Looking to learn how to lose 20 lbs by the summer? You've come to the right place. If, however, you are thinking that losing 20lbs by the summer isn't going to take effort on your part, you're sadly mistaken.
That's the bad news.
The good news is that the amount of effort it takes, depending on your current lifestyle, might not actually be that much. And the more weight you have to lose, the easier losing 20lbs will be. It is, after all, a well-known truth that losing that last bit of weight is always the most difficult.
Because your body doesn't want to lose it. This last smidge of weight is weight you may want to ditch for aesthetic reasons, but your body is perfectly happy to hold on to because it is healthy.
We want to repeat that: carrying what you perceive as an extra few pounds may not be extra at all. Fat can be healthy! Your body actually NEEDS fat and is perfectly healthy carrying around some.
You can read more about losing the last 10 pounds (and the critical concept of set-point for weight) here: Why the Last 10 lbs is Hard to Lose and What to Do About It.
Let's keep focused. So how do you lose 20 lbs by summer?
As mentioned, the more weight you have to lose the easier it will be to lose 20lbs. Your body won't be holding on to it, since it won't deem it as necessary.
Regardless of your current weight, however, there are a few simple strategies you can use to drop pounds in a safe and healthy manner in just a couple of months: but you've gotta start now.
How to Lose 20lbs By the Summer
1. MOVE More
It doesn't matter if you already exercise three times a week. If you want to lose more weight, you've gotta move more. Fat loss comes down to the energy you expend being more than the energy (food) you take in, right? Well, yes, but we also want to say that is an oversimplification. Weight loss is also about genetics and other lifestyle factors.
STILL, if you move more, you will burn more calories, period, and it will help your fat loss efforts. This said, moving more doesn't mean you have to work out more, especially if you're already working out a lot. It could just mean spending less time seated. Going for a 10-minute walk in the middle of the day. Doing some stretching on the floor while watching TV at night instead of sliding into full slug-mode on the couch.
And if you aren't exercising enough, start. If you're doing a cardio/resistance HIIT combo, 3 times a week is a solid frequency with which to begin.
If you're just doing cardio, add some weights in. You want to be hitting each muscle group twice a week.
If you're just doing weights, add cardio. Aim for 150 - 300 minutes per week (20-40 minutes per day). Again, if you're doing HIIT sessions that combine cardio and resistance, you could reach your weekly amount in three sessions. But in addition to that, you'd want to live actively too: going for walks, stretching—just, you know...moving.
Remember, we're here for you if you want to get started. Join us for a free trial of BR+.
2. Protein, First
Studies show that increasing protein intake to 30% of your calories can lower body weight by almost 11 pounds and reduce daily calorie intake by 441 calories.
Well, protein keeps you fuller, longer and can lower your levels of hormones that stimulate hunger. What's more, many studies have shown that people who have higher intakes of protein also have less belly fat.
Excellent sources of protein include yogurt, cottage cheese, peanut butter, eggs, lean cuts of meat, and tofu.
Vegan? Learn more: 3 Unsung Sources of Plant-Protein for Building Muscle. You can also score our Plant-Based Vegan Guide, on sale now! Recipes and tips for a leaner, greener body included.
3. Get Enough Sleep
You've heard this before, doubtlessly, but it bears repeating: if you want to lose weight, you've gotta be getting enough shut-eye. Sleep deprivation stimulates hunger while sleeping at least seven hours of sleep a night has been shown to increase the likelihood of losing more weight by 33%. That's no joke.
Sleep helps reset and balance your hormones, in this case, notably your hormones associated with appetite. Less sleep = more hunger. Simple as that.
4. Eat More Fibre
Following along with protein's fullness-inducing power, fibre can also help you lose weight. Fibre also stabilizes blood sugar and slows the emptying of your stomach. You can find fibre in nature's bounty of fresh fruit and vegetables.
One study showed that increasing your daily fibre intake by 14% without making any other changes to your diet resulted in a 10% decrease in calorie consumption and a loss of over four lbs over the course of a few months.
It may not seem like a lot, but it all adds up.
5. Try Intermittent Fasting
First off, we know that intermittent fasting isn't for everyone, but there are many people who benefit greatly from this practice. Intermittent fasting doesn't involve limiting your calories: you just limit the hours in which you eat. Most people fast for around 16 hours, for example from 6 pm to 10 am—though fasting for as little as 12 hours can also produce solid results.
Intermittent fasting has been shown to increase your body's level of human growth hormone (HGH), a hormone that increases fat loss and preserves lean musle mass.
Learn more about intermittent fasting here: Beginner’s Guide to Intermittent Fasting.
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6. Eat Fewer Refined Carbs
Carbs have a bad rap, but in moderation, they’re perfectly healthy. Refined carbs, are the other hand, our body can happily do without.
If you want to lose 20lbs by the summer, avoid or limit your intake of refined carbs. Refined carbs are carbohydrates that have had their nutrients stripped during processing. As such, they are low in nutrients but high in calories. What's more, they are absorbed super quickly into your bloodstream, which in turn causes your blood sugar levels to spike and you to feel hungry...even though you just ate.
Research has shown that people who eat a lot of refined carbs have higher body weights. So, instead of eating heavily processed bread, cereals and treats, enjoy steel cut oats, brown rice, quinoa, and other whole grains.
7. Drink Smart
Soda, alcohol, juices, and other sugary drinks can cause substantial weight gain. If you want to lose 20lbs by the summer, completely avoid or severely limit your intake of these beverages.
Instead, drink plenty of what. Studies have shown that overweight individuals who drank 500 ml of water before meals decreased calorie consumption by 13%. What's more, another study found that drinking 500 ml of water increases metabolism after roughly 30 minutes of drinking it by 30%.
How much water a day do you require?
Here’s a good way to calculate your minimum requirement: take your body weight in pounds, divide by two, and that is the amount of water in ounces you should consume. (For instance, 160 pounds/2 = 80 ounces.)
The Takeaway: How to Lose 20lbs by the Summer
Losing 20lbs in a matter of months isn’t going to happen overnight. However, if you start making these little changes now, but the time summer hits, you’ll have dropped some weight and, most importantly, gained some healthy habits that can serve you well all year long.
Lose 20lbs By Summer Playlist
Ready to lose 20lbs by the time the warm weather hits? Then start moving. This playlist features our best HIIT workouts to help you build lean muscle and lose fat, fast. It’s all at BR+, and if you’re not a member, you can sign up for an absolutely free trial today.