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How This Dad Lost Nearly 100 Lbs. – And Gained a Six-Pack

People logo People 1/31/2018 Michelle Ward Trainor

a group of people that are standing in the water © Jeremiah Peterson/Instagram Jeremiah Peterson decided to get serious about weight loss when a family hiking excursion last summer proved to be too taxing for his then 290-lb. frame.

“I remember being bent over heaving just trying to catch my breath,” the Missoula, Montana-resident tells PEOPLE. “When I looked up, I saw my wife and three kids [10, 8 and 7] easily hiking, talking and laughing with each other — without me. It was a hard-hitting moment.”

He continued: “I felt sadness and shame in that moment thinking how I had let myself get to this, but so much deeper than that. If I continued to live like this, I would not live.”

Prior to losing weight, “a typical day for me was to not eat all day and then get home from work, drink a few beers and eat a big dinner,” says the antique store owner. “Putting my body into starvation mode and then overeating made my body blow up like a balloon, quite literally. I had constant bloating, heartburn and awful stomach issues.”

When I was younger I was always the guy that could maintain a fairly decent body with lifting during the week and then havering a huge cheat meal and drinks on the weekends. As I poured myself more and more into running and building my business I started to slack on my workouts. I found myself needing a beer at night to relax and unwind. Before long it was 2 beers or more.. Now I'm not saying I had a drinking problem. But I will say that those empty calories stick to my 39 year old body in ways that my 30 year old body never had to deal with. Lol...then don't get me started on the treats that linger around a house when you have three kids. The combination of alcohol and sugar are the worst for gaining weight and basically succumbing to the stereotypical Dad bod. I know now that because I have some huge goals for myself and my family that sugar and alcohol truly have to be a very occasional treat. Because after all this transformation has turned into something far bigger than just weight loss or mere aesthetics. My mindset for success has never been so strong. Watching myself and how much my physical body manifests into drive for my business, my family and the goals I have...I know I won't let a short term moment of indulgence interfere with my long term plans for success. 🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥💯💯💯💯💯💯 If you have any questions don't hesitate to ask. ☝️Before pic was take July 25th and after pic was take on December 23rd for a 150 Day Transformation (5 Months) I would love for you to leave a comment on how you thought I did on my #transphormation With @1stphorm 👊🏻👊🏻👊🏻👊🏻👊🏻👊🏻Thank you very much🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥 #iam1stphorm #100to0 #1stphorm #mytransphormationstartstoday #mytransphormation #transphormation #transformforlife #wedothework #weightloss #weightlossjourney #weightlosstransformation #bodytransformation #bodytransformations #diet #mealplan #mealplanning #relentless #goals #lost82pounds #150days

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After finding out he was gluten intolerant, Peterson switched over to a keto-based diet consisting of healthy fats, lean protein and green vegetables. The new nutrition plan and twice-daily hour-long hikes “made the weight start to pour off.”

He also started weight lifting six days a week, focusing on a different body part each day.

Peterson ended up dropping 82 lbs. during the 150-day transformation contest, called the 1st Phorm Transphormation Challenge — and he won the $50,000 grand prize.

Now 198 lbs., Peterson continues to document his journey on Instagram and inspire others.

“I have so much more energy and I feel like I am always in a great mood. I feel like I have become the dad and husband that I really wanted to be,” says Peterson. “I feel like I have drive and ambition like I have never had before in my life — and I’m almost 40!”

Gallery: 17 people who lost 100 pounds — or more — share their secret to success (courtesy INSIDER)

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