and go into starvation mode where it holds onto more calories than usual to conserve energy. So you might lose weight initially, but then you can actually gain more weight back than you originally started with, all because your calorie intake got too low over time.

Lastly, when deciding how much weight to lose and how quickly, be sure to consider the increased risk of disordered eating. Your daily eating habits matter, and when you get used to eating fewer calories for a long period of time, you’re more likely to develop an eating disorder, whether you intend to or not.

Working closely with your healthcare provider and setting reasonable weight loss goals, as opposed to unreasonable weight loss goals, can help you lose weight in a more structured manner than going to extremes and trying to lose as much weight as possible and as quickly as possible.

As you can see, rapid weight loss may seem like your most appealing option when you want to look and feel better quickly, but deciding to lose weight slowly is a much better idea for most people.

Losing weight safely includes eating a smaller number of calories, staying physically active, and keeping an eye on your body composition so that you maintain the right percentage of body fat, bone, and muscle mass. However, you want to be sure not to overdo it because it can be detrimental to both your physical and mental health.

Sustainable weight loss efforts take time but will lead to a much more successful fat loss journey, overall.

18 Tips To Lose 20 Pounds in a Month

It’s totally understandable that maintaining your body weight is important to you because a significant amount of weight gain leaves you feeling sluggish and uncomfortable. Excess body fat also increases your risk of developing some pretty serious, long-term health conditions.

So, here are 18 tips to lose 20 pounds the healthy way. Again, check with your doctor before getting started.

1. Reduce Calories

The first thing you need to do when trying to lose weight is to keep your calorie intake low. To lose fat, you need to create a calorie deficit, which means that you take in a lower amount of calories than you burn, and the easiest way to do that is to ingest fewer calories in the first place.

2. Eliminate Processed Foods

Eliminate processed foods to lose weight

Prepackaged foods are detrimental to your weight loss goal because they are full of empty calories and tend to have a high glycemic index. This means that eating them will cause your blood sugar to spike, make you feel hungry sooner, and make you gain weight.

3. Give Up Sugar

Another trick for reaching your weight management goal is to give up sugar. Foods high in sugar are also high in calories and should be avoided.

4. Cut Carbs

While some of your maintenance calories should come from healthy carbs, like sweet potatoes and bananas, cutting unhealthy carbs, like white bread and white rice, can help you lose weight quickly.

5. Change Your Portions

Small portion of healthy food

A huge part of your weight loss plan should be evaluating the portions that you eat. Seeing a significant change in your body weight is possible when you practice portion control and eat less food at each meal. A helpful hint is to use a smaller plate or bowl.

6. Get More Sleep

Studies show that people who don’t get enough sleep at night tend to feel hungrier throughout the day and eat larger portions. For weight loss to occur, you need to get more sleep so you don’t fall into this bad habit. Aim for 7-9 hours of sleep per night, with 1-2 hours of that being deep sleep.

7. Drink More Water

Drinking more water for weight loss

Weight loss isn’t just about counting calories. Drinking water throughout the day can speed up your metabolism and keep you feeling full.

8. Intermittent Fasting

By following the recommended guidelines, you’ll ingest the correct number of maintenance calories daily, helping your body weight remain the same. But for weight loss to occur, you need to take in fewer calories than that, and you can do this effortlessly by intermittent fasting for 12-16 hours per day. To see the best results, fast for 16 hours daily and eat all your meals and snacks within an 8-hour window. Intermittent fasting just 2 days per week can really elevate your results.

9. Increase Protein Intake

There’s a reason that bodybuilders are always drinking protein shakes. Not getting enough protein in your diet leads to muscle loss, while increasing your protein can help you preserve lean muscle mass and build bigger muscles. Protein is also very satiating for our body, helping to curb cravings for calorie-dense foods.

10. Eat More Fiber

Eating more fiber is another strategy for healthy weight loss. Fiber doesn’t burn fat, but it keeps you feeling full longer, so you don’t eat as much.

11. Exercise

It’s no secret that exercise will play a huge role in your weight loss journey. Staying physically active increases your energy levels, decreases the calories your body stores, and lowers your stress levels.

12. Set Reasonable Goals

Setting reasonable goals also helps you achieve the weight loss you’re looking for in a safe and healthy way. If you set goals that are too high, you might feel overwhelmed, give up, or even develop an eating disorder, which would be an incredibly harmful result of dieting. Remember, every person is different, so set goals that are reasonable for you and where you are at now, not what you see other people doing.

13. Eat Slowly and Mindfully

Believe it or not, eating slowly and mindfully can also lead to weight loss. If you take more time to chew and pay attention to the amount of food you’re eating, you will feel full faster, and weight loss is more likely to occur.

14. Cardio

Cardiovascular exercise is a vital component of any weight loss plan. Cardio burns more fat than strength training, so creating a well-rounded exercise routine with plenty of cardio leads to greater weight loss.

15. Sit Less

Standing Desk Stretching

Sitting less can also help you reach your weight loss goals faster. Get up, get active, and see the pounds start to melt off. Even standing upright burns more calories than sitting, so making simple changes like standing at your desk or standing while you fold laundry can really make a difference.

16. Don’t Drink Calories

Sugary drinks and alcohol are full of empty calories, and calories that you drink don’t signal fullness in your body the same way that calories you eat do. So, if you want to ramp up the weight loss you’re experiencing, refuse to drink your calories.

17. Cook at Home

Cooking at home to promote healthy lifestyle

Cooking at home ensures that you know exactly what you’re eating on any given day. Even foods that may seem healthy at restaurants can be loaded with more sugar, fat, and sodium than you realize. Plus, the portion sizes are often huge.

18. Consume More Fiber

Eating enough fiber is an important step in any weight management plan, especially when trying to lose weight. Fiber also lowers your cholesterol levels and keeps the digestive process moving along.

Sample Workout Plan To Lose 20 Pounds in a Month

Sample workout plan for losing 20 pounds in a month

Ready to burn calories, lose weight, build lean muscle mass, and finally have a healthy body composition?

Sustainable weight loss always includes some sort of physical activity, and developing a regular exercise routine that you actually enjoy can help you with your weight management goals.

The secret to keeping your body weight in check and building lean muscle mass is to combine weight training with cardiovascular exercise. The more often you do this, the easier it is to move into high-intensity interval training, which helps you lose weight fast in a safe, realistic way.

Losing fat isn’t just about counting calories. If you want to increase your metabolic rate and fall into the normal weight range category on the body mass index, resistance training, and moderate exercise are a must.

To start the fat-burning process today, follow our sample workout plan to lose 20 pounds:

Day 1: Upper Body Strength Training

  • Bicep curls: 12 x 15 reps
  • Tricep extensions: 12 x 15 reps
  • Shoulder presses: 12 x 15 reps
  • Upright rows: 12 x 15 reps
  • Bent over rows: 12 x 15 reps
  • Side bends: 12 x 15 reps
  • Core twists: 12 x 15 reps

Repeat 2-3 times

Day 2: Lower Body Strength Training

  • Forward lunges: 10-15
  • Calf raises: 10-15
  • Backward lunges: 10-15
  • Static chair pose: 30 seconds to 1 minute
  • Side lunges: 10-15
  • Glute bridges: 10-15
  • Squats: 10-15

Repeat 2-3 times

Day 3: Core

  • Cross crunches: 10-20
  • Scissors: 10-20
  • Heel touches: 10-20
  • Plank: 30 seconds to 1 minute
  • Knee crunches: 10-20
  • Deadbugs: 10-20
  • Windshield wipers: 10-20

Repeat 2-3 times

Day 4: Self-care and rest

Take a day off to rest and allow your body to recover.

Day 5: Low-Impact Exercise

Complete 1 low-impact exercise for 30 minutes.

  • Walking
  • Swimming
  • Cycling
  • Dancing
  • Yoga
  • Pilates
  • Pickleball
  • Golf

Day 6: High-Impact Exercise

Complete 1 high-impact exercise for 30 minutes.

  • Hiking
  • Jogging
  • Running
  • Tennis
  • Cross training
  • HIIT
  • Kickboxing
  • Skiing

Day 7: Self-care and rest

Take another day off to rest and allow your body to recover for the week ahead.

Sample Diet Plan to Lose 20 Pounds in a Month

Sample diet plan for weight loss

A big part of losing weight safely is to combine strength training with aerobic exercise and a diet rich in nutritional value over an extended period of time. Eating all the calories you want and just working out more doesn’t work, nor does eating healthy all the time but never getting any exercise.

Your current weight won’t budge a bit unless you become intentional about changing your daily habits, which is why fad diets and excessive amounts of exercise never seem to work.

Instead, be sure to stay active daily, and pack a variety of nutrient-dense, whole foods into your diet.

Vegetables, lean protein, whole grains, legumes, and healthy fats are essential components of a healthy diet. Even when you’re purposely trying to create a calorie deficit in order to lose weight, your overall health depends on you eating foods from each of these categories.

Remember, your current body weight isn’t the only consideration here. Getting enough vitamins and minerals into your body is still important, and the types of calories you consume affect weight loss as well.

Remember to eat plenty of vegetables in an assortment of colors like:

  • Beets
  • Broccoli
  • Carrots
  • Cauliflower
  • Eggplant
  • Kale
  • Spinach
  • Swiss Chard

Next, reach for some lean protein, such as:

  • Eggs
  • Chicken
  • Cottage cheese
  • Greek yogurt
  • Lean beef
  • Lentils
  • Tofu
  • Salmon

Whole grains are also an important part of your diet, including:

  • Amaranth
  • Barley
  • Bulgur wheat
  • Millet
  • Oats
  • Quinoa
  • Spelt
  • Wild rice

Then, incorporate legumes into your meals and snacks, like:

  • Black beans
  • Cannellini beans
  • Chickpeas
  • Green beans
  • Peanuts
  • Peas
  • Red kidney beans
  • Soybeans

Lastly, put some healthy fats onto your plate, such as:

  • Avocado
  • Almonds
  • Dark chocolate
  • Flax
  • Olives
  • Sardines
  • Seeds
  • Walnuts

To ensure that you’re eating the right types of calories throughout the day, consider using a macro calculator. Macros, which stands for macronutrients, are the healthy carbs, fats, and proteins that your body needs to run efficiently.

So while many people only focus on counting the number of calories they consume in any given day, counting macros helps you make sure you’re eating enough of the nutrient-dense foods that help you lose weight, boost your immune system, and keep all of your bodily functions running smoothly.

To decrease your body weight and find weight loss success, follow our sample diet plan to lose 20 pounds:

Day 1

  • Breakfast: Greek yogurt with fresh cherries and chia seeds
  • Lunch: Tuna salad lettuce wraps
  • Dinner: Chicken fajitas
  • Snack: Handful of walnuts

Day 2

  • Breakfast: Overnight oats with fresh raspberries and slivered almonds
  • Lunch: Black bean soup with whole wheat bread
  • Dinner: Baked salmon and a side salad
  • Snack: Edamame

Day 3

  • Breakfast: Egg scramble with sauteed spinach and feta cheese
  • Lunch: Vegan buddha bowl
  • Dinner: Grilled shrimp and wild rice
  • Snack: Carrot sticks and hummus

Day 4

  • Breakfast: Blueberry avocado smoothie
  • Lunch: Veggie flatbread pizza
  • Dinner: Baked chicken and whole grain risotto
  • Snack: Popcorn

Day 5

  • Breakfast: Whole wheat waffles with banana slices and peanut butter drizzle
  • Lunch: Tomato soup with grilled cheese croutons
  • Dinner: Tofu stir fry
  • Snack: Hardboiled egg

Day 6

  • Breakfast: Breakfast tacos with black beans and microgreens
  • Lunch: Chicken Caesar salad
  • Dinner: Turkey chili
  • Snack: Watermelon

Day 7

  • Breakfast: High protein veggie frittata
  • Lunch: Turkey avocado wrap
  • Dinner: Lean beef tacos with onions and cilantro
  • Snack: Homemade granola bar

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you lose 20 pounds in a month?

While it is possible to lose that much weight within a month, it is not recommended that you do so. A safe amount of weight to lose per week is 1-2 pounds, so a weight loss of 20 pounds or more should take roughly 3-4 months minimum.

Is it safe for an obese person to lose 20 pounds in a month?

Due to the extreme calorie deficit you would need to maintain each day, a weight loss of 20 pounds should take at least 3-4 months to be considered safe, whether you are obese or overweight.

How much weight can I realistically lose in 1 month?

The average person can safely lose weight at a rate of 1-2 pounds per week or 4-8 pounds per month.

What does losing 20 pounds do for your body?

A weight loss of 20 pounds or more can help you decrease your blood sugar, blood pressure, and cholesterol, increase your energy levels and mobility, and act as a method for disease control as many symptoms can improve or disappear altogether after weight loss.

Weight Loss Programs, Health Coaching, and More at Blue Jay Rx

Whether you’re looking to learn how to lose 20 pounds in a month or want to learn the scientific approach to keeping weight off for good, especially as you age, contact our team of health coaches today. We offer extensive weight loss programs designed to transform your life by giving you the knowledge and habits you need to live a long and healthy life.

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