food rule challenge: pizza.

If you are someone who struggles with a food rule involving pizza, this post is for you.

If you have a food rule that says you are only allowed to eat x pieces of pizza whenever you eat pizza.  Here’s an idea…

Instead of cutting a pizza into a traditional pizza shape, cut your pizza into differently sized squares.  That way, instead of blindly following a food rule, you are forced to be present since you don’t know how much pizza would equal x slices and you must tune into your hunger and fullness cues and your satisfaction cue to tell you when your body is satisfied.  Don’t let food rules run your life and distract you from being present.

Taking a step back…if you have a food rule that says you shouldn’t eat pizza because pizza is bad, I’ll just put in a note here that I don’t agree that pizza is bad because pizza is simply:

  • protein – chicken/pepperoni/sausage
  • carbs – crust
  • fat – olive oil
  • dairy – cheese
  • (and sometimes) fiber – spinach/sun-dried tomatoes/etc

All the food groups our body needs to function are right there in pizza.  Our body can process pizza just fine, it is our mind that can get in the way. Sure there are some people with a lactose intolerance or celiac’s whose body wouldn’t process pizza just fine

But if you have disordered eating then the restrictive part of you likes to make you think your body is different. It likes to make you think that you have a special body that can’t digest pizza or a body that would have more and more weight gain occur if pizza is eaten regularly…and that is not true and that thinking will keep you stuck in your disordered eating.  So I’m here to say that your body can digest pizza and, eventually through disordered eating recovery, you will be able to find joy and pleasure in pizza eating.  In the words of my favorite Italian brother-in-law, “buon appetito!”


  1. This is such a fab idea! I was planning on pizza tonight and will be trying it. Usually I have the diet-mentality voice at the back of my head comparing how much I am eating to how much my husband is eating, so this will really help. :)

  2. Kylie, thank you SO MUCH for this. I’ve really been struggling lately and I *know* that so much of my struggle is my own anxiety and disorder, but sometimes it’s just really validating and a huge relief when someone else says it.

  3. Genius idea Kylie!!

  4. This is so helpful!! In my really disordered days, I would have to portion out whatever meal I made to ensure I ate my arbitrary serving. I’m now going to challenge myself to serve myself ‘family style’ with our meals, especially pasta. 🙂 For some reason I started paying far too much attention on carbs, so that’s where I can further my intuitive eating. You’re the best!

    • Great idea for your next step with Intuitive Eating, Kori<3

      • Thanks, Kylie! Something else that I realized I’ve been doing almost subconsciously is that I now take our whole jar of pb, a box of graham crackers, etc. with me to work rather than pre-portioning it. That way, I can eat what I need and want in that moment rather than predicting my hunger the night before or morning of. :)

  5. This is a great idea! My “x” number popped into my head straight away so I know this is something I should challenge myself with. Thanks for being fabulous as always 👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼

  6. What a great idea! Pizza is one of my favourite foods but one I really struggle with in recovery….I am going to give this a go. I love your breakdown of the ingredients too. Cheese, carbs and oil not being the baddies😊

  7. LOVE LOVE LOVE this!! That’s so true that those messages are sent to us and no wonder we have thoughts of anxiety—thank you for this great reminder of the TRUTH!  Pizza is what our body needs!

  8. Good post! I love pizza, but I caught myself in an ED moment with it a while ago. I’m used to eating a certain number of pieces, but my dad cut the pizza up in bigger slices, so that eating my “normal” number would be a much bigger portion. Got through it, a lil stressfully, but I can definitely see the value in your suggestion of cutting irregularly shaped pieces to spite the ED!

  9. Thank you so much for this post, Kylie! This is a great idea. I didn’t eat pizza for YEARS because of my eating disorder. Too many times lying that I didn’t like pizza, that I was allergic to dairy, that I couldn’t have the gluten, or that “I’d just rather eat a salad today instead.” Thank God for the healing He’s brought into my life. Pizza is now one of my favorite foods, and my husband and I eat it all the time!

  10. Good topic! Pizza can be such a fear food, but when I eat it, I remember it is so satisfying and I am not hungry right away like I am with lots of other foods!

  11. To echo the other commenters, this was a great idea for a post! Would you consider doing a “fear food or food rule challenge” series? 

  12. I don’t eat pizza because I got food poisoning from cheese once and just try to avoid it now; the smell offends me! But then that also makes me wonder how do you know if you’ve taken that one step further and it’s now part of a “restrictive” pattern rule? Because I’m certainly not lactose intolerant and can tolerate milder cheeses (albeit so minimally that any cheese lover would be offended!!).

  13. Pingback: Food rule challenge: Having something sweet to end the meal. – Yeah…Immaeatthat

  14. This is such a helpful article. I just have trouble applying it to stuff that I love like ice cream. I feel that it doesn’t really fit into the food group chart that other foods like pizza do, because it’s full of sugar, which I’m so scared will lead to weight gain. I’ve been on a long journey tuning into my hunger and fullness cues and doing food challenges like eating ice cream out of the carton instead of measuring it, but I can’t help the feeling that it’s bad for me because of all the sugar. Ans now I just feel that I’m addicted (because I ate more than a cup freely two nights in a row), ans it’s not like I just began this journey and am starving either. Thanks in advance!

    • Doing food challenges, like eating ice cream, sounds like it’s needed! Great job! If trying to make peace with food, getting away from measuring, and instead beginning to rely more on hunger and fullness cues, is necessary. So that’s great to hear you’re working on that. YAY!

      Ice cream is just fat and carbs, reminding your brain to begin labeling sugar as just a carb source may be beneficial to bring less judgement around ice cream. This will take time – months, years. Also, allowing yourself to have ice cream throughout the day, and not just reserving it for an evening snack, may be helpful in helping your brain relax around it as you are truly no longer restricting it. Physical or mental deprivation of any food leads to heightened reward signals in your brain when you finally do allow yourself to have x food, which can lead many to think they are addicted to ice cream, pizza, etc. But it you are eating all foods as you crave them, your brain will habituate and the result will be you not feeling out of control around any food. Eating ice cream as a snack once or twice a day is not out of control, it can instead to a very necessary part of becoming a competent eater. Best of luck, Kate!

  15. Pizza is my gateway drug. I’ve said it for years, and it has always been true for me – I guess until now. I’m very, very new to the world in intuitive eating and pizza is just one of those foods that is on the scary list. You are so right when you say that the disordered eating part of my brain tries to tell me that pizza makes me gain weight like crazy, but that’s not logically true. My body is not a snowflake. I just use pizza as an excuse to overeat, and that is not self care. 

    • Hope you keep searching for a more peaceful and body-cue-honoring way to interact with pizza, Lindsey. That may require eating pizza more regularly than you are so your body can learn to eat it without eating it to the point of discomfort. Thanks for taking the time to comment!

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