So You Want to Lose 20 Pounds? Start Here!

The battle of the bulge effects everyone. One of the most common questions I get is, “How long to lose 20 pounds?” No matter how many times I answer that very same question, it keeps coming back. Let’s put an end to the debate and settle the conversation with one simple article. We will shed the pounds, once and for all!

How long to Lose 20 Pounds

lose 20 pounds

This entirely depends. For most people, your goal should be to lose one to two pounds per week. This means to lose 20 pounds you are looking at 10 – 20 weeks. That means from under three months and up to five months. That sounds like a long time – and that is because it is. But losing weight is never for easy.

If you want to aim for the full two pounds a week, you can lose weight fairly quickly. Losing 20 pounds in three months all boils down to hitting your 2 pounds per week goal. You can easily lose 20 pounds in under 3 months, or 90 days, if you lose two pounds per week. With the goal of two pounds per week, you actually can have two bad weeks (Weeks you only lose one pound) and still hit your goal.

How Long Should it Take to Lose 20 Pounds?

Three months, or 90 days, is conservative for some people. For others, it is very aggressive. The fact is, not everyone can safely lose 2 pounds a week. While others can safely lose 10 pounds in a single week. That is why we added our calorie calculator. With it, you can see how many calories you need to cut per day to lose 20 pounds in three months.

For most people who are reading this, you should aim for 2 lbs per week. This number assumes you are overweight and can shed some excess weight. The estimate is entirely dependant on your body composition. Other people may need to lose very little and should focus on improving body composition. Use the calculator to determine if you should aim to lose a lot, or a little and set a realistic caloric deficit.

If you have just a little to lose and want to build muscle, hop on over to our article on body composition. It will help point you in the right direction to both build muscle and lose weight. Sadly, the answer to how long should it take to lose 20 pounds is, it depends.

How Long Will it Take to Lose 20 Pounds

How long does it take to lose 20 pounds? Jesh. I thought we went over that! The calculator should be easy enough, but if not, we will do some math.

One pound per week is equal to 500 calories a day. You need to burn or not eat 500 calories to lose one pound per week. To lose two, you need to cut 1,000 calories per week or burn those same 1,000 calories. That is a lot. To lose 20, you must burn 70,000 calories. To lose 20 pounds in 3 months, that means every week (Assuming you have four weeks in a month) 5,833 calories in a week, or just over one and a half pounds.

How Can I lose 20 Pounds in 3 Months?

Time for my obligatory statement that every diet can work. No carb, low fat and fad diets all work if you are at a caloric deficit. My experience shows a better way. To not diet. That is right, to lose those 20 spare lbs, you need to not diet. What you need to do is tweak a few habits.

Incorporate some physical activity in your day and cut out some splurges you consume such as flavored coffee or candy. We go over plenty of suggestions in the article about 60 Easy Ways to Lose Weight. This is how you keep the weight off, you find easy and simple changes to shed the pounds and they will surprisingly they will stay off!


Find all the resources used in this article and the scientific basis of all our article at The Science Behind Fitness.


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