Women's Health

Nakisha Ramsey: 70-Pound Weight-Loss Transformation

Often, unhappiness and fear beget binge eating, and it was this exact scenario that compelled Nakisha Ramsey to sequester herself in her car and consume a gallon of ice cream and a pack of Oreos on the reg. “I was having babies back-to-back, was in an abusive relationship, and no matter how much I prayed for happiness, I couldn’t seem to grasp it,” Ramsey says. Before she knew it, she had lost her identity and had swelled to 220 pounds.

Taking hold of her self-esteem began, ironically, when her father told her she couldn’t in 2004. Ramsey opened up about wanting to leave her abusive marriage and raise her children on her own, and he insisted there was no way she could do it alone. “From that moment, I started to plan my ‘how to,’” she says. “It didn’t happen overnight or even a year after that, but it did happen.”

Finding a Fitness Family

Without the support of her actual family, Ramsey found sanctuary within the fitness community. “I remember the first time I picked up a copy of Oxygen at Walmart — I was in awe of the cover,” she says. “I wanted to look like that and learn how to transform my body and be healthy.” Her first workouts came straight from the pages of that magazine, and even though her husband regularly mocked her efforts, Ramsey kept at it and slowly gained confidence.

But Ramsey and her children — now there were six — were still in peril, and in 2007 when her youngest son was only 4 weeks old, her husband threatened their lives. That was the final straw; Ramsey took her children and left. They lived out of their van until Ramsey could land a job and find a place to live, but as soon as they were settled, they all began to thrive.

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