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Ep. 32: Shevi Samet: Does Guilt Have a Role in our Relationship with Food?
Shevi grew up in a home that was very health conscious. Her home wasn’t food restrictive but it was definitely fat-phobic, which turned her into a chronic dieter. Both of her sisters struggled with eating disorders, so she was always surrounded by food consciousness. No matter how much she weighed, she wanted to weigh 15 pounds less. Even at her thinnest, she wanted to be 15 pounds lighter. Shevi was always careful with what she ate and would restrict herself, which slowly spiraled into the eat-binge cycle.
When Shevi had a daughter, she didn’t want her daughter to struggle with food like she had. Shevi recognized that there was something wrong with how she saw guilt and shame regarding her food choices. After discovering intuitive eating, it took her several years to get to a good place. She came across intuitive eating on Instagram, and immediately ordered the book. The fact that they keep updating the book, indicated to her that it’s all based on real science.
With regard to intuitive eating, Shevi doesn’t practice the steps in order. She finds herself going back and forth between the different steps. When your go to for coping is punishing yourself regarding food, even if you believe in intuitive eating, it’s easy to fall back on your old habits. Shevi was the type of person who saved up her cheats and then had to eat all of that food because who knows when you’ll have that food again. When looking at division of responsibility, she said even if not for me, at least for my children I can do this. If I’m letting my kids decide if they want to eat and how much they want to eat, why can’t I do the same for myself? Deep down she always knew it wasn’t normal for someone else to tell her how much to eat and what to eat, which is exactly what a diet is.
When Shevi has a chill day, she likes to eat a good lunch. The other day she was trying to decide what food she was in the mood for. Was it a hamburger, pizza, or Chinese food? She realized that all she wanted in that moment was a light, nutritious lunch and that was a win for her. It wasn’t a win because it was the better choice; it was a win because that’s what her body wanted at that moment. It was an honest, intuitive response. There’s a lot of misconception surrounding intuitive eating. You’re not supposed to sit and eat French fries all day because that also isn’t intuitive. If you do that, you’re not listening to your body either. Giving your body permission to eat what it needs in the moment is what it’s all about. When Shevi used to choose the cookie or the unhealthy meal, afterwards she would view this as a mistake. It isn’t a mistake, but it’s a choice and next time if you feel like it, you can make a different choice. We suffocate ourselves with that rigidity and have to trust ourselves to make good choices.
Guilt and shame are a huge part of dieting. A certain degree of guilt isn’t good for us because we stay stuck in it and are unable to move forward. In Judaism, there is a concept of regret. That moment when you regret what you’ve done, reflect on that and then do teshuvah for what you did is real teshuvah. Not feeling good with yourself, prompts reflection. It’s not bad to feel discomfort; sometimes it can be necessary to give your body information and convey what our next step should be. It’s easy to stay stuck in what feels comfortable, but when things are uncomfortable is when we are truly forced to grow.
When we say Hashem is judging us, do we still have a childhood perception of this? Why can’t we be curious about ourselves as opposed to judgmental? The judgement won’t get us anywhere if it’s harsh and shameful. When Hashem judges us, he already knows what we did. He’s giving us the opportunity to become curious about ourselves and our behavior. This whole Elul is really an opportunity of reflection for ourselves.
When you make a food choice that you regret, you don’t deserve anything less. Judgment demands punishment. When we judge, this demands a punitive response. Try to use a more curious approach and think that you’re worthy. We require more nuance in our education to get rid of that feeling of guilt which is so prominent in the Orthodox community. In earlier times, that social pressure and sense of community worked. We’re outgrowing this and we have so much access to information. Hashem can accept us with all of our mistakes, why can’t we do that for ourselves and for each other?
In today’s episode of Get Intuit with Gila, I have the privilege of speaking with Shevi Samit of @itsalearninglife.
Shevi Samet teaches because she can’t stop learning. An educator for 15 years and a student for even longer, Shevi is a high school and kallah teacher and mentor. Her style is very much reflective of her personality and her understanding of young women both in and out of the classroom; energetic and engaging, focusing on text based concepts which explore fundamental topics specifically relationships and Women in Judaism. While she struggles to maintain her Canadian accent despite years of New York living, the reputable warmth and sincerity of her hometown have remained with her.
Shevi and I explored her relationship with food and her body. We discussed how she came to the concept of Intuitive Eating even before she knew it was an actual thing.
I really wanted to speak to Shevi about her relationship with Judaism. Life isn’t linear. Intuitive Eating isn’t linear. Judaism isn’t linear. It’s not static. We must mature in our Judaism. In our relationship with ourselves. With Hashem.
Maybe Rosh Hashanah isn’t about judgement – maybe its about accounting. Can we neutralize it. I know for me, I work better when I am less scared of judgment and more interested in reflection. Just something to think about!
Want to learn more about Shevi Samet? Make sure to follow her @itsalearninglife on Instagram. Thanks Shevi for sharing your story and role on today’s episode of Get Intuit with Gila!
To see more episodes like this and read the full blog on today’s episode, please visit my website www.gilaglassberg.com.
If you are interested in making peace with food through the principles of Intuitive Eating and the practices of self care, go ahead and schedule a free call via my website. Catch me on Instagram @gila.glassberg.intuitiveRD. You can work with me one on one or sign up to be in one of my intuitive eating online support groups via Zoom.
Have a wonderful day!
Gila Glassberg is a Master's level registered dietitian and a certified Intuitive Eating Counselor. Asa teenager, she was faced with constant ha talk, body shaming and obsessive guilt around food, she smuggled with disordered eating.This is what propelled her into the field of nutrition. She uses a on-diet, weight-neutral approach called Intuitive Eating. She helps growth oriented women break out of chronic dieting, and regain clarity into what is really important to them.
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