updated 08/06/2013 AT 7:00 PM ET
•originally published 08/07/2013 AT 8:00 AM ET
There was a time when Lindsay Kimball and Maria Jarosh wouldn’t have dreamed of putting on a bikini.
Now – after each shed more than 100 lbs. thanks to healthier habits and a healthier attitude towards their bodies – these two women grace the cover of this week’s PEOPLE magazine, showcasing all their hard work in tiny two-pieces.
Kimball, who at 5’7” once tipped the scales at 241 lbs., decided to jumpstart her weight loss after a serious conversation with her longtime boyfriend about her weight.
In college “I gained 70 lbs. in a year,” says the Virginia native, 24. “It got to a point where he needed to say something or I was just going to continue to eat and get heavier and heavier.”
Soon after, she began Jenny Craig and now mixes walking and running for five miles seven days a week. Now 100 lbs. lighter, “I feel a million times better,” she tells PEOPLE.
Jarosh, 22, who has kept off 105 lbs. for five years, is also feeling healthier than ever.
At 240 lbs., Jarosh couldn’t fit into the same sizes as her high school friends so she settled for being the token clothes holder during mall trips. “It was embarrassing,” she says.
By joining Weight Watchers with her mom and exercising four times a week, the 5’9” social work student worked to get the body she always wanted. “I love my stomach now that it has tone to it,” she says. “It makes me think of how far I’ve come.
For more inspiring weight-loss stories, and to learn real weight-loss tricks that worked for our cover girls, pick up the latest issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday