Instagram Opened a New and Fit World for Her

Esra Tuğçe Gülebay Ayırıcı

She opened her instagram account @tugceslife to get fit… 

She did not only aim at loosing weight… Her mission was a total change of life…

As she shared food photos @ she lost weight and became a vegetarian… 

She built herself a new life… 

Tuğçe's engagement day memoir book
with a cup of Turkish coffee at The Big Man
Best shot of Love

Esra Tuğçe Gülebay Ayırıcı is an architect

After living 8 years in Istanbul she has returned  to Antalya to marry her high school sweetheart Ahmet Ayırıcı.

Tuğçe and Ahmet decided to restart their relationship at The Big Man.

The next morning of their engagement day they came to The Big Man with their friends for breakfast.

The photos which she took not only opened the door for a new world for her… They also made her the first instagram winner of… Many The Big Man photos with energy, harmony and detail have been posted at Tuğçe’s instagram account. She prepared the most unforgettable video below which shows her coming to The Big Man immediately after she landed in Antalya.

One of Tuğçe's favourites from the Big Man Menu
Grilled Vegetables

Tuğçe tells us that The Big Man is a marvelous place to take instagram photos:   “Each table offers a different view. Each background of the photo changes according to the table one sits on and the season.” 

The Big Man menu which she prefers predominantly consists of salads… Avocado salad, grilled hellim salad and rocket salad are her favorites… 

She finds it helpful that the ingredients of the dishes in the menu are given in detail… She says that this way as a vegetarian she is able to make more healthy choices…

Tuğçe became the first interview guest of  The Big Man Diaries… 

Esra Tuğçe Gülebay Ayırıcı answered the questions that Güray Kanan asked

Güray Kanan
I want to loose weight… In order to change my eating habits I need to change my life style… And saying “With this aim, I am going to open an instagram account” is a very different way of looking at things… 

Everything started with my desire to loose weight and my decision to do it in a different way. I had come to point in my life… I felt ready to change my lifestyle. I chose to be a vegetarian. My motto became “no sugar”.

The change that I wanted to create was a radical one. You don’t wake up one day as a vegetarian. It is a process you adapt gradually.  Instagram made this easy for me.

An instagram account has the same effect of flying to another country. Where I live offers me a certain cultural experience. Instagram took me out of that restricted culture so that I was able to live the cultural experience I prefer.

Although I never had vegetarian friends in my daily life, I made vegetarian friends on instagram with people that I have never came face to face. I met an American family that decided to move to an island and started producing their own vegetables.  I met people who, apart from being a vegetarian, eat just raw food. I met a pregnant woman who disregarded everyone who pressurized her to eat meat during her pregnancy, she is now pregnant to her second child. I met Ellen Fisher, another vegetarian who published a book.
In order to be able to say “I can live differently” you have to see that there is a different life. All these people showed me different worlds. I learnt to produce milk from rice; to make yogurt from soya milk from them. As I was following their lives I was also sharing my difficulties with them. So we created a world where we motivated each other.

And during this process I recreated myself…
Sophisticated Simplicity and Green Tea
To the Big Man View

Güray Kanan
Why did you choose instagram instead of facebook and twitter

facebook is a place where you follow your close friends… On twitter texting is on the forefront…. I don’t think that neither of them has the speed or wide networking opportunity that the instagram has. And you can’t share everything on these mediums as you can do on instagram. An hashtag # on instagram can create a faster time line. I believe that instagram has the priority, facebook and twitter comes after it.

For the love of the Mediterranean

Güray Kanan
What kind of reactions did you receive?

I had warned my friends when I started. I told them that I was going to change my profile completely and that there is going to be a lot of food photos. If they wanted to they could take me off their list. People can get put off with another food photo I share on instagram. While everybody shares the photos that show whoever they go out to dinner with I share a photo of a plate of food 6-7 times a day. And after a while this can bore those who are not interested in seeing this kind of stuff.

Tuğçe at her award breakfast

Güray Kanan
Didn’t you receive any positive feedback?

My motivation came from strangers. Unexpectedly a stranger would say “Keep Going”.  Or someone would ask for the recipe of the dish that I share. For example there were many inquiries for yaprak sarması (grape leaves stuffed with rice). Many of my followers wanted to have the recipe, asked what was inside and how it was made. I am criticized for not writing the recipes of the dishes I share on instagram. My mother used to share her recipes on her blog. Although I also see my instagram account as my personal blog I have not yet started to share any recipes yet.

Sunday Energy!

Güray Kanan
Did your mother have her personal blog?

Yes… My mother’s blog was ranked in the most frequently followed top 5 blog by Hürriyet newspaper (a very well known newspaper in Turkey) Its name was “The Kitchen of a Working Woman” ( My mother is a metallurgy engineer who loves cooking. When she saw a recipe she used to love to change one ingredient in it to create something new. She would create her own recipes as well. She would take the photos of the tables she prepared and would share them on her blog. This was her way of forming her own archive. After preparing the table she would stop us and would say “Do not start eating, first I will take the photo of the table”. I now do the same thing.

The Big Man Düdenpark

Güray Kanan
How do you take your photos?

My education in architecture benefits me a lot… There are many set of rules in architecture such as golden proportion etc… And it is also a profession that puts visual quality first. Things like symmetry and playing with colors, in other words the graphic design part of the job is important. You can not be a successful architect if the visual presentation of your project is not good enough. 

In architecture if you are going to draw a cultural building you study all the designs of  cultural buildings. I take my instagram photos with the same principle. I study photos: Who took them, how did they take them, how did they work on them, how many likes did these photos receive… I follow famous bloggers. I try to understand how they take food photos… I always look for the answer of this question: How come even though the same plate of food comes in front of everyone, the photo that comes out is different?

Generally I am not satisfied with only one take. I always ask for the opinions of people around me. And I always check what is liked the most. So it doesn’t work as “I like it so that is enough and ok.”

When my dinner comes to the table, I immediately get up to take photos of it from different angles which sometimes seems strange to the people around me. Ahmet used to get uncomfortable with this sight. Now he is used to it and he also gets involved in the photo shooting process. We choose the best photo together. 

Our meals get cold sometimes… Because of this reason we have sent the meal back couple of times:)

                                                Tuğçe shooting one of her instagram photos

The final result of the above photo shoot


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