"I had what turned out to be an anxiety attack, which very realistically mimics a heart attack," said Mark Bryant, recalling what got him serious about shedding the pounds. "The cardiologist told me, 'You're not going to live long enough to see your girls get married.'"
At the time, Bryant weighed 442 pounds.
After years of binging on extra-large pizzas and consuming up to 8,000 calories a day, Bryant drastically changed his ways. He began eating lean meats and vegetables and working out five days a week to drop 246 pounds for a dramatic before and after.
"It took about a year and a half before I was to where I am now," said Bryant.
Conner Rensch lost 130 pounds on a diet of non-processed foods and a weightlifting and cardio regimen. Her wake-up call came freshman year of college.
"It was just a personal decision," said Rensch, who used to sneak food into the bathroom so that people wouldn't see her eat. "I'm so happy I did it. It makes dating a lot easier. It makes me confident in my own skin."
You can read all the inspirational stories when the issue hits stands tomorrow.
"The transformations are absolutely insane to see the photos," said People's features director Zoe Ruderman. "Their confidence really shines through."