How I Got This Body: Losing 40 Pounds Before College and Saying Goodbye to High School Haters

All photos courtesy of Sila Bozdemir.

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Who: Sila Bozdemir, 18, heading to college this fall to study physiology
Lives: McLean
Height: 5’3″
Start weight: 183 pounds
End weight: 142 pounds
How long it took: 9 months

Turning point: My weight gain started as a side effect of the medicine I was taking. I found myself eating more and doing less. I wanted to make a change because I was miserable being so big. Everybody started to make fat nicknames for me. I couldn’t even tie my shoes by myself and I was always out of breath. I had to make a change to feel good about myself again and actually be okay with myself when I looked in the mirror.

Exercise: My Sport&Health trainer Aaron and I usually do a lot of total body strength training to improve lean muscle. We work in all planes of motion and focus on a variety of exercises. I work out with him twice a week. He also taught me how to use all the equipment at the gym and how to create my own workouts.

Diet: Before, I used to eat maybe five or six times a day. I ate everything I could find. I didn’t care because I thought, I’m already fat. It doesn’t matter anymore. Aaron taught me to cut back on carbs and choose healthier options. Now, I eat a regular breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

How she stuck with it: After I started seeing the results I was getting from working out, I started to get more motivated. I made goals of how I was going to lose weight, fit into all the cute clothes, and show off my new body to the people who made fun of me because I was fat.

Sila Before 1
Sila Before 2

Transformation: I lost 41 pounds. My legs got slimmer and muscular. My arms and shoulders got smaller. My stomach got flatter, and I lost the layers of fat on my side. I have no trouble breathing anymore and it’s easy to go up stairs now. I got stronger and can push five to six plates on the sled now. I can go out dancing and join my parents for long walks.

Fave splurge: My favorite cheat meal is probably mac and cheese with extra cheese. That’s my favorite food.

How she felt then vs. now: Before I started working with my trainer, I felt disgusting. When I was getting ready to go out and tried on literally everything in my closet, I always had a breakdown and would start tearing up because it was so frustrating. Then my mom would have to tie my shoes because I couldn’t. I had a triple chin. I couldn’t physically participate in all the activities that everyone else could. I wouldn’t go to the pool because I was too embarrassed. I would make my friends go to an unpopular beach far away because there were no people there. I hated myself so much.

Now, I feel amazing. I keep looking in the mirror and taking pictures, and I like the pictures people take of me! It has been a long time since I willingly let someone take a picture of me. I look good in the clothes that I want to wear. I’m so happy! My trainer Aaron is the best! If it wasn’t for him I could never have done this.

Bozdemir with her Sport&Health trainer, Aaron.

Newfound body love: I’m still amazed at how I can move the sled. I feel so proud when people compliment me. Now, I truly believe if I try hard enough, I can accomplish anything. I’m looking forward to attending college and meeting new friends.

Workout wisdom: Get a personal trainer if you can. My trainer pushed me when I didn’t have the self-confidence to push myself. The most important thing he taught me was to always push myself to do better.

Sometimes I didn’t want to go to the gym and sometimes I wanted to eat everything I shouldn’t eat, but I kept reminding myself of how I’m going to look like if I do keep going to the gym and keep eating healthy. Whenever you feel like you want to give up, just remind yourself of the goal you set and how amazing it’ll be when you achieve it.

This interview has been edited and condensed. 

Want to share your transformation story? Whether you lost weight or gained muscle, I want to hear from you! Email me at

Kim Olsen

Kim Olsen ([email protected]) is a freelance writer in Alexandria.