When we last checked in with Eileen back in 2018, she had been on the Virta treatment for 8 months and achieved tremendous early results: she lowered her A1c back to healthy levels, lost over 50 pounds, and eliminated all of her diabetes-specific medications.
Now, 3 years later, we sit down with Eileen to see how she’s doing, what Virta looks like in the long term, and how her Virta plan has changed over the years.
Virta: When you had originally shared your story, you mentioned that getting off and staying off medication was a primary goal for you and your Virta treatment. Is that still the case?
Eileen: Oh, absolutely. I joined Virta particularly because I wanted to get off medication. While I was able to stop needing diabetes meds fairly quickly after starting Virta, I think staying off of them is a constant goal. I’m happy to say that to this day, the only medication I take is a statin, which my primary care doctor recommends for me. All the while, my biomarkers are stable, and I continue to track them every day and share them with my Virta health coach.
Virta: How have you been able to keep up with tracking your numbers daily? 3 years is a lot of data!
Eileen: In all the years I’ve been seeing doctors, no one is more up-to-date on my health information than the team at Virta. Just based on what I put into the app, there must be reams of information, not to mention the work that my health coaches put in to making sure I am supported and successful. But I feel safer knowing that there is a whole medical team out there who is fully aware of my health status at any given time, so I don’t mind keeping up with it. It’s easy.
Virta: How many coaches have you had with Virta?
Eileen: As you would expect since I’ve been with Virta for so long, I’ve changed coaches a few times. What stays the same, though, is the quality of care from one coach to the next. I’ve really enjoyed working with all of them, and they each bring different sets of skills to the care they provide. I really like my current coach, who is always available when I ask questions, and has gotten creative in helping me stay the course—especially during times of stress over the past year.
Virta: How was it following your Virta plan during the pandemic?
Eileen: One of the things I appreciated most about Virta during the pandemic was how prepared and well-versed everyone there already was in offering support through telemedicine. I won’t lie; there were moments during the height of COVID where I was very stressed out, and I questioned whether or not I could stay on Virta. When I really thought about it, though, and talked it out with my Virta coach, I realized that I had two choices: I could follow a plan that has worked for the past 3 years in helping me reach my goals, or I could abandon what I’ve worked for, gain weight, lose control of my blood sugar, and go back on medication. When I came to that realization, the choice was obvious.
Virta: 3 years going strong on Virta is an accomplishment in itself, with or without the pandemic to complicate things! How has the treatment changed for you over time?
Eileen: Having my Virta coach available at any time has been critical, and she actually helped me develop a different mindset altogether—one focused on staying resilient to setbacks and trusting the process. For example, it’s no longer about losing 5 pounds, but rather, living each day in the healthiest way possible and letting those 5 pounds lose themselves in the process.
Virta: Sounds like good advice for anyone, whether they’re just starting Virta or have already found success like you. Is there anything else you would like to share?
Eileen: This different perspective has shown me how important Virta has been to my life over the past few years. I would say that during times of unbelievable stress, trust the process. When setbacks happen, and they’re going to happen, trust the process. I still have days where I waver, and I’ve come to accept that as a part of the process itself. And when I do that, when I rely on what has worked for me in the past, I find I am much better equipped to stay calm, stay resilient, and most importantly, stay healthy.