Anybody else have trouble eating just one bite of chocolate or (ah hem) even just one bar? Or put off important tasks until that book you’re reading is done or that Netflix series you’re watching is over? Or you clean your house like a maniac when…OK, let’s be honest I never clean like a maniac.

The other side of binge eating that chocolate, of course, is denying yourself any treats. Or having to pull a couple of all-nighters to finish your work because you spent a week catching up on The Walking Dead. Or you find out you have nothing to wear to your yearly conference, so you go crazy sprinting on your treadmill. Twice.

It’s called “All or Nothing”, and when I was younger it worked for me (kind of). I did everything in spurts. I studied in spurts, wrote papers in spurts, exercised in spurts, partied in spurts.

And when exams were done, I binged on books, movies, getting healthy again—whatever was the opposite if what I’d been doing.

Well, guess what? I still do this (other than being a middle-aged party mom—rawr!).

Quite frankly it’s stressful. Maybe it wouldn’t be if my world just revolved around me like it did when I was eighteen, but now it’s not just about me. I have to get up early to take the kids to school so pulling all-nighters totally suck. I have to walk the dog no matter if I have a deadline. I have to wash that pile of laundry that has become a hazardous zone or my family will have nothing clean to wear. I can’t stop everything to finish my book in time.

All or Nothing is draining me like a sexy vampire, while making me feel oh, sooo good.

But what’s the alternative—moderation? Moderation is boring, right? Who wants Sam when you can have Dean?

Sure, it would be easier if I were to do lots of small productive things every day: my house would be cleaner, my word count would add up in a stress-free way, I would have small, controlled treats every day rather than chocolate pudding and Haagen Daz fests that last a week (and I wouldn’t worry about conference clothes not fitting). Not to mention, I’d get my kids to school before the first bell, instead of scrambling to class just as the second bell goes because I’m tired from working late.

But scheduling my life, like dieting and hard-core exercise plans have ALWAYS failed me in the past. Don’t get me wrong—I’m good at it. REALLY GOOD. I can plan, write lists, and schedule like a boss. That would be the ALL part of this equation. But I’ll only stick to it for so long, and like a boomerang, I’ll bounce back the other way. Which is the NOTHING part of the equation.

So I’ve been thinking lately that Sam is looking mighty good, and maybe I’ll give him the old college try. But first I’ve got a book to finish—Highland Thief. I’m, ah, behind on it. I might have to pull a couple of all-nighters to get it done in time, which may require copious amounts of chocolate (and some tired mornings with the kids)…thank goodness it’s not conference time.

Sigh… Dean, I wish I knew how to quit you.

Anyone else find themselves caught in an All or Nothing trap? Let’s share some stories and tell me what finally worked for you!

Alyson

**This blog was originally published on the Casablanca Authors blog on November 20, 2018