While it is possible to lose 20 pounds in one month, nutritionists and medical professionals advise losing weight at a rate of 1 to 2 pounds per week or 8 to 10 pounds per month. Many factors affect the rate of weight loss in an individual, including starting weight, calories consumed and physical activity.
Individuals must count calories to lose weight successfully. One pound of fat is equal to 3,500 calories. To lose 1 pound per week, a dieter needs to cut 500 calories from her daily intake through a combination of diet and exercise. By cutting calories and incorporating exercise into a daily routine, dieters can expect healthy weight loss results. Using a food journal or app, such as My Fitness Pal, to count calories helps individuals stick to their daily goals.
The American Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics recommends that women eat at least 1,200 calories per day and men eat at least 1,800 calories per day. Dropping calorie intake below these levels can be damaging to the body and detrimental to long-term weight loss success. Fad diets and pills that promise quick weight loss are often unhealthy and dangerous.
Daily meditation and the support of family and friends are other positive influences for dieting. It is best to consult a doctor before beginning any fitness plan to receive an appropriate diet and exercise regimen.