When I joined Sysco as an Account Coordinator in late 2019, the first thing I asked was, “Do you cover Virta Health?”
My previous employer covered Virta’s type 2 diabetes reversal treatment as part of their standard employee benefits, and I had already been with Virta for 3 months when I switched jobs. The fear of losing my coverage for Virta was one of the more difficult parts of the transition.
Ironically, when I first heard about Virta in 2018, I was very skeptical, not only of the results, but also my ability to make the changes needed to succeed. At the time, I had not yet been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, just “high blood sugar.” I did not think of that as diabetes, so I mostly ignored it and never followed up with my doctor.
In May of 2019, my “high blood sugar” had progressed to an A1c level of 8.6%, giving me the official diagnosis of type 2 diabetes. My doctor prescribed metformin and advised that I watch my diet to help lower my blood sugar. I tried to be more conscious of my eating, and my body mostly adjusted to the metformin, even though my stomach was upset for about a week. All the while, I kept thinking that I did not want to always need medication in order to manage diabetes.
When I told a coworker about some of my struggles with diabetes, she reminded me that Virta was covered by our employer and told me to give it a try. She had already been on Virta for 5 months and said that it helped her lower her blood sugar, eliminate her diabetes medications, and also drop some weight. Hearing it directly from someone who was reversing type 2 diabetes with Virta was so motivating for me that I decided to join in August of 2019.
A part of the treatment is making dietary changes to reduce my carbohydrate intake to below my individual tolerance level and get my energy from fat instead. I was nervous about that. Being Filipino, my biggest fear was not being able to eat rice, a mealtime staple. My Virta health coach, Adan, listened to my concerns and helped me work through different Virta-friendly options, including cauliflower rice, which is now my favorite rice substitute to satisfy my cravings. I can’t think of how many questions I’ve sent Adan about food, and he never fails to respond with ideas or recipes that help me prepare my meals.
With Virta and Adan’s support, I was able to reduce my A1c by over 3 whole points. My latest labs showed my A1c level below 5.0%, below even the prediabetes threshold, which caused my doctor to eliminate my metformin prescription. Losing 20 pounds has also made me feel more confident than I ever could have imagined. To not only be able to reverse type 2 diabetes in 8 months, but to do it in such a sustainable, supported way has made a big difference in my life.
When I left my previous employer for an opportunity with Sysco, I was very nervous that I would no longer have access to Virta’s support systems. I could not believe it when my Sysco benefits manager told me that Virta was indeed covered for all employees. I signed up again right away and was able to pick right back up with the same Virta care team as if I had never left.
I’ve seen others need insulin in order to manage their diabetes, and some even lose their eyesight and limbs when their blood sugar levels get out of control. I am so lucky that with Virta, I know how to avoid those things, and even enjoy my hobbies more than I ever thought possible. I am an avid zumba dancer, and I used to get winded and watch the clock after 30 minutes. Now, an hour doesn’t seem nearly long enough to have so much fun!
I am so fortunate to have Sysco fully cover the Virta treatment, especially since I know what is possible. Now, I tell my coworkers about Virta every chance I get. I tell them the story of reversing my diabetes on Virta and let them know that Sysco covers this amazing treatment.
I hope that more Sysco employees who need Virta will take advantage of this benefit. It is about more than fixing my metabolism, more than reversing type 2 diabetes, even. It is about learning how to take better care of myself and setting goals that continue to motivate me. I love to travel, and I don’t want type 2 diabetes to stop me from enjoying my hard-earned vacation. I have a bucket-list vacation to Puerto Rico planned in a few months, and I can’t wait to take all of this extra energy with me to the beach!