This is Your Brain on Love

hearts on a nail from flickrJulian, my brilliant boyfriend, is going back to school right now. One of the things I love about people I know going back to school is that I frequently get to reap the benefits of their education. I love learning new things and I love when people share things they have learned with me. Speaking of love – check out what Julian learned recently:

When you are in love your brain releases two types of chemicals: dopamine and norepinephrine. It turns out, there is another time when your brain releases these types of chemicals… when you are involved in task based goals. When Julian said that, I immediately shouted out “I am in love with losing weight!”

Obviously, everyone has their own idea of what works for them, but we cannot underestimate the power of being able to check off boxes or cross things off lists. For me, the apps I use (My Fitness Pal and Run Keeper) have been the biggest keys to my success. I’ve thought before that using them feels like a video game to me – they make me happy. Of course, what are my favorite kinds of video games? The kind based around task based goals. I love Find the Hidden Object games and Time Management and Strategy games. Likewise when I get to the end of the day and click the “Complete This Entry” for my daily dairy on My Fitness Pal, I feel like I just won a round of the game.

There is a dark side to this, however. Just like in love, that euphoric feeling of completing the same goals over and over can wear off in time. That doesn’t mean that love dies, instead, hopefully, it goes from the giddy first rush of passion to a stable, loving, long term relationship. That is what I have to do when I move from loving the rush of losing weight to trying to maintain my weight loss: find stable and healthy routines and habits to keep it going through the years.


If you find this kind of thing as interesting as I do, here’s a couple of links to check out:

What Your Heart and Brain are Doing When You’re In Love (

Happiness, Hope and Optimism by Patricia A. Dunavold

This is Your Brain on Love (A great podcast from Radiolab)

Photo credit: PV KS



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