From PEOPLE Magazine Click to enlarge
Dana Campfield, 44

Lost 119 lbs!

Michelle Mohr, 27

Lost 100 lbs!

Eli Sapharti, 42

Lost 110 lbs!

Nina Ellis-Hervey, 28

Lost 101 lbs!

Heather Fearneyhough, 24

Lost 136 lbs!

'I COULD FINISH TWO X-LARGE BUCKETS OF POPCORN'

-Dana Campfield, 44

Was: 244

Now: 125

Height: 5'7"

Hometown: Orange, Calif.

Marital Status: Divorced

After my first baby [Matthew, now 7], I ballooned up to 236 lbs. After I had Luke [now 4], I was at 244 lbs. In 2009 I was going through a divorce, and I needed strength to be a single mom. Instead of snacking on buckets of movie popcorn and slices of bread and butter, I started a vegetable garden in my backyard. I got myself a double-wide stroller and walked up and down the driveway 10 times each day, and started doing TurboJam videos once I had enough energy. Now younger guys ask me out and say, "You look so good for your age!" When they're surprised, I feel awesome!

What She Eats

Breakfast

2 low-carb tortillas with almond butter and sugar-free jelly

Lunch

2 low-carb tortillas with turkey and provolone

Dinner

Sauteed chicken with veggies and a side salad

Snacks

15 almonds and a cup of vegetable soup

Dessert

"Root beer float" with diet root beer and Cool Whip

THEIR TOP TIPS TO GET SWIMSUIT READY

• The 5 Percent Rule: "I try to be 95 percent good and 5 percent of the time I don't worry about my diet," says Campfield. "At a birthday party, have some cake. You can have a smaller dinner to make up for it." For Nina Ellis-Hervey, "Saturday is my cheat day. I may go to a Japanese buffet and get sushi and noodles, but I still work out!"

• Set a timer to eat small meals every two to three hours. "I eat often," says Campfield. "The biggest thing for me is, if I get hungry it's hard for me to make good decisions." To get ready for his PEOPLE photo shoot, Eli Sapharti says, "I was eating every three hours on the dot."

• Buy a bathing suit that fits and flatters. "I wear skirt bottoms," says Heather Fearneyhough. "I can't do a string bikini; it doesn't look like what I want it to." "I wear suits that come up a little higher," says Campfield of her bikini bottoms.

• Don't forget to tan before the beach. "I do have stretch marks," admits Michelle Mohr. "But you just try to hide them with a spray tan!"

'I SNACKED ON BOXES OF STUFFING'

-Michelle Mohr, 27

Was: 210

Now: 110

Height: 5'4"

Hometown: Bradenton, Fla.

Marital Status: Single

Growing up, I was always the fat kid. Lunch would be pizza, fries and nachos. I'd come home from school and eat a box of stuffing that could serve a family of four! Then I'd eat two plates of spaghetti for dinner. I was teased by kids and so embarrassed. I remember sitting on the couch and bawling, "I'm never going to be thin!" But after college I changed my life. I read magazines, watched videos online and tailored my own plan. Now I go to the gym five days a week. Recently I've been more comfortable buying swimsuits and going to the beach in a group. I love having confidence!

What She Eats

Breakfast

2 scrambled egg whites, ½ cup fat-free cottage cheese, an apple, a slice of toast and 9 almonds

Lunch

Salad with chicken, chickpeas, mushrooms, celery and tomato

Snack

String cheese and ½ cup grapes

Dinner

Grilled chicken with zucchini and half a sweet potato

Dessert

Sugar-free fudge pop

'I ATE CEREAL FROM A MIXING BOWL'

-Eli Sapharti, 42

Was: 290

Now: 180

Height: 6 ft.

Hometown: Miami

Marital Status: Divorced

I can't believe how unhealthy I allowed myself to get. After sugary cereal and whole milk for breakfast, I'd have a bagel with cream cheese and chocolate milk. For lunch I'd have a pastry, a sub with extra mayo and a candy bar. On my way home from work I'd stop at a gas station for chips and a soda before my pasta dinner. I'd go through two liters of soda a day. I was prediabetic and had high blood pressure. One day a cute girl at the airport said, "You're handsome for a heavy guy," but all I heard was, "You're fat." That night I set out a plan: I'd walk for 15 minutes and eliminate soft drinks. The first week I lost 2 lbs. That motivated me. Now I work out six days a week and visit sites like ShapeFit.com for tips. I'm definitely not embarrassed to take off my shirt. I don't do it like a Jersey Shore guy, but I don't think twice about it.

What He Eats

Breakfast

Oatmeal with protein powder and blueberries

Snack

Greek yogurt and an apple

Lunch

Grilled chicken with brown rice, black beans and tomato

Snack

Protein bar

Dinner

Lean turkey-breast meatloaf and a baked sweet potato

Dessert

Low-fat chocolate frozen yogurt

'I DIDN'T WANT MEN TO SEE ME EATING'

-Nina Ellis-Hervey, 28

Was: 235

Now: 134

Height: 5'4"

Hometown: Nacogdoches, Texas

Marital Status: Single

I was my heaviest in college. I would always have the best shoes and hair, but I wanted the freedom of wearing a tank top without being ashamed. I'd eat jalapeno poppers at 2 a.m. I snacked on large bags of chips. I hid my eating habits on dates. I would order a salad and later I would make up for it. When I entered grad school to become a psychologist, I knew there was no way I could help other people when I wasn't the way I wanted to be. I read Weight Loss for Dummies and started tracking my meals. And I love trying different workouts. The first time I put on a bikini I was 23; I was afraid, but people were hitting on me! Now I own four, and I feel proud of what I've done.

What She Eats

Breakfast

Oatmeal with honey

Snack

Dried cranberries

Lunch

Tortilla with spinach, baked beans and mozzarella. Low-fat yogurt with pecans

Snack

Green smoothie

Dinner

Tilapia and veggies

Dessert

Two scoops sherbet

HOW THEY STAY MOTIVATED

• Start off slow. "The beginning is always hard. I was afraid to fail, so I told myself I'm not going to set big goals," says Eli Sapharti. "First I'm going to walk 15 minutes. When walking became boring, I'd jog for 30 seconds. It just built and built. Now I'm able to run a half marathon. It was gradual."

• Treat yourself along the way-but not to food! "One big change is that I don't reward myself with food anymore. Now I take trips," says Michelle Mohr. Or: "It was a treat to get new workout clothes-cute tops or little capri pants I'd seen other girls wear that I always wanted to pull off," says Dana Campfield.

• Share the results. "I keep myself accountable by posting pictures on my YouTube account," says Ellis-Hervey, who blogs under the name BeautifulBrwnBabyDol. "I show my audience what I look like after workouts."

'I SNUCK OUT AT NIGHT FOR PANCAKES'

-Heather Fearneyhough, 24

Was: 254

Now: 118

Height: 5'6"

Hometown: Augusta, Ga.

Marital Status: Married

When I got pregnant, I just let myself go. I gained about 80 lbs. with my first son [Caleb, now 5] and 45 with my second [Landon, 3]. I'd send my husband out to get me ice cream at 10 p.m. I'd stay up late, and after my family went to bed I'd go to a restaurant at midnight for cheese fries, pancakes and an omelet. I had no self-control. Once, when we were in the mall, my 1-year-old son took off running. I waddled in a panic trying to catch him. Luckily my husband found him, but I felt so helpless and realized I had to change. I picked up the Eat-Clean Diet book at my grandmother's house in '08. I started doing my mom's old exercise tapes and worked my way up to completing two rounds of P90X. Loose skin is a downside, but the weight loss is worth it.

What She Eats

Breakfast

Wheat toast with natural peanut butter and bananas

Snack

Cottage cheese with raisins and almonds

Lunch

Spinach salad with grilled chicken and half a sweet potato

Snack

Whey protein shake with almond milk and berries

Dinner

Shrimp stir-fry with veggies and brown rice

Dessert

Frozen grapes

  • Contributors:
  • CONTRIBUTORS Catherine Kast/New York City,
  • Thailan Pham/New York City,
  • Suzanne Zuckerman/New York City,
  • Raha Lewis/Los Angeles.