Jeremiah Peterson was 40 years old while 100 pounds overweight but after realising his problem father-of-three managed to transform his body in just five months.
He first thought 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.”
Immediately after returning home Peterson started researching weight loss options and found a video advertising a transformation challenge. “[It] sealed the deal for me. I signed up knowing I was going to give this challenge every single thing I had,” he says.
Before losing weight, “a typical day for me was not to 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.”
The next crucial thing happened when he found out he was gluten intolerant. Jeremiah had to switch over to a keto-based diet consisting of healthy fats, lean protein and green vegetables.
That was the last point after what his new nutrition plan and twice-daily hour-long hikes “made the weight start to pour off.”
Moreover, he began weightlifting six times a week, trying to hit a different body part each day.
His weight loss journey ended up dropping 82 lbs.
Finally, the 150-day transformation contest, called the 1st Phorm Transformation Challenge came to its end, and he won the $50,000 grand prize.
But Peterson doesn’t want to give up exercising and continues documenting his workouts and results via Instagram at the same time inspiring a lot of people.
“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!”