So you walk past the snack room at the office and see a delicious piece of chocolate cake that a deviant co-worker brought in to share. At first you walk away, proudly reminding yourself of the steady diet path you have been on. However, only 45 minutes later you're suddenly overcome with the urge to have a piece of that delicious...whatever. Why now? Did you change your mind or your diet goal? Did you decide to self-sabotage? This is the type of psychological gymnastics one does to find an answer, assuming it will help fight the urge. But as you search for clues it feels more and more like a no-win situation, and your frustration grows.
Neuroscience tells us these urges have little to do with craving food and controlling our appetite, and more to do with another type of craving, "comfort
." A wonderful feeling, comfort is the result of serotonin, a neurotransmitter in your brain that rewards you with security, confidence, and pleasure. Serotonin is our "well-being" drug
. It evolved to tell us that our needs have been met — when we eat something we love, go on a shopping spree, feel adored by others, receive a compliment, or believe we are superior to others. You could say that Hollywood is the epitome of a serotonin junkie.