How Long Will It Take You to Lose 20 Pounds?

Trying to lose 20 pounds may seem like a monumental goal, especially for those who haven’t experienced previous weight loss success. With a firm commitment to burning calories, however, it’s almost a sure thing.

The easiest way to lose 20 pounds may be to combine diet with exercise. Some people opt for diet alone, but dropping so many calories can lead to diet-busting cravings. Adding exercise into the equation, especially cardio exercise, allows you to consume more food and experience heart healthy benefits.

Lose 20 Pounds in 90 Days

To lose 20 pounds in 90 days, you’ll need to create a deficit of about 780 calories each day. To do this, you can split the calories between diet and exercise, consuming 350 calories fewer than what your body needs to maintain your weight and doing aerobic exercise for about 45 minutes per day to burn the rest of the calories. Following this plan, you can lose over one pound per week.

If you don’t plan to exercise, you can lose by eating about 780 fewer calories than your body needs for weight maintenance. The problem with using diet alone, however, is that you may go too far and consume too few calories for your body to function optimally. For example, a 37-year-old woman who weighs 140 pounds may need about 1,500 calories to ensure normal body function. Then, she’ll need additional calories to maintain her body weight. If her normal activity level causes her to burn 600 additional calories per day, she’ll need to consume 2,100 calories to maintain her weight. Consuming 780 fewer calories could lead to impaired body function. In such a case, she would do better to consume 500 fewer calories instead and exercise to burn the rest of it. The number of calories you need depends on your weight, height, age and current level of activity. Ask your doctor for help in figuring this out.

Lose 20 Pounds in Six Months

For many people, gradual weight loss is easier to achieve. Weight loss goals that don’t require extreme calorie restriction and strict exercise routines may be easier to follow. To lose 20 pounds over six months, you’d have to burn about 388 calories more than you need for daily weight maintenance. You might do this by consuming 100 fewer calories per day and exercising 30 minutes daily. If, for example, you gave up one daily soda or decreased your portion sizes at one meal per day and then walked briskly for one hour each day, you could meet or even exceed your daily goal, depending on your current weight. At this rate, you can generally expect to lose more than half a pound per week and more than three pounds per month.

If you prefer, you may opt to use diet alone to shed these pounds, sticking to a low-calorie diet and watching your portion sizes. If you do want the health benefits of exercise, but don’t have time to fit a lot of it into your schedule, consider reducing your caloric intake by 288 calories per day and walking up and down a flight of stairs for 10 minutes daily. This may not sound like much, but it can burn 100 calories.


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