While you can lose 20 pounds (lbs) in a month, this is neither safe nor sustainable. Losing weight more steadily with the right diet and exercise can help you stay healthy and maintain your weight loss.

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Losing weight can be challenging regardless of whether you’re looking to lose 5 lbs or 20. Not only does it require diet and lifestyle changes, but it can also take some patience.

Fortunately, using a mix of proven strategies can simplify and expedite healthy weight loss at a steady rate.

If you’re hoping to lose weight, creating a caloric deficit is key. This can be done by either consuming less food, exercising more, or both.

That said, while it’s possible to lose 20 lbs in a month with a very low-calorie diet, this isn’t the most sustainable way to lose weight and should only be attempted in consultation with your doctor.

Losing weight safely typically involves losing 1-2 pounds per week. This would allow you to lose 20 pounds within about 5 months at 1 pound per week or 2 1/2 months at about 2 pounds per week. Once the weight is lost, you can often maintain your new weight with a continued combination of exercise and a balanced, nutritious diet.

While you still need to reduce some calories, it’s also important to look at what you eat. Eating more fruit, vegetables, lean proteins, and healthy fats, while eating fewer refined carbs can be very effective.

Here are the 10 best ways to quickly and safely drop 20 pounds.

For some, counting calories may be an effective way to start losing weight, especially when paired with other diet and lifestyle modifications. It can increase your awareness of what you’re putting on your plate, giving you the knowledge you need to help you make healthier choices.

You may find that using an app is helpful for both keeping track of calories and recording what you’re eating.

But, if you are predisposed to eating disorders, there may be a risk that counting calories can lead to worsening symptoms, though the research on this is mixed.

Learn how many calories you should reduce your intake for sustainable weight loss.


When paired with other diet and lifestyle changes, counting calories may help you make healthier choices to increase weight loss. However, if you have risk factors for or have had an eating disorder in the past, you should consider other methods of weight loss.

2. Drink more water

You may find that drinking water with meals can help you feel fuller, reducing your appetite and intake.

A 2019 meta-analysis found that replacing high-calorie beverages with water was more effective than simply increasing daily water intake or drinking lots of water before meals. However, the authors noted that the studies were low-quality, so more research is needed.

A more recent study published in 2021 found a positive association between increasing water intake and weight loss and maintenance in a population of Mediterranean older adults.


Drinking water in place of other beverages may help you with your weight loss goals. Studies indicate it may help you reduce weight, particularly if you replace high calorie drinks with water.

Including more protein-rich foods in your diet may help you lose weight safely and effectively.

According to a 2020 study, a high-protein diet can help with weight loss, at least for a period of 6-12 months.

This may work because protein alters your hormone levels and other metabolic processes so you can feel fuller for longer. It can also help increase the amount of energy you use, which can help contribute to weight loss.

That said the researchers note a lack of long-term studies on the effect of protein on weight loss.

Learn about healthy sources of protein.


Studies have shown that protein may promote feelings of fullness by reducing calorie intake, which can help contribute to weight loss.

The manufacturing process strips refined carbs of their fiber content, resulting in a final product with a higher glycemic index. Foods higher on the glycemic index rapidly increase your blood sugar levels. A crash tends to follow the spike, which can lead to increased hunger and consumption of more food.

A 2021 study found that combining a diet containing lower glycemic index foods with a high protein intake diet may be an effective way to lose weight.

However, according to a 2021 review of studies, researchers noted that very little evidence supports the conclusion that low-glycemic foods are superior to high-glycemic foods for weight loss.

Meanwhile, another 2021 study also suggests that a short-term protein-focused diet might work better than eating low-glycemic foods.

If you are interested in cutting out refined carbs, here are 13 easy ways to reduce your carbohydrate intake.


Refined carbs can increase hunger levels sooner than whole grains, which may contribute to weight gain.

Resistance training has several benefits. When it comes to weight loss, a 2021 study noted that it can help prevent the loss of lean muscle mass as you lose weight.

In a 2018 study, researchers found that resting metabolism increased slightly with resistance training and participants added the most lean muscle with resistance training and no dietary changes. However, the resistance training plus dietary changes group had the best weight loss results.

You may also want to check with a doctor before making changes to your exercise routine, especially if you have any health conditions. They may recommend modifications or a specific starting point.


Resistance training may help preserve lean muscle mass, increase resting metabolism slightly, and help you with your weight loss goals. You should consider talking with a doctor or personal trainer before starting a new routine.

There are two main types of fiber: soluble and insoluble. Both provide potential health benefits to you, and most foods that contain one also contain the other.

Insoluble fiber provides the bulk of your stool, but according to a 2016 study, soluble fiber plays a significant role in your metabolism and may help keep you feeling fuller for longer.

In a 2019 study, researchers found that consuming dietary fiber may help people with obesity better adhere to their eating plans. This helped to promote better weight loss in their test groups.

Learn about the best sources of fiber.


Fiber may help you feel full for longer, keep your gut bacteria healthy, and help you reach your weight loss goals.

While there’s no doubt that switching up your diet and exercise routine are the two important steps to losing pounds quickly and safely, the amount you sleep you get may also play a role.

In a 2022 trial, researchers looked at sleep’s effect on energy levels and weight loss. They concluded that improving sleep hygiene has a positive effect on preventing obesity and supporting weight loss.

Just as getting enough sleep can set you up for success, sleep deprivation may also cause weight gain over time.

Learn some tips to improve your sleep hygiene.


Getting enough sleep and improving your sleep quality may support weight loss. You can take several steps to improve your sleep hygiene by making the environment cool, limiting light sources, and reducing noise as much as possible.

Cardio, also known as aerobic exercise, is a form of physical activity that increases your heart rate and helps strengthen your heart and lungs.

What’s more, it increases the calories your body burns to aid fat and weight loss.

The CDC recommends people get at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise each week or at least 75 minutes of high intensity workouts.

Learn 14 types of cardio exercises to get you moving.


Cardio or aerobic exercise can improve your overall health and help you lose weight.

Eating slowly and practicing mindfulness can help increase weight loss and decrease excess food intake while also allowing you to savor your food. While the purpose of mindful eating is not to lose weight, this practice may result in weight loss.

Try minimizing distractions while eating, chewing your food more thoroughly, and drinking water with your meal to help yourself slow down and enjoy.

Learn more about mindful eating.


Taking the time to appreciate your meals and slowing down may help with weight loss and reaching your goals.

Though losing 20 pounds can seem like a challenge, you can do it safely by making changes to your eating pattern, exercise routine, and other eating practices. That said, losing 20 pounds in one month is unsafe and unsustainable.

Instead, try losing between 4 and 8 pounds this month, and matching it the next month. It may help to break this larger goal into smaller goals that can be accomplished safely, such as losing 1-2 pounds per week.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends adopting generally healthy eating patterns and engaging in regular physical activity and stress management.

While this may include eating varied and nutritious meals, it may also include adopting behavioral practices, such as only eating when you’re hungry, eating more slowly, and not skipping meals.

Before starting any new exercise routines, it is a good idea to speak with a doctor, especially if you have any health conditions. They can also help guide you on ways to start exercising safely.

With patience and determination, it’s possible to lose weight in a safe way to help you reach your weight loss goals in less time.