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10 Steps to Shed 20 Lbs of Weight Permanently and Safely
Today I want share with you how to lose 20 pounds. I know it’s tempting to put a timeline on this. For example how to lose 20 lbs in 10 days, 20 or even 30 days.
Now depending on your weight loss goals, you may be able to lose 20 pounds in 30 days or less using these same strategies.
But it’s not going to be easy. If losing weight was a walk in the park, everyone would be looking trendy and wearing their favorite pair of jeans pants. In fact losing any amount of weight, whether 5 or 10 pounds can be a real challenge for lots of people.
Now we’re mostly advised that losing weight too quickly is not good for your overall health. And to some extent this is true. You will even find articles on this blog or elsewhere that talks about the dangers of losing weight too quickly.
However, a slow weight loss process could be demotivating as well. Say for example you have a special occasion coming up and you need to lose 20 lbs in 30 days’ time. Is it possible?
Yes it is but how can you pull this off as safely and as fast as possible?
So rather than breaking down some fat loss myths or going over just one particular diet or just one particular workout plan, I’m going to share with you exactly what you’ll need to do, step-by-step, how to lose 20 pounds. You can these strategies and apply to attain your goal in a month, or two.
This is really great because there are a lot of wrong ways to go about losing 20 pounds. Now even though there’s more than one method to help you lose the 20 pounds of fat, the principles for losing the weight and keeping it off remain the same.
And those specific principles are what I want to share with you today.
How to Lose 20 Pounds of Unwanted Body Weight
#1. Have the right mindset for weight loss
What has mindset or mental disposition got to with weight loss? Well, it’s got everything to do with it.
Having the right mental disposition towards weight loss is very important. You see most people will approach weight loss as a temporary activity with an beginning and an end.
People ask typical questions such as ‘how long will this take?’ and ‘will I keep the weight off after losing it? Am I saying those questions are not necessary? Of course these questions are important.
You want to burn the fat as fast as possible and knowing how to lose 20 pounds in a month for example and actually doing it, will be absolutely useless if you gain it all right back.
The thing is 99.9% of the time these questions stem from the mentality that we’re gonna apply a temporary fix that’ll give you the body you want forever. Unfortunately that’s not how losing weight to permanently look and feel the way you want works.
With this type of mentality you will fail. Let me give you a quick example to help illustrate my point. Wouldn’t it sound silly to ask your dentist how long you’re gonna have to brush your teeth to keep them white and never get cavities again?
You also wouldn’t ask how long after you’re done brushing your teeth will they stay white and healthy? Because the action of brushing your teeth on a daily basis for the rest of your life is the very thing that gives you nice teeth and keeps them that way.
The way your body looks and feels is very similar. We all have a physical body which needs to be taken care of physically or else over time it will deteriorate.
So the first step to losing fat the right way it’s to come to the conclusion that this is a lifelong commitment. Just like brushing your teeth, what your body looks like today is the result of what you’ve done over the last couple days, weeks, months and years.
So treat this as a permanent endeavor and you will be permanently rewarded with a better body.
#2. The right dieting approach for you
Now since we want to lose 20 pounds and keep it off permanently, we have to find a dieting approach that we can actually stick to. Understand that there is no one right diet that can help you lose 20 pounds in 30 days, 15 or 5 day in the safest way.
You can lose those 20 lbs with a low carb diet, a high carb diet. There’s the Atkins, keto, paleo, vegetarian and a number of different diet approaches like carb cycling and fasting. All of them can help you lose weight.
However just because one works better than the other for me doesn’t mean that the same approach will work better for you. Now that might sound confusing but it’s absolutely critical that you find the best diet structure that works for you so you can actually stick to it.
#3. Identify the single ingredient foods you enjoy eating.
To lose 20 pounds of fat and keep it off permanently you don’t have to avoid carbs, you don’t have to eat 5 to 6 small meals a day and you don’t have to eat at specific times of the day. You have to create a caloric deficit. You have to consume just enough proteins to support lean body mass and you have to keep insulin levels low by sticking to whole single ingredient foods.
You can find whole single ingredient foods just by sticking to the outside aisles of your grocery store when you grocery shopping. Make sure you’re choosing healthy options that you actually enjoy eating.
All too often people will find out about a diet approach like the ketogenic diet for example. Then almost immediately they’re following this new plan without ever even thinking about the long-term success associated with adopting such a plan.
What do I mean? They go with this new diet craze on the block and they don’t even know in the long term if they can stick to the foods that are being recommended on the diet plan. Let me explain.
The ketogenic diet can be great for people that love foods that are high in fat but don’t really enjoy eating a lot of carbohydrates. If you like eating higher fat foods like steak, bacon, eggs, butter, avocados, cream cheese and low carb veggies like asparagus and spinach then a keto style diet plan can be a very good fit for you.
However if you love oatmeal, rice, potatoes, bread and pasta and giving up those foods for the rest of your life, with a keto diet structure is probably going to lead to failure. You see what I mean?
You gonna be missing all these great tasting carbs that have been a staple of your life up until now if you go with keto. And guess what your chances of success are going to be with this diet in the long term?
Now this doesn’t mean that you’re going to be able to burn fat by only eating foods that you want like potatoes and pasta every day. But there are different ways that you can incorporate these foods into your diet plan.
It’s the same way that you can incorporate very high fat foods like lard and cream cheese into a keto plan.
So bottom line, start by identifying what single ingredient foods you would like to be able to have in your diet.
#4 Create a caloric deficit with high protein intake
If you want to find a way to create a caloric deficit while still maintaining a high enough protein intake to lose weight at a regular pace you want to aim for about a 20% reduction of calories from maintenance levels. To lose weight at a faster, more aggressive pace, you want to aim for a 40-45% reduction in your calories.
With protein unless you’re doing a keto style diet plan, you want to get anywhere from 0.8 – 1.3 grams of protein per pound of body weight. When you’re trying to maintain your weight you don’t need such high protein levels. However, when cutting the best way to avoid muscle loss is by increasing protein as you increase your caloric deficit.
For example if you’re looking to lose the 20 pounds at a more regular pace you might cut calories by only 20% for maintenance and eat about 0.8 grams of protein per pound of body weight.
On the other hand if you’re doing an aggressive diet plan where you’re cutting calories by about 40% for maintenance, you might want to go with a higher range of 1.3 grams of protein per pound of body weight to ensure that you spare as much muscle mass as possible while burning fat so fast.
Just to make this simple, a good place to start is at 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight. With that in mind you can then figure out what percentage of the rest of your calories you want to allocate to carbs and what percentage to fat. This allocation is largely your choice based on what types of foods you like to eat.
You can use a fat loss calculator that’ll do all of this for you but once you know how many calories protein carbs and fats you’re having per day you want to find the best way for you to consume the right amounts of food based on your lifestyle and preferences.
What I mean is that you can maintain your caloric deficit by splitting up your meals into many smaller meals throughout the day and tracking the caloric impact of each meal with a diet tracking app. Or you can maintain your caloric deficit by eating within certain feeding windows.
For example you could try the lean gains approach to intermittent fasting where you would fast for 16 hours and only allow yourself an 8 hour feeding window. You can also try longer fast like the warrior diet and the one meal a day diet.
You can also create a caloric deficit by eating normally the majority of the week and then significantly less 2 to 3 days of the week with approaches like the 5-2 diet or the alternate day fast.
The point is that there are a number of ways for you to consume a lower amount of calories per day. But the best way for you is the way that you can actually comfortably stick to.
You will have to go through some trial and error with this process but regardless of what way you choose to consume your calories make sure you spend a week or two tracking your calories and your macros to make sure that your totals are adding up correctly.
Once you learn the nutritional value and the caloric impact of the healthy single ingredient foods you like to eat you can then try to do this without tracking. This is how you customize a fat loss diet based on you that you can actually stick to.
#5. Working out
There are ways to lose weight without resorting to exercise. But the approach we’re talking about here on how to lose 20 pounds involves exercise. Since our goal is to lose 20 pounds of fat you have to understand that you will lose some muscle mass as well while losing the body fat.
There is no way around that fact but what we can do is limit muscle loss as much as possible..
Now regardless of how fast or slow you want to lose the 20 pounds or whether you prefer more carbs or more fats in your diet plan, you will have to stick to a solid weight training program to prevent muscle loss.
The best way to prevent muscle loss while losing body fat is by maintaining as much strength as possible throughout the cut. This means that you should do your absolute best to keep all your exercises heavy preferably within a 5 to 8 rep range with most exercises.
If you’re exceeding more than 8 or 10 reps for a certain exercise I recommend moving up to a heavier weight. Unfortunately even if you stick to heavy weights, you will most likely still lose strength throughout a cut but that’s fine.
The key is to fight for every last inch. Push yourself to lift the heaviest load you can for roughly 5 to 8 reps and don’t drop the wait until your reps drop too low.
Many people drop the weight immediately as soon as they start a cut and they start feeling tired and that low energy feeling at the gym. This is a big mistake because with this kind of strategy you’ll be lowering the weight and losing muscle strength and size week after week.
As a natural lifter, to maintain as much lean body mass as possible you will have to try to maintain as much strength as possible throughout this process of losing fat.
You will want to start each workout with key compound lifts like squats, lunges, deadlifts, bench press, barbell rows, pull-ups and other engaging compound exercises like these.
After warming up again you want to concentrate on using a heavy weight load for these key exercises. Even though these exercises are harder than just moving from one selectoriser machine to the next by sticking to these key compound lifts, you’ll get maximum benefits for both fat loss and for maintaining your lean body mass.
#6. Incorporate cardio
Even though cardio is really not required in this setting, it can help speed up your fat loss. I recommend trying to incorporate cardio right after your weight training workouts.
You can do 30 minutes of long-duration steady-state cardio by either running on a treadmill, using a stair climber or a number of other traditional cardio machines.
You could perform a 15 minute high-intensity interval training circuit. Here you would combine intense exercises that speed up your heart rate into one big circuit. Again I recommend doing this directly after your weight training workout.
Now if you really hate cardio like I said it’s not required. Cardio will help you create a caloric deficit in combination with your diet plan.
You can create that deficit with just your diet plan without incorporating cardio or you can make your diet plan a little easier and burn some extra calories with cardio. Make the choice based on your preferences.
The last step is to stick to your plan consistently until you hit your goal weight and then you can increase your intake to maintenance levels. If you cannot stick to your plan consistently you need to reevaluate and try a different approach until you find the one that works with your lifestyle and preferences.
It’s so important that you find the it works around you because that’s the only way you’ll be able to stick to it for the long term.
Just to recap. The right way to lose 20 pounds of fat for the long term is by:
- realizing that exercise and maintaining a healthy diet is a lifelong commitment not a quick fix.
- decide what types of healthy whole single ingredient foods you actually enjoy. Eating most of these foods most of these foods on regular basis is part of the secret to permanent and sustainable weight loss.
- choose a dieting approach that allows you to eat the types of foods you enjoy.
- create the right caloric deficit somewhere between 20 – 45% percent less than maintenance based on how fast you would like to lose the weight. It’s also based on your tolerance for stricter diet plans.
- eat enough protein to maintain muscle mass. This amount will usually be somewhere around 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight.
- after you know your protein requirements and your daily caloric range for fat loss, you can then choose what percentage of your diet you’d like to come from fats and what percentage from carbs based on your food preferences you decided on earlier.
- choose the appropriate meal frequency you would like to take those calories in either by eating smaller meals throughout the day, by having fasting and feeding windows or by having significantly less calories a couple days of the week to balance out the rest of the week.
- use heavy weight training to your advantage in order to maintain as much muscular strength as possible to prevent muscle loss throughout the cut.
- stick to compound key lifts that have a free range of motion and incorporate a lot of muscles at the same time
- incorporate cardio after your weight training workouts if you want some more wiggle room with your diet
Here’s the important takeaway on how to lose 20 pounds. You need to find out a plan that works best for you and around you. This is the only way you’re going to stick with it even after losing those 20 lbs.
Just because one method or weight loss diet plan worked for someone doesn’t necessarily mean it’s going to work for you. Realize that losing 20 pounds and keeping it off takes time.
However with whole single foods and an exercise combination recommended in this article, you will be able to find an approach that works for you body. If you have any comments on how to lose 20 pounds, leave it below.