Guest Post – Finding Balance After Living in the Extreme

I came across Cara from Balance in the Burbs about a year ago and was immediately drawn to her content! Cara and I share a lot of similarities and I drew inspiration from her story to begin my journey of discovering balance.  It seems only fitting to share a guest post from Cara as I start the next chapter in blogging about Balance.  Thank you Cara for the amazing post x
balanceintheburbs
Balance isn’t something you’re given. It’s something you seek. It’s something achieved intentionally through mindfulness and self-awareness. 
 
Balance > Having a successful career but no friends to share it with.
Balance > Eating an entire box of donuts.
Balance > Addiction.
Balance > Size 0 jeans.
Balance > An eating disorder.
 
So many of us are drawn to extremes. We’re all-in or all-out and struggle to find that lovely place in the middle we call “balance.” When I was struggling with anorexia and bulimia, I was on the very edge of extreme. I suppose my “reward” — the thing I thought I desired — was a small frame. But the smaller I became, the more my ED controlled my thoughts and actions. 
 
I was never content. I realized a hard truth: Happiness does not come from size 0 jeans. It doesn’t come from salads or cakes or scales or gyms, either. I was searching for happiness and therapy in all the wrong places instead of searching inside myself. 
 
By finding balance, I was able to find myself — the self I had starved with self-hate, negative talk and a toxic eating disorder. 
 
So how do you transition from a life of extremes to a life in balance?
It’s a gradual process. For those of us who live in extremes, the notion of easing into something doesn’t come easy. We want to dive in and live the perfectly balanced life straight away. But that’s just not what balance is about. 
 
I chose small things at first. I stopped weighing myself. Once I became comfortable with that, I stopped counting calories once/week, then twice, then altogether — adopting mindful eating. I started spending less time working out and more time discovering what I truly enjoyed. I got to know myself and I learned to treat myself with love and compassion.
 
Sure, it was hard to give up the size 0 jeans. But it only hurt for a moment, because I knew that they did not possess happiness. And the actions required of my body to keep those jeans were extreme, unhealthy and all-consuming. 
 
Life isn’t about living in the extremes. It’s about being flexible and riding life’s ebbs and flows; highs and lows; melodies and harmonies. It’s about accepting and enjoying the moment. All of life is made up of nows — when we wake up to the present, we can recover from a life of ungratifying extremes.
Cara McDonald is a yoga instructor in suburbia, Kansas.  As an eating disorder survivor, she’s also a body image and mindfulness advocate.  She blogs about her journey to find balance through yoga, mindfulness, food and more at balanceintheburbs.com.  You can also find her on Facebook and Instagram.