When my doctor told me I had “prediabetes” in 2001, I asked myself, “What’s prediabetes?” I always thought that type 2 diabetes was an “either/or” type of situation: you either have it, or you don’t. And because my doctor never used the term “type 2 diabetes,” I chose to believe that I didn’t have it and went on with my life.
My doctor did tell me that I needed to watch what I was doing. In an attempt to follow her advice, I went on a series of diet programs: Weight Watchers, NutriSystem, Herbalife, prepackaged shakes (where I ended up gaining more weight than I lost—go figure). Nothing worked for me. I still remember how defeated I felt sitting in those support meetings, doing what I was told to do but not losing any weight. Meanwhile, I would applaud others for dropping 3 or 4 pounds week over week, and all I could think was, “Well, maybe it’ll be my turn next time.”
In late 2020, my weight had climbed to 330 pounds, and that was when I heard about Virta through the State Employees’ Health Insurance Plan of Alabama. I decided to apply after hearing that Virta could help me lose weight. Though Virta also said that they could help me reverse type 2 diabetes, I didn’t even consider that I would have it to begin with. As far as I was concerned, I only had “prediabetes.”
Imagine my surprise when Virta confirmed through lab results that I did indeed have type 2 diabetes, with an A1c of 8.0%. When I spoke with my enrollment advisor at Virta, she asked me about my goals and if I thought there could be any barriers between me and succeeding on Virta. I flat out told her that I needed to see results. I just couldn’t imagine trying yet another program, only to find that it works for others, but not me.
When she told me that Virta was not like any of those programs, I had no idea how right she would be. Not only was Virta able to confirm that I did in fact have type 2 diabetes, something no one else had until then, they also told me what to do about it. With Virta, I didn’t have to dig through article after article on the internet. Virta provided me with a set of videos that told me, step-by-step, why my body does what it does, why my blood sugars are high, and why the same foods that I eat with others affect me in a different way.
Armed with this information and the support of my health coach, I started on my Virta journey in November of 2020, just weeks away from Thanksgiving. Even my health coach asked me if I wanted to start making changes to my diet so close to the holidays, and I said, “Absolutely—if I can make it through holiday meals on Virta, then I know this is something that will last.”
Not only did I “make it through,” but I discovered how easy food choices can be on Virta, even during Thanksgiving. My family and I decided to mix it up. Instead of the traditional stuffing and turkey fixings, I prepared some baked cauliflower with cheese. I also discovered that fried radishes are a great substitute for potatoes. Instead of macaroni with butter and cheese, riced cauliflower was just as delicious.
Over the past 12 months, by working with my Virta health coach, I have lost 115 pounds, simply by eating according to the needs of my body and making smarter food choices. My A1c has dropped from 8.0% to 5.7%, and I feel great, with more energy to spend than ever. I can even keep up with my 2 year old grandson now!
Virta has shown me that I don’t have to go hungry or deprive myself in order to be healthy. I can still eat, and that’s how I know Virta will stay with me for the rest of my life. Virta isn’t a weight loss program, or a diet, or any other kind of fad; it is a lifestyle, plain and simple. People might think that I’m denying myself certain foods, but that’s not true. I know I can still have those things. If I want pasta, I can have pasta. I just choose not to, knowing that there are tasty substitutions out there that are so much better for my health.
As I continue down my journey, I am excited to see what the future will bring. For one thing, I have a goal to lose just a few more pounds by next March, where I plan to check off a major bucket-list item: a trip to go skydiving with my daughter. I never thought I would be able to do that, yet here I am, preparing to take the (literal) leap, as it were. Virta has helped me see that I can realize my dreams, get healthy, and spend more time with my family, all the while enjoying the way I want to live my life.
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