By Joni, a Virta patient
Virta has changed my life.
I have always struggled with my weight even though I have tried everything under the sun. I’ve exercised heavily. I’ve tried Jenny Craig and Weight Watchers 3 times. I’ve tried drinking shakes, Atkins, and just about every other fad. I even did a few rounds with weight loss pills. A few of the methods worked a little at first, temporarily, but even when weight came off, I was never able to really feel good.
In 2003, I started to have thyroid issues, and it was all downhill from there. Then came PCOS, and I started metformin for that. With my third child, coming after a miscarriage, I had gestational diabetes for a short duration of the pregnancy. After that, I was always aware of what my blood sugar should be and made sure I had routine checkups.
I come from a long chain of health issues in my family. My mother has had diabetes since she was younger than me (and I am 42). My grandmother had diabetes. They both have lung and heart disease as well. My grandmother had her first heart attack at my age. Because of this, I have always been fearful of what my future could be if something didn’t give, but I really felt like I was doing all I could to prevent the future I felt destined to have.
In 2017, my routine labs showed my A1C at 5.7%—the low range of prediabetes! I thought of when a doctor once told me that with my family history, my autoimmune disease, the PCOS, and gestational diabetes, there was only a 20% chance that I would not have diabetes! So I drank more shakes and worked out even more, and I was still miserable on the inside. Fortunately, my only medication was my Metformin, which I take for PCOS. There is no doubt that the way I was going, there would have been diabetes medications coming my way soon!
It wasn’t long after that that I recall hearing about Virta’s diabetes reversal treatment through my employer, Purdue University. I even set an appointment for my initial intake call, but came to the conclusion that like everything else I had tried, it was going to be a waste of time, so I cancelled.
A few months later some coworkers were talking about it, and one coworker in particular shared her successes on Virta with reversing her diabetes and weaning off meds. I decided to actually go through with Virta this time—and it has been the best decision I have ever made in my life!
I was so excited, but I hesitated when I learned the concepts of Virta. I had been a Certified Medical Assistant for years, and now all of a sudden I was supposed to practice a lifestyle and a way of eating that went against everything that I knew “medically” and what I had told patients not to do for years! How was this going to help? I started doing my own research and that, along with all of the tools that Virta provided to track my progress, helped me start looking from things from a more scientific standpoint. It made a believer out of me!
I started Virta in December of 2017, and I haven’t looked back ever since. I don’t even want to go back to eating the old, high-carb way. What Virta has done for me externally, but more importantly internally, is amazing. I have a completely new outlook on life and my body.
For the first time in as long as I can remember, I truly feel good. In the beginning, I was shocked at how good I felt, but it also made me realize how bad I had always felt before. Before, I don’t know if I really knew what it was like to not feel bloated. Truly feeling good is now my new normal. It is an amazing feeling. I finally have control of my life and my health, and I don’t have to live in fear of that 80% chance of getting diabetes I was told I have. In, fact since starting Virta my A1C has went from 5.7%, which is in the pre-diabetes range, to 5.3%, which is normal! This has been the biggest win for me. I try very hard not to focus on the scales because the main objective is reversing the prediabetes. However, seeing that number on the scales go down has been another motivation to keep going. My highest weight was 225 lbs, but just prior to Virta I had been able to get a little of that off with excessive exercise. Since starting Virta I managed to get down to 176 lbs—almost a total of 50 pounds lost! There has been an occasional up and down with the scales, but overall, I am still very much down.
I am a very positive person, and through the years I have always worn a smile. Now, for the first time in ages, that smile isn’t superficial. It is an outward reflection of the light that has been lit inside. It is amazing how the smallest thing makes you feel more confident and brings a smile to your face. I started at a size 16 pants and 1X or XL shirt. I now comfortably wear a size medium shirt and size 10 pants. A defining moment was when I tried on my 20 year-old daughter’s size 8 jeans and they fit. It has felt good to go into a store and not be afraid to try things on with the fear that even that size 16 wasn’t going to fit. I can confidently go in and get what I want and feel good about wearing it! This past summer at the beach, I even allowed someone to take a full-body picture of me in a swimsuit. I cannot remember a time in my adult life that this has ever happened. I didn’t hesitate about posting them to social media, either. That feeling was priceless!
This journey has changed my life so much that I even shared with my Virta health coach (who has been one of the biggest assets on this journey) that I hope one day I can be a health coach and help others on their journey to better health.
I have changed quite a bit since starting Virta. My perception of things has changed. I feel more powerful and confident about my health, I’m happier, and I have a greater desire to live in the moment. I want to continue to make better decisions about my health as well. Virta has empowered me to finally take control of my health!