In Categories: Patient Voice

by Claudia, a Virta Patient

I was so scared. When I was first diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in 1992, all I could think about was that I had an incurable, progressive disease. It felt like there was nothing I could do. I was just going to get worse until I developed neuropathy, lost a limb, and died.

I wasn’t good at dealing with my diabetes. My doctor accused me of being in denial. I didn’t really know how I was supposed to eat, so I ate what I wanted. Everybody knows deprivation diets like Weight Watchers and Nutrisystem do not work. They didn’t work for me. I didn’t exercise that much since working out with a personal trainer didn’t really help. I thought I could just use medications to fix the problem. I tried so many different drugs to manage my A1c: metformin, Invokana, Levemir (insulin), Glimepiride, Avandia, Byetta, Victoza, Trulicity, and Januvia. But none of these drugs could really fix anything–they just managed the symptoms. 

As the diabetes got worse, my bones and joints started to get painfully creaky and inflamed. I lived in fear of what was going to go wrong next. I even told my best friend that I might be dead within 5 years. I was so frustrated by the feeling of powerlessness against my disease. Despite searching for a way to fix it, nothing made sense. I was looking for an “instruction manual”, but all the books confused me and were counterintuitive. The little exercise and dieting that I tried (like avoiding sweets) were never effective, so I always gave up.

When I first heard about Virta, I was skeptical, mostly because I hadn’t yet learned about Virta’s nutrition protocols and use of nutritional ketosis. Yet, the more I learned about the science, which Virta’s team did a great job explaining, the more it made sense. I remained open minded enough to commit fully, and am so thankful I did.

On a trip to Disney World, just 3 months after starting Virta, Claudia found it surprisingly simple to find foods she enjoyed. She knew then she’d be able to adopt Virta’s approach for life.

Since that commitment, it has been a revelation. Before Virta, my A1c was 7.6% while taking 3 diabetes medications, including insulin. Now, my A1c is completely normal at 5.5% (not even prediabetic), even though I’ve stopped taking all of those diabetes meds. Every time my Virta physician reduced my meds, I was so excited and felt liberated. I’m also saving a lot of money, which I can use to spend on the things that really matter.

While weight loss isn’t the main point of Virta, I’ve also lost 45 pounds so far, which has made me a lot more mobile.  My gym has a ladder to get in and out of the pool, and it is much easier for me to use now. I can also walk further and faster, which makes my husband happy!

Claudia with her husband, Ron, in 2017 (left) and on a recent trip to Las Vegas (right)

I sleep so much better than I ever did before. I used to get up during the night and not be able to fall back asleep, but not anymore. I have more energy, and a lot less pain. My body was all creaky and I could barely bend over when I woke up in the morning, so I used to go to my chiropractor and massage therapist all the time. Since starting Virta, I rarely need to see my chiropractor or get massages. I used to take a lot of ibuprofen for my muscle aches, but I rarely take it anymore. I also used to have GERD and issues with acid reflux, so I used to take a lot of antacids like Tums and Zantec. But the digestive issues have all disappeared too. I had also been previously diagnosed with diabetic retinopathy, but now the ophthalmologist says that there is no sign of it! I can’t believe how many things have improved. 

I’m less hungry too. I used to feel deprived by trying not to eat too much, and avoiding specific fatty and sugar-laden foods. I love not feeling deprived, and I get to eat yummy foods every single day. It’s fun to cook new Virta-friendly meals for both myself and my husband.

My favorite part of Virta is the structured nutrition education they provide. Before starting dietary changes, I learned a lot by watching the entertaining videos, playing the games, and reading the guides. Before Virta, I was always looking for an instruction manual on how to manage my diabetes. Virta is the first treatment I found where I could follow the instructions and have success. The support from my Virta coach and doctor has been really helpful too.

If you are considering doing Virta, I want you to know that this is the only eating plan that is not based on deprivation. I stopped diets years ago because they don’t work. Deprivation never works for me. On Virta, I don’t feel deprived, because I don’t have to go hungry. I can eat until satiety, until I feel full. They teach you how to replace what used to be your favorite foods with new versions of your favorite foods. Before starting, I used to be tempted by food and craved all kinds of carby foods. Now I find it almost effortless to stay away from non-Virta-friendly foods. It’s easy for me to say no to foods that, if eaten, will send me back to insulin and pills. When I’ve traveled to Disneyland and NYC, it wasn’t hard to find food that I wanted to eat, and to say no to the things that don’t work for my body. When I feel this good, I just don’t want foods that will take it away.

I am so thankful that Blue Shield of California covers the cost of Virta for me. It is a miracle. I tell everybody that I’m a miracle, too. Nobody, not even myself, thought I could reverse my diabetes and stick with Virta. I was scared and skeptical. But now I have hope, and I’m a believer, free of the physical, financial, and emotional burdens that come with type 2 diabetes. And it feels good to be free.

 

Virta is proud and excited to be a part of Wellvolution, Blue Shield of California’s new digital benefits platform which allows their members to holistically manage their health at no additional cost. Click here to learn more and see if you are eligible https://www.wellvolution.com

Several employers and health plans already cover the full cost of Virta, and we are working with many more to ensure coverage for all. If you are unsure about your coverage, submit an application to find out more!

One Comment

  1. Avatar
    Patrick Schreiber September 12, 2019 at 8:37 am

    Congratulations on the success of your Virta journey. It is encouraging to hear that your insurance company covers Virta. I am covered for Virta by a joint pilot program with the VA. The Quality of Life benefits of this lifestyle far outweighs (pun intended) the obsessing over weight loss. Weight loss is a natural side-effect, not an obsessive relationship with deprivation. I applaud your journey Claudia and wish you the very best.

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