Spiraling Upwards

Everyone assumes that when you say spiral that it’s a bad thing. To spiral out of control. The spiral into a pit of despair. But throughout my years of learning how to live a healthier lifestyles, I’ve learned there can be a very positive spiral, too.

I remember my most unhealthy years (hello college).


One giant spiral…. starting midmorning when I’d drag myself out of bed. Hungry, I’d down a bagel and cream cheese… or 2. Hey, I was slightly hung-over hungry. I’d be tired, but drag myself to classes, grabbing a mini (veggie… that’s healthy, right?) pizza on campus for lunch and maybe a diet coke for some energy. I’d arrive home early evening, just in time to hit them gym… but I was tired and a nap usually won out over  hitting up the Ramsey Center. I’d feel a bit refreshed after a nap and head to Snelling dining hall to consume a ‘healthy’ dinner. Salad with grilled chicken (is that the classic ‘healthy’ meal or what??) with a light dressing. Finally feeling back to normal, I’d decide to stay in for the night and settle in with some homework around 7:00pm. By 8:30pm, after many calls from friends telling me about the plans for the night, they’d convince me I couldn’t dare miss a Wednesday night out at the Athens bars, so I’d be ready by 10:00pm, ready to hit up power hour at Bourbon Street and repeat the cycle…

st patys college

That, my friends, is an unhealthy spiral… but isn’t that what college is supposed to be? Please tell me I wasn’t the only one…

However, I’m a firm believer in the spiral UPWARDS. The snowball effect of how making one healthy decision can lead to another and another.  I’ve really noticed myself in one of these cycles lately and I’m loving it. A big part of this has to do with exercise. It feels incredibly refreshing to be back in the gym- pushing myself.


Yesterday afternoon I wanted to sit on the couch, watch the Bachelor on DVR and BUM. It was raining, after all. But with a little nudge from my twitter friends and a big kick in the butt from myself, I ventured to the gym, did day 1 of week 8 of Couch to 10k and knocked out 5 sweaty, tough miles.


If you’re new around here, you may not know what a challenge running is for me. I’ve never run (WOGGED) over 5 miles, so after pushing myself yesterday I left on a true runner’s high.

That high carried over into this morning where I chose a green monster for breakfast and downed an extra glass of water. I feel well-rested, energized and want to pick up a book to read, attack the laundry pile, find a way to do hot yoga and figure out our new program for tracking finances.

Sounds almost annoying, right? Cheery, upbeat, excited for the day? I agree, as I reread this post, it does sound a little Suzy Sunshine and I’m sure there is more than one person that wants to reach through the computer and give me a solid smack, but it’s really how I feel.


bring it

…despite the limp wrist Winking smile

The point of this post? I’m not really sure, but for those that are just beginning their journey to a healthier lifestyle, or those that have stalled along the way, or to those that are skipping around this morning with me, I wanted to share this great spiral I’m experiencing and explain that it doesn’t take extreme measures. It’s making one healthy decision. Then making another. Soon enough, the high of the benefits you reap will begin to propel you into the next healthy decision.

When I feel healthy and strong physically, it translates into every other area of my life and it’s addicting. A positive, inspiring addiction.

Photo Dec 18, 3 13 35 PM

Do you notice the spiral effect?

Are you currently on an upwards or downwards spiral?



  1. says

    Kudos, Brittany! 5 miles is no easy feat! I find it hard sometimes to get everything to sync up with a healthy lifestyle. If I miss my run or workout, I tend to let everything else slip for that day too (eating right). But I think it’s safe to say I’ve been in a healthy spiral for a while now!!

    (and eventually you’ll have to admit to being a runner, not a wogger! 😉 )

  2. says

    Awesome post Brittany! I think sometimes people find it hard to talk about their good “spirals” because it might come across conceited or like you’re above others who are struggling. I don’t think that’s the case at all though. You worked hard for that positive spiral so I say you should celebrate it! :)

  3. says

    Thank you for making me pull myself off the couch and get ready to head down to the apartment gym… I am taking a rest day from running, but that doesn’t mean I can’t read on the bike!

  4. says

    I am in neither at the moment but starting this week I am determined to make it an upward spiral. Since i can’t take my girls to the gym I have to rely on coordinating naptimes to use my treadmill and I’m sure you know how unpredictable an infants naps are!

  5. Lauren B. says

    Ahhh… Ramsey, Snelling dining hall (it was the best of the 3!), Bourbon Street, bagels… All part of my college experience too. Not the healthiest time of my life, and I had 20 extra pounds to prove it!

    Getting used to pregnancy :), I am a little disappointed that I cringe at the thought of a salad and have to reach for carbs that go down easier. Or that despite me thinking that I would maintain my normal exercise routine, I am just so tired that I can only do about 70%. But I guess my body knows what it needs right now, so I’ll trust it and squeeze in more nutritious things when my stomach can handle them once again.

    • says

      The aversion to veggies will pass- it worried me for a little while, too. Sounds like you know exactly what you’re doing with trusting your body. Enjoy this wild time and all the glorious carbs that come with it! :)

  6. says

    great post! Love the old pics. I was def not a party girl in college or high school, just never was my thing. I never liked not being in control of my own actions. But I had plenty of unhealthy eating habits in college!
    I would say i am def. getting better/healthier every day! I am more “aware” of the things I do I guess!

  7. Sara says

    You are AWESOME–keep up the incredible work!!

    I am currently on somewhat of a downward spiral, but that is because I am almost 31 weeks pregnant. I am still working out 5-6 days a week, but have brought the intensity down a bit due to cramping. My diet is still very healthy though and am looking forward to having my little guy, then getting back into kick butt shape!! You are such great motivation for me!!

    • says

      Doesn’t sound like you’re spiraling down to me- sounds like you are kicking butt and taking names! Hope you are enjoying all the kicks coming from your belly- I miss those sometimes :)

  8. Erin says

    I needed to hear this! When I work out i love it. It makes me feel good and I crave more movement. However, when I take a break or have a lazy week it is so easy for me to get out of the habit and spiral downward. Lately I have been in the downward spiral. I’m pregnant and we recently moved. No longer having gym membership and having gotten use to sleeping in and relaxing at night I have been super lazy about exercise. Thanks for the reminder that exercise feels good and that the feeling spill over into other areas!

  9. says

    You are definitely NOT alone in the college spiral – or the healthy spiral! New Years (and the holiday break) definitely gave me a better attitude and a bit more motivation in my personal life. I could definitely use some more physical activity, sometimes it’s hard to get moving again after a long day of full-time work/class/commuting, but your upward spiral is reminding me how much good it would do me!

  10. says

    Aww! The first part of your post made me nostalgic! I miss Ramsey!

    And way to go on the 5 miles! That’s awesome. And I totally agree, one healthy decision usually leads to another and before you know it, you’re hooked!

  11. Julia says

    I guess that’s my first time commenting…Wohoo…
    But the post was just too great not to. Seriously, I noticed this myself, one “bad” day leads to another and another and so on. And after a while you find yourself miserable, overweight and unhappy.
    Thanks for showing me that it is also possible on the other direction!

    All the best from Germany, I srsly looove your blog!

      • Julia says

        Oh, I just had to get back to check your posts from when you were there, cause I wasn’t following your blog at that time. Looks like you had a splendid time with all the beer, potatoes and meat (I guess that’s still haunting you…)!

  12. says

    Ahhhh…college. not my finest health-wise either, but it sure was fun! Being pregnant now, I find it hard to be in a healthy upward spiral. My first tri was roguh with eating, so I am currently fighting the downward spiral.

  13. Christina says

    I think this is my favorite post of all time! At 39 weeks pregnant (and due any day…..please let that day be tomorrow….) it’s hard to feel inspired to do ANYTHING, but after reading your post, I jumped up, poured myself a glass of water with lemon, and am planning on a slow afternoon stroll/waddle around the block (it’s gorgeous here in Washington DC!) Thank you!

    • says

      Oh my goodness, you are so close- I’m so excited for you! I hope your waddle went well (I remember those days well ;)) and that you get to meet your little one soon!

  14. says

    I definitely am trying to get on a nice upward spiral as well! I know exactly how you feel! When you are eating right and exercising you don’t tend to want to be a couch potato or eat a greasy meal, and I love having that energy!

  15. Adrienne says

    I can completely relate – I’m 31 weeks pregnant and forced myself to start a big clean out to get ready for baby boy. The decluttering and reorganising was contagious and, by the end of the afternoon, I’d cleaned out two rooms. All inspired, I prepared a healthy meal and spent the evening doing some pilates/yoga stretches which healed my sore body. Then up early for a walk this morning. Once you get that little bit of momentum, it’s easier to keep going, isn’t it?

    Congrats on your run. Awesome!

  16. says

    Nicely done on the five miles! I have quite a few pictures like yours from college…it was a great time and you pretty much described my days to a T- well, aside from the salad for dinner- I usually had pizza!

    I’m on an upward spiral for sure- I’m so excited to be running again and getting into crossfit. I just need to hit up some hot yoga classes and I’ll be back to my old habits!

  17. Belinda says

    Fantastic post! 2011 was an upward spiral year for me. Very slowly I formed healthier habits and a lot of that was inspired by reading your blog Brittany! Thank you! Looking forward to more spiralling this year :)

    Oh and I did my first pilates class the other day! My core hurts sooo much but I enjoyed it :)

  18. says

    Yay, Brittany. I loved this post. Today I had a headache, instead of napping with the bambino, I did a 3k workout on the treadmill with pushups, squats and sit-ups after. The headache was practically gone.

    I always feel so much better when I choose workout instead of DVR. Although some days it is extremely hard, and I have equipment in my house!

  19. says

    College is kind of supposed to be unhealthy. I’m still in college and it’s not a good night unless it ends in me eating something greasy and full of carbs.
    I try to spiral upwards and nothing kick-starts that like a really tough sweat session.
    So good for you for your killer wog and the subsequent upward spiral.

  20. says

    I love the concept of an upward spiral! I definitely notice how one good choice can lead to another, this week has been a total upward spiral for me, even though tonight I ate a little more than I should have and had one or two more classes of wine than was probably necessary, I know tomorrow is a new day!

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