Exercise and Hunger: A Weight Loss Tip

Does working out make you hungry? Find out how a little movement makes you a lot less likely to clean your plate.

Medically reviewed in January 2021

Updated on February 1, 2021

Exercise and hunger go hand in hand, right? Not so fast. 

According to a study, adding more exercise to your life will indeed rev up your premeal appetite. But here's the cool news: While working out does make you hungry—you may find yourself getting full faster, so you end up eating less. 

Flex your appetite 
When overweight men and women burned an extra 500 calories a day through exercise as part of a small study, some interesting things happened to their appetites. After 12 weeks of working out, participants said their before-breakfast hunger was greater than it had been prior to the study. But they agreed that the same breakfast felt more filling than it did before they had started exercising. And the group continued to feel quite satiated for several hours after eating. Sounds like a little extra exercise may be a great way to avoid snack attacks! 

Exercise effects 
Just how does exercise decrease appetite? Researchers aren't sure why working out seemed to have opposing effects on appetite, but it's encouraging to think it might help us do a better job of telling ourselves when we're full. Of course, whether you run marathons or walk around the block, you still need to listen to your body and judge your hunger realistically. No matter how many calories you've burned, force yourself to eat slowly and stop shoveling when you feel about 80 percent full. That will give the last bit of food time to really hit your stomach. 

More On

The Secret to Success

article

The Secret to Success
As you start your journey to establish an aerobic exercise routine, keep in mind that the key to successfully reaching your goals is grounded in one o...
6 Easy Prenatal Yoga Poses

slideshow

6 Easy Prenatal Yoga Poses
Basic stretches to help you through pregnancy and labor.
How to Choose a Fitness Tracker

article

How to Choose a Fitness Tracker
Whether you’re walking to get fit, burn calories, or relieve the stress of the workday, a tracker is a great tool to motivate you to take more steps. ...
Lessons from Nature

article

Lessons from Nature
Infinite grains of sand… infinite ways to get stressed over your health. Just as you’ll never run out of sand, you’ll never stop feeling pressure and ...
Get Fit Fast by Walking to Lose Weight

article

Get Fit Fast by Walking to Lose Weight
The deceptively simple path to fitness begins with the easiest activity in the world: walking. Every get-fit plan should start with a basic 30-minute...