Counterintuitive, but it worked.

By Health

This story originally appeared on Health.com by Blake Bakkila.

In September 2015, fitness influencer Briana Shaffer weighed 190 pounds-and she was ready to make a change. Now, this 24-year-old from Carlsbad, California is an amazing 70 pounds lighter.

Her secret? She attributes her weight loss to a workout regimen consisting of weight lifting and high-intensity interval training (HIIT). She also began eating five to six small meals per day, as opposed to the typical two to three larger ones most of us have. She shares her meal ideas and workouts on her YouTube channel and Instagram. (Related: What to Eat for Dinner if You're Trying to Lose Weight, According to a Nutritionist.)

As Shaffer discovered, eating smaller meals more often can help shed pounds, and it's proven to help dieters stay on track, Keri Gans, RDN, a nutritionist and author of The Small Change Diet, tells Health.

"For some individuals, consuming smaller, more frequent meals throughout the day is a successful weight loss method," Gans says. "If these meals are well-balanced, in other words, consist of protein, a healthy fat (i.e. avocado, olive oil, nuts) and a carbohydrate packed with fiber, they are more likely to stay satiated until their next meal. Also by wisely planning out these meals there is less opportunity for over-eating and giving into cravings."

More important than the number on the scale, however, is how Shaffer's fitness journey has helped her self-confidence.

Shaffer posts before-and-after photos regularly, and a recent one talked about her insecurities. "It's so hard not to compare yourself to women you see online or the women in movies," she wrote. "I so badly wanted to look just like them. Slowly, I realized I could be my own kind of beautiful." (Cue all the #LoveMyShape feels.)

It hasn't been a smooth ride the entire time either. After losing the first 40 pounds, Shaffer says she experienced a plateau. In her Instagram post, she said, "When I was 150, I felt good but still wasn't where I wanted to be. I think sometimes we get so wrapped up in where we want to be that we forget to take a moment to look at how far we've come." (Related: Scale Stuck? How to Get Over That Weight-Loss Plateau.)

Though she tried pills, "ridiculous teas," and other products geared toward losing weight, she said she saw real results after adjusting her mindset and began appreciating her own body.

"Some things that helped me were never going cold turkey," she says. "I've always allowed treats into my diet and have believed in living a healthy balanced lifestyle." (There's a reason all of the top diets advocate portion control.)

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