How to lose 20 pounds in 2 weeks: The ultimate guide
Sometimes you need to lose weight and lose it fast. An upcoming wedding, beach vacation or another important event can light the fire of motivation or even have you desperate to drop some pounds. Or maybe you think that you’d rather suffer for 2 weeks rather than agonize over your diet and watch your weight drop slowly over a period of months. Fast weight loss is possible. In this post, you’ll learn exactly how to lose 20 pounds in 2 weeks.
Losing weight involves a variety of factors and variables that make it complex to figure out how to lose a certain amount of weight in a limited amount of time. But, don’t worry, we’ve got you covered! In this article, you’ll learn what losing 20 pounds in two weeks takes, the factors involved in losing the weight and how to turn them into reality. Let’s get started!
How Weight Loss Works
You probably know that losing weight involves changing your caloric balance. It sounds technical, but all it really means is that you expend more energy than you consume. In other words, it means that you need to eat fewer calories than you are using up. You can change your caloric balance by eating fewer calories, by exercising more, or both.
Weight loss is a simple concept, but reality makes it much more complex. What you eat, how much you exercise, your metabolism, current weight, lifestyle and more all come into play. If you start out overweight, obese or slightly overweight, your path to weight loss may change. That being said, there are some basic rules about how weight loss works that you need to understand when attempting something as drastic as losing 20 pounds in 2 weeks. Although it’s possible, this is an extreme way to lose weight that you may find very challenging.
In order to lose one pound, you need to burn about 3,500 calories. That means that you need to eliminate this number of calories from your diet or burn them off exercising just to lose 1 pound. Also, keep in mind that although we’d all love to lose only fat, and fat exclusively when you lose weight, you also lose some lean muscle and water. Losing weight is further complicated by metabolic changes that occur once you start to drop pounds. As you lose weight, your body typically consumes fewer calories at rest. Why? If you weigh less, there is less tissue to maintain. So that means as you lose weight, you have to work harder to continue to burn the same number of calories (1).
But, don’t be disheartened. We’ll outline how to learn 20 pounds in 2 weeks so that you can make the progress in your weight loss journey you need and deserve. There’s plenty of good news for your coming up as well because, in addition to diet and exercise, there are plenty of other tools out there for weight loss that will help you. Now, let’s discover what it really takes to lose 20 pounds in 2 weeks.
What It Takes to Lose 20 Pounds in 2 Weeks
If you look at the numbers and the 3,500 calorie figure, you’re looking at cutting out 70,000 calories (20 pounds worth of calories) over the course of 15 days. That’s quite a bit considering that the average daily recommended calories are about 2000 calories a day for a moderately active adult woman and 2400 calories for a moderately active adult man. But, keep in mind that you may be consuming much more than that at the outset of your diet. So, you can cover a lot of ground by reducing your current diet to a much stricter one. And, you don’t have to lose all of the weight by changing your diet, you’ll also lose weight by exercising.
Planning Your Diet
As far as your diet goes, you’ll want to reduce it drastically so that you can reach your goal of losing 20 pounds in 2 weeks. You’re looking at a diet reduced to about 500-1000 calories per day. Counting calories may seem a bit old-school, but it’s one of the best ways to keep track of how much to eat when you’re trying to achieve a concrete goal.
You’ll also want to maximize what you’re eating so that you feel full while you’re on the diet, but still stay within the calorie limitations. Feeling full while dieting is super important. This will keep you from experiencing cravings and straying from your diet and weight loss goals. Of course there are a million fad diets out there that you can follow, and a few will be recommended in the following sections, but first, it’s important that you understand what foods are best for losing weight and how to plan your diet.
Drink Water: When dieting, many people often focus on what to eat or what not to eat. However, they forget about the many calories consumed when drinking fruit juices, lemonade, soda and sweetened tea or coffee. Here’s the bottom line, when you’re talking about losing 20 pounds in 2 weeks, every single calorie counts. The teaspoon of sugar in your coffee every day makes a difference. So, cut out all of the extra calories and drink water exclusively for the entire 2 weeks, with 2 exceptions: tea and coffee. These drinks without sweeteners are essentially calorie-free, so as long as there’s no milk, sugar or honey added, you can include them in your plan.
Here’s an extra pro tip. One study showed that dieters who drank 2 cups of water about 20 minutes before each meal lost more weight than those who didn’t. Researchers believe that water helps increase your sense of fullness before eating, meaning you have better control over portion size. You can even favor cold water over room-temperature water for an extra boost. When you drink cold water, your body spends about 8 calories per cup to warm it up to your body temperature.
Caffeine: Tea and coffee are great to drink as a part of your diet, as long as you don’t add any sugar or milk to them. Why are they good additions? In addition to breaking up the boredom of a diet, the caffeine in tea and coffee can help you lose weight. Caffeine gives your metabolism a boost, helping you expend a greater number of calories than you do without caffeine. In fact, some diet and detox teas such as Skinnymint actually use green tea as a source of caffeine to help encourage weight loss. However, do keep in mind that caffeine is a drug of sorts, and it can cause negative side effects if used in excess. Some of these side effects include nervousness, nausea, increased blood pressure and more. Also, remember that sleeping well is key to doing well on any diet and caffeine also causes insomnia for many people. Avoid caffeine in the late afternoon and evenings.
Low-Calorie Foods: These are your best friends while on this diet. Copy down these foods and add them to your grocery list because they are the building blocks of your weight loss diet. This list of foods is one of the most important things you have to know when learning how to lose 20 pounds in 2 weeks. Why? Some people have even ventured to call some of these foods “negative calorie foods”, claiming that the energy you use to chew and digest these foods cancels out any calories gained. While this may be a bit of an exaggeration, there are certainly foods that have fewer calories than others. Here are some great low-calorie options:
Celery (10 calories in 1 large stalk)
Blueberries (40 calories in 50 berries)
Bok Choy (10 calories in ½ cup)
Carrot (30 calories in 1 large carrot)
Cucumber (20 calories in ½ a cucumber)
Egg whites (20 calories in 1 large egg white)
Spinach (14 calories in 2 cups)
Tomato (25 calories in 1 medium tomato)
Watermelon (50 calories in 1 cup)
Romain lettuce (18 calories in 2 cups)
With these fresh fruits and vegetables on hand, you’ll stay full without breaking your diet.
Portion Sizes: You’ll have to adjust your portion size to meet your caloric goals. Many people find it helpful to use a smaller plate so that you aren’t tempted to fill up a larger one. After all, even if you eat healthy, low-calorie foods, if you overdo it, they won’t be so low calorie anymore. Remember, quantities matter.
Cook for Yourself: When you’re counting calories, it’s best if you cook for yourself. That way you can control how the foods are prepared and how much you make as well. Eating out is almost always a bad move when you’re on a diet. Much of the food prepared in restaurants is high in sugars and fats that you’ll want to avoid while on your diet.
Eat Proteins and Fats, Not Sugar: Contrary to what many people believe, fats may not be as evil as they are sometimes portrayed. Recent evidence is pointing towards the fact that sugar, not fats, may be largely responsible for obesity, being overweight and disease. Scientists are still discovering exactly how it functions, but many believe that eating too much sugar can alter your metabolic state, causing you to become even more hungry and crave more sugars rather than making you feel full. While normally, insulin works to regulate the amount of blood sugar in your body, when you eat too much sugar and carbohydrates it means insulin becomes less efficient. As a result, more fat is stored in the body. (4)
On the contrary, fats and proteins help us feel fuller, longer. Because proteins and fats take a longer time to digest, sugar levels don’t spike as high after a meal, and you don’t experience the sugar crash either. Addiction to sugar or sugar and starch cravings indicate that you are probably including too many sugary foods and simple carbohydrates in your diet. Try to lean more towards sources of healthy fats and proteins and eliminate sugars and refined carbohydrates like white bread, rice, pasta and crackers. If you really like carbohydrates, choose whole wheat options. What are some healthy sources of fats? Avocados, nuts, olive oil and dairy are all good options. Fish are also a great source of fatty acids and proteins.
Making an Exercise Plan
The more you move, the more calories you burn, so include some exercise in your plan for losing 20 pounds in 2 weeks! Since you’ll be restricting your diet substantially, you don’t want to go overboard on your exercise as it could result in extreme fatigue or injury. Choose an activity based on your abilities that will provide the exercise you need without creating a risk. That being said, the more vigorously you exercise, the more calories you’ll burn.
How many calories will you burn while exercising? It depends on your weight and the activity. A heavier person burns more calories while exercising than a lighter person. Why? Because a heavier person has more weight to move, meaning their body has to work harder and burn more calories doing the same activity as a lighter person. Here are some of the basics of what you can expect to burn doing some typical exercises for 30 minutes:
Bicycling on a stationary bike at a moderate pace: 260 calories
Walking at about 4 miles per hour: 167 calories
Swimming: 223 calories
Bicycling: 298 calories
Running/jogging at about 6.7 mph: 409 calories
Gardening: 167 calories (5)
As you can see, you can make a lot of progress in just half an hour. If you can continue on for an hour, you’ll burn upwards of 500 calories a day. Make a reasonable goal for yourself and work to achieve it. Remember, stop if you feel light-headed or faint. By listening to your body, you can reach your full exercise and dieting potential without causing yourself injury.
Additional Tools for Fast Weight Loss
Who doesn’t need a helping hand to make weight loss work? When you’re making your own personal plan for how to lose 20 pounds in two weeks, you’ll definitely want to incorporate one or more of the following weight loss weapons into your scheme:
Supplements – There are many weight loss supplements on the market that can help you reach your weight loss goals. Some, like garcinia cambogia, can help you maintain a feeling of fullness even when you’re severely restricting your calories. Others, like forskolin, may work to help give your body’s metabolism a boost. Choose a supplement you think will work for you and watch the pounds melt off as you complete your 2 week diet.
Diet Plans – In addition to the advice provided in the above diet section, you can also try some more structured diets to help you lose weight. For some people, a more structured approach detailing exactly what you can eat is helpful. The military diet is a popular diet known for its effectiveness in weight loss. However, there are many other plans to try as well such as the boiled egg diet, HCG diet drops and the GOLO diet.
Your Full-Proof Plan for Losing 20 Pounds in 2 Weeks
First, carefully plan the two weeks you’ll plan to lose the weight. You’ll want to make sure you don’t have any big events or special dates during the two weeks. Why? Let’s face it, people usually celebrate with food. This can make sticking with your diet extra challenging. So, try to find two weeks where you can cook for yourself or pack a lunch the whole time.
Then, decide on a plan for your diet and make meal plans ahead of time. That means a plan for each breakfast, snack, lunch and dinner. Check calories too, to make sure each day is balanced. For example, for one day, you might plan:
Breakfast: 2 scrambled egg whites with 1 cup of stir fried spinach cooked with 1 teaspoon of olive oil. To drink, black coffee with no sugar. (total of 87 calories)
Snack: 2 celery stalks and ½ a carrot in sticks with 1 tablespoon of low-fat whipped cream cheese (35 calories total in vegetables, 70 calories entire snack)
Lunch: 2 cups of Romain lettuce, ½ a cucumber and a tomato prepared in a salad with 4 oz of boiled chicken breast and ½ cup of cooked brown rice. Use a wedge of lemon to flavor the salad and chicken. Salt can be used as you please. Have water to drink. (252 calories total)
Snack: 1 fresh peach (37 calories)
Dinner: ½ cup canned black beans, 3 corn tortillas, 1 diced tomato and ¼ cup smashed avocado. Roll up your tortillas into burritos or eat them on the side. Use salt as you wish. Have water to drink. (376 calories total)
For the day, that would give you a total of 822 calories, which is a great start! If you cut the snacks, you’ll be eating about 700 calories for the day. Remember to drink plenty of water throughout the day, and tea and coffee in moderation as long as you’re not drinking it with sugar. If you can dedicate yourself to planning out each day like this, you’ll thank yourself in the long run. When you have a plan in place, you’re less likely to give in to a craving or go off and eat something you shouldn’t.
With your meal plan in place, then make a grocery list that will cover the first few days to a week of your diet. This will help you buy only the things on your list and avoid having other tempting foods at home.
Once you’ve planned out your food, plan how you’ll get your exercise in. It’s especially important to schedule in the time you’ll use to exercise in your busy schedule. Work on your motivation to exercise by going with a friend or promising to reward yourself with a hot bubble bath when you’re done.
Finally, go through the list of weight loss tools and boosters. Consider adding one of these weight loss enhancers to your diet because they really do work! Many of the mentioned supplements and natural aids for weight loss have been scientifically proven to be effective in helping people achieve weight loss. So, if you’re one of those people who have tried and failed to lose weight over and over again, be sure you add something extra this time.
Then, get started with your diet! Make sure you weigh yourself at the same time each day to track your progress. This will really motivate you to stick to it as you watch the pounds start to drop.
Once you’ve put it all together, you can use this handy chart to see if you’re on target for cutting out those 3500 calories daily that you’ll need to lose to shed 20 pounds in 2 weeks:
|Calories Burned/Lost||Calories Consumed|
|Average Daily Calorie Intake Before Dieting||Average Daily Calories Burned through Exercise While Dieting||Average Daily Calorie Intake While Dieting|
So let’s take a look at how the example works. If you had been eating an average of say, 3000 calories a day before starting your diet and you drop back to about 500 calories per day, then every day you’re cutting out 2500 calories. If you also exercise for about an hour each day, that means you’ll lose an additional 500 calories per day, bringing you to a total of about 3000 calories lost. Finally, with the help of a supplement or other weight loss aid, you’ll shave off that final 500 calories.
Start out making your chart and checking your progress. If you’re not seeing the result you’d like, then consider increasing your exercise based on the calories you can lose per half hour of exercise provided above. Remember, even just an hour of moderate activity can burn nearly 500 calories, so you don’t have to do something super strenuous.
How to Lose 20 Pounds in 2 Weeks in A Nutshell
The bottom line on losing 20 pounds in 2 weeks? You have to do 3 main things: restrict calories by changing your diet, exercise and use a helpful weight loss aid. Although it may seem like a daunting task, with hard work and determination it is possible. Plan carefully and prepare yourself mentally, and before you know it you’ll be ready for bathing suit season or that special event you’ve been preparing for.
What about after the diet? After you’ve done all that work to lose 20 pounds, the last thing you want is for it to come right back on again. That means that even after your 2 weeks of dieting and exercise, your job isn’t done. Try to lead a healthy lifestyle afterwards by following a not so extreme, but still low-calorie diet. It’s also wise to continue with your exercise plan so that you don’t lose the momentum you’ve already gained. With minor modifications to your lifestyle, you can keep the weight off and enjoy the great new figure you’re now sporting.
Have you had great success with weight loss? We’d love to hear about your weight loss story. Tell us all about what worked, what didn’t work and all about your weight loss journey in the comments section below.