I was born and raised in Ankara, Turkey. I arrived in the United States when I was 21 to complete my internship after earning my degree in Food and Beverage Management and Hospitality. As fate would have it just a couple months before I was to return home I met my husband. We in short order got married, adopted pets, bought a house, had a beautiful daughter and I established my life and career in the United States.
Originally my sports background was swimming. I was inspired by my oldest cousin Taylan, who broke several long standing Turkish records during his swimming career. I remember visiting my cousin and his family. I would stare at all those shiny medals framed carefully on the wall for everyone to see. My entire family was so proud of him and constantly spoke of his successes and determination. As a young child that was very exciting to me and I wanted to be just like him! So beginning at age of 5 I started to swim. For the next 14 years I swam, living within an intense training program and learning how to compete even when my body did not necessarily agree. Swimming was my rock and it kept me grounded throughout my wild adolescent years.
Thanks to my early introduction to swimming I have been athletic my entire life, constantly trying new things. I have joined it seems every type of gym or program imaginable with varying degrees of success. Eventually my career did not afford me the time I needed to focus on my health as much as I would have liked. I was an Chef for 10 years at a high intensity corporate restaurant. This meant late nights, early mornings, shifts over 14 hours and cramming food into my mouth whenever I found a spare moment, not to mention the chronic back problems.
Over the years my body has changed and morphed, back and forth, to all shapes and sizes imaginable. I am 6 feet tall and when I met my husband was 145 lbs…then 180lbs…then 210lbs and when I gave birth to my daughter I weighed 273lbs! After her birth I went back and forth with my weight. It was a struggle for several years. I tried several different gyms, failed diets and crazy work schedules. Then I finally made the decision that I had to get healthier, get back in shape and gain back my confidence. When I joined my local CrossFit gym, and ultimately started Olympic Weigh Lifting, that’s when it all changed for me.
I knew right away that Olympic Lifting was different. It taught me to be humble, it taught me to eat right and it taught me to how to recover my body properly. Olympic Lifting saved my health and shaped my body to what it is now. Olympic lifting has also changed my mental state. I had to meticulously practice proper form to achieve optimum technique, and it shined through to my personality. Along the way I also began to focus on nutrition, I learned carbs could actually be your friend! Since my journey began I have lost over 70 pounds , vastly improved my strength and changed my entire body composition. I was able to cut down for my 1st Masters Pan American National Competition…I even medaled!
I have new passion, love and joy through Olympic Weight Lifting. I started getting requests from friends and family to help them along their journey. More and more people began asking how I lost the weight and wanted to learn more about my story . It inspired me to earn my CPT (Certified Personal Training) and CES (Corrective Exercise Specialist) certificates through NASM and USA Weightlifting Sports and Performance Level 1. I also decided to get a certification from one of the top Nutrition Companies – Precision Nutrition.
Today, the sky is the limit. I am looking to go back to school and study Exercise Science while continuing to grow my knowledge through practicing and coaching.