Courtesy Katey Dyck; Perry Hagopian
When Katey Dyck weighed 243 lbs, "I felt terrible about my body," she admits. "I hid from cameras."
Not anymore. The Fort Washington, Pennsylvania, native, 34, shed all those inhibitions when she dropped an astonishing 107 lbs.
To prove it, Dyck posed in a tiny two-piece in this week's issue of PEOPLE, which also features the transformations of four other PEOPLE readers who lost more than 100 lbs. each.
"I feel fit and strong for the first time," says the 5'8" stay-at-home mom. "It’s incredibly empowering."
In the past, Dyck struggled with portion control. "I could eat an entire tray of brownies," she says. "I love sugar like crazy!"
Her husband's deployment to Iraq in 2005 only exacerbated her poor eating habits. "I spent a year eating carb-heavy takeout because I missed him so much," she says.
Out of concern for her two kids, Natalie, 7, and Gabriel, 4, Dyck decided to turn her life around.
"I realized if something happened to me, my children wouldn't even remember me, " says Dyck, who, while admitting "I can have a nice big piece of cake at my child's birthday party," cut out sugar from her diet – and piled on the lean proteins.
She also works out six days a week, which has helped her maintain her weight loss for the past two years.
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Hoping to act as an inspiration, Dyck has chronicled her fitness journey on her blog Happy Exhaustion
, saying: "Encouraging others to discover the confidence that comes with physical strength keeps me going."
For more tips and other inspiring weight-loss transformations, pick up the new issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday