How to Lose 20 Pounds in Two Months by Walking

Although losing 20 pounds in two months is an ambitious goal, especially if you're new to exercising, it's possible with the right balance of diet and drive. A typical healthy weight loss goal is 1 to 2 pounds per week, so you need to both flexible and realistic about achieving your 20-pound loss in just two months. Weight loss and healthy living require a lifestyle and mindset change that not only sets your weight goals, but also determines the healthiest way to reach them, which includes a smart diet and exercise regimen. If walking is your preferred form of exercise, be prepared to move fast and get your heart rate up to help drop the pounds.

Goal Setting

Create a plan and set specific goals to help you move toward losing those 20 pounds. Decide what time of day you plan to walk and stick to it every day. Walking in the morning helps kick-start your metabolism for the day, but you can follow up with an evening walk as well for additional calorie burning. Mark a day on your calendar each week to weigh yourself, such as first thing Monday morning, with a goal of at least 2 pounds lost per week. Weighing once a week gives a more accurate picture of your weight loss, but if you just can't wait a week to check your progress, remember that weight can fluctuate daily.

Don't get discouraged if the scale doesn't reflect the weight loss you're expecting. Keep track of your weight, distance walked and the time it took to walk on your calendar; a healthy lifestyle isn't just weight-related -- it's more about how fit you are. Seeing how much you progress in your walking distance and speed motivates you to continue with your lifestyle changes. Set the goal for your first week as 30 minutes of walking per day, then increase that by 10 minutes a day each week. So for the second week, walk 40 minutes a day. The third week, walk 50 minutes a day. Track your calorie intake to help ensure your diet reflects your new lifestyle.

Walking Basics

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Monitor the amount of exercise you get while walking. Track your distance, the number of steps you take, the calories you burn or the duration of your walk. The President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports recommends you walk at least 10,000 steps per day, but that doesn't have to be all at once. An average person takes about 2,000 steps in a mile, and you should try to walk a mile in about 15 minutes. Walk fast enough so that your heart and breathing rates increase, but not so fast that you can't hold a conversation with someone. A pedometer with a calorie counter can help you count your steps and determine how many calories you burn; if you walk on grass instead of pavement or if you choose a hilly route, you can burn more calories.

Always wear comfortable, supportive athletic shoes to help you walk safely and reduce the chance of leg or ankle injuries. Stretch your legs and arms after each walk. Drink plenty of water before and after your workout, and take a bottle of water with you to hydrate you as you walk. In hot summer days, plan your walk in a mall -- many of which offer special morning hours for walkers and a mapped route -- or visit a local school or health facility with an indoor track.


If you add exercise to your lifestyle but don't change bad eating habits, you're unlikely to lose 20 pounds in two months. Lowering your calorie intake is imperative to losing weight. Walking doesn't burn as many calories as some other cardio activities, such as running, so you must monitor your diet carefully. You must burn 3,500 calories more than you take in to lose 1 pound. If you reduce your daily caloric intake by 500 calories per day, you can lose up to a pound each week. Walking briskly for a half-hour burns about 150 calories, which leads to another 1/3 pound shaved off each week. Although that doesn't mean you'll reach your 20 pounds in two months, you may be able to cut more calories or walk farther with more intensity, such as a route with more hills, to raise the amount of weight loss each week. The American College of Sports Medicine recommends that women consume at least 1,200 calories per day and men take in at least 1,800, so keep your calories at a safe level when adjusting your diet. Make your calories count when reducing them; don't eat 500 empty calories of potato chips. Instead, reach for nutrient-rich foods such as low-fat dairy foods, lean meat and fresh fruits and vegetables.

Strength Training

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A balanced approach is crucial to your weight-loss success not just in the next two months, but over your lifetime. In addition to a smart diet and brisk walking as your cardio workout, add some basic strength training to build your muscle tone and maintain your bone density. Muscles help you burn calories more efficiently, increasing the effectiveness of your walking routine. The goal is not to turn into a body builder, but to strengthen your muscles. Plan strength workouts for your upper and lower body. Use lighter weights and more repetitions to build strength without building bulk. Ideas for lower-body workouts include squats with or without weights, calf raises and leg curls. For your upper body, try bicep curls, military shoulder press (with your arms extending over your head) and triceps kickbacks. Pushups build your arms and chest, and squats work your legs, hips and bottom using just your body weight.