By Cheryl, a Virta patient
In 2011, I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. I was devastated, but I wasn’t surprised.
When I was diagnosed, I thought I’d just have to avoid sugar and watch what I ate. I was sent to a dietitian to tell me how I was supposed to eat. I only saw that dietitian one time. I tried to follow that eating plan and I was losing a little bit, but then Purdue University, my employer, offered a 12-week class on diabetes. Over that 12 weeks, I found out just how serious the disease really is—and I knew none of that going into it.
Over the next year, I lost 17 pounds because I got more serious about watching my carbs. But I still wasn’t following it closely enough, and I didn’t have the support and accountability I needed to get healthy and invest in myself.
Here’s what I want to tell people who are thinking about joining Virta: If you could experience what I have experienced, you wouldn’t hesitate. It is life-changing and life-saving.
Depression and Not Taking Care of Myself
But then, life happened. I had a business, and I had to close it. The landlords didn’t like that I had broken my lease, so they sued me, and I filed for bankruptcy. During that time, I became so depressed and I didn’t care about anything anymore.
I went off the deep end. I believe I was suicidal—not in the way that I would get a gun and kill myself, but I knew that if I didn’t take care of myself, the diabetes would kill me. And I was letting it kill me. I ate whatever I wanted—once I ate a dozen doughnuts. I got so much sicker. I gained back all the weight I had lost, and my blood pressure skyrocketed.
My husband helped me wake up. He understood that I was depressed, but he asked me to think about what I was doing to myself, how if I went on this way I could get heart disease, go blind, have to amputate a foot. My HbA1c was 9.5.
I found out about the study Dr. Hallberg was doing through another coworker who had lost 80 pounds, so I started researching Virta’s clinical trial. When I saw the results of that clinical trial, that 54% reversed their diabetes in ten weeks, I knew I wanted to join.
How Virta was different than making dietary changes on my own
I started, on my own, with some of the dietary changes Virta recommends. I started a ketogenic way of eating in January 2017. I had already taken off about 35 pounds. Then I heard Purdue was going to cover the Virta Treatment and I felt like I had won the lottery. I wanted to shout it from the rooftops.
The only time I went off the treatment was when my husband got attacked by a dog. He was in the hospital. I was stressed out and went off of my eating plan for about 3 weeks, and I gained 10 pounds back and was feeling horrible. But I made the decision to get back on the horse, and I haven’t gone off plan since. I think it was good that I did that because it made me realize that that food didn’t actually taste that good anymore to me—and the shame that followed it wasn’t worth it.
Even though I started the eating plan on my own, joining Virta was completely different. My coach gave me accountability and support. So much of my eating was emotional—and I needed a real person to give me the support and accountability to help me.
When I was following a ketogenic diet on my own, I was following advice that wasn’t good, and getting that advice from people who didn’t really know what they were talking about. Now when I have a question, I go right to my coach, and I know she understands all the science behind it. Having that knowledge and that accountability made it completely different. And since it was covered by Purdue, I felt that there were expectations I should be living up to—this is something my workplace is providing so that I can get better, so I owe it to them to really try.
And now if anyone questions my food choices, I can tell them I’m under a doctor’s care. It’s all medically supervised.
I’ve been on Virta for 1 year, and I’m not looking back.
Gaining energy and losing weight
The biggest change I’ve seen is the unbelievable energy I have. I have 2 granddaughters that I watch every weekend. I used to have a very difficult time going up and down the steps, carrying my granddaughter, and now I can run up and down the stairs. I even ran down the street the other day.
When I was first diagnosed, I was 250 pounds. I got on the scale this morning and I’m 170. I only have 5 pounds left to lose, and I’ll be in the normal range for my BMI. I went from a size 20 to a size 12. My wedding ring falls off of me now.
I have a more positive outlook on life. My depression is gone. I don’t have to take pills every day.