You’re here because you want to know how long does it take to lose 20 pounds. Well, there are a lot of factors at play that affects that number. In this article, we’ll break it all down and answer the question for you.
I’ve lost more than 300 pounds in my life and was featured on the TV show Extreme Weight Loss Michael Giannulis. I know a thing or two about weight loss and I know right now you are probably focused on time and not necessarily the long term results.
I will help open your eyes to that in this article.
How Long Does It Take To Lose 20 Pounds?
Here’s a quick and short answer for you. Each pound you lose will be equivalent to 3500 calories. Calories are units of energy. So, if you multiply 3500 calories times 20 you need to burn in excess of 70,000 calories.
Seems like a lot of calories huh? It is.
But here’s how you would go about losing 20 pounds as fast (and as safely) as you can.
Let’s say you’re an average person so you should start eating 2,000 calories per day. You should ask your doctor to perform a Basal Metabolic Test. This will tell you how many calories you “burn” per day just to survive.
For the sake of this example, let’s say you do the test and you burn 2500 calories per day. Nice! That means, even if you don’t exercise at all, you could theoretically “spend” 500 calories per day more than you consume.
2500 spend – 2000 consume = -500 calories burned everyday.
In just a single week, you would burn 3500 calories (7 days x 500 calories). With this simple math, that means it would take you 20 weeks to lose 20 pounds, basically 1 pound per week.
Other Factors At Play When Trying To Lose 20 Pounds
There are other factors you need to consider, however. The first factor is that weight loss isn’t always linear. It’s not like you just lose the 1 pound every week for 20 weeks.
Some people call this the whoosh effect. Watch this video to learn more:
In short, you may lose no weight for 2 weeks then on the 3rd week lose 3 pounds. This is because other things affect your weight and not just fat. Let’s talk about that now.
Losing 20 Pounds Is Not Your Real Goal
You see, you want to lose 20 pounds. But what you really want is to lose 20 pounds of fat. There are people finding this article because they are looking for the answer to how long does it take to lose 20 pounds but they should be asking how long does it take to lose 20 pounds of fat!
Because fat is the real enemy to our health and fitness.
But let’s focus on what your actual body weight is comprised of:
- Lean Body Mass (muscle, bone, organs)
So, it’s actually rather easy to lose 20 pounds fast if you don’t care about where it comes from. When I was doing my final weigh-in on the weight loss show I was on, I ate very little food (only raw almonds) and drank distilled water. I also was in a sauna for 1 hour at a time twice per day.
Doing this I was able to drop about 15 pounds for my final weigh-in. But, right after I ate and drank regularly again I put it all back on.
This was me losing water weight.
Likewise, when I had surgery recently, I couldn’t work out for about 6 weeks. During that time, I lost 8 pounds. That was muscle. When I started working out again, the muscle came back on and I weighed the same as before the surgery.
So, what you want to focus on is burning FAT… but how?
How Long Does It Take To Lose 20 Pounds Of Fat?
Now we’re getting to the real question. First, let’s talk about how you can actually go about burning fat, then we’ll talk about how long it may take to lose 20 pounds of fat.
The best protocol I know of to lose 20 pounds of fat (while preserving muscle) is to do the following:
- Eat a lower-carb diet
- Lift weights – I prefer the X3 Bar as it’s only 10 minutes per day!
- Intermittent Fast 16 Hours Per Day
- Eat Your Goal Body Weight Per Day Of Protein in Grams
- Drink lots of water every day
You can read more about each strategy but I’ve not yet written about the 4th one. Basically, let’s say your goal is to weigh 180 pounds. Easy, do everything you can to consume 180 grams of protein per day. You probably can’t hit that goal without some protein shakes.
One that I like a lot is Milk & Egg Protein from NSP Nutrition. (disclosure – I am now part of this company).
If you want you can use this protein calculator to help you determine what is right for you. They tend to air on the side of lower protein, but I’ve seen higher protein intake work wonders for preserving muscle and burning fat.
Final Thoughts On How Long Does It Take To Lose 20 Pounds
If you follow the protocol above and cut out sugars and most carbs. You lift 4-6 days per week and you seriously up your protein intake you probably won’t see a major change on the scale unless you are very overweight or obese.
When I followed this protocol, I actually didn’t change my weight on the scale at all. But, when I did a body scan at the end of the year, it turned out I had lost 20 pounds of fat while gaining almost 20 pounds of muscle.
At the end of the day, a scale is a terrible tool! Focus on how you look, how you feel, and how strong you are. That’s all that really matters. If you want to measure everything correctly, ask your doctor for a DEXA scan before and after. Only then will you know how much weight you’ve lost.
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