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PEOPLE's Expanded 'Half Their Size' Special Issue Is Out Now

Need some fitness inspiration and healthy comfort-food ideas at home? This week PEOPLE releases the 2020 expanded ‘Half Their Size’ issue, filled with stories from real people who changed their lives by changing their habits.

One of the cover stars, Shelli Johnson, 49, a writer from Lake Wylie, South Carolina, recalled that, from a young age, “I didn’t want to deal with my emotions, so I ate. I had bulimia from 13 to age 30. I also tried every diet, but nothing worked.” 

In 2001, at just over 300 lbs., she decided to make a change and learned about intuitive eating. “I finally realized that it’s not about the food, it’s about how you think about the food. Now I look at food as fuel. I eat when I’m hungry and stop when I’m full. I don’t have any off-limits foods — if I want a donut, I have a donut, but I’m usually satisfied after two bites. It’s so freeing.”  And where she once counted calories and calculated how much she needed to work out to burn off the food she ate, Johnson says now, “I think about exercise in terms of stress relief and meditation.” The approach helped her lose 174 lbs. over about two years, and keep it off. 

The changes aren’t limited to diet and exercise. Also inside are real-world tips for reducing stress, from people who have simplified their lives, tamed anxiety or beat insomnia. We also catch up with four people featured in past ‘Half Their Size’ issues, to learn how they maintain healthy habits while confronting new challenges. They weren’t afraid to get honest about re-gaining and fitting fitness into busy lives and changing priorities — pregnancy, parenthood, new jobs and unexpected stresses.

RELATED: Our 2020 ‘Half Their Size’ Cover Stars Got Makeovers!

For Jaime Diggs, 37, life following her 2010 ‘Half Their Size’ appearance was a roller coaster. She got divorced and remarried and in 2012 calamity struck: Her then 7-year-old daughter Alexis was in a serious ATV accident.

“She broke both legs, an arm and her jaw and obviously required a lot of extra care and attention while she was healing,” says Diggs, who “resorted to my old habits of emotional eating and not getting a lot of exercise.” Then, when she found out she was pregnant again in 2013, “it was a good excuse to take it easy and eat whatever I wanted.” By the summer of 2018, she was back up to 265 lbs.

A visit to her primary care doctor was a wake-up call: “They were concerned about my blood pressure, but I knew I’d rather try to lose weight than be put on medication,” she says.

On New Year’s Day 2019, she committed to making a change and went on a hike with her family, something that became a regular habit. A few months later, she discovered a CrossFit in her city of Peoria, Arizona. “It started when I won a raffle for a free month, and soon after that I completed a 10-week nutrition challenge.” Since then she’s lost more than 50 lbs. “Instead of hating my body, I’m learning to appreciate how strong it is and how important it is to fuel it properly,” she says. “Even if I’m not at my ‘ideal weight’ or where I was before, I am making the effort to prioritize my health and fitness again — and it feels amazing!”

For further inspiration, this new ‘Half Their Size’ edition has workouts from our sister publication HEALTH that you can do at home right now with no gym equipment (or just a jump rope), and loads of easy, delicious recipes for breakfast, lunch, dinner and dessert from our genius colleagues at EatingWell magazine.

The ‘Half Their Size’ 2020 expanded edition is available now wherever magazines are sold.

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