I used to assign blame to those with type 2 diabetes. I have a lot of relatives who have been diagnosed, and I used to wonder to myself why they couldn’t simply make different choices to manage it. I thought that if ever I found out I had diabetes, I would change my habits immediately. But when I was diagnosed in 2018, I wanted to make changes, but somehow couldn’t bring myself up to it. I asked my doctor to give me three months to make a change before I would agree to take medications, but still, I mostly ignored the diagnosis.
Fortunately in early 2019, my boss told me about a diabetes reversal treatment she heard about on a podcast. Virta Health claimed to be able to reverse diabetes and help with weight loss, and she encouraged me to look into it.
Virta offered to help me rein in my A1c and lose weight, using nothing more than the food I eat every day, only with a few necessary changes. Though Virta’s main mission was to reverse my type 2 diabetes, my personal goal was to also lose 100 pounds in a healthy and possibly even enjoyable way.
On my very first day of starting the Virta treatment in February of 2019, I took pictures of myself from the front and side views. I weighed 413 pounds. I had type 2 diabetes with an A1c of 6.7%. And I was at a loss for what to do in order to control my weight and blood sugar levels.
Exactly 4 weeks after starting treatment, I took more pictures of myself from the same angles and was blown away by what I saw. Even though I had already noticed changes in how my body felt, I was brought to tears in that moment when I compared the images and saw the difference just one month had made.
10 months after starting treatment, I had completely reversed my diabetes. My A1c dropped over a whole point, down to 5.3%, which is below even the prediabetic threshold!
I wouldn’t have been able to accomplish this without the support of my Virta health coach, Marlia. She helped me come up with a very basic rule to make Virta work for me: keep things simple. She advised me on what foods to eat, what to avoid, and how to substitute for foods that aren’t good for my blood sugar. Not only does Marlia give me clear and easy-to-follow guidelines, but she frames them in a way that adds deeper meaning to food and explains why I now eat the way I do. When I mess up, she gets me back on track with no guilt whatsoever.
I follow Virta’s simple meal method without counting calories or tracking my food. Every meal includes fresh or frozen veggies with an appropriate serving of protein, which is then topped off with added fat. The fat helps keep me full, gives me energy, and adds the flavors that make eating on Virta so enjoyable. I get to use the tastiest salad dressings, butter, cream cheese, olive oil, sour cream, eggs, you name it. Just the other night, I made my specialty, an “egg roll in a bowl”: stir-fried hamburger meat, whatever veggies I had on hand, shredded cabbage, some soy sauce, and an egg. So easy and delicious!
I’ve never had to go hungry on Virta or rely on diet bars or shakes for food. It’s hard for me to believe that something so enjoyable can be thought of as a diabetes reversal treatment, but it’s true. Virta also helped me accomplish my personal goal of losing 100 pounds. The day that I stepped on the scale and it read 313 pounds, I almost cried.
My next goal is to lose another 70 pounds so that my new weight will be 240. This number will move me out of the “morbidly obese” category, and I can not wait until I have “morbidly” struck from my medical record.
But with or without that word, I simply feel better with Virta. I am healthier now than I’ve ever been, and I want to continue this journey. It feels good to walk around, go shopping, even run errands. With all the extra weight I was carrying, I couldn’t really enjoy those things before Virta; even simple chores were exhausting. Before starting Virta, I needed to rest in a chair periodically when I worked in the kitchen. Now, not only can I stand and prepare an entire meal, but I can do dishes and the laundry in between. I also love that I have to go buy new clothes now because I’ve donated all the “old me” clothes. I am never going back.
I still have so much to look forward to. I imagine how fun it will be to ride a bike, which I haven’t done since I was a teenager. I’d really like to be able to do that again, and I know that following this path on Virta is the way to get there.