A plant-based entrepreneur has spoken out about how being plant-based - and ditching alcohol - transformed her life.
Athena Simpson, a business and marketing optimizer, speaker, writer, and aspiring aerial artist, says she was an 'unhappy, unhealthy, workaholic'.
While following a plant-based diet, she ditched alcohol, and says she has transformed into a healthy, happy, strong, thriving nomadic entrepreneur.
"Everyone asks me how I lost weight," Simpson told Plant Based News. "I feel like I cheated since it was so easy for me. I tried a no alcohol challenge to give myself a fresh start to 2019 and I had no idea how life-changing it would be. I was already vegan so I didn’t do anything to change my diet, in fact, I explicitly chose not to put any pressure on myself to change the way I ate.
"I didn’t lose anything for the first six weeks, and then it started melting off. Seven or eight months later, I had lost three jean sizes (44lbs/20kg), gained confidence and loved looking at myself in the mirror but more importantly, was so impressed by what my body was capable of."
As a result of eating a diet high in fruits and vegetables, and not drinking alcohol, Simpson found she had an excess of energy - which inspired her to get more active. She believes her plant-based diet has helped with recovery when it comes to physical exercise.
"I got into aerial silks and did that about three times a week," she said. "I started walking to the train instead of taking the bus and doing a bit of yoga here and there. I didn’t care about losing weight, I wanted to get strong. Silks are one of the most physically demanding activities I’ve ever done, and starting at the age of 35 was certainly a challenge.
"I was never 'strong' growing up and now I'm the strongest I've ever been in my life. I think having a vegan diet helped me get stronger faster. Since going vegan four and a half years ago I noticed my recovery time was quicker, aches and pains were less because of reduced inflammation and I felt an overall improvement in my health.
"I would rarely get sick and when I did it was usually gone in a few days. I hadn’t even registered with a GP in almost four years. So when I removed booze, it was like I became a superhuman."
According to Simpson, people are often surprised by the volume of food she eats. When she first ditched alcohol and started to exercise, her appetite reduced, but she soon realized she wasn't eating enough to maintain her increased activity level.
"I never craved sugar before but a few months into not drinking anymore and I started craving sugar (this usually happens at the beginning of the detox period)," she said. "I came to realize is that I wasn’t eating enough calories for the amount of increased exercise I was doing. So I started eating more calorie-dense meals and the cravings stopped and my appetite came back.
"When people see how much I eat they can’t really believe that I’ve managed to lose weight. If I didn’t exercise I don’t think I’d be this hungry but being alcohol-free and plant-based means I can pretty much eat whatever I want and keep the weight off.
"I don’t eat tons of processed vegan junk food, but when I want some I don’t stop myself. I see a lot of people giving up booze and frustrated they aren’t losing weight, the difference between them and me is usually a plant-based diet."