Reading Group Guide

    Questions and Topics for Discussion about Life Doesn't Begin 5 Pounds from Now

    1. How do you speak about your body around your family? How do you think it makes them feel? What kind of advice does the author give to you regarding talking and dealing with family members about weight/body issues?
    2. The author talks about different ways to incorporate the people in your life and to make them an active part of your life plan. Have you ever gone on a diet with a family member? What was the experience like?
    3. Think back to a time in your life when you had a major life accomplishment that was weight related. How can you use this accomplishment to attain further goals?
    4. Review the "ten typical responses" box on pp. 32 -- 33 in Chapter 2. How do you usually respond to the question, "Do I look fat in this?" Practice the transitions on pp.34 -- 35. What are ways in which you can put these transitions into action?
    5. What has the author said about today's media? How has it affected the overall culture of self-esteem?
    6. How do you think women can navigate through all of the conflicting messages that they get from the media? Should they go on a "media diet"? What other tools or techniques can they use be a part of pop culture but not brainwashed by pop culture?
    7. What is your initial reaction to the word fat? What are ways in which you can improve on your notions of the word, and how can you help people understand what kind of word it is?
    8. In the book, Jessica talks about being an actionist. What has she done to classify herself as one? What are some things you can do to become an actionist?
    9. Try to think of a moment when you were really down and out. Who did you turn to when you needed to talk about weight or self-esteem issues? How did this person make you feel? Better or worse? What are some things that could have been said to make the overall situation better?
    10. Discuss with a friend the small and big actions on pp.196 -- 197. Work together to come up with five more of each.
    11. What's the most important lesson you've learned about yourself while reading Life Doesn't Begin 5 Pounds From Now? How will you become more active in your life to take control of what you want? How has your view of "fat" changed? What are some ideas you will pass along to others?

About the Author

Jessica Weiner
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Jessica Weiner

Considered this generation’s “go-to authority” on women, girls, and confidence, Jess Weiner believes that if we want to change the culture, we have to work together with the media makers, marketers, and influencers who create the messaging. She is a social entrepreneur and the CEO of Talk to Jess, a consulting and strategy firm that advises brands about the issues facing today’s women and girls. Jess has over twenty years of experience working in the field as a speaker, writer, and educator. She’s authored two bestselling books and has proudly served as the Global Self-Esteem Ambassador for Dove for almost a decade. Currently, she’s an adjunct professor at USC’s Annenberg School of Journalism teaching personal branding and entrepreneurship. Jess was recently named by Forbes as one of the “14 Power Women to Follow” on Twitter. Learn more at