Work Comes First: Mindset Self-sabotage | TMOHP Episode 061

This is the fourth in a series of episodes where I’m sharing five mindsets that might be keeping you stuck in cycles of overeating and emotional eating.  It’s so easy to get trapped in the belief that work comes first and you get your needs met last. It’s the cause of a lot of comfort eating, emotional eating, mindless eating, and overeating at night. Deciding to put yourself at the top of your priority list might sound good, or the idea may make you squirm with discomfort. Either way, it’s a decision that’s easier to think about than to execute.

Women have a lot of conditioning and experience in prioritizing other people and things over themselves. You may also have thoughts and beliefs about self-care being frivolous or selfish or a luxury. In this episode, I’m sharing why it’s so important to understand the cost of a Work Comes First mindset and how to shift your thinking in a direction that will be more effective for you in all areas of your life.

Be sure to check out the other episodes in this series exploring five mindsets - ways of setting your mind - that you might believe are helping you, but that usually are not.

In this episode:

  • The cost of a Work Comes First mindset and how it contributes to emotional eating, bingeing, and overeating
  • Why work comes first is a myth
  • All or nothing thinking, Work Comes First, and how to serve a pie

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Full episode transcript:

Hello everybody. Welcome back to part four in the series of mindset trouble podcast episodes. I'm talking about ways of thinking, ideas and beliefs that you may be carrying, that you might be telling yourself are part of what make you so successful, part of your success formula. But these ways of thinking and these mindsets are actually absolutely paths to self-sabotage, to slowing you down and to you not getting the results that you want. While at the same time making it harder for you to stop overeating and emotional eating. So important.

So this is episode four. I have done three other episodes that have already been released on this topic. You can search for those. I will actually, you don't need to search for those. I will put the links to them in the show notes at the bottom of the episode. So be sure to check those out. You do not need to listen to these in order so you're not behind. You haven't missed anything. Go ahead and listen to this episode, but I really want you take in the others. Especially if you find this episode helpful, because these ways of thinking, they tend to overlap and they tend to go together. So if you have one of these, you may very well have a couple of these.

The mindset error. That's what I'm going to call it. A mindset error. A faulty way of thinking that I want to talk about today is something I label work comes first. This is a really big one, women. And it is the place where everything falls apart for so many women, especially busy women, especially people who are juggling a lot of responsibilities, who have a lot of important things on their plate.

It is such an easy trap to fall into. You are taught from childhood to prioritize certain tasks. I mean, how many of us had to do our homework before we could go out and play, right? To go out and do the fun stuff. And, it is true that priorities are important and there are certain tasks, there are certain responsibilities that you can't put off or that you absolutely can't allow to fall off your priority list. I mean, you could let them fall off your priority list, but the consequences are so grave that you would never do that, right? So there are things that you need to show up for and that are important to you to show up for no matter how overloaded you might be.

Most of us have certain priorities that we hold sacred. The problem is no matter how strong that muscle is, no matter how vigilant you are about holding certain priorities sacred. There's one priority that so many women overlook and it's actually your most important priority. Yourself. See so many of us are conditioned and socialized and taught that paying attention to ourselves is some kind of luxury. It is an extra. It is something you get to do after all the other things.

Many women have been educated and taught that paying attention to themselves is some kind of luxury. It's an indulgence. It's something you shouldn't have to do. Many women are taught to focus on other people, right? That's the norm. Women are socialized to focus on other people, and they, we can be extremely nurturing and compassionate and kind and caretaking to everybody except ourselves.

I want you to think about yourself for a moment and see if you fit into this category. Think about how not getting what you need or want, or maybe you tell yourself something you shouldn't need, or it should be okay without it. How much does that contribute to overeating for you? How much does that contribute to emotional eating? How often do you reach for something to eat because you just need a treat? Or a little reward or a break, or it's the end of the day and you are exhausted and you just want to kick back with a bowl of ice cream or go get those chips out of the cupboard because you haven't had a thing for yourself all day long.

That right there, that's the work comes first mentality. If you're not getting where you want to go, if you're not doing the, the actions that are required for you to meet your goals because you can't find the time. Or, you don't have the time. Work comes first is probably coming into play there.

And I'm not judging right? I'm not saying, oh, work isn't important. You shouldn't have to do the work. And I'm also saying, you're important too. You're a priority that isn't getting put on the priority list. We're going to talk about pie a little bit later. I know that just came out of nowhere, but, it will make sense, but just stay tuned because we're also going to talk about pie in this podcast episode.

So think about how work comes first is affecting you. Is your health taking a hit because you're too busy to eat right? Or too busy to take the time to eat lunch? Or too busy to get a walk in at the end of the day? Work comes first. Are you craving certain kinds of activities? Are you dreaming about stuff that you would really love to do for you? Because it feels like it's not possible now. It feels like that has to be some aspirational thing that happens in the future. Again, work comes first. The flip side of work comes first is you come last. Or sometimes you don't get to be on the priority list at all.

This is the place where a lot of people's thoughts go in this direction. They say, Okay, I can see how this whole work comes first thing leads me to overeat. I get the connection there. I can start to see that. However, work comes first is how I have gotten where I am professionally. Work comes first is how I've created the successes that I have. And I want to challenge that a little bit or a lot of a bit, right?

Work comes first, is not the path to thriving. It is not the path to you being you at your best. It is not probably the path to your professional success. Because the truth is whatever it is you are telling yourself is the important thing that needs to supersede, that needs to come first. Whether it is work and your career or your family, or your partner or some other project that you have, the book that you're writing, whatever you are saying, you know what that needs to be at the head of the line. Work comes first. It's ignoring something that is so critical to the equation because that thing that is important that you want to show up for? You are what you bring to the table. You are your most precious asset. And if you don't get the care and the feeding and the nurturing that you require, you are not going to show up with your A game.

You are not going to shine. You are not going to perform. You are not going to excel at the level that you would. If you were well-nourished and well taken care of. Think of yourself like a house plant. Think of yourself like a house plant, right? You need to be taken care of too. And let's, let's go to overeating and emotional eating, right? If you're not getting what you need. What is one of the easiest things that you can reach to, to fill in the cracks? Or to compensate? Or to act as a band aid? Or to push down the feelings of resentment that you have because you're not getting what you need?

For most women, for so many people, that is a recipe for using food. Using food to numb out. Using food as a reward. Using food as a distraction. Using food as a comfort strategy. Using food for stress relief. Work comes first, isn't a success strategy. This can be a really tough mindset strategy for people to tackle. Because if you think about it, if you take work comes first and all the thoughts and beliefs that go into that and you decide, no, that doesn't work, and you turn it over. The most radical reinterpretation of that, or reinvention of that would be that you come first.

So let those words sink in. Say those words to yourself. I come first. I am my top priority. And I want you to notice how that feels inside your body. This is a mindset that a mindset shift that is really difficult for a lot of women. It pushes a lot of buttons. It doesn't mean it's not important to talk about. It does not mean it is not important to look at. Focusing on self care or on me time, or carving out space for yourself, putting yourself at the top of your priority list. This is something that makes a lot of women uncomfortable. It pushes against a lot of conditioning. And a lot of things that you may have been telling yourself for years and years and years.

This is one of those mindsets, you know, I need to be at the top of my priority list. That's the one I'm talking about. This is one of those sets of beliefs that sounds good on the surface, but can be really hard to truly implement. If you don't look at the, the places that it's rubbing against you and the places that it feels uncomfortable. It can be really easy to give lip service to this thing and not make any real changes in your life or in your thinking or in your approach to changing your eating.

If you're serious about creating freedom from overeating. If you're serious about ending the habits with food that are taking up the time and energy that you don't want them to take up. And making changes in the way that you eat, and you know all the things that go with that, it is going to be critical to look at the beliefs that you have collected that make it so difficult to shift out of this work comes first mentality. I can absolutely help with that. Inside the Missing Peace program. You know, so much of the work that we do in there has to do with retraining brains. Retraining your thoughts and your beliefs so that your approach is actually lined up with where you want to end up. So that you're thinking and the way that you are creating the, the actions that you're taking, the way that you're thinking about what needs to happen so you get to, your goal is actually aligned and is right for getting you where you want to go. So the Your Missing Peace is a place where we do a lot of this kind of work.

And here's where I want to talk to you about pie. When you are accustomed to being inside this work comes first mentality. It is also easy to get very, all or nothing about it, right? There's another one of these mindsets that that overlaps with another self-sabotaging mindset, right? All or nothing thinking and work comes first. And so it is so easy to feel really dramatic and throw up your hands and say, but it does come first and there isn't any time for me, and you don't know my life, and this is my schedule.

Okay? It is not all or nothing. You do not need to quit your job to be able to put yourself first. And putting yourself first does not mean putting everybody last. Let's talk about pie. So I want you to imagine a pie chart, right? One of those circular charts that are, we divide things up in, in wedges to show what portion goes to this and what portion goes to this, right? I want you to think of your energy and your time on a pie chart.

And the mistake that happens in the work comes first mindset is that smart, busy women take their pie of their time and energy and they cut up all the pieces. There's a huge piece for work, right? And then there's a huge piece for maybe family. And there's a huge piece for that project that you're working on. And there's, and by the time they're done, there is no pie left. You didn't get any pie. Guess what happens when you have taken your time and energy to make a pie and bake a pie and invite everybody to the table and serve up beautiful pieces of pie to people on beautiful plates. And then when it comes to you, there's no pie left.

What happens? Right? We feel sad or resentful, or angry or deprived. We feel like we deserve something. We didn't get any pie. I worked really hard. Where's my pie? Right? I want you to think about this in the context of eating and overeating and emotional eating and binging. And how many times does walking into the kitchen to get something to eat or refilling your bowl a second time or getting up when everybody else has gone to bed already to get a little extra something for yourself in private? How many times does that part of your relationship with food have something to do with the way your pie chart got carved up? And by, you know, how often does your eating, the eating that you are not happy with, how often does that have something to do with you not getting any pie?

When we talk about the antidote to work comes first when I talk about you being the top of your priority list. It doesn't necessarily mean that you take that pie and you take that whole damn pie for yourself. Right. Although you might. Sometimes you might take the whole pie, sometimes you may take up so much time and energy. But I think that is our fear, when, when we have been living inside work comes first, or we have been educated and raised to believe some things about taking care of ourselves that, you know, make it, you know, we have been educated, I guess, and raised to believe that it's selfish to take care of ourselves. What comes to mind is us sitting in a corner eating all the pie while everybody else goes hungry. Or at least that might be close to the image that comes to mind.

The antidote to work comes first and the antidote to the eating, the overeating, the binge eating, the emotional eating that happens in relation to those work comes first beliefs. The antidote is giving yourself some pie. The antidote is practicing carving up that pie chart differently. Cutting a different number of pieces. Experimenting with serving your pie first, putting it in front of you. And letting, letting yourself savor and enjoy and taste the pie. I'm talking metaphorically here, but it also works with real pie.

The antidote to work comes first is noticing the places. Sometimes this is where it starts, just noticing the places where you're giving all the pie away. And noticing and becoming more aware of how that doesn't work for you. And becoming more aware of how that relates to cravings and urges to eat and times when you eat past, fullness cues, right? You eat more than you are really hungry for. You eat to a point of being uncomfortable. Noticing the relationship between the two things, and then coming back and practicing serving up your pie a little bit differently the next time.

You really are important. And you really, truly are worth bumping to the top of your priority list. And all those other things that are so important to you are going to benefit when you show up, nourished and taken care of, and literally and metaphorically well fed.

I'll talk to you soon.


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Your Missing Peace is the psychologist-designed program that provides the tools, the support, the coaching, and the confidence to create freedom from emotional eating and overeating. Finally - emotional eating help done right! Your Missing Peace is specifically designed for smart, high-achieving women who are DONE with diets, who want a lasting solution, and who are ready to take their power back from food, from overeating, and the scale. 

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