Four women reveal in this week’s issue of PEOPLE how they shed a total of 436 lbs. without surgery and without gimmicks by dropping their bad habits and gaining self confidence.

Plus: What they really eat now and weight loss tips that work!

Dawn Bryant, 37 (of Minneapolis) dropped her lunch habit of eating an entire one pound bag of Gorgonzola gnocchi, lost 130 lbs., and now trains six days a week. “I always made excuses,” she tells PEOPLE. “I called myself a ‘foodie’ and said I could never stop eating rich, buttery meals....Now, I cook healthy dinners with my husband and...flip tires in the parking lot.” She adds, “Before I avoided going to the beach like the plague. Now I have four bikinis!”

Maria Jarosh, 22 (of Pittsburgh) turned to Weight Watchers after not being able to fit in her high school desk and reveals that she now feels “unstoppable” in bikinis. “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,” she tells PEOPLE. “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.”

Myya Mixon, 33 (of Douglasville, Georgia) ditched her banana and mayo sandwiches and decided to try fitness competitions. “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’,” she tells PEOPLE. “I bought 25 low-cal frozen entrees 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 I walk around the gym looking like an action figure.”

Lindsay Kimball, 24 (of Leesburg, Virginia) reveals that after gaining about 70 lbs. in one year, tried Jenny Craig, and now mixes walking and running for five miles seven days a week. “The turning point was a conversation with my boyfriend Joseph,” she tells PEOPLE. “It got to the point where he needed to say something about my weight because if he didn’t, I was just going to get heavier...We’re getting married next June, and I’m the healthiest and happiest version of myself.”

More weight-loss secrets are featured in the 8/19/13 issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands now.

*Also In This Week’s ‘People’*
Simon Cowell’s Baby Drama Crisis: “Simon Is Not Thinking Of Marrying Lauren”
Cleveland Victim Michelle Knight: Life Is Tough, But I’m Tougher”
Real Housewives Stars Teresa & Joe: “The Giudices Lied; That’s Reality”
Madeleine Mccann Could Still Be Alive: “They Are Starting To Fill In Bits Of The Missing Jigsaw”