By Jami B., a Virta patient
My story starts at Christmas, 2010. My baby girl was ten months old, and I had gained a lot of weight while I was pregnant; I weighed 225 pounds after her birth. At our work Christmas party, someone took a picture of my husband and me. When I saw that picture, I wanted to cry and hide, but the biggest thing I wanted to do was eat. That’s what I always did when I was stressed—I ate.
In the next few weeks, I began training for the Couch to 5k, a weight loss challenge. It was our town’s equivalent to The Biggest Loser. I started to change my diet and I began to see results. I became obsessed with working out, running, and eating healthy. I started working out three times a day, three to five days a week.
I lost 80 pounds in a year and a half. But I had completely burnt myself out on running, working out, and eating less than I wanted. So I gave up. I would put a few pounds on, and I would say to myself, “It’s okay, you can lose the weight again.” But I kept putting on more and more weight. When I got back up to 200 pounds, I wanted to cry. I refused to weigh myself again; I refused to face what I was doing to myself.
In 2016, I was diagnosed with prediabetes. I felt frustrated, but not surprised. My dad has diabetes, and I seem to follow him on health issues. I was depressed about it. I did not want to take medication for diabetes. I would see my doctor every three months. She would say, “Jami, are you ready to be on insulin? Your A1c is high at 5.9, let’s recheck it in 3 months and see.” It wouldn’t go down. I was struggling; I didn’t want to become a diabetic. I had seen what it had done to my dad. He had to take insulin 3-4 times a day. His eyesight had gotten worse, and he had stomach problems. His sugar levels were on a rollercoaster, causing kidney damage and heart problems. I do not want these issues nor do I want diabetes.
I was also unhappy at my job. I worked close to home, near to my daughter’s school, but I was miserable. I had one of the worst bosses that I had ever had. I had shown up every day, did my job, rarely called in sick, and rarely took a day off. I was tired. I finally had enough and left. I found a new position working for the Chickasaw Nation.
At my new job, I started to work out again. I started running a little, but my diet was still off. I kept saying to myself: “No one is looking; no one will ever know what you ate today, Jami.”
One day at work, we got an email from the human resources department at The Chickasaw Nation telling us about the Virta treatment. I got excited. I read all about Virta, and while the nutrition science made sense, I was still skeptical.
I applied right away and began the Virta treatment in March 2018.
After being on Virta for three months, my A1c went down to 5.4, my triglycerides and cholesterol also went down, and I lost some weight. Now, after six months of treatment, I’ve lost 20 pounds and my blood pressure is normal. I don’t have the body aches, bloating, heartburn and the mental fog anymore. My energy levels are also up.
Virta has also changed the way of eating for our entire family because my husband does all of the cooking. The biggest change was giving up sugar. It was surprising to learn how many foods have sugars in them. My treatment has made my daughter aware of all the carbs and sugars in the things we eat, and she is only 8. It’s incredible to see the influence my healthier lifestyle is having on my daughter.
I believe in Virta, and I love eating the foods, especially new ones. It’s not a gimmick; it’s a way of life. It’s natural, no drugs or weight loss surgery. It’s about learning how to truly eat healthily and be healthy. I love having my health coach, the medical supervision, and the supplies. I know now that I have to have accountability. If I have questions, I don’t hesitate to ask. I feel like my care team truly cares about my health. I feel healthy again.
Thanks to Virta I am getting my life and health back. I still run, but instead of trying to beat my time or win, I run to be healthy. I eat to be healthy. I love that my husband and daughter both can do this with me. I hope that my story inspires someone else to try the Virta treatment and be healthy. Virta was a life-changing decision and one of the best I’ve ever made!