Have you ever struggled to lose weight? Have you tried different diets and exercise programs? You were excited. You counted calories, headed off to the gym, but the weight came back just as quickly as you lost it. Maybe you decided that losing weight wasn’t worth giving up potato chips. Or you got frustrated and went back to your old ways. After all, you are only human. This is a pretty common experience.
Here’s the deal. If you want to lose some weight and have had trouble doing this for a long time, it’s time to make a change. Read on to find out how to lose 20 pounds in two weeks.
1.) Move On From Junk Food
Now. Junk food is delicious. Everyone loves a bowl of salty potato chips or a batch of freshly made chocolate chip cookies. But the problem is that it’s impossible to eat these foods in amounts that won’t cause you to gain weight.
It’s not your fault. Sugar, salt and fat are a tricky combination. You can’t eat one potato chip – you end up eating the whole bag. Eating 500-1000 calories worth of potato chips a few times a week isn’t going to help your weight loss efforts. This is stopping you from losing weight since, of course, you are consuming a lot of calories, but you are also a bit addicted to junk food.
Studies have found that sugar really is addictive and that your brain gets a release of “dopamine.” You also start to crave that sugary food and will feel like you are in withdrawal until you eat it once again. Your body processes chips as sugar since you are eating refined carbs that have a lot of starch.
If you want to lose 20 pounds in two weeks, then you need to stop eating junk food. Once you lose the weight that you need to lose and are at a comfortable place, then you can find a way to treat yourself without any guilt. But for right now, you don’t want to be eating these types of food.
In 2004, researchers at the University of Otago in New Zealand discovered that you gain weight when eating junk food since you tend to keep eating and eating and eating and you just don’t get full. That’s all thanks to the sugar content. This also means that you have to give up soda. According to The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, drinking soda leads to obesity and packing on the pounds.
2.) Track Your Macronutrients
There is a debate in the nutrition world about macronutrients. For better or worse, here is what people have to say:
- Some believe that you absolutely need to track them in order to lose weight and maintain weight
- This involves a certain level of calorie counting and portion control
- Others believe that “intuitive eating” is much healthier in the long run and that you should eat what you are craving and what makes you feel satisfied
- There is no right or wrong answer and it depends on your goals and needs
Here’s the deal: since you are interested in losing 20 pounds in two weeks, you will need to track your macros. This isn’t the time to eat whatever you want since you won’t be able to lose the weight.
What are macros? Macros or macronutrients are essentially protein, carbohydrates, and fat. These are the three main nutrients that you need to eat in large amounts since they help your body function and they ensure that you feel your best.
So how do you track your macros? You can use an online calculator to find out the best amount for you.
Here’s an example, according to our TDEE Calculator.
- You are a 35-year-old woman who weighs 150 pounds and is five feet tall
- You work out five times a week (or you will since you want to lose weight)
- If you want to maintain your current weight, you need to eat 1886 calories per day
- If you want to lose weight, you need to eat 1509 calories per day
Based on 1500 calories a day, here’s the breakdown of your macronutrients, based on what is called a “moderate” plan:
- 50 percent of your calories should come from carbs
- 25 percent of your calories should come from protein
- 25 percent of your calories should come from fat.
3.) Eat Good Carbs
A general recommendation is that half of your calories are coming from carbs, one quarter from protein, and one quarter from fat. Carbs are considered to be the most important macronutrient for your body and your energy needs. Without them, you won’t be able to concentrate, you will be exhausted, and you might even be in a really bad mood.
Are you wondering if you should go low-carb to lose weight? You don’t need to cut carbs. According to a study done by the National Institutes of Health, participants who added more carbs to their diet than fat found weight loss success.
Here’s the death. Some experts suggest eating your carbs in the form of legumes, produce and whole grains since you will be eating fiber. Fiber is an incredibly important nutrient. It helps you find satisfaction in what you are eating and makes sure that your digestion is working properly.
Here are some filling carbs to add to your diet:
- Sweet potatoes (180 calories and 41 grams of carbs in one cup)
- Apples (94 calories, 25 grams of carbs for one apple)
- Oatmeal (151 calories, 25 grams of carbs for one-quarter cup)
The best thing about eating healthy carbs is that you will feel full and no longer feel the need to eat junk food. That is how you will find weight loss success.
4.) Learn Portion Control
Tracking your macronutrients and portion control work are a smart way to lose 20 pounds in two weeks. Without portion control, you will eat more calories than you want to and need to. You might not actually know what true portions are, which is normal since restaurant meals are usually pretty large. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, portions have grown over the years.
According to studies, if you are given a large amount of food, that means that you will eat more. The best thing that you can do is keep an eye on your meals and make sure that you eat a snack so you don’t eat more calories at lunch or dinner than you actually need to.
While portion control might feel tricky at first, if you remember that your goal is to lose 20 pounds in two weeks, you will be motivated and inspired to keep going. Once you realize what a proper portion is, it will become easier and easier to build your meals.
There are some generally agreed upon portion sizes that might be helpful as you start this weight loss journey. You can exercise portion control in two ways: you can weigh and measure your food or you can use the “hand” test.
Here are some portions:
- 1 serving of pasta: 1 scoop of ice cream
- 1 apple: the size of a baseball
- 1 serving of cheese: the size of your thumb
- 1 serving of protein: the size of your palm
- 1 serving of potato: the size of a mouse for your computer.
5.) Eat The Right Food
You probably already know that there are foods that help you lose weight… and then there are foods that don’t.
Some foods are considered a great way to drop pounds. Here they are:
- According to a 2008 study published in the Journal of Obesity, you really can lose weight if you enjoy an egg for the first meal of your day
- The conclusion was, “The egg breakfast enhances weight loss, when combined with an energy-deficit diet, but does not induce weight loss in a free-living condition. The inclusion of eggs in a weight management program may offer a nutritious supplement to enhance weight loss.”
Soup, green vegetables and salmon
- Experts believe these to be very satisfying foods
Nuts for snacks (and almonds in particular)
- According to a study from 2003, eating almonds can lead to weight loss.
5.) Find A Workout That You Enjoy
Exercise is a requirement of a healthy lifestyle. Find a workout that you actually enjoy because then you will want to keep doing it. Whether you work out from home or go to a gym or attend a boutique fitness group class is up to you.
What kind of exercise should you do? Some experts believe that strength training just might be your best bet for weight loss since you want to shed fat.
Here’s the kicker: when you strength train, the workout does not technically stop when you finish a class or leave the gym or studio. According to a fitness expert and personal trainer quoted in Business Insider, that is the difference between cardio and strength training. He said, “But unlike cardio activity, strength training will continue to burn calories up to 72 hours after the exercise is over through a phenomenon called after-burn”.
However, that doesn’t necessarily mean that you should only focus on strength training for weight loss. The general recommendation seems to be that you combine both strength training and cardio. According to the American Council on Exercise, if you strength train before doing cardio, you will burn a higher amount of calories than if you didn’t.
People generally say that you should exercise three to five times per week since rest days are just as important. It seems like five times a week is a good idea if you want to lose 20 pounds in two weeks since that will be a balance between working out and resting.
6.) Find Healthier Alternatives
You can find healthier alternatives for your favorite foods or the foods that you typically eat. You might think that if you are craving a chocolate bar and it’s 4 p.m., you should just indulge your craving. If someone told you to eat a bowl of strawberries, you would say no because that wouldn’t make you want the chocolate any less.
While having cravings is completely normal and human, it is important to focus on your goal, which is weight loss in this case. The truth is that if you make some healthy swaps, this will soon become second nature to you and you won’t even want the junk food that you were originally craving. Or even if you do still want it, you know that it’s not the best choice and that you won’t feel good when you eat it, so that will become a treat instead of a regular occurrence.
Here are some smart swaps to ensure that you are eating enough nutrients and to stave off cravings:
- Carrot sticks, celery sticks, cucumber slices and red pepper strips instead of potato chips
- Greek yogurt instead of low-fat, sugary yogurt
- Blueberries or strawberries instead of chocolate
- Avocado or hummus instead of mayo
- Sweet potato instead of French fries
7.) Cut Out Alcohol
If your goal is to lose weight, then alcohol won’t be part of the picture. The Daily Mail reported that drinking wine means adding 2,000 calories to what you are eating each month. It turns out that a piece of cake and a glass of wine have the same amount of calories. If you love cocktails, the truth is that those contain a lot of sugar.
If you are used to enjoying a glass or two of wine at dinner every night of the week, this might sound like bad news. It might seem tough to stop that habit. But if you remember your goal and swap the wine for something else – for example, a glass of sparkling water with some mint and strawberries – you might just find that you love your new, healthy habit even more.
Drinking alcohol affects your body the way that eating junk food does. You don’t usually think about the amount of calories that you are putting into your body, whether you’re enjoying a glass of sangria while out for dinner with your friends or eating potato chips while watching television one evening. You’re too focused on how sweet and delicious everything tastes. But before you know it, you’ve eaten or drank an entire day’s worth of calories in 15 minutes.
So just be mindful and remember that alcohol can’t be a part of your weight loss plan.
8.) Cut Down On Stress
The final step when you want to lose 20 pounds in two weeks is to cut down on stress. It can be impossible to lose weight when you are experiencing a very stressful time in your life. Yes, stress is inevitable and there are some situations that you have to deal with and get through. But if you can do your best to stay stress-free, that will help your weight.
Cortisol is known as “the stress hormone” because, well, that’s exactly what it is. Cortisol is found in your adrenals and when it is too high, you end up with low blood sugar. You are more likely to want to end junk food when that happens and making healthier food choices becomes pretty much impossible.
There are a few different stress reduction ideas that you can put into practice, from talking out your emotions and maintaining healthy relationships and getting enough sleep.
Here are some diet recommendations for following a two-week weight loss plan.
- ½ cup of oats cooked with ¾ cup water, add a few handfuls of blueberries and 1 tbsp peanut butter and enjoy with 1 cup of milk or non-dairy milk
- Smoothie with 1 cup blueberries, 1 cup dairy or non-dairy milk, 1 tbsp nut butter and 1 scoop protein powder
- Two eggs, 1 piece of toast, ¼ cup of avocado
- 4 oz salmon/chicken/tuna with mixed greens, 1 tbsp olive oil, the veggies of your choice, ½ cup brown rice
- 1 and ½ cups meat or veggie chili
- Open-faced sandwich with canned salmon or tuna, 1 tbsp mayo or guacamole, lettuce and tomato, with raw veggies on the side
- 1 apple with ½ tbsp almond butter
- Raw veggies with hummus or guacamole
- A few spoonful of Greek yogurt with berries
- 4 oz salmon/chicken with broccoli and a small sweet potato
- 4 oz steak or hamburger with veggies and ½ cup brown rice
- 1 cup whole wheat or brown rice pasta with homemade meat sauce
If you want to lose 20 pounds in two weeks, you will find this 8 step approach helpful. It’s all about creating healthier habits and making some changes. While it will be hard at first, remember that everything is difficult in the beginning and that the end result will absolutely be worth it.