woman holding measuring tape

is it healthy to lose 20 pounds in a month


Is it healthy to lose 20 pounds in a month?

While it is possible to lose 20 pounds in a month, it is not healthy or safe. Losing this much weight in a month requires extreme measures that can put your health at risk.


It takes a deficit of 3500 calories to lose a pound of fat. This means, to lose 20 pounds, you need a larger deficit of 70,000 calories. In a month, this comes to at least 2333 calories daily.


An extreme deficit that is 2.3x what most experts recommend for healthy weight loss. Reducing your calories severely to meet this goal might put your health at risk. Also, you would need to spend prolonged periods at the gym to burn enough calories to meet this goal. An unrealistic goal that most people will not be able to achieve.


How quickly can you lose 20 pounds?

Generally, it takes about 2 1/2 months to 5 months to lose 20 pounds. This is a realistic timeframe to have when trying to lose this much weight.  With a 500-calorie deficit, you can lose 20 pounds in 5 months. Double the effect with a 1000-calorie deficit daily to lose it in 2 1/2 months.


While 2 1/2 months to 5 months might seem like a long time, it isn’t for this amount of weight. Having a realistic timeframe in mind is a great way to increase your willpower to lose weight.


Also, you don’t need to resort to any extreme measures as you have enough time to implement the right changes to lose weight. Lastly, losing weight slowly increases the likelihood of keeping it off long-term.


Isn’t it much better to lose weight slowly rather than lose 20 pounds quickly only to gain it all back?

weight loss concept

Eating to lose weight.

Weight loss comes down to about 80% diet. This is the first thing to change.


Most experts recommend a moderate calorie reduction of 500 – 1000 calories to lose 20 pounds. Most adults eat at least 2000 – 2500 calories to maintain their weight. This is a small change that leaves you with plenty to survive on.


Reduce your daily calories by at least 500 calories with strategies such as;

  • Cut out baked treats such as cookies, cakes, etc.
  • Get rid of dried snacks such as chips, pretzels, etc.
  • Eliminate liquid calories such as; sugar-filled coffees, energy drinks, fruit concentrates, etc.
  • Say no to fried foods.
  • Reduce your alcohol intake.

Also, consider reducing your portions. Eating the right amount of portions at mealtimes can help to lose weight.


Next, focus on eating more of the right weight loss foods. Eat protein and fiber foods that keep you fuller for longer. Add volume to your meals with vegetables.


Substitute simple carbs for complex carbs that are more filling. Instead of potato chips, enjoy a whole baked potato. Do these, and you will lose 20 pounds in good time.

exercising to lose weight

Exercising to lose weight.

Exercising is great not only for your health but also for weight loss. It helps you burn extra calories to boost weight loss. Aim to spend at least 150 – 300 minutes exercising weekly for weight loss.


A good routine should include both cardio and weight training workouts. While cardio helps you burn calories, weight training helps you build more muscle. Alternate between cardio and weight training for best results.


Also, choose workouts you love doing to ensure you remain consistent. Exercise should be something you look forward to, not an activity you dread doing. If you’re short on time, consider high-intensity interval training. It’s as effective yet takes 30-minutes or less.


Is it healthy to lose 20 pounds in a month? Conclusion

Although it is possible to lose 20 pounds in a month, it is not safe or healthy for most people.


Losing this much weight in such a short time requires extreme measures that are often not safe or healthy. A more realistic timeframe to have in mind to lose 20 pounds is anywhere between 2 1/2 months to 5 months.