To lose 20 pounds in a month, a person must burn 70,000 calories through diet and exercise, according to Dennis Thompson Jr. from Everyday Health. Medical professionals consider a healthy rate of weight loss to be between 1 and 2 pounds per week. Going to extreme lengths to burn fat at a faster rate can be detrimental to the body and may result in lean muscle loss.
Thompson recommends limiting fatty foods from the diet as a quick way to decrease calories as fat has a higher caloric density than protein and carbohydrates. People should also drink water as their main source of hydration and stay away from sugary beverages, such as sodas and juices. Men and women burn somewhere between 1,600 and 2,500 calories daily, depending on their level of activity, and men generally require a higher daily calorie allowance than women, notes Thompson. People can burn fat at the recommended healthy rate of between 1 and 2 pounds per week by finding a way to eliminate between 500 and 1,000 calories per day. This is achieved either by cutting back on food, increasing physical activity or a combination of both. Losing weight at a faster rate can signal that a person is either eating very little food or engaging in too much exercise. Both actions can have negative consequences on a person's health and are not likely to result in long-term 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. 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.
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.