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Does Intermittent Fasting Help You Lose Weight?

How I Did Intermittent Fasting Only 5 Days a Week — and Still Lost Weight

When I tell people that intermittent fasting (IF) was the key to my weight loss, their jaws usually drop to the floor. They look at me in disbelief and ask how I could possibly get through the fasting lifestyle without bursting into tears on the daily. I will admit that, on the surface, it sounds absolutely miserable to refrain from eating for 16 consecutive hours every single day. But trust me — it's not miserable at all once you get in the groove of it, especially considering all the positive benefits that come from it.

"It's been over three months since I started IF, and it is so much more than a diet for me — it's a lifestyle that has proven to be as sustainable as it is effective."

Not only have I lost weight since I started IF, but my digestion has improved drastically, I have more energy, and my fitness levels have skyrocketed. But there's a part of my IF story that often goes overlooked — I only practice IF five days a week rather than every day. Yet I've still managed to reap all the rewards of the lifestyle. That's a testament to how effective this diet truly is.

Here's a before-and-after photo after doing IF for three months. My belly fat shrunk, my legs toned up, and I lost a lot of mass in my upper body.

"While most people follow IF every day of the week, I only practice it Monday through Friday."

Perhaps the best part of IF is that you can adjust the diet to suit whatever your lifestyle may be. While some people prefer to skip breakfast and only eat from the afternoon to the evening, I chose a different eating window entirely. Because I lift weights in the morning and need sustenance after my session is over, I choose to eat from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on my IF days. That means I don't eat dinner on those days, which is much easier than it sounds.

While most people follow IF every day of the week, I only practice it Monday through Friday. That's because I didn't want my social life to suffer from my dietary choices. One of my favorite things to do on the weekends is either have my friends over for a big dinner (I love to cook for people) or meet them out for a meal. I wouldn't be able to do any of that if I were trying to desperately follow my IF schedule.

The whole point of IF is to feel your very best, both physically and mentally, and I realized that I was able to accomplish all of that from doing it only five days a week. Furthermore, after my body got adjusted to my 16-hour fasting window, I started to adopt a much healthier relationship with food. Because you learn to sit comfortably with hunger and decipher which type of hunger is worth listening to, you become more in tune with what your body needs. So when Saturday or Sunday rolled around, I wasn't sitting around at night overeating just because I could (which is something the old me has done many times). I would only eat when I was truly hungry, no matter what time of day it was.

Additionally, although I ate pretty normally on the weekend, I was still in calorie deficit for the majority of the week, and that was enough for me to shed excess fat and reduce my belly fat. Now I get to enjoy a decadent dessert (or two) over the weekends without gaining weight from working hard all week to follow my IF routine. Finally, because I know I'm going to enjoy dinner on the weekends, I never feel deprived or sad about the fact that I stop eating at 4 p.m. on weekdays. I do it happily because it's helping me feel incredible all around.

It's been over three months since I started IF, and it is so much more than a diet for me — it's a lifestyle that has proven to be as sustainable as it is effective. So if you're considering trying IF for the first time, just know that if I can adjust it to fit my lifestyle and still see positive results, so can you!

Just because a diet is useful for weight loss doesn't mean you have to follow it every single day of your life. As long as you're seeing the results you want and you feel great, then you're doing it right.

Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Cera Hensley
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