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Secret Signals two-day seminar to focus on ‘Food, Stress and Weight Management’

By Staff | Jan 28, 2009

When it was publicized that the second Secret Signals seminar by Gini Jones and Holly Maiz was to be exploring “Food, Stress and Weight Management” on Feb. 7 and 8, they were asked which diet they favored. A follow-up question was often either “Am I too overweight to attend?” or “Is it just for overweight people who are on a diet?” To them, the answer to all these questions is easy.

Their answers, while different, always come back to the same point. It’s not about diet – it’s really not even about weight. It’s about attention and consciousness and re-inhabiting our bodies.

Jones puts it this way: “We spend so much of each day somewhere else – in the TV, in the news, in the football game, in the stock market – driving but not remembering the moments we actually spent getting there.”

“Our lack of relationship with our bodily selves can create problems in all areas of our lives,” added Maiz. “Our current culture promotes treating the body as object. Developing a relationship with the body, re-aquainting ourselves with the language of sensation and movement is the ticket – not applying one more diet/program/over-the-counter pill.”

Both agree that then when people just don’t “feel right,” they seek something to change that situation, often food.

The goal of the Secret Signals seminars is to explore how living in and with ourselves – paying attention to our sensations and our emotions and our thoughts can tune us in to what we really need. Instead of looking outside for a way to dampen that experience with – let’s say ice cream or chips or wine or TV – we can use our re-learned knowledge to nurture ourselves in other kinder ways. When you become really aware to what you are doing both inside and outside, it is amazing how all the situations are part of a whole. The food, the anxiety, the anger or sadness, the difficulty sleeping, the blood pressure – so many can be a part of the same issue.

Maiz’s background as a dancer and as a bodymind therapist prepares her to lead the group in experiences that explore somatic awareness. Jones’ background in biology and her training as a clinical psychologist brings her back to the autonomic nervous system, the system in the body that prepares us to “fight or flee.” Talking with them often ends in laughter as they finish each other’s sentences and as they both say, “The single most important intervention is re-learning to breathe.”

Beyond that, they both know from their own lives how difficult it is to change long ingrained habits. But just making small changes can bring huge benefits. Their goal is to provide both the conscious understanding and the experience during the time the group will be together.

To join them at the Sanibel Fitness Center for this seminar, either stop by the center at 975 Rabbit Road, e-mail them at SecretSignals@yahoo.com or call Holly Maiz at 898-1047 or Gini Jones at 699-4545. The seminar will take place on Saturday, Feb. 7 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sunday, Feb. 8 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Fitness Center. There will be a follow-up session on Sunday, Feb. 15 from 4:30 to 6 p.m. The cost for the seminar and follow-up session is $145.

Future workshops will include topics such as fear, anxiety and panic, grief, joy, optimal aging, gender specific issues, spirituality and biology, sleep and relationships. If you’d like information on further activities or to receive articles that Holly and Gini find interesting, e-mail them at SecretSignals@yahoo.com.