PEOPLE's Summer Slimdown Special is on newsstands now, and it features five real people who've mustered the strength and willpower to embark on unique, life-changing weight-loss journeys.
Heather Fearneyhough, 24, from Lexington, S.C., lost 136 lbs. after struggling with late-night binges and downing extra-large sodas.
"One of the best compliments I received since I lost weight was that my husband told me I was 'fun sized,' " Fearneyhough says. "That was awesome!"
Michelle Mohr, 27, of Florida, was admittedly "super, super strict" about her diet when she decided to lose weight after years of "feeling invisible" in her group of "normal-sized" friends. She's now 110 lbs., and has never been more confident.
"I never thought I would look like this in a bikini!" she says.
For more tips and the other inspiring weight-loss role models photographed above and in the video below, pick up the new issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands now