How To Lose 20 Pounds: A Proven Method For Women To Lose Weight and Keep It Off

Written by: Erin Coleman,

B.S. - Nutritional Science, R.D., L.D.

Writer, The Fit Mother Project

Written by: Erin Coleman,

B.S. - Nutritional Science, R.D., L.D.

Writer, The Fit Mother Project

how to lose 20 pounds

Knowing how to lose 20 pounds may seem like an impossible hurdle, but it doesn't have to be.

It simply takes a few simple lifestyle changes.

Sometimes just one life-changing decision is all it takes to lose 20 pounds and keep it off for good.

Don’t give up on past failed weight loss attempts, as simple weight loss solutions are within reach!

Keep reading, and we'll teach you how to lose 20 pounds.

Struggling to lose weight? Here are the 3 most effective ways to lose fat!

Why Weight Loss Attempts Fail

Many people who attempt weight loss fail at it long term. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that almost half of adults in the United States tried to lose weight within the past year.

how to lose 20 poundsHowever, the CDC also says over 71% of U.S. adults are considered to be overweight or obese.

Why is weight loss so hard to maintain long term? The answer is simple.

Many dieters make temporary lifestyle changes to get excess weight off quickly, but their diets aren’t long-term sustainable.

For example, dieters might try ketogenic diets, another type of restrictive low-carb diet, or a very low-calorie diet (VLCD) but feel hungry, deprived, or tired after a few weeks.

When they return to normal eating patterns, lost weight often returns.

The best solution for how to lose 20 pounds and keep it off is to find a nutritious diet, exercise program, and other healthy habits you enjoy and can stick with for life!

How To Lose 20 Pounds in 10 Weeks

A safe, effective weight loss rate that’s sustainable is 1-2 pounds weekly, suggests the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.

If you aim to lose 2 pounds weekly to drop 20 pounds in 10 weeks, aim to burn 1,000 more calories than you eat daily.

If dropping 1 pound per week is your goal, expend 500 more calories than you eat daily.

Reduce your calorie intake, exercise more, or combine these two methods to maximize your results!

How To Lose 20 Pounds With a Calorie Deficit

Some simple lifestyle changes help create a calorie deficit, which means you burn more calories than you eat for effective weight loss. You don’t have to choose all the examples below, as a 500-1,000 calorie daily deficit should do the trick!

Give Up Sugary Drinks

Sugary drinks might curb your sweet tooth, but they pack extra calories that hinder weight loss. Giving up 3 sugary drinks, such as 3 cans of soda, 3 glasses of lemonade, or 3 large glasses of juice, helps you reduce your energy intake by about 500 calories daily, so you can drop about 1 pound per week!

Do Cardiovascular Exercise for 45 Minutes Daily

Studies show that adding 45 minutes of cardiovascular exercise (jogging, biking, swimming, using the elliptical machine, etc.) to each day is effective for weight loss, even if you’re not dieting.

two women running diet plan for women over 40Why? Because you can burn about 400-600 extra calories during a 45-minute cardio session to create a calorie deficit for weight loss.

Harvard Medical School reports that a 155-pound woman expends about 500-550 calories in 45 minutes doing the following exercises:

  • Using an elliptical machine
  • Running at a pace of 5-6 miles per hour
  • Jumping rope
  • Cycling at a pace of 15 miles per hour
  • Skiing
  • Swimming laps
  • Doing step aerobics
  • Kickboxing

Combine exercise with a reduced-calorie diet to drop 2 pounds per week and achieve a 20-pound weight loss in just 10 weeks!

Increase Activities of Daily Living

Since working out may only take 20-60 minutes, stay active the rest of the day to lose 20 pounds and keep the weight off for life. There are numerous ways to burn additional calories throughout the day by increasing activities of daily living. Below are examples of such activities and the number of calories you’ll burn in 30 minutes doing them if you weigh 155 pounds:

  • Cooking: 93 calories
  • Dancing: 112 calories
  • Grocery shopping: 130 calories
  • Raking the lawn: 149 calories
  • Coaching sports: 149 calories
  • Curling: 149 calories
  • Horseback riding: 149 calories
  • Walking the dog at a pace of 3.5 miles per hour: 149 calories
  • Playing with your kids: 149 -186 calories
  • Heavy house cleaning: 167 calories
  • Playing badminton: 167 calories
  • Painting the house: 167 -186 calories
  • Weeding the garden: 172 calories
  • Kayaking: 186 calories
  • Mowing the lawn with a push mower: 205 calories
  • Golfing and carrying your clubs: 205 calories
  • Shoveling snow: 223 calories

Give Up Fried Foods

If you’re like many Americans, fried foods find their way into your diet somehow – at least every now and then.

how to lose 20 pounds

But eliminating these high-calorie foods might be all it takes to drop 1-2 pounds per week for a 20-pound weight loss.

Examples of fried foods and the calories they provide are:

  • A large order of fast food French fries: 510 calories
  • 4 extra crispy chicken tenders: 540 calories
  • 6 mozzarella sticks: 540 calories
  • 6 large deep-fried shrimp: 420 calories
  • A regular order of fried cheese curds: 510 calories
  • A large order of fried cheese curds: 1,020 calories

Because fried foods are high in calories, it’s easy to see why eliminating them from your diet is a simple way to get excess weight off and keep it off.

Instead, choose grilled options or foods baked with olive oil.

Lift Weights Regularly

Lifting weights might not cause weight loss initially because muscle weighs more than fat. However, adding weightlifting to your regular routine helps keep lost weight off because muscle helps your body burn extra calories throughout the day, even when resting!

A 155-pound person expends about 223 calories in just 30 minutes of weightlifting at a high intensity.

You don’t have to lift heavy weights to gain muscle definition and increase your body’s calorie expenditure. Complete 3-6 sets of 10-25 repetitions for each exercise. Try the following resistance exercises if you're wondering how to lose 20 pounds.

If you don’t have weights at home, no problem! Use your own body weight as resistance and slowly add in weights when you're ready.

Meet Burn RX. The Safe & Effective Metabolism Booster To Help You See Faster Results

Burn RX is for women who are working on losing weight and want to see faster and easier results from their eating & exercise efforts. It helps your body burn more fat before, during, and after your workouts, which will improve your body composition while boosting your energy + metabolism.

Drink 2 Cups of Water Before Meals

Increasing your water intake is one of the most effective weight loss strategies – especially if you drink water before meals.

Why? Because water helps fill you up without calories. Studies show that drinking 500 milliliters, or 2 cups, of water before you eat helps lower your food intake at mealtime.

Make it a goal to drink 2 cups of water before each meal to help you lose 20 pounds, and drink 12 cups of water daily if you can!

Add Coffee or Tea to Your Routine

Because of the caffeine in coffee and tea, these drinks enhance weight loss to help you drop 20 pounds in 10 weeks.

how to lose 20 poundsA European Journal of Nutrition study found that caffeine aids calorie expenditure and body fat loss.

This might be due, at least in part, to caffeine’s beneficial effects on energy levels.

The same study found that drinking at least 3 cups of coffee (or tea) daily is associated with lower waist circumferences, body mass index (BMI), blood pressure, and triglycerides compared with people who drink less than 1 cup of coffee/tea daily.

Black coffee and unsweetened tea each contain less than 5 calories per serving.

Avoid sweetening these drinks when weight loss is your goal.

Weigh Yourself Every Day

Weigh yourself daily and record the results to ensure you’re on track with a 20-pound weight loss.

how to lose 20 poundsYour weight might fluctuate slightly daily, depending on your eating, your hydration level, and whether you’re holding excess water due to hormone fluctuations or medications.

Tracking your weight daily keeps you accountable during your weight loss journey.

Studies show that daily weigh-ins are more effective than weighing yourself once a week.

Don’t obsess about your weight, especially if you’ve recently started a weightlifting program, but do weigh yourself often to increase your chance of long-term success.

You should notice a weight loss trend over time. Be sure to weigh yourself at the same time each day.

When you first wake up is an excellent time to do so!

Track Fiber Intake

Increasing dietary fiber is a good place to start when you're wondering how to lose 20 pounds.

Fiber keeps you full longer, but your body doesn’t digest or absorb it entirely.

Aim to consume at least 25 grams of fiber daily from fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds.

Slices of vegetables ( broccoli, mushrooms, carrots, cucumbers, tomatoes and pepper )

Examples of fiber-rich foods and their fiber content include:

  • ½ cup of cooked split peas: 8 grams
  • ½ cup of cooked lentils: 8 grams
  • ½ cup of cooked black beans: 7-8 grams
  • 1 cup of raspberries: 8 grams
  • 1 pear with the skin: 6 grams
  • 1 cup of cooked barley: 6 grams
  • 1 cup of cooked whole-grain pasta: 6 grams
  • 1 cup of chopped broccoli: 5 grams
  • ½ avocado: 5 grams
  • 1 cup of cooked quinoa: 5 grams
  • 1 apple: 4-5 grams
  • ½ cup of cooked green peas: 4-5 grams
  • 1 ounce of almonds: 3-4 grams

Studies show that taking a fiber supplement is also associated with effective weight loss! Ask your doctor if fiber supplements are right for you.

Boost Protein and Healthy Fats

Increasing dietary protein and fat promotes satiety during weight loss, and protein helps your body burn extra calories.

protein weight loss foodsAccording to the International Journal of Sports Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism, active adults' protein intake during weight loss is 0.7 to 1.1 grams of protein per pound of body weight daily.

Based on this recommendation, if your goal is 130 pounds, aim for about 130 grams of protein daily.

The protein content of common protein-rich foods is as follows:

  • 3 ounces of meat, poultry, fish, or seafood: 20-25 grams
  • 1 scoop of protein powder: 25 grams
  • 1 container of Greek yogurt: 12-18 grams
  • 1 cup of high-protein cereal: 7-15 grams
  • ½ cup of cottage cheese: 14 grams
  • 1 cup of high-protein milk: 13 grams
  • 1 ounce of dry-roasted edamame: 13 grams
  • ½ cup of cooked legumes: 7-9 grams
  • 1 cup of milk or soy milk: 8 grams
  • 2 tablespoons of nut butter: 7 grams
  • 1/3 cup of hummus: 7 grams
  • 1 egg: 6 grams
  • 1 ounce of nuts or seeds: 4-8 grams

Make sure to eat nutritious fat at each meal and snack too! Avocados, olive oil, olives, nuts, seeds, nut butter, hummus, and fatty fish (such as tuna and salmon) are excellent choices!

Meet SuperFuel. The Delicious Protein Shake Packed With 40+ Energy-Boosting Vitamins & Superfoods (Designed For Busy Women)

As a busy women, it’s challenging to stay consistent with healthy eating. That’s why we created SuperFuel… the delicious “all-in-one” nutrition shake for busy women 40+ to give your body the protein + key nutrients you need for more energy, fat burning, and muscle building.

Set a Regular Schedule and Stick to It

Set a regular schedule to optimize your health, wellness, and chances of success in weight loss. For example:

  • Go to bed at the same time each night (get at least 7 hours of sleep)
  • Drink 2-4 cups of water when you first wake up each morning
  • Eat small, frequent meals every few hours throughout the day
  • Try a weight loss protein shake in place of breakfast or lunch or as post-workout nourishment
  • Exercise at the same time each day
  • Do house chores when you wake up or before bed
  • Set daily goals you'd like to accomplish and track progress

Following a schedule with healthy habits boosts your energy and lowers your risk of developing a chronic disease.

Replace Sweets with Protein Shakes or Bars

Sweet treats can be difficult to give up if you have a sweet tooth.

how to lose 20 poundsBut replacing them with healthier sweet-tasting foods, such as protein shakes or protein bars, helps curb your cravings.

Mix your favorite protein powder with fruit, cow or plant milk, and nut butter to create a sweet-tasting meal replacement shake.

Or choose snack bars rich in protein and fiber as meal replacements or substitutes for your favorite sweet treats!

How To Lose 20 Pounds with a Weight Loss Program

Joining the Fit Mother Project 30X (FM30X) weight loss program for women ages 35+ makes losing 20 pounds and keeping it off feel like a breeze.

When you sign up, you’ll receive the following:

  • Motivational support
  • Accountability
  • Weight loss meal plans
  • Delicious menus
  • Effective workouts
  • Q &A support with medical experts
  • Email health coaching
  • Fit mom social media access
  • And much more!

FM30X has helped thousands of busy moms lose weight and keep it off long-term.

Give it a try for FREE by signing up for the Fit Mom 3-Day Weight Loss Jumpstart today!

In it, you'll receive a free meal plan, free workout, and free health coaching support to get and keep you motivated!

Erin Coleman
B.S. - Nutritional Science, R.D., L.D.

Writer, The Fit Mother Project

Erin Coleman is a registered and licensed dietitian with over 15 years of freelance writing experience.

She graduated with her Bachelor of Science degree in nutritional science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and completed her dietetic internship at Viterbo University in La Crosse, Wisconsin.

Prior to beginning her career in medical content writing, Erin worked as Health Educator for the University of Wisconsin-Madison Department of Internal Medicine.

Her published work appears on hundreds of health and fitness websites, and she’s currently working on publishing her first book! Erin is a wife, and a Mom to two beautiful children.

If you’re a busy mom who wants to finally lose weight, get healthy, and actually keep the pounds off for good, this is the simple program you’ll love sticking to…

Fit Mother Project is the answer you’ve been looking for. Inside the program, you’ll receive:

  • The simple & delicious Fit Mother Meal Plan with easy recipes for you and your family.
  • The metabolism-boosting Fit Mother Project workouts to kickstart your metabolism for fast fat burning.
  • VIP email coaching where we’ll personally walk you through the program.

If you’re a busy mom who wants to finally lose weight, get healthy, and actually keep the pounds off for good, this is the simple program you’ll love sticking to…

Our Fit Mother 30X Program (FM30X) is the answer you’ve been looking for. Inside FM30X, you’ll receive:

  • The simple & delicious Fit Mother Meal Plan with easy recipes for you and your family.
  • The metabolism-boosting Fit Mother 30X Workout (under 90 min/week) to kickstart your metabolism for fast fat burning.
  • VIP email coaching where we’ll personally walk you through the program.
Learn More About FM30X

*Please know that weight loss results & health changes/improvements vary from individual to individual; you may not achieve similar results. Always consult with your doctor before making health decisions. This is not medical advice – simply very well-researched info on how to lose 20 pounds.

Join Fit Father 30X

The World’s First Weight Loss Program for Men 40+

Lose Weight. Keep it Off.

Fit Mother Project Fact-Checking Standards

Our Fit Mother Project Team’s deepest commitment is to helping you live healthier for both yourself and your family. And when it comes to online content, integrity and trust is everything. That’s why our Fit Mother Project staff-writers are all trained professionals in the field of health and wellness (registered dieticians, licensed personal trainers, and licensed physicians) – see the full team here. We rigorously run all of our articles through a rigorous editorial process to ensure the accuracy, simplicity, and utility of the information. And we aren’t just a team of “academics” sitting in an ivory tower. We are real people – with jobs, responsibilities, and families – working hard in the trenches and testing our tips & methods out to make sure you can stay healthy for family.

Here is what you can expect from us on our Fit Mother Blog and YouTube channel:

  1. All of our content is written and reviewed by licensed health professionals (dieticians, personal trainers, doctors).
  2. In nearly all of our articles, we link to published research studies from the most respected peer-reviewed medical & health journals.
  3. We include research-based videos to accompany our articles to make it easier for you to consume our content, put it into action, and see results.
  4. Inside our articles & videos, we do promote our free meal plans, workouts, and/or paid programs, because we know they have the potential to change your life.
  5. We openly take feedback here on our contact page. We welcome your content suggestions… and even feedback on grammar (we’d like to thing that we’re pretty OK at spelling and “stuff”).
  6. Above all, we are a community of likeminded men and women committed to living healthier. We do not advocate any health advice that we wouldn’t personally implement with our families. Because as far as we’re concerned, you’re our family too.

Thanks for checking out the blog. We can’t wait to support you toward greater health, energy, and vitality.

– The Fit Mother Project Team


Terms of Service & Privacy Policy