From PEOPLE Magazine Click to enlarge
Lost 140 lbs.

Kristin Winter

Lost 137 lbs.

Ashley Donahoo

Lost 126 lbs.

Leah Fernandez

Lost 154 lbs.

Caroline Jhingory

Lost 226 lbs.

Richard Neal

Lost 164 lbs.

Candice McCain

Lost Weight in the Face of Tragedy

Leah Fernandez Was 251 lbs. Now 125 lbs.

Before 251 lbs.

Age: 33 Height: 5'3"

Hometown: Atlanta Occupation: Director of communications

WHAT WENT WRONG

Both times I got pregnant [with Tyler, 7, and Sophia, 4] I gained 40 lbs. and never took it off. Then extra creeped in. When I realized I didn't have the energy for a trip to Disney World, that was my first wake-up call.

OVERCOMING LOSS

Last May my husband, TJ, ran my first 5k with me. His ankle started to give him issues, but he yelled, "Keep going! You can do this!" The next day he died in a motorcycle accident. It took the wind out of me, but the inner strength that emerged from my weight loss helped me cope. Even through my grief, I feel him giving me a fist pump for reaching my goal.

HER LIFE NOW

Being overweight kept me from doing activities with my kids. Now they are more playful with me.

How She Did It

Joined Jenny Craig in March 2011

Started walking for 30 minutes, 4 times a week

"Every time I lost 10 lbs., I treated myself to a movie or outfit."

Craved Tubs of Frosting

Before 276 lbs.

Kristin Winter

Was 276 lbs. Now 136 lbs.

Age: 42 Height: 5'6"

Hometown: Austin, Minn.

Occupation: Buyer for a hospital

HER EMOTIONAL EATING

I was scrawny growing up. But when I was 18, I was raped. I made the connection that if I had been unattractive, it wouldn't have happened, so food became my coping mechanism. I would go through the grocery line like I was about to prepare a cake. Then I would go home, discard the mix and eat the tub of frosting.

HER TURNING POINT

I went boating with my family, and it took my husband, two nephews and my stepdaughter to pull me into the boat. It was humiliating.

HER LIFE NOW

I walk a few times a week. I'd love to learn yoga. Now that I am healthier, nothing is off the table.

How She Did It

Stuck to Medifast meals and snacks for a year

Keeps a list of activities to do instead of eating (like looking at puppy photos!)

Snacked on Two Packages of Hot Dogs

Richard Neal

Was 426 lbs. Now 200 lbs.

Before 426 lbs.

Age: 28 Height 6'2"

Hometown: Portland, Tenn.

Occupation: Fitness coach

LIFE AS THE "FUNNY, FAT" GUY

I was always trying to be the funny, fat guy. But I was dying inside. A snack would be two packages of hot dogs before dinner. I would just eat because I was mad or sad.

HIS TURNING POINT

My scale kept reading "error," so I went to the scrap yard to weigh myself. The manager's face is seared into my brain forever.

HIS LIFE NOW

Before I worked odd jobs. Now I'm a fitness coach. At 426 lbs., I couldn't have kids. To be able to get my son [Brady, 9 months] out of his crib and see his smiling face is astounding.

How He Did It

Worked out to P90X videos for 18 months

Formed a support group of friends who also lost weight

Binged on Doughnuts at Night

Ashley Donahoo

Was 288 lbs. Now 151 lbs.

Before 288 lbs.

Age: 27 Height 5'5"

Hometown: Pace, Fla.

Occupation: Project manager

HER LATE-NIGHT BINGES

I always made healthy meals for my kids [Zachary, 10, and Connor, 5]. But after my husband [David, 29] and I put the boys to bed, we'd binge on doughnuts and chocolate milk. If my sons ever came down while we were eating, we'd hide it from them.

HER LIFE NOW

I run 3 to 5 miles three times a week. I could lose another 15 lbs. to be skinnier, but I didn't do this to be a certain size. I went into this to save my life.

How She Did It

Used livestrong.com to track her calories

Took progress photos to mark milestones for motivation

Shopped in the Men's Department

Caroline Jhingory Was 303 lbs. Now 149 lbs.

Before 303 lbs.

Age: 32 Height: 5'2" Hometown: Washington, D.C.

Occupation: Community specialist

SHE WAS 120 LBS. BY AGE 8

In third grade nurses were in shock, saying, "You weigh 120 lbs.?" My parents put me in a medical weight-loss program, but I found ways to sneak food. I hid candy bars in my room. In the middle of the night, I would raid the fridge and eat food cold because the microwave would wake up my mom.

HER TURNING POINT

I went to college and the girls were gorgeous. It made me more self-conscious. My dermatologist also told me the dark blotches on my skin were an early sign that I was prediabetic. I realized I needed to do something. I started by walking everywhere. I saw results so quickly it kept me motivated!

HER LIFE NOW

The first time I wore a dress was when I was 23. I still have my curves, but I'm proud of them. I've kept the weight off for 10 years, and it's all been worth it.

How She Did It

Committed to an hour of cardio exercises daily

Cut out bread, rice and pasta

Keeps snacks out of the house. "Once I start, I can't stop."

How She Did It

Preplanned dinners out using online menus

Traded recipes with friends on Facebook

Tried new activities like spinning and boot camp

THEY GOT A MAKEOVER!

After a huge transformation, "it's important to get a haircut and color, because small changes can be a big positive," says celebrity hair stylist Rita Hazan, whose team gave our Half Their Size group new looks at her New York salon. The result? "Wow! I didn't know I could look this good!" says McCain.

Feared She Wouldn't Fit in Chairs

Candice McCain

Was 327 lbs. Now 163 lbs.

Before 327 lbs.

Age: 28 Height: 5'8" Hometown: Cumming, Ga. Occupation: Account executive

TOO BIG FOR ACTIVITIES

I was constantly eating. For dinner my husband [Travis, 28] and I would buy a four-pack of steaks, and we would each eat two. I couldn't fit into carnival rides. One time we went to a Braves game, and we had to leave early because the seat actually bruised my thighs.

HER TURNING POINT

In 2008 my doctor told me my blood pressure was high. I was scared. A couple weeks after that, it was Thanksgiving and I was on my fourth plate of food. I was so full, I put down my plate and told Travis, "I'm going to Weight Watchers."

HER LIFE NOW

My legs were always my worst feature, but now I'll wear something above the knee. And Travis has lost 90 lbs. too! Our five-year anniversary is coming up, and we're going to renew our vows. I'd love to get a formfitting dress!