Kristina went to the doctor and saw 250 pounds on the scale. That, along with a friend's unexpected death, quitting her job, and getting accepted to her dream graduate school program across the country, inspired her to make a big change - so she did! Her weight-loss journey began in March 2014.
She found out about the ketogenic diet, which is basically a low-carb, high-fat diet, on Reddit. After doing a few hours of research, she made the switch. Starting in at around 250 pounds, she's lost 102 pounds so far! Kristina told POPSUGAR, "I first hit 100 pounds down on my 25th birthday (Nov. 4, 2016), and have bounced around a bit since then." She adds that a few stumbles are bound to happen on any weight-loss journey, "but I'm back at it and super close to a new low weight."
When following the ketogenic diet, Kristina's food intake is very low-carb (20 grams of net carbs per day), moderate in protein, and high in fat. She says, "I've counted calories from the beginning as well, because I do best with knowing the caloric value of my foods. Not everyone on keto tracks all their food, but it works for me. Right now I'm trying out new macros and going for high-protein, moderate-fat - I want to build muscles! But it's still very low-carb."
Kristina currently practices intermittent fasting, so she eats all her food between 6 a.m. and 12 p.m. every day. She says, "It fits well with my work schedule and I prefer fewer, bigger meals to feel full." In the morning, she drinks an enormous coffee with MCT (medium chain triglycerides) oil, almond milk, half-and-half, and stevia. She eats eggs and bacon, then a huge salad with protein and a fatty dressing for lunch. "And then I'm done for the day! I drink at least a gallon of water a day, but don't snack. I've tried to cut out snacks since the beginning, because I much prefer having a full meal."
You may be surprised to hear that Kristina says, "I started off doing zero exercise, just focusing on my diet. I knew that if I changed too much, too fast, I'd burn out and quit. So for the first year on keto, I did essentially no exercise. I walked to school and took occasional yoga classes on campus, but nothing serious. I first joined a gym a year ago (in 2016, more than two years into keto) to get serious about exercise. I started off doing a lot of cardio, but now I'm focusing on weights. I work out five times a week, alternating days of heavy lifting (I do the StrongLifts 5x5 program) with days of moderate cardio."
Aside from losing over 100 pounds, Kristina is really excited about some nonscale victories, like being able to cross her legs. She also shares, "Fitting easily in an airplane seat with no anxiety was also amazing. Oh, and shopping is a LOT more fun now! I've finally gotten back into single-digit jean sizes for the first time since probably fifth grade - I've been fat for a long, long time."
A huge motivator on her journey has been Instagram. Kristina says, "When I first started my weight-loss journey, it was easy to stay motivated because the weight was just falling off me - I lost 70 pounds in the first year - but things slowed down and got harder after that. When I reached 90 pounds down, I knew I needed something to help me get to 100 lost." So she created an Instagram for motivation - ellipticalfragilistic. Kristina says, "I love seeing other people killing it at the gym, or making good food choices, or sharing transformation pictures. So I figured I should too!"
She says a huge key to her success was "making it a habit. Eating low-carb just became . . . what I did. A habit. Same with going to the gym five times a week. It was hard to adjust at first, and there were lots of days that I just wanted to go home and be lazy, but I pushed myself to make it a habit. Now it feels weird NOT to go to the gym! I love the saying that's something like, 'People say motivation doesn't last. Well, neither does bathing. That's why we recommend it daily.' You have to make the choice to commit to it every day."