A Good Diet Plan to Lose 20 Lbs. in Two Months

Losing 20 pounds in two months means you’re shedding about 2 pounds a week. This rate of weight loss is often safe and helps keep lost weight off in the long run, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. However, losing 20 pounds in two months takes discipline, dedication and dietary changes, especially if you don't want the weight coming back. If you're already at or close to your ideal body weight, achieving a 20-pound loss in just two months may be both difficult and unhealthy.

Calorie Reduction 

To lose about 2 pounds a week, you must create a daily deficit of 1,000 calories. This means consuming 1,000 fewer calories than you’re burning each day. Diet is often the most-effective strategy for shedding pounds, but regular exercise is important as well. Women can safely drop down to 1,200 calories daily, while men can reduce their intake to 1,500 calories a day without the need for medical supervision, notes Harvard Health Publications.

Boosting Fullness

Fiber and protein both help increase fullness and decrease food intake, according to a study published in 2006 in the “Asia Pacific Journal of Clinical Nutrition.” Another study published in 2011 in the "European Journal of Clinical Nutrition" found that following a high-protein, high-fiber diet increased weight loss, total fat loss and abdominal fat loss, compared to a standard weight-loss diet. Therefore, choose plenty of high-fiber fruits, vegetables and whole grains -- and protein-rich lean meats, poultry, seafood, low-fat dairy foods, egg whites, legumes, soy products, nuts and seeds -- to help control your overall caloric intake and shed 20 pounds in two months.

Benefits of Pre-Meal Loading

Eating lower-calorie foods before your meal helps you consume less and makes it easier to drop 2 pounds a week for two months. Water doesn't have calories, but it does help fill you up. Other lower-calorie foods that boost fullness include vegetable salads and plain fat-free yogurt. A study published in 2013 in the “International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition” found that subjects who consumed a vegetable salad, yogurt and water 15 minutes before meals lost more body weight, had smaller waist circumferences and demonstrated better cholesterol and blood-pressure values, compared to subjects who did not pre-load before meals.

Recommended Food Intake

While counting calories is generally tedious, using meal plans to create menus is often less time-consuming. Women getting 1,200 calories daily need about 3 ounces of protein foods, 2.5 cups of dairy products, 4 teaspoons of oils, 4 ounces of grains, 1.5 cups of veggies and 1 cup of fruit, according to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010. Men who consume 1,500 calories a day should aim for 4.5 ounces of protein foods, 3 cups of dairy products, 4 teaspoons of oils, 5 ounces of grains, 2 cups of veggies and 1.5 cups of fruit.

Sample Menu

A sample weight-loss menu containing 1,200 calories includes 1 cup of whole-grain cereal with 1 cup of skim milk, 1/2 cup of blueberries and 3 egg whites for breakfast. A healthy morning snack is 1 cup of plain low-fat yogurt with 1/2 cup of apple slices. At lunchtime, try a medium-sized turkey burger on a whole-wheat bun, 1 slice of reduced-fat cheddar cheese, 2 cups of mixed greens, 1/2 cup of sliced cucumbers and 1 tablespoon of Italian salad dressing. A healthy afternoon snack includes 1 ounce of almonds with 1/2 cup of cherry tomatoes. For dinner, try 2 ounces of grilled chicken breast,1/2 cup of brown rice and 1/2 cup of steamed broccoli. To boost your menu to 1,500 calories, add a nighttime snack of one medium-sized banana with 2 tablespoon of peanut butter.