How Long Does It Take to Lose 20 Pounds on Keto?

Feb 22, 2023
Elina Balode
, nutritionist
What you’ll learn

    Do you find yourself googling, “How long does it take to lose 20 pounds?” then you’re not alone. Many people are turning to the keto diet and want to know how long it will take them to reach their weight loss goals.

    However, there is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question. Many factors, including your starting weight, activity level, and body composition, determine the rate of weight loss. However, other factors, such as sleep, stress, and even the bacteria in your gut, can also affect your weight loss results.

    This article will explain the ketogenic diet and how it can help you reach your goal of losing 20 pounds. It will take a closer look at factors that affect how long it takes to reach this goal, such as your calorie intake, activity level, and age. You’ll also learn how keto can help you achieve your weight loss goals and what defines safe weight loss.

    What is keto?

    Keto, short for ketogenic, is a low-carb, moderate-protein, high-fat diet. It’s designed to put your body into a state of ketosis, where, once in a calorie deficit, it starts burning fat instead of storing it. This means that dieters focus on reducing the number of net carbohydrates they eat and increasing the number of healthy fats in their diet while still receiving adequate protein.

    Illustration defining the keto diet

    Unlike other low-carb diets, which focus on protein, a keto plan centers on fats, which supply approximately 70% of the follower’s daily calories. However, keto is more than just a diet. It’s also a healthy lifestyle choice that focuses on eating whole, unprocessed foods to maintain health and wellness. Eating whole foods and choosing healthy processed options is vital for both mental and physical health and is key to successful weight loss.

    Many compare keto to other low-carb diets, such as the Atkins Diet. That’s because a keto diet focuses on incorporating healthy fats and protein to help you feel full for longer. Many people find that the keto diet is easier to follow than other diets because it encourages healthy eating habits they can maintain for life.

    Understanding safe weight loss

    If you’re starting a keto diet, it’s important to understand safe and effective weight loss. Without a clear plan and understanding of what constitutes healthy weight loss, it can be hard to stay on track. There are also serious health risks associated with rapid weight loss and crash diets.

    The Mayo Clinic defines healthy weight loss as 1–2 pounds per week. This means that to lose 1 to 2 pounds a week, you must burn approximately 500 to 1,000 calories more than you consume daily. But even this number varies by individual. Following a keto diet and making lifestyle changes can help you achieve this goal.

    It’s important to note there is no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to weight loss. What works for your friend may not work for you.

    Understanding safe weight loss.

    By following a healthy diet, engaging in regular physical activity, and having a plan, you can safely and steadily reach your weight loss goals. Additionally, losing weight healthily and gradually will help to lower the chances of gaining that weight back. Ultimately, the keto diet can help you meet your weight loss goals and, in doing so, may also improve your general health.

    Factors that affect how long it takes to lose 20 pounds

    For many people, losing 20 pounds is a daunting goal. And it can be challenging to determine how long it will take to meet this target, as there are several different factors that can affect your weight loss journey. Let’s look at each of these factors in depth.

    Calorie intake

    Calorie intake is one of the most fundamental factors that affect how long it takes to lose 20 pounds. Your body needs a certain amount of energy (calories) to function, and eating too few calories can be dangerous. A standard rule of thumb is to eat about 500–1,000 fewer calories than your body needs each day to create a calorie deficit and lose weight.

    Activity level

    Another factor that can influence how long it takes to lose 20 pounds is your activity level. Your body needs physical activity to burn calories, so getting regular exercise will help you reach your goal quicker. Aim for around 30 minutes of physical activity per day or several times per week, or find a different exercise routine you enjoy and stick with it. Interval and weight training are thought to be the most effective for weight loss.

    Add exercise for weight loss.


    Your age can also affect how long it takes you to lose body weight. As people get older, their metabolism tends to slow down, so results from weight loss efforts may take longer to appear. It’s still entirely possible to lose weight, but it may take more time and effort.

    Starting weight

    Your current weight can also affect how long it takes you to lose 20 pounds. People who are heavier tend to lose weight faster than someone with a lower BMI (Body Mass Index). As a result, you may need to adjust your diet and lifestyle to reach your goal faster.

    Body composition

    In addition to age and starting weight, your body composition can influence how long it takes you to lose 20 pounds. People with more muscle mass tend to lose weight faster than those with less muscle mass. This is because muscle is generally more metabolically active than fat. Therefore, it burns more calories at rest.


    Hormones can also affect your weight loss journey. Some hormones, such as the T3 and T4 thyroid hormones, can cause you to hold on to excess water or fat in the body. If your hormone levels are off balance due to stress, health issues, or an unhealthy diet, that can make weight loss more difficult.

    Stress levels

    High-stress levels can also prolong the time it takes to reach your weight loss goals. Stress hormones like cortisol can cause your body to store fat, and some people often find themselves overeating or snacking in response to stress. Cortisol-induced weight gain can also be caused by water retention. Engaging in activities that promote relaxation and self-care can help manage your stress levels.

    Lowering stress helps weight loss.


    Getting enough sleep is also crucial for weight loss. When you don’t get enough rest, hunger hormones and cravings can increase in their intensity, making it more challenging to stick to a healthy diet plan. Aim for around seven to nine hours of sleep each night to support your weight loss efforts.

    Genes and family history

    Your genes and family history can also affect your weight loss process. Some people may be more prone to carrying excess weight than others due to their genetic makeup. Each person’s body composition and even health conditions can be genetic as well and therefore impact how easy or difficult it is for them to lose weight. While you can’t change your genetics, you can use them as a guide to determine which weight loss strategies may work best for you.

    Metabolic rate

    Last but not least, your metabolic rate can influence how long it takes to lose 20 pounds. Your individual metabolic rate is the number of calories your body burns at rest, meaning people with faster metabolisms tend to lose weight faster than those with slower metabolisms. Eating healthy foods and following an exercise schedule can help boost your metabolism and, as a result, your weight loss efforts.

    These are just a few of the factors that can affect how long it takes to lose 20 pounds. With proper nutrition, regular physical activity, and consistent effort, you can safely and effectively reach your weight loss goals. Remember to be patient with your efforts, as it can take time to achieve results.

    How keto can help you achieve your weight loss goals

    If you want to lose weight or improve your health, finding a diet plan that works for you is the first step. Obesity is a growing issue in the United States — more than 2.8 million adults die each year from obesity-related health complications.

    Following a keto diet plan is an incredibly effective way for many people to lose weight and improve their overall health as a result. The ketogenic diet focuses on a low-carb, high-fat intake that helps your body burn fat instead of carbohydrates for fuel. When eating keto, you consume mostly fats, moderate proteins, and minimal carbs. This allows your body to enter into a state of ketosis, meaning it uses fat instead of carbs for energy.

    Keto diet for weight loss.

    One of the primary benefits of following a keto diet is its effectiveness in helping people lose weight. Since this diet is high in fats, moderate in proteins, and low in carbs, it can help reduce your appetite and hunger levels, which can lead to fewer calories consumed overall. Additionally, fat is a more efficient fuel source than carbs, meaning you will need less food to get the calories you need.

    In addition to aiding weight loss, the keto diet can help improve your overall health by reducing inflammation and balancing your hormones. It has been shown to reduce cholesterol, blood sugar, and triglycerides. Many people who follow the keto diet also experience increased mental clarity and energy levels.

    Meal prep on keto for success

    If you’re on a keto diet, meal prepping is important for success. Prepping meals ahead of time can help you stay organized and on track with your dietary goals. It also ensures that you have nutritious, low-carb options available throughout the week.

    The first step to meal prepping keto-friendly meals is to plan out your meals for the week. Decide which foods you’ll be eating each day, and create a grocery list of all the ingredients you need. Be sure to include plenty of healthy fats, proteins, and low-carb veggies in your meal plan. If you're new to keto, counting calories and macros can help you ensure that you’re getting the right balance of nutrients.

    Once you have your meals planned out and all the ingredients you need, it’s time to get cooking. Try to do as much prep work as possible in one day, which could include washing and cutting up veggies, boiling eggs, cooking a big batch of chicken or beef, and prepping low-carb sauces or dressings. You can also create grab-and-go snacks that you can eat throughout the week.

    Finally, package your meals in individual containers so that they’re easy to grab when you need them. If you’re short on time, you can also buy premade keto meals or snacks that are ready to eat. Stocking your fridge with these types of meals will help ensure that you always have something healthy and low-carb on hand, especially after a long day.

    Meal prep to help with keto.

    Some helpful meal planning and prepping tips for those on keto include the following:

    • Set aside at least one day per week to plan and prep meals
    • Cook in bulk whenever possible
    • Choose easy-to-assemble recipes that don’t require a lot of ingredients
    • Be creative with repurposing leftovers for new meals
    • Stock up on snacks that are low in carbs, such as nuts, seeds, and hard-boiled eggs

    Following a keto diet doesn’t have to be difficult. With meal prep, you can stay organized and on track with your weight loss goals. Knowing what meals to make ahead of time and having the right ingredients will help you stay motivated and, ultimately, reach your health and wellness goals.

    Start your keto journey today

    If you’re on a weight loss journey, the keto diet is an excellent way to achieve your goals. With meal planning and prepping, you can make sure that you’re always prepared with keto-friendly food options throughout the week. This will help you remain organized and motivated on your weight loss journey.

    Take the Certified Keto Diet quiz to begin meal planning today. Through this quiz, you can learn which keto recipes would work best for you and get tailored meal plans to simplify the process. The hardest part is getting started, so take the first step today by meal planning. With dedication and consistency, you can reach your goals and enjoy a healthier lifestyle.

    Let's see how Certified Keto Diet can help you!