Devoting an Entire Post to That Question


There is one question that I get over and over, asked in different words, but always the same question. Yesterday, it got asked twice.

I have to ask — what’s your secret? Is it the milking of Clover that burns the calories? Looking at these recipes, one would think you’d be about 300 pounds, yet you’re very fit. Do share.

I seriously want to know how you stay so fit eating all these scrumpsous looking dishes. Is it really the farm work? Do you do it for the kids? Can you actually practice portion control? Most of your yummy looking recipes have such dangerous ingredients for the likes of me. I wish I could try all your recipes but quite frankly I do a search on to see if I can find any equivalent recipes to those showcased on your site.
Sad, sad, me.

First, I want to say thank you for actually thinking I’m fit. I don’t think I’m very fit. I used to walk four miles a day (back when I lived at the old farmhouse) but I’ve never gotten into the habit of doing that here. I can’t figure out how to squeeze that hour into my day that I used to spend walking at the old farmhouse. I’m too busy with the farm. But I want to–I miss the walking and the good feeling it gave me, so one of my goals is to get back to that.

I’ve posted this picture before, but there are only a handful of pictures that have been taken of me in the past year. I am always the one with the camera.

This picture was taken last December. I still wear these same jeans and in fact that same t-shirt. The only difference is that Clover has eaten a hole in it now. I still wear those same boots, too, by the way. Obviously, I buy new clothes about as often people take pictures of me.

I’m just your average chick. I’ve had three kids, and I look like I’ve had three kids. I breastfed each one for over a year each and I look like that, too. I don’t mind. In fact, I like it–I’m a mother and I’m proud of that. I think I look better than I’ve ever looked, and that’s not a conceit thing–I’m no Paris Hilton, LOL. I’m just satisfied with myself. I’m 44 years old and I like how I look. I don’t really care what anyone else thinks about how I look. I hardly ever wear makeup or get out of jeans and t-shirts/sweatshirts. And, most importantly, I don’t have a scale.

I just checked my driver’s license and it says I weigh 130 pounds. I’m pretty sure that is a DMV lie. I haven’t had a scale in years, so clearly I made that up. I bet I weigh ten pounds more than that. Or not. I have no idea. And I don’t care. I wear size 11 jeans, I know that. So, I’m no skinny size 0. I eat food that I like. I like bread and pie and cookies and candy!!!! Life is short. Eat more pie. I eat when I feel like it, which means sometimes I skip meals and sometimes I graze lightly all day. I eat a lot of vegetables and fruit and healthy stuff in between pie and cookies. If I have pie around, I eat one piece a day. Not that I’m really counting, just that I don’t feel the need for more than that. I have three children, two of whom are six-foot-tall teenage boys, so food doesn’t exactly sit around here. Sometimes I’m lucky just to get some. I should probably just pay homage to my parents, whose genes I inherited, because most likely I have good metabolism and can take no credit for it.

But–I also want to point out that with my recipes you can substitute lower fat ingredients. Use margerine when I say butter. Use skim milk or low-fat milk when I say milk. Use low-fat or fat-free sour cream when I say sour cream. Etc. These substitutions will not effect the outcome in almost any recipe. I also want to say that I love bread and I don’t buy into this no-carb stuff. Bread is good. It’s what you put on bread that makes it fattening. Bread by itself is no evil. Bread is a wonderful thing. Life is short. Eat more bread.

I am no diet guru, so I won’t address that, but I do think attitude about food and weight and self-image is really important. However you look, whatever you weigh, you are beautiful. Food is one of life’s greatest pleasures, and your attitude toward food is important. Food is a delight, a gift, a song. I love food. I also love my body and love how I look, and I think, in most cases, it’s more valuable to focus on feeling good about yourself and your self-image than to focus on food. Feeling good about yourself naturally translates to a good relationship with food. Again, I’m no diet guru, so this is a very simplistic and naturalistic perspective, intended not to solve the world’s weight loss questions but only and specifically to answer the question–how do *I* stay fit.

And so this is the long way around to the answer of–I don’t try to stay fit, I just try to feel good about myself. That works pretty good for me. And, I hope this opens up some good discussion. How do you feel about your body image? Before you answer that question, here’s your starting point–you are beautiful.

Deal with it. 🙂


  1. Heidi says:

    You one svelt country girl my friend!!! LOL I love that word – Svelt!!!

  2. maddie says:

    Fabulous post, Suzanne. You are so right. Weight and self-image is something I’ve struggled with all my life. Probably because my mother “put me on a diet” when I was 5. I remember her always saying I was chubby and I needed to “go on a diet.” I finally asked her what a diet was and she said, “when you eat less to get skinny.” So, I started not eating and finally, when she asked me why I wasn’t eating, she said, “Oh! I didn’t really mean that. Eat that apple!” Well, she probably shouldn’t have told me to just eat that apple because I don’t think I stopped. Talk about mixed messages about food. She didn’t realize what she was doing but since that time, I’ve had this love/hate relationship with food — that is, until the past couple of years. I know cook like crazy and don’t feel guilty about it. I watch the food network nearly 24/7. I love food! And well, I’m 52 so hey, I’ve worried about food for way too long. I’m done with it. I’m just trying to be healthy and happy with myself. Besides, you are right, food is a gift and we shouldn’t fear it, we should embrace it.

    Well, I did NOT intend to rattle on. I suppose I could write a book about food and emotional connections, LOL. Hmmmm….

    Thanks for your post. You are right on!

  3. Lisa L says:

    What a beautiful post. I’m considered “obese”, although I feel pretty good about myself. I have a lot of medical issues and losing weight might help. And I try a lot. But I don’t want to beat myself up. I was anorexic when I was 12, so I’ve had issues my whole life. I was average weight until I got diabetes and thyroid and then I ballooned up. Hopefully one day. Thank you for being you ….. and feeling good about it. Lisa L.

  4. Becky says:

    My metabolism has left and I miss it.
    They say stress causes weight gain. I believe them.
    I weighed 115 lbs. for many years. Had a kid after 30 and work full-time. There’s no time for me.

  5. wkf says:

    Great Post.

  6. Lauri says:

    Isn’t your license supposed to show your “goal weight”?

  7. MARY says:

    :butterfly: I feel good about my body, partly because I don’t know how much I weigh!! LOL!! No scale in my house!! All I know is, I am 44, and can usually run circles around most 20 year olds. I also have an eight year old, which leads me to places like batting cages, horseback riding, walking through parks, playing catch, or kicking around a soccer ball. It is fun and healthy. I don’t care what other people think about my weight, but I have jeans in sizes ranging from 8-12! If I gain, I’m always prepared! I love fattening, buttery good food, and also like to cook. Good food improves your quality of life, so even if I am broke, I will still eat well! Hey, egg sandwiches are good, aren’t they?? Have a great day! :hungry:

  8. ML says:

    Great Post!!! Kudos to you Suzanne!! :hellokitty:

  9. Robin G. says:

    I agree with everything you’ve said, in principle — but I think it might be easier to hold to those beliefs when you’ve got high metabolism 😉

  10. Janelle says:

    Oh sure, brag about your hot body. lol. I think it’s great that you are comfortable with yourself, and I too wear the same clothes for years. When I stretch my jeans out, it’s cheaper to have them taken in then to buy a new pair that I have to break-in all over again.

    I’ve slowly moved away from makeup and that’s mainly due to my husband who likes it that way. I would be more into my looks but he seems to like me less dressed (that sounds… oh, you and your dirty mind!).

    Can’t wait to read more…

  11. beth says:

    Great post. I esp. like the part about breastfeeding 3 kids. Gravity takes it toll! 🙂

    I don’t mind looking like a mom of 4. I just want to do it in a healthy way. Don’t need to look perfect. Just need to feel good and healthy. The trick is that I need to love myself while I’m on the journey and not wait till I get there.

  12. Stephanie says:

    Good for you!! I’ll be 51 this month and feel better about myself every year. It’s such a wonderful feeling to be comfortable in your own skin… I’m trying very hard to instill that in my 10 year old daughter so she doesn’t have to wait until she’s older to feel this way. :purr:

  13. Abiga/karen says:

    I could say I am happy the way I am but I am not. After being slim all my life the big M hit me – menopause. Since then my metabolism changed and I have gained unneeded weight. I am not huge but just uncomfortable. Stress and no time caused me to not exercise the previous year while working so now I am trying to get back into shape; trying to eat right but we cannot afford lots of veggies and fruit now that the garden is dead; trying to walk or exercise each day; and trying to accept the new ol’ lady me with a tummy. Blessings.

  14. Judi In PA says:

    Minutes ago, I just found your blog and I LOVE IT! My comment has nothing to do with weight, although I do, however adhere to your same philosophy and I agree wholeheartedly with your comments. What has struck me the most is your life in West Virginia. We have been looking for a farm in West Virginia for about 5-6 years now. Gees, has it been that long? I have felt the same way about West Virginia since I began visiting WV in my youth. Although, we currently are the 4th generation farmers on our family homestead in PA, we are being gobbled up by developments and the suburbia world that you write about. It’s not the same world as to which I was raised in…they no longer call my neck of the woods, “the sticks” anymore and that’s sad. Of all the many places that I have visited in my life, West Virginia is the place I would most like to call home. I would love to say I am from “the sticks” of WV! Do you know of any farms for sale?…Seriously.

  15. Cece says:

    What an awesome post!! You are definitely what I needed this morning, a great pep talk. Thanks!!!


  16. Becky says:

    I enjoy your blog very much, and this post is very effective. Self image is basic to one’s esteem and, consequently, many struggles one has to deal with in our society. I have always been small, but in my late 40’s, I started gaining. Age and metabolism, I suppose. I am very active, and eat in a healthy and balanced manner, so have been very frustrated that my 53 body didn’t respond in a 25 year old way. I am still not large to anyone else…it’s mostly in my head…

  17. Nancy in Atlanta says:

    It’s a wonderful post, but I’ve teared up a bit – it just hits so close to home. Lisa L said it for me – I don’t like the word “ob***” so I won’t use it. But her message is mine, except for the anorexic part – I was more like Maddie! But I always stayed active and when the weight really crawled on, I started walking and then got into hiking. Did pretty well until the last 5 years. So yes, food is a problem, but thanks to you I’m going to try to concentrate on what I like about myself. Part of that is having raised an awesome photographer daughter! And BTW, I love today’s farm photo – what a joy to have that view. :catmeow:

  18. Leah says:

    Yes,the DMV lies. Over the years, I’d add a little wt in my driver’s license, but my wt is way over that! Now, why would I do a thing like that? Just do’nt want to comitt to a higher wt, I guess!Plus, the pic on my drivers license looks nothing like me, I hope!I too eat what I want. If my wt starts to scare me, I do the low carb-high protien thing until I reach a more desirable wt, the pounds do not go back on quick when I stop. Do’nt need to be told I look good, cause I always think I look better than I do! HA! Enjoyed this post!

  19. Heather says:

    Struggled for years with a bad attitude towards food. I baked a lot and ate everything I made. About 5 years ago my attitude changed. I stopped thinking of food as evil. I eat healthy (real not fake) foods and enjoy what I eat when I eat but do the same as you–I don’t eat everything under the sun just because I eat when I am hungry (though due to rheumatoid I have to avoid certain foods completely and keep others to a minimum, including high sugar foods). I think part of the key is to really enjoy life and the foods that go with it without worrying all the time (I have no CLUE how much I weigh though I am 5’3″ and wear size 8-10 jeans, have 3 kids which I breast fed and my hips are definitely broadening.:)) I also discovered that I need LOTS of sunlight to not put on weight in the winter.

  20. Jodie says:

    I was a skinny kid until college. It’s been weight gain since then. I’ve turned into my mother, not my choice.

  21. jmorford says:

    Wonderful post! You have such a great perspective.

  22. cgReno says:

    Wonderful post, you said it beautifully. I am a yo-yo with a 20 pound variance. I am a 60 year old woman and sometimes I am a size 10, sometimes a 14. What i can say, is that my feelings about ME are much more positive when the size 10 jeans fit and today, size 10 is a great fit.

  23. Kim W says:

    EXCELLENTLY SAID!! Bravo. I grew up in the fashion industry and it is such a fake, and in many ways sad, place to be. Time is NOT the friend of anyone in fashion. I, too, feel better with a little age on me…and a comfy pair of Burkenstocks! I have had 3 kids and I am NOT the size 6 I was when we married ANYMORE…BUT…I am HAPPY! :snoopy: As a matter of fact, I recenty posted about my modeling days on my blog ( I’m positive that those who know me now can’t believe that was me. lol :shocked:

    Blessings from Ohio…

  24. warren says:

    I am a guy so I don’t know if I am allowed to chime in on this, but good for you! I hate to hear people constantly complain about being this or that. I agree with you, if the people in your life like how you are (and really, screw them if they don’t!), that’s all that should matter. My wife and I have come to the agreement that neither of us are Mr/Mrs Universe and don’t want to be…and we’re mostly happy with how we are. If we get unhappy with ouward appearance, we both know what to do to change ourselves. We basically have quit most watching tv and reading tabloids and we are more happy for it…I think we stopped trying to be like the stars. Anyhow, good post!

  25. Alison says:

    Yay for guys chiming in!!

    I, however, am not a guy, I am a genetically slender mom like Suzanne. I’m also not overly in shape, despite having always had a figure my friends and acquaintances have envied.

    And, to be honest, living with that envy has kinda sucked. I’m no model, and never will be. I’m a size 12, not a size 2. I’ve had body issues, too, and some friends have implied they are less legitimate than their own.

    We are all subject to the idealized, unrealistic expectations of our culture, even the genetically skinny. We all need to learn to love ourselves exactly as we are and exactly as we aren’t.

  26. Nyssa says:

    I have always had body issues. But most recently, I’ve learned to accept ME and you know what I’m having a better time of looking in the mirror.

  27. Susan says:

    Suzanne, your post is absolutely wonderful! I weigh more then I would like to but that is due to medical problems beyond my control. I accept the way I look and am happy just to be alive! :shimmy:

  28. Estella says:

    I am 66 years old and at least 10 lbs overweight. I’ve gotten to the point where I don’t care if I’m overweight. You can only diet so much—-and lose so much. Nothing works anymore—so the heck with it!
    Suzanne, I think you look great! The country air certainly agrees with you.

  29. Brandy says:

    I am not happy with my body size, but I know that I am healthy. I exercise and I eat healthy. My nasty thyroid is playing a part in all this mess for me this year and I’m trying to adjust. Thanks for this post.

  30. Donna says:

    Very good article!!! My mother used to always say “everything in moderation”. That is why I don’t believe in diets. I would see too many people go on them, to get off them and focus MORE on food and continue the same viscious circle. I believe in Healthy Eating. I was thin all my life and as I got older picked up some pounds…but that is why I mentioned “Weigh Down” on the forum – it is NOT A DIET – it is a way of eating in moderation/balance. So, when I need to drop some, I go back to eating in moderation.
    I mean face it, the moment we decide to leave out something – it’s the VERY thing we crave and feel deprived of!!!!!
    I too think people need to take the focus OFF food and focus on thier lives – what makes them feel fulfilled and happy and liking themselves!
    Keep moving, enjoy food in moderation, keep the focus on life….
    I enjoyed your comments and agree.

  31. catslady says:

    I was around the same weight for all of my 30’s and 40’s but menopause is a b#tch. I seem to be adding a little faster now and I wouldn’t care except I don’t want to have to go out and buy more pants lol.I’m still smaller than a lot my age so I’m not complaining (too much).

  32. Syndee says:

    I weigh a lot more than I should and I’m not brave enough to tell you my size or my weight. I struggle with self image all the time. I do have a supportive husband and kids that tell me that I’m not f**. I have a scale but don’t ever stand on it. I eat pretty much what I want and don’t feel guilty about it anymore. I just need to learn how to love my body the way it is. I love this post because it encourages people to fell good about themselves no matter what. Thanks!

  33. Naomi says:

    :cattail: Hello Suzanne,
    I was playing on the computer this PM and found you blog
    What I read was about the B&B Lady in Montana~
    Her blog is such a FARCE!
    Email me if you’d like an update on some of the details

  34. Carolyn A. says:

    Thank you Suzanne, for saying that I am beautiful. That really made my day! I am struggling with weight because of diabetes, but I have been keeping it in control for 4 years now. Very proud of myself for that. I am just waiting to retire to get rid of the daily stress of work though. 6 more years and I will be free to do what I want to do. Can’t wait! This was the best post I could have read today. You have the gift of words and you use them very well. Bless you girl! xxoo

  35. tisch says:

    if you moved your bodies more and mouths less… weight’s a non-issue… also best diet in the world.. push yourself away from the table

  36. Patty says:

    Thank you Suzanne. This was really something I needed to hear. :hug:

  37. Sunnid755 says:

    well, I did go on and buy 3 of your books, so maybe a little will trickle in from that. Good luck with the job, how bout a local newspaper or library?

  38. Sheryl says:

    I think it’s that “time” ting. You’re busy every minute of the day, as am I. It’s the constant exercise that keeps your metabolism high and the weight off. Constant movement is the key. You can eat whatever you want, within reason, if you are just going to burn it off.

    There’s no secret to being thin. Burn more calories than you eat. Walk everywhere you go. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Stay busy, move constantly, never actually sit for 5 mins anywhere. KEEP THAT TV off! Imagine all you could accomplish in a day if you never sat down, and don’t even think about buying candy. Nobody who is the least bit thin ever eats candy…

    If you can’t do anything else and have no real outdoor work to do and no place to welk to, at least walk down the street once every day for 30 mins. Go slow, you’ll pick up speed as you get used to it. When it’s so easy you can run the 30 mins, do it twice a day. It has to be a priority. It really is more important that just about anything else you have to do and you will have MORE energy by walking.
    If your physical limitations keep you from walking 30 mins, just go really, really slow, use a cane or a walker, but get out there and WALK! Speed is not the issue here. Any speed for 30 mins is fine, even if you have to stop after every 5 mins to catch your breath. It will get easier and faster with time and practice.

    If you can think of an actual place to walk to every day, that’s even better. If you need outdoor work to do, please visit me. I have all the outdoor work anyone could possibly want. I once met an overweight woman who drove to the mall one small city block away, sidewalks and all. I just couldn’t believe it! She actually got in the car and drove to the next block!

    I knew someone once who lost 150 pounds. When I asked her how she did it, she said she “walked it off.” It really does work.

  39. Jennifer says:

    Wonderful! I wish we lived closer, I’d love to bake bread with you and hang out :fairy:

  40. Corinne Batist says:

    I agree wholeheartedly except for the margarine part. It’s not real food and use butter or nothing. If you are trying to cut down on calories then cut down on the amount and savor every calorie!!

  41. JOJO says:

    Thank you Suzanne. I have had brest cancer, and been through so many reconstructions to make myself look normal, I finally gave up, and got on with it. I am way past menopause, so I have that nice thick middle that somes with it.Used to have a 23 inch waist) I have days were I am very unhappy with my self, and other days, just happy to be here. I think everyone has those days, I try to keep busy and always have some project to do, I never get bored, just tired. I think you reach a place in life when you get older that you have to accept how you look, things can always be worse. If you doubt that–go to a large store and look around. I dont know how much I weigh, probably more than I should, I beat myself up for so long about weight and looks–who cares!!?? I am what I am, like me or dont. My Hubby and my dog loves me and that is all that I care about.

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