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Nutrition

How Long Does It REALLY Take To Lose 20 Pounds?

If you’re looking to lose weight, you’re probably already aware that weight loss isn’t an easy feat. And while crash diets, deprivation, and a “magic pill” all sound like quick solutions, they’re not effective or healthy. So, if you set yourself a goal of twenty pounds, what’s a realistic timeline here? How long does it take to lose 20 pounds? 

Is it realistic to lose twenty pounds in a month?

It’s entirely possible, but it’s not healthy. If you lose weight rapidly on a crash diet or caloric deprivation, you risk losing muscle mass with the weight, which would wreak havoc on your metabolism. Generally speaking, you should aim to lose one-two pounds each week. With that in mind, a weight loss of twenty pounds could take as little as ten weeks or up to ten months. It will just depend on your metabolism. Other lifestyle factors will also play a role, like how much sleep you get each night, your diet, exercise routine, and stress levels. Just remember that it usually takes most people longer than ten weeks to lose twenty pounds. Everyone moves at their own pace!

Does losing twenty pounds make a difference in appearance?

Your clothes may begin to feel looser, and most people will notice. It’s important to keep in mind that eating well and making good decisions for your health are the most important things you can do — weight loss is simply a bonus! 

Here are just a few ways your body may benefit from losing 5-10% of your body weight if you’re clinically overweight:

  • Increased energy and vitality
  • Decrease insulin resistance and reduce A1C numbers
  • Improvements in good cholesterol (HDL) by about 5 points, also lowering the risk of heart disease
  • Decrease hypertension, both systolic and diastolic, by 5mmHg — reducing the risk of stroke
  • Reduce inflammation in blood vessels, helping to reduce the risk of plaque and blood clots
  • Lower triglycerides significantly, around 40mg/dL.

Suddenly those loose-fitting jeans don’t seem so important, right? As you’re making healthier lifestyle changes and swapping out some food on your plate, keep these benefits in mind! 

Can you lose 20 pounds faster with intermittent fasting?

Wondering if intermittent fasting will help speed weight loss? The studies have been pretty positive.

5:2 Intermittent Fasting

Weight loss studies surrounding intermittent fasting have typically investigated the 5:2 diet or alternate-day fasting interventions lasting three to six months. The research revealed that it takes four to six months to lose 20 pounds with no change in diet. 

Most of these intermittent fasting studies surrounding the 5:2 diet protocol or minimal calorie fasting days report significant weight loss. These reports of weight loss on the 5:2 diet range from 3.2% weight loss in comparison to a control group over a 12-week period to 8% weight loss in an 8-week trial with overweight adults with asthma. 

16:8 Intermittent Fasting

An easier method of intermittent fasting for most women is the 16:8 schedule. This time-restricted fasting method involves consuming foods during an 8-hour window and then fasting for the remaining 16 hours each day. This method is popular because many believe it better supports the body’s circadian rhythm. 

With the 16:8 schedule, you can adjust your eating time to when you find you are most hungry. If breakfast is something you can take or leave, you may want to wait and have your first meal at noon. Your second meal might be only a snack around 4:00 and then dinner at 7:30. Or conversely, you might have breakfast at 9:00 and your last meal by 5:00.

The beauty of intermittent fasting is that just by limiting the hours you eat in a day, you should be satisfied with consuming less calories. Do consult a doctor before attempting intermittent fasting. It is not for everyone, especially those that are hypoglycemic. Assuming your doctor does give you the go ahead, gradually reduce the hours you consume your meals. 

If you are serious about losing 20 pounds, you might want to try the PLATE App by Prime Women. Watch the video on the Apple App or Android that describes the program. Dr. Kathryn Waldrep, an OB/GYN who collaborated with Prime Women on developing PLATE recommends a 16:8 intermittent fasting schedule. The new PLATE app allows you to gradually adjust your meal times with notifications, along with a meal planner, and recording substitutions allowed on the program. 

Losing 20 pounds is not easy, but very doable if you are committed. Keeping the weight off is much harder. However, if you lose the weight slowly (no more than 1 to 2 pounds a week), you are much less likely to gain the weight back. 

Good luck on your road to a healthier you!

This article is for informational purposes only, is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease, and is not a substitute for medical advice.

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