Dana Campfield, Eli Sapharti, Heather Fearneyhough, Michelle Mohr and Nina Ellis-Hervey tell PEOPLE their tales

By Catherine Kast
August 20, 2012 08:00 AM
Perry Hagopian

If you need inspiration to step into that swimsuit for the final few of weeks of summer, we’ve got it!

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