If you would like to lose 20 pounds in 6 weeks, you are essentially embarking on an accelerated weight loss program.
You need to lose an average of 3.5 Ibs per week. You must, therefore, take precautions to ensure that your habits are sustainable. If not, you could ruin your metabolism or hormones in the long run.
Some of the steps deal with your mindset. Psychology makes the difference between knowing what you need to do and actually doing it. Others focus on exercise while the majority revolves around food.
In this study, it was shown that diet changes account for initial weight loss but exercise keeps it off. Be prepared to make changes and sacrifices involving what you eat since losing 3.5 pounds per week is no mean feat.
Steps to Help You Lose 20 Pounds in 6 Weeks
1. Understand the basics of weight loss
Weight loss happens when your body burns more calories than it takes in. You can burn more calories by being physically active. However, reducing your calorie intake is the most effective way to burn more calories.
To lose a pound, you need to burn 3,500 calories. To lose 12,250 calories per week, you have to burn 1,750 calories daily. Assuming that 350 calories are lost through low impact exercise, every day, you would need to eat 1,400 calories less than you did before attempting this program.
2. Track your calories
As shown above, weight loss is a numbers game. Since you are working towards a very specific number, it is essential for you to measure your outcomes.
If you feel overwhelmed by this, simply download a calorie-tracking app. It will first calculate what you typically ate when you gained weight then tell you exactly how much you need to eat daily to reduce 1,400 calories.
Every time you plan on eating something put it in the tracker and see how it fits into your daily calorie quota. Track your calories only for a few days to get a rough estimate of your daily caloric intake.
If you are a woman, you don’t consume less than 1,200 calories a day. Men mustn’t go below 1, 800 calories.
3. Plan your meals
You’ve got to be highly organized to lose 20 pounds in 6 weeks. You can’t be casual and random about it.
4. Focus on low-glycemic foods
One of the most difficult parts of any weight loss program is reducing the calories you eat. This usually means that you feel hungry and are constantly thinking about food.
The good news is that there are many low-calorie alternatives that can still fill you up. These foods also happen to manage blood sugar levels thus minimizing hunger pangs.
They include sweet potatoes, yams, peas, legumes, lentils, and corn. Oatmeal or oat bran, barley, and stone-ground whole wheat are also weight-loss friendly. Non-starchy vegetables and fruits also fall into this category. Make sure all your meals have these foods.
5. Motivate yourself
Sometimes people lose track because they get lost in the details. After you start your weight loss journey, it is important to keep reminding yourself why you are doing it in the first place.
This will give you that extra push to work out when feeling lazy. Or when you feel like eating something you shouldn’t, your motive will keep you from not indulging.
Some people want to lose 20 pounds in 6 weeks for a high school reunion. Others want to become healthier or reverse pre-diabetes. Choose a physical object that represents that goal then hang it somewhere visible. This will inspire you to keep going.
6. Don’t deprive yourself
The impulsive thing to do when you want to lose weight is to immediately cut off all the things you believe caused your weight loss. The problem with this mindset is that it is not sustainable.
If you try to do too much too soon, you will buckle and succumb to your urges. If you skip meals, you’d only increase your appetite to irrepressible levels. Chances are that you’ll binge when you finally have that meal.
Instead, ensure that you eat regular meals that are rich in quality nutrients. Also, occasionally (once a month) indulge in a cheat meal to tame those cravings.
7. Vegetables are your friend
In this study, it was shown that people who consumed more vegetables lost significant weight.
This works because vegetables add volume to your meals so that you can eat more food without necessarily consuming more calories.
Therefore, always eat large quantities of asparagus, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, carrots, kale, spinach, cabbages, cauliflower, radishes, and other vegetables in your meals.
8. Try high-intensity interval training (HIIT)
As the name suggests, HIIT involves highly intense training that is intermittent in nature. You do an intense exercise for short periods of time, rest and resume.
Research shows that this approach allows you to burn calories during and after the workout. I may also note that these workouts are ideal for busy people who can’t exercise for 1-hour every day.
If you want to do HIIT workout without wondering whether you’re doing it right or not, join this home workout sequence.
9. Proteins matter
Proteins can help you lose weight naturally because of their effect on your metabolism. In this study, it was shown the proteins minimize appetite and keep you full after eating.
Proteins also regulate hormones involved in weight loss like ghrelin. Include lean meats, eggs, and legumes in your diet.
10. Do resistance training
You need to do resistance training to build muscles. Muscles are critical in weight loss because they help your body work smart instead of working hard.
The more muscle you have, the more calories you’ll burn while resting. Incorporate strength training in your routine to accelerate weight loss.
These 28 fat-burning workouts are the perfect combination of strength training and HIIT.
11. Wave goodbye to these foods
The reason you gained weight in the first place was because you overindulged in high-calorie foods. To lose 20 pounds in 6 weeks you have to cut out the culprits.
Sugary drinks, white bread, pastries, fruit juices, pizza, ice creams, beer, etc. have to take a back seat in your culinary journey.
12. Track your steps
Walking consistently can help you lose 20 pounds in 6 weeks without making major changes in your diet.
Unfortunately, most people don’t track their steps, which is a deadly mistake. Tracking steps helps you know whether you’re making progress or not. It also helps you stay active all day.
Aim to walk an extra 300 steps every day for the next 6 weeks. Buy a pedometer or simply download an app that tracks steps.
The Bottom Line
If you want to lose 20 pounds in 6 weeks, you must focus on positive lifestyle habits that reduce or burn calories.
These are not one-off changes. If you achieve your goal and stop them, you’ll gain back all the 20 pounds. Therefore, think of these 12 steps as a blueprint for a healthier new lifestyle.
If you don’t want to embark on this journey alone, join this 28-day weight loss challenge where you’ll get accountability and support.