Reclaim the Rebel
I am thrilled to welcome Nutrition and Wellness Coach AND author Lizzy Cangro! She just released her book Reclaim the Rebel: 12 Rebellious Acts to Achieve Unconditional Love for Your Body. In our interview, Lizzy explains:
- Her struggles with food and exercise as a teen
- The motives of the diet and beauty industries
- How to rebel against those industries and trust yourself
- You are already enough.
I’m so excited to welcome our special guest on our show. We have Lizzy Cangro! @NutritionByLizzy
LIZZY: Thank you so much for having me. It’s a pleasure to be here with you.
Self Love Sister
First I want you to tell our girls who you are and a little bit about what you do, because that’s going to segue into our topic for today.
LIZZY: Yes, yes, yes. I’m so excited about this topic! So people know me as your self love sister. I am a Nutrition and Wellness Coach and I help women achieve unconditional love for their bodies using nutrition, movement, and mindset. I have just written and published a book all about this. I’m very excited to share some of the topics here with you because it’s very close to my heart. Especially some of the things that I shared when I was a teenager.
Inspiration Behind the Book
I’ve read your book, Reclaim the Rebel, I really appreciate you sharing your experiences and vulnerability. That is really helpful. I wanted to know what events or experiences inspired you to write Reclaim the Rebel?
LIZZY: It all started when I was 14 years old. My granddad was going through chemotherapy and I wanted to make him feel better. So I baked him this cake, and he devoured the whole thing. About five days later, my dad suddenly walked through the door and I knew something was wrong. He said, I’m really sorry, but your granddad passed away this morning from a heart attack. I felt this huge sense of worry and anxiety because I thought for some reason that I had contributed to his death because I had baked him this cake.
From that moment, I didn’t trust myself with food.
I searched out information on the internet and magazines to tell me what was healthy so that didn’t happen again. Unfortunately, I came across very bad advice which made me very, very ill and trapped me in an eating disorder that lasted 10 years.
When I recovered I made a promise, again, to make sure that didn’t happen. But this time I was qualified as a nutritionist, and I actually got that professional experience and awareness of the human body, how to nourish it, and how to care for it.
Now I work from a place of making sure the women and girls are equipped with the knowledge to ensure that they treat their bodies in a healthy and loving way.
Not from Punishment
Wow, that is a lot and what a long journey and experience that was for you. I can see how a lot of girls would relate to that. It’s so easy to just look up something and then think, Oh, this must be true, and then run with it. But then it turns into years of thinking that you’re doing something for the right reasons. Or feeling like you have to do or what’s expected. Honestly, it stinks that food and exercise get a bad rap from the diet industry. It took me until I was an adult to actually change my relationship with food and with movement, and recognize it as something that I can embrace as good for my body. So instead of seeing food, nutrition, exercise, and movement as a punishment, how can girls approach them with joy and love?
LIZZY: Having that experience of not being able to trust myself with my food or exercise – I mentioned a story about that in the book, how I battled for years knowing how much to move, what to move, and that is something that the diet industry really feeds off of, that confusion. And really the illusion is that we are not enough. Somehow our bodies are not enough. We’re not pretty enough. We’re not thin enough. We’re not fit enough. We’re not enough. And that story is really the undertone of the diet industry, also the cosmetics industry too. There’s a good reason why they put you under that illusion: they want to make money from you, because when you don’t feel enough, they have products that can “make you enough.” Well, no, that’s not true. They tell you that though and trap you in the cycle. So not only are you buying their products right now, but you have to keep buying their products in order to feel enough. Yeah, that’s absolutely not true.
You are actually enough right now.
So the rebellious act that I am so, so passionate about is girls and women learning how to trust their own bodies and to seek that internal validation of I am enough as I am right now. So how do you learn to trust your body with food and exercise when all the things around you are so confusing? The key is to listen to your body. There’s an exercise in my book called a Hunger Scale. Most of us know what hunger feels like, you may get a little bit moody, you may get a headache, your stomach might rumble, etc. So really, it’s kind of choosing and tuning into those hunger signals and rating your hunger on a scale of 1 to 10: 1 being I’m absolutely starving that I could eat my own limb, and 10 being I am completely stuffed and I can’t move. The idea is that we don’t want to go below a 4 because that’s depriving ourselves of food. But when you start getting towards a 4, that’s when your body is like Okay, I could probably eat something and then when we get to about 7 we can stop and go Okay, I’m comfortable, I’m good now. What I love about this is it’s very, very personal, so somebody’s 4 might be someone else’s 5. But it’s yours and it’s something that you can practice again and again and again. Over time you’ll get more in tune with what your body is telling you.
You don’t need to buy anything to be able to do this. You don’t need anyone else. You don’t need an app. And just by doing that, you’re actually turning your back on the diet industry and saying, Oh no, I’m good. How I’m nourishing my body is good for me.
Listen to Your Body
In terms of movement, I think that’s also really important to listen to your body. So some days you may wake up and go, I have a ton of energy! I really want to go and play… (I was gonna say netball, that’s a very English thing) go play soccer, go for a run with some of my friends. But other days you may feel like Oh I didn’t get much sleep last night. Or I did something yesterday, my body’s a little bit tired and in need of some downtime – in which case, rest. So really it’s just thinking about what’s good for you right now, and letting go of that comparison. I think you touched on it in terms of thinking that we should be like someone else, trying to chameleon yourself into a specific way of looking. That is a way of losing that self love that we all want and deserve. So instead of that, think What’s right for me? and have the courage to stick with that.
Once you do, and do that repeatedly, no one can stop you – not the diet industry or the Instagram influencers out there who are trying to sell you products.
You will have the courage to be like No, that’s not for me. I’m good. I feel good in my body. I trust my body. That is a really amazing feeling! So freeing and so empowering! I wish as a teenager I was able to experience that, so if you achieve that now, then that’s amazing!
Just like the theme throughout your book: it’s a rebellious act. If we’re all continuing to stay in line and keep doing the same things, nothing’s gonna change. It literally takes an act of rebellion to make this big life change happen. I love the whole concept and the analogies that you have throughout your book, Reclaim the Rebel. Is there anything else that you want to share with our girls, with our teens? Anything else that you would want to add?
LIZZY: So much! In fact, there are 12 things that I want to add! Reclaim the Rebel has 12 rebellious acts to achieve unconditional love for your body. If the girls are interested in getting their copy and diving into all of these rebellious acts and really discovering how good it feels to rebel and have that freedom that we’re talking about, they can grab their copy at my website: NutritionByLizzy.com/Pre-order You can get your hands on it there, and it’s so available on Amazon.
I definitely want them to know where to find you, because if they’re on social media … Look, you gotta throw some more content in there, girls, to offset the garbage that’s in your feed. So where can they find you on social media as well?
LIZZY: I’m on Instagram, Facebook and Tik Tok @NutritionByLizzy. If you want to have some fun with rebelling, then please join me over there. Ask me questions, I love questions! I look forward to connecting with you!
Fantastic! Lizzy, it’s been an absolute pleasure speaking with you today.
If you have a topic suggestion, I’d love to hear from you! Send an email (tweens get the OK from your parents) to hello@EmpowerfulGirls.com .
If you have social media already, follow me on Insta or tiktok @empowerfulgirls. I’m not encouraging or endorsing social media, but I’m on there to offer an unfiltered, uplifting alternative to what’s in your feed. Remember to get on the email list for the newsletter!
Also, if you enjoy listening to 10 for Teens + Tweens, I would truly appreciate you telling your friends about this podcast or leaving a review so others can find it and feel uplifted, too! Your support means the world to me!