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Bountiful Women Book Cover

Bountiful Women


On Starting a Support Group or Book Club


Finding another person, or two, or three, with whom you can meet to talk about facing your challenges is often great fun and terrifically meaningful. Let people know who you are, what you need, and ask for their support. A recent study said that if you join one group of people, you increase your life satisfaction more than if you increased your salary by $10,000! Contact with others can make you feel great, or bountiful!

Some Guidelines in Staring a Support Group or Book Club

from the book. . .

"Sue, a fifty-three-year-old wife, mother, and attorney, is the kind of woman who does everything well. Before taking a few years off to be with her children, she had been a partner in her firm, working long hours and receiving accolades and awards throughout her career. She has created a gorgeous home, is beautifully groomed and well-mannered, and has friends, healthy children, and a close relationship with her husband of twenty-seven years. Sue has a quietness about her that pulls you into her life. The words she uses to describe herself are plush, comfortable, round, and womanly.

You might think she has it all. And maybe she does, because she has also been part of a group of women, large and otherwise, who have supported each other emotionally over the years. The group, originally formed in the 1970s to focus on consciousness-raising, has changed, with people coming and going. Regardless, they meet every month.

Sue described the group: "Some months, we have three people there; other months, there have been twenty. Some women have brought their daughters, daughters-in-law, neighbors, or friends. Over the years, I've been thinner and larger. Each person in the group has been different weights, some larger than others. We give each person five minutes to check in about whatever is on their mind, and then after everyone has had a chance to talk, the discussion is open. If all the time is used with check-ins, so be it. If not, the discussions are far reaching. Frequently, some woman is losing weight or gaining weight, which has become a topic of discussion.

"The values around having a positive image of your body, at whatever size, taking care of your health, moving, doing whatever you need to do to be alive, has permeated the group. No one is sure how that attitude emerged, but it has been a source of such constancy and such meaning that my life has been profoundly influenced by these associations, more than any other single factor in my life." Sue feels fortunate that this group has survived all these years. "Yet," she said, "if this group collapsed for whatever reason, I would go about gathering a new one."

Some Questions to Discuss in Your Group


• If you were going to give this book as a gift to someone, what would you say in your card to them?

• If you were going to give this book to someone to help them know who you are, what would you say?

• If you were going to give this book as a gift to someone, and you were not sure how they would receive it, how would you handle that situation?

On Reading the Book

• What did you feel when you saw the book?

• As you began to read the book, what was your mood and what were your thoughts?

• As the book was ending, did you want more? Tell the author!

• When the book was complete, did you want to go and get another copy to send to a friend or two? If yes, how come? If not, why?

The Language Question

• What language do you prefer regarding your body?

• What specifically would you say, or not say, in trying to tell someone who matters to you what words are okay with you to use? What about to people who matter less?

• What language do you use to describe other similarly sized people?

The Challenges

• What are or have been your life challenges, especially ones you attribute to something about your body or weight?

• what things would other people say or do that you would appreciate?

• What approaches would be taboo?

On the Book, Itself

• What story do you remember because, it touched you? inspired your own solution? annoyed you? made your angry? or unhappy? gave you an idea for something to try yourself? do you want to tell someone else? stirred up a memory of your own? or something else?

What Specifically?

• What are the stories from your own life that could have gone into this book? Or, what story should go into the next one?

• What story would you send to your Mother? your daughter? your sister?

On the Secrets

• Did something help you today? yesterday? tomorrow? What? How?

• How will keep reminding yourself about to incorporate that secret into your life?

On the Next Book?

• If you were hungry for another book about bountiful women, what stories would be curious for you? Be sure to send them to the author!

• If you could speak to the author, right now, what would you want her to know?


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Bonnie Bernell

Bountiful Women
Bonnie Bernell

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