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MARIA JAROSH, 22

Lost 105 LBS.!

MYYA MIXON, 33

Lost 101 LBS.!

LINDSAY KIMBALL, 24

Lost 100 LBS.!

DAWN BRYANT, 37

Lost 130 LBS.!

DAWN BRYANT, 37

COOKED a 1 lb. BAG of GNOCCHI FOR LUNCH

I always made excuses. I called myself a "foodie" and said I could never stop eating rich, buttery meals. For lunch I'd eat an entire bag of Gorgonzola gnocchi. At night I'd scarf down fast food on the drive home and throw away the wrappers, so I wouldn't have to take them in the house. I hid how much I ate and felt guilty. In June 2012 I reluctantly went with a friend to meet her personal trainer, and we connected. I needed someone to believe in me because I didn't believe in myself. Now I cook healthy dinners with my husband and train six days a week. I flip tires in the parking lot, and cardio can be hill sprints or boxing. Before I avoided going to the beach like the plague. Now I have four bikinis!

BEFORE 266 lbs.

LOST: 130 lbs.

HEIGHT: 5'6½"

HOMETOWN: Minneapolis

OCCUPATION: Marketing Strategist

Weight-Loss TIPS THAT WORK!

CHANGE YOUR DIET ONE FOOD AT A TIME "My trainer and I would cut out one food a week, so it was never daunting," says Bryant. "The goal was to change my habits versus just losing weight."

YUP, YOU CAN CHEAT "When I didn't have treats, I'd binge," says Jarosh. "Now I have a cheat meal once a week. My favorite is a hamburger in a lettuce wrap and fries."

PICK UP THE DUMBBELLS "Don't be afraid of weights!" says Mixon. "Cardio gives you a smaller version of the body you have. Strength-training redefines and gives you the body you want."

What She Eats

BREAKFAST

Two packets of oatmeal mixed with one scoop of chocolate protein powder, 1 tbsp. powdered peanut butter and 10 strawberries. Plus 1 Americano and hot lemon water

SNACK

10 raw, unsalted almonds

LUNCH

2 hard-boiled eggs; ¾ cup cottage cheese with 8 oz. grape tomatoes; 1 apple with 4 tbsp. powdered peanut butter

SNACK

Homemade juice with apple, lemon, lime and spinach

DINNER

4 oz. grilled chicken with 1 avocado, 1 roasted red bell pepper, 2 tbsp. walnut pesto

LINDSAY KIMBALL, 24

ATE 3,000 CALORIES just for DINNER

I was tiny most of my life. Then in college I didn't know anyone, so food was my comfort. For dinner I could eat two medium pizzas in one sitting, and I gained about 70 lbs. in one year. The turning point was a conversation with my boyfriend Joseph. It got to a point where he needed to say something about my weight because if he didn't, I was just going to get heavier. Finally I pulled it out of him: He expressed how much he loved me but said he wasn't as physically attracted to me. It's what I needed to snap out of it. Within a month I saw a Jenny Craig commercial and said, "I'm doing this!" Now I mix walking and running for five miles seven days a week. Joseph was by my side at my lowest lows, and he's seen me achieve success. We're getting married next June, and I'm the healthiest and happiest version of myself.

BEFORE 241 lbs.

LOST: 100 lbs.

HEIGHT: 5'8"

HOMETOWN: Leesburg, Va.

OCCUPATION: Accounts Receivable Representative

What She Eats

BREAKFAST

Jenny Craig cinnamon roll and a sliced banana

SNACK

Low-fat yogurt with organic granola bar

LUNCH

Turkey roll-ups with lettuce and low-fat cheese spread, a pickle and carrots

SNACK

Jenny Craig kettle corn

DINNER

Spinach and romaine salad with grilled chicken, half an avocado, sliced cucumber, dried cranberries and onions. Plus a side of sweet potatoes

DESSERT

Bowl of sliced watermelon

MARIA JAROSH, 22

COULDN'T FIT IN her SCHOOL DESK

Growing up I was always the bigger girl. I hated being the "clothes holder" for my friends when we went shopping because when I was 13, I was a size 28 and could never try on the same things. In high school I'd get to class early so people wouldn't see me trying to squeeze into my desk. I was so embarrassed. But then I ate two bowls of cereal and two bowls of ice cream with chocolate sauce, peanuts, cookies and whole milk poured over it to make me feel better before bed. My mom joined Weight Watchers when I was 15, and I decided to give it a try. I lost the weight by 2008 and have kept it off ever since. I love my stomach now that it has tone to it. And I love buying bikinis. There is still that anxiety about putting one on, but when I find one that fits, I feel unstoppable!

BEFORE 240 lbs.

LOST: 105 lbs.

HEIGHT: 5'9"

HOMETOWN: Pittsburgh

OCCUPATION: Social Work Student

What She Eats

BREAKFAST

Whole-wheat English muffin with natural peanut butter, sugar-free jelly plus pineapple

LUNCH

Homemade pizza made with a whole-wheat tortilla, light tomato sauce, chicken, veggies and fat-free mozzarella

SNACK

Greek yogurt with ½ oz. of cocoa- dusted almonds

DINNER

Shrimp stir-fry with brown rice, peppers and broccoli

SNACK

1 cup whole-grain cereal with 1 cup almond milk

MYYA MIXON, 33

MADE BANANA and MAYO SANDWICHES

I didn't have any limitations when it came to food. At lunch I would have a banana with mayo sandwich, and a little later I'd have three bags of chips. My motto was, "If it doesn't fit, I'll just get a bigger size." After I had my son [Chase, 9], I hit 216 lbs. Then in '05 a guy said on a date, "I don't mean any disrespect, but you're too cute to carry all that weight." I bought 25 low-cal frozen entrées to start my diet. Within eight weeks I lost 22 lbs., and I was hooked. Two years ago I decided to try fitness competitions. Now my weight fluctuates 15 lbs. because it's unrealistic for me to stay at 12 percent body fat. When I first started working out, I could only do five minutes on the elliptical. Now I walk around the gym looking like an action figure.

BEFORE 216 lbs.

LOST: 101 lbs.

HEIGHT: 5'3"

HOMETOWN: Douglasville, Ga.

OCCUPATION: Instructional Coach

How THEY STAY MOTIVATED

LIMIT WEIGH-INS "A bad day on the scale could make me not want to work out. So I weigh myself once a week," says Mixon.

DON'T BEAT YOURSELF UP "There would be times I would cry after I only got three workouts in during a week. My consultant and dad would say, 'That's three more than when you started.' They looked at the positive," says Kimball.

FIND A BUDDY "Without my mom's support, it would have been a lot harder," says Jarosh, whose mom, Lisa, lost 30 lbs. "We had fun looking for new recipes and planning meals together."

What She Eats

BREAKFAST

½ cup old-fashioned oatmeal and ½ cup scrambled egg whites

SNACK

1 protein shake

LUNCH

4 to 5 oz. of chicken or ground turkey with 2 cups of raw vegetables and ¼ cup of brown rice

DINNER

4 to 5 oz. of tilapia, 2 cups of vegetables cooked with 1 tbsp. olive oil and ¼ cup of brown rice

If you have lost 100 lbs. or more, share your story with PEOPLE at halftheirsize@peoplemag.com