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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. 

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