CLARION, Pennsylvania (CNN) -- She was never really skinny or terribly overweight.
Lynn Bering weighed 296 pounds and wore a size 30 in 2004. She now weighs 129 pounds and wears a size 4.
But Lynn Bering knew something wasn't right when she realized she'd gained more than 100 pounds in just four years.
Doctors blamed a sluggish thyroid but Bering said that was only part of the problem. She also admitted to bad eating habits, which included a lot of carbohydrates.
Wearing a size 30/32 and weighing nearly 300 pounds, Bering said it became difficult to move around and she felt tired and run down.
Even though her husband and family were supportive, Bering said she often passed on social events and work assignments out of embarrassment.
"I was the features editor at the local newspaper [and] getting increasingly uncomfortable with how I looked," Bering recalled. "I was increasingly giving up stories to interns so I didn't have to be out in public as much."
So, when a local antiques store went up for sale, Bering jumped at the chance to switch careers, but for the wrong reasons.
"I had no self-esteem. I was still me inside. I just didn't like how I looked," Bering admitted.
Ashamed of her looks, the store acted as a fortress for Bering, who said she became a hermit for nearly four years. The weight also was starting to take a physical toll.
"My antique store had 19 stairs and they were hard to climb. ... I would be out of breath," Bering said. "I thought, 'What if I got sick? How would they get me down those stairs?' "
Even though doctors told Bering the weight wasn't good for her health, it was the stairs that helped motivate her to change.
"I was 296 pounds at my highest weight and I'd had enough," Bering said. "I was tired of being fat, tired of not taking care of myself."
In February 2005, Bering was finally ready to do something about it. Never one to join a club or like big crowds, she decided to join Weight Watchers online. She also started walking at the track at a local university. At first, she walked a mile and then a mile and a half, two miles and eventually she completed a 5K in 38 minutes. Get Lynn Bering's weight loss tips
But Bering said the one thing that's helped her most is her blog.
Writing down her thoughts and feelings about why she ate helped Bering do the inner work, which she believes is necessary before anyone can do the outer work and lose the weight for good. Watch Lynn Bering talk about her weight loss »
"Gaining weight has as much to do with emotional well-being than physical," Bering said. "You don't just get to 200 pounds because you're eating bad food. You're eating bad food for a reason."
Initially, she started "Lynn's Weight Loss Journey" to keep herself accountable and update her sister and friend on how she was doing. It wasn't until she started receiving comments from people she didn't know -- thanking her for sharing her story -- that Bering began to realize she might empower others.
As she blogged, the pounds melted off.
Today, Bering, who's 5 feet 5 inches tall, has dropped 13 dress sizes and weighs about 129 pounds. She eats a mostly vegetarian diet, works out five days a week and maintains her weight loss through a network of friends she's met online via the Weight Watchers discussion boards.
"Being thin makes me feel good physically. ... I can move around, lift my granddaughter," she said. "I like the way I look and the way exercise has shaped my body."
Even her husband, Larry, who's one of her biggest supporters, has lost 25 pounds and kept it off for three years.
Bering said the weight loss has taught her to respect her body and live in the moment. She's traded in the antique shop for freelance writing and spends more time with her family and a wider circle of friends.
"I can love and appreciate that woman who [was] 300 pounds but I don't want to go back there," Bering said.
"It's taken a lot of work to get where I am, but I love that feeling."
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