Something really crazy happened the other day at one of our day school’s fall musicals. I was walking through the crowd wearing a Concordia Ann Arbor hoodie and a member of the congregation stopped me and said they didn’t recognize me. This friend in the congregation has seen me throughout my journey to better health, but was still amazed by the transformation and said they had to tell me how amazing it was to see how much weight I’ve lost.
When I look at pictures from the past, sometimes I can’t believe it either. It’s hard to recognize the man I was back then before I came across Concordia Health Plan’s program called Virta.
In so many ways, Virta has changed my life.
Before Virta, I was taking seven prescription medications every day. I was dealing with joint pain constantly. I had trouble standing to lead worship services and bible study. I felt my life was a mess. I was trying to control my blood pressure with medication, my cholesterol numbers were out of whack, and my diabetes was flaring to dangerous levels. I was unhealthy in so many ways until God blessed me with the opportunity to take part in Virta—a free resource from Concordia Health Plan.
Don’t get me wrong, I love being a pastor, I love serving the church and spending time with the school children in our preschool and day-school. But with the weight issues I was facing, it was becoming more and more difficult. My obesity severely limited my love of serving God’s people and being the best pastor I could be for the flock I’m called to serve.
Virta is so simple. I like to think of it as not a diet, but as a new way of living with sustainable plans that become second nature to you.
The daily accountability of sharing your weight, your blood glucose and ketone levels, and your blood pressure help to keep you on track and let you and your coaches know what is working, and what maybe needs to be tweaked. With Virta, your coach and your Virta physician are always on top of your numbers and ready to offer advice when you text or reach out to them for help. And the Virta resources online are terrific. The community on the app are always quick to answer any questions and offer really awesome recipes and videos that help you maintain this new way of living.
After just a few days on Virta, I was taken off of all of my diabetes prescription medications and my primary care physician reduced my cholesterol and blood pressure medication Since I’ve been on the Virta treatment, I’ve lost 270 pounds and I’ve donated so many bags of clothes that no longer fit, I’ve lost count.
But instead of focusing on all that I’ve lost, let me tell you what I’ve gained:
I love serving as a pastor even more now because I am able to do so much more. I have more energy to devote. I get to walk around church early in the morning, doing my laps while listening to God’s word as I work out. I even have people coming to me for health advice, which sometimes makes me laugh considering my life before Virta. I get to play more golf with my wife—meaning we get to spend more quality time rejoicing in the beauty and wonder of God’s creation. And I have so much more drive and focus to devote to the work I've been called me to do as a pastor. And I have Virta to thank for that.
Thanks for taking the time to read. Maybe, just maybe, Virta could be a blessing to you as well.
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