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A medical emergency gave Gilbert the wake up call he needed.

August 27, 2021
August 27, 2021

By Gilbert, on Virta 5 months

I have always been on the heavy side, but when my mother tragically passed last year, I turned to food to provide comfort. I was eating everything and anything. That is, until I woke up in October of 2020 and the entire right side of my face was frozen in place.

At first, it just felt really strange, like it was sagging. I looked in the mirror and was horrified. My eye was droopy, and my mouth lay limp on that side. I immediately rushed to the emergency room. I didn’t feel like I had had a stroke, but I wasn’t taking any chances.

A CT scan at the hospital revealed that I had Bell’s Palsy, and I was given some medication to help with the recovery. But my short stint at the hospital quickly became an eye-opener for my current state of health. My weight had ballooned from a previous high of about 340 pounds to 384 pounds in the short time after my mother’s passing. I gave myself the goal of getting my health under control after the holidays.

When January of 2021 rolled around, I was ready to go. I started by cutting down on my favorite beverage of soda with crushed ice. From there, I tried to limit my meal portions and eat more salads. All of this lasted about two weeks before I started wondering if I could keep it up. I felt hungry all the time, which made it difficult to continue on this path. That’s when I got an email from Pima County, my employer of over 25 years, about Virta.

Gilbert before and after 5 months on Virta

The emails said that Virta was being provided at no cost—a $3,000 value—and could help me reverse my type 2 diabetes, lose weight, and regain energy. I was in.

One of the first things Virta had me do is test my blood glucose and A1c. If my weight didn’t scare me, these numbers sure did. I had an A1c of 10.7% and a fasting glucose of 210 mg/dL! I couldn’t believe I had let it go this far, but I was determined to not let it get any worse. Being someone who appreciates a little tongue-in-cheek symbolism, I decided St Patrick’s Day (March 17, 2021) was the perfect day to “test my luck” on the Virta treatment.

After meeting with my Virta provider and my Virta health coach, I learned a bit more about the science behind the treatment and what to expect. To be honest, the first week after starting Virta was a little tough. Virta uses a low-carb nutrition plan to change how your body gets its energy. I knew carbs were in bread and pasta, but I had no idea they were in fruit and “fat-free” foods too. But, once I got the hang of it, making the necessary changes got easier.

I almost can’t believe the results I have seen in only 5 months on Virta. Sometimes I need to pinch myself—and now there is plenty of loose skin to pinch. My weight is down below 310 pounds and my average glucose has dropped over 80 mg/dL!

On top of healthier numbers, I feel healthier too. The Pima County campus is set up like a college, and the need to walk between buildings is not uncommon. One of the buildings is about half of a mile apart. I used to have to drive that distance, but with the increase in energy and lack of joint pain, I actually look forward to the walk!

Virta is about so much more than food. On Virta, I have learned to change my entire mindset and discover what really works for me.

To all my colleagues at Pima County, and anyone else considering Virta, I want to let you know that this is a life-changing opportunity. Give it a shot. All you have to lose is the weight, high blood sugar, and medication. I am still striving to reach my goals every day, but already, I know I have come so far. With Virta, I feel like I have truly bettered myself, and I want to help my friends better themselves, too. I know that is something that would make my family, friends, and especially Mom, proud.

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