How to Lose 20 Pounds in Bite-sized Steps

Have you ever made a new year resolution to lose 20 pounds? But then, by march, you gave up on that goal because it just seemed too big, too complicated, or so far out of reach?

It’s not that you weren’t capable of reaching that goal, it might have been that you were just picturing the 20 pounds as one thought. Each week, you were doing all the things like exercising, you were drinking more water, you added in salads. But, the needle on the scale was just barely budging. All you wanted was to see that your hard work was working…you wanted to see faster progress, and when you didn’t, you felt like that 20 pound weight loss goal was soooo far away and impossible. 

We are so programmed today to want instant results. When we put in hard work and don’t see changes right away, we give up so easily. We focus more on what we CAN’T achieve, the negagatives, and how hard something is. And, all of that seems to outweigh the little wins, things like feeling just a little more comfortable in our clothes each week, and a little more energized, and we ate just a little bit less at dinner so we slept better this week.

But, if you use that whole 20 pounds as your long term goal like the prize at the end, the big reward, it can be the reminder of WHY you’re doing what you’re doing every day. The HOW is the 1 pound each week that you’ll be putting into action and it feels way more within reach than 20 pounds. Let me explain.

A healthy way to lose weight is 1-2 pounds a week. When you lose weight faster than that rate, your brain and body will pull out every excuse to get you back to where they felt comfortable…at a higher weight. A slow 1 pound a week weight loss allows your body and mind to get comfortable, feel safe, not stressed, and there won’t be a need to fight back. Weight loss, especially quickly, is stressful on your body and mind. And, when we are stressed, our elevated cortisol levels cause us to hold on to weight as a survival mechanism.

You want to lose weight at a rate that feels safe for your body, so it releases the weight comfortably.

So, when it comes to losing 20 pounds, or more or less, consider 1 pound a week as a safe and comfortable rate. Rather than thinking about 20 pounds every time you make a meal, or you’re stressing about a dinner party you’re invited to, or you’re heading away for the weekend…focus on the 1 pound that you’re going to lose THIS week.

The system I use with my clients and in my membership is called the G.R.E.A.T. system. Each letter stands for Goals, Review your plan, Eat on plan, Accountability, Try new things.

So, the first step is goal setting. Losing 20 pounds comfortably is going to take 20 weeks. Start by setting your GOAL. That’s the first step of the GREAT method. It’s 20 pounds in 20 weeks. Maybe it’s 50 pounds in 50 weeks. What is that end date? Write it down. 

R stands for “review your plan”. Every week, make a loose plan that includes events, meetings, workouts, kid things….just to give you a big picture of what you’re going to do to lose 1 pound, 

E stands for “eat on plan”. You planned in your meals to support your 1 pound a week weight loss, so that’s what you’re eating. Check it each morning to see what you have in store, and make it happen. 20 pounds is the biig picture, 1 pound this week is how you’re going to get there. How are you going to make that happen this week? 

Maybe it ‘s eating ¾ of your usual portion sizes

Maybe it’s focusing on 25g of fibre and 2 litres of water each day this week

Maybe it’s not skipping meals but it IS skipping snacks this week

Maybe it’s cooking and meal prepping and packing your lunches instead of eating out this week

A stands for “accountability”. How are you going to measure your progress? Don’t hop on the scale every day. You do need to measure your progress, but obsessing over the number can feel unhealthy. Use other ways to guage, like the way you’re digesting your food, the way you feel in your clothes, the pride you’re feeling from making the best choices possible for yourself. If you have a friend who is also on the same journey, send eachother your weekly plan and check in. If you’re a numbers person, set a step or calories burned goal on your fitbit or apple watch, and keep yourself accountable every day. I like to make a daily checklist with all the non-negotiables I need to include to make either losing 1 pound this week happen, or maintaining my weight and health.

Lastly, T stands for “try new things”. If you want to lose 1 pound a week, you have to try new things for a few reasons:

You need to know what is working and what is not

You need to stay excited and love what you’re doing so you don’t get bored

You need to make sure you’re rotating your ingredients so you don’t miss out on the important vitamins and minerals that your body needs in order to lose weight

So, to recap, your big picture goal is always there, like the sun shining down over you. That’s the grand prize at the end…the 20 pounds, the 30 pounds, 40…whatever the number that is going to be a healthy version of you physically….emotionally, spiritually and mentally are a must and you should be working on those as you go IF you want to keep the weight off.

Set an end date for the big picture goal. Then know you’ll be focusing on losing 1 pound a week.

Plan for it, plan around it, make a checklist, set reminders, and know exactly what you are going to do to lose 1 pound this week. That’s all you need to focus on right now. You’re simplifying weight loss for yourself. It will feel less overwhelming, smaller, and bite-sized.

If you’re up for the 1 pound a week challenge, send me a DM on insta to let me know! Gathering support and community will help you stay excited, motivated, and focused to make great things happen for yourself.

Listen to this blog post on the FORK THIS podcast


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