When it comes to keto, not every journey is a weight-loss journey. For Kristina Barishian, keto was about getting her health back on track. Without any weight lost, the way she felt before keto, and the way she feels after keto, are like “night and day.”
Barishian is a marathon runner who works as a CPA. In 2018, she started feeling extreme fatigue and figured she was just burnt out from work.
“I always thought I was healthy,” she said. “I ignored all the symptoms. It got so bad I could barely walk up a flight of stairs without being out of breath. I was taking two aspirin a day to get through my workouts. I was training for a marathon, but could barely complete my 15-mile training runs without having to stop and walk.”
On a work trip to Germany, Barishian experienced such intense swelling in her body that she couldn’t fit into her jeans or shoes. After she returned home, the concern of a friend (who is a nurse) sent her to the doctor for help.
Concerns that she had cancer proved to be a false alarm, but after five days in the hospital she was diagnosed with a fatty liver and anemia.
“I thought the doctors were mistaken. How could I have fatty liver?” said Barishian. “I don't eat fat or drink [alcohol]. I was also at a healthy body weight. My blood tests were out of whack. They told me I couldn’t run [in the] marathon in October. I was devastated but committed to getting better.”
She did as much research as she could and found keto. At first, she assumed it wouldn’t be right for her as a runner but after finding Dr. Berg’s videos on YouTube she decided to give it a try.
“I feared fat and that was the hardest for me to overcome. It was scary for me,” Barishian said. “I never had liver or sardines in my life. I faced my fears. I ate the fats. It was hard at first. I struggled. But then it became easier. I felt better. Much better. I realized my previous diet was causing me to be sick.”
Barishian has been on a keto diet since November 2018; in April 2019, she was able to run a 3:15 marathon — 15 minutes faster than the year prior. With the support of her husband and family, she maintained her weight but took control of her health.
“My body feels healthier, I don't have the sugar crashes, I am better at work as I have more mental clarity, [and] I am running faster,” she said. “Watching YouTubers helped a lot — they are very inspiring. When I first switched over, I was hungry all the time. I thought people were lying when they said they could go all day without eating. Now I can. I honestly felt so great that it was motivating. The better I felt, the more motivated I was to eat better.”
Favorite Way to Exercise: Marathons and lifting weights
Favorite Keto Recipe: Fathead Dough Pizza with Rao's tomato sauce and some type of meat [and/or] veggies