Losing 20 pounds in a month requires strict dieting and a vigorous exercise program. A person who wants to lose 20 pounds in a month is trying to lose weight at an unhealthy rate, according to the United States Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Rapid weight loss often leads to weight regain and can cause other health issues; however, some people might find such dramatic weight loss necessary if an impending event will require the weight loss.
In order to lose 20 pounds in a month, a person has to lose 5 pounds per week. This means the person needs to burn 17,500 more calories than they consume for the week since one pound of fat equals 3,500 calories. That breaks down to a calorie deficit of 2,500 calories per day.
Burning calories through exercise is necessary for this type of weight loss. When determining how much exercise is necessary, a person should add the number of calories consumed plus 2,500 calories for the deficit. The resulting answer is how many calories must be burned during the day. For example, a person who eats 2,000 calories per day would need to burn 4,500 calories each day.
The exercise a person does is up to that person. Even common cleaning activities can count toward calories burned, according to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute. Raking leaves for 30 minutes or shoveling snow for 15 minutes are moderate intensity household tasks that can aid in weight loss.
Helpguide.org reminds people to be aware of their emotional states and avoid using food as a tool to combat stress, loneliness and boredom. Meals should be modestly portioned throughout the day to keep metabolism on track and avoid overeating out of extreme hunger. People should avoid foods that cause insulin spikes and subsequent energy crashes such as refined flours and sugary desserts. It is also important to limit alcohol intake, get plenty of sleep and drink adequate amounts of water.
Helpguide.org recommends people find ways to fit several small spurts of activity into their daily lives as a way to work around busy schedules and time constraints. Achieving 30 minutes of exercise at least five days per week is preferred, and this can be achieved by combining strength training, aerobic activities and flexibility exercises such as yoga and Pilates. Many workouts can be completed at home and do not require a gym membership, making it easier to accommodate fitness goals into hectic lifestyles.