What does it ACTUALLY take to lose 20 pounds?


At the time of writing this it’s late March, which means the majority of people who made a health-related New Year’s Resolution have fallen off the wagon. One of our Core Values is honesty. As a coaching staff, we’ve taken a hard stance against the misinformation in the fitness industry. There is no “perfect workout”, supplement, ab routine, diet plan, or superfood that will unlock the secret to weight loss. I’ve opted for “losing 20 pounds” as our case study because it is the most often-cited exercise goal I’ve heard from people first starting an exercise routine. So, let’s examine what that will actually take. Honestly.

Simply put, you can lose 20 pounds in several months by eating fewer calories than you do now and exercising vigorously for three to five hours per week using resistance training, interval training, and cardio training. Simple enough, right? So why, then, does everyone who sets out to lose 20 pounds not succeed? Because the truth in weight loss – and pretty much anything you wish to achieve – is that the process is incredibly simple (eat less, move more), but undoubtedly difficult.

This is your litmus test – if your weight loss solution involves a complex “system” or “plan” with anything short of complete sacrifice and lifestyle modification on your part – it probably won’t work. Let’s examine what it actually takes to lose 20 pounds.

How can we help?

Before you continue, I’d like to throw out an offer: Come in, meet with a coach, and receive a complimentary Body Composition Scan. No pressure. No sales. We’re here to help you navigate the confusing, frustrating world of weight loss.

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Diet

Eating less seems simple enough. But, truth is, a healthy diet permeates more of your daily habits than you might think. Here are a few examples:

  • Buy, prepare, pack, and eat raw vegetables at every meal
  • Eat food that you prepared for each meal
  • Spend time every week doing meal preparation
  • Men – drink 5 or less alcoholic drinks per week. Women – 3 or less
  • Minimize or eliminate sweets – especially around the office or when you’ve had a “hard day”

Exercise

Move 3-5 hours a week. Simple enough. Why is it so rare that people actually stick to it? There are plenty of factors that contribute to non-exercise – schedule, not knowing what to do, difficulty forming a habit, losing interest, and budget. Here are some examples of what it actually will take to stick to an exercise routine:

  • Chances are, you’ll need to hire a coach or trainer. Most access (“globo-gym”) facilities are set up to where less than 5% of people paying a membership actually go. Read: You probably won’t either.
  • You’ll need to wake up early. Meaning, the first number on your alarm clock will probably be a 5.
  • You’ll need to pack a gym bag everyday. If you go home before the gym, you probably won’t make it to the gym.
  • Childcare – you’ll need to make arrangements.
  • Be proactive – block out your workout time in your schedule. Leaving it up to chance means it won’t happen.

Consistency

Underpinning every truth in weight loss is consistency. Using our 20 pound example, you can expect to lose this weight in five months. Four if you’re incredibly diligent. Two if you plan to gain 30 pounds back (read: crash diet and over-exercising). When was the last time you stuck to something for five months? Truth is, most folks can maintain for 3 weeks.

There will be sacrifice. You will need to plan. You will need to adjust pretty much every part of your day. Your likelihood of success goes up with someone in your corner. Find a trainer, a coach, friend, or significant other. Behavior change happens in the context of relationship. Losing weight is behavior change FIRST, diet and exercise second.

Here for you.

Did you know most people who lose 20 pounds end up gaining it back? Here’s a promise: we’ll never promote a fad diet or exercise plan that is unsustainable or unhealthy. Our goal is to help you feel your best for a lifetime.

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2 Replies to “What does it ACTUALLY take to lose 20 pounds?”

  1. I was searching for months online and watching videos, reading forums, but nothing seems to help me.
    I like to lose 30 pounds in a month but it seems impossible for me. Trying so hard but cant see results.

    I found some books online but they can’t help me. Like your post, i see results now.

    1. Thanks for reading, Monica! Your frustrations are understandable and very common. The issue is that weight loss that occurs that rapidly is typically not FAT loss. Losing 20 pounds in 20 days or 30 pounds in 30 days makes for a flashy headline, but the “weight” lost is largely muscle and water. At the end of the crash diet, your metabolism is slower than when you started which is why you’ll generally gain MORE weight after the “diet” is over. To understand the difference between WEIGHT loss and FAT loss, here’s a good resource: https://crossfitmemorialhill.com/ditch-the-scale-body-composition-testing-at-the-hill/

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