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Losing 20 pounds if you're overweight can help you gain confidence in your appearance as well as provide health benefits. You can expect a drop in blood pressure, reduced cholesterol levels and lower blood glucose, all of which lower your risk of chronic disease. According to the National Weight Control Registry, people who lose weight also report feeling more energetic and have overall better moods. Losing as little as 5 to 10 percent of your total body weight is enough to see benefits, so don't be discouraged if it takes a while to lose the full 20 pounds.
Determine your daily caloric needs with an online basal metabolic rate calculator, which will tell you how many calories you need to eat each day to maintain basic metabolic functions given your age, height, weight and level of activity. This is the number of calories you need to maintain your current weight.
Subtract 500 to 1,000 from the number calculated above. This is your target daily caloric intake, allowing you to drop a pound or 2 per week. Stick to this number to lose that 20 pounds in 2 1/2 to 5 months. However, don't eat fewer than 1,200 calories per day.
Instead of mindlessly filling up in front of the tube or computer, focus on your meals while you eat to prevent overeating and encourage satisfaction. Eat slowly, chewing well and savoring each bite.
In each meal, include a serving of vegetables as well as a healthy protein source such as nuts or beans. Choose fiber-rich foods, which require more energy to digest than other foods and thus boost your metabolism.
Get at least an hour of aerobic exercise, such as jogging or jumping rope, most days of the week to make those 20 pounds fly off quickly.
In addition to aerobic activity, do resistance exercises twice weekly. These include lifting weights, using resistance bands and performing body-weight exercises like pullups and situps.
Once you've lost the 20 pounds, continue to get at least 30 minutes of aerobic exercise at least five days per week. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, this is the minimum amount required to maintain weight.
Take up every opportunity to be active. Skip the elevator and take the stairs, walk the dog an extra block and park on the far end of the lot at the grocery store. Stand instead of sitting.
Catch up on sleep. When you don't get enough rest, your body burns fewer calories throughout the day. Because you are low on energy from insufficient sleep, your body also craves more calories. Aim for seven to eight hours a night.
Minimize stressors in your life. A study by Kaiser Permanente in 2011 found that subjects with the lowest stress levels who got the most adequate sleep were also most likely to have lost 10 pounds at the end of six months.
- Keep a food diary to create accountability for your choices.