Curb Your Midday Appetite with Exercise

Man and Two Women Walking at Lunch

Research about exercise and appetite can be conflicting. This expert says exercise makes you hungrier, while that expert says exercise damps the appetite. It may be that both are true, which is key to your weight loss program. You may find it's particularly effective to get in some exercise on your lunch hour first thing, and then have some real food for lunch. Here's some specific information about exercise and appetite from the Metabolic Research Center.

Intensity Counts

An intense workout can actually suppress appetite, according to an article in Today. The benefit also lasts longer if the workout is intense. Intense exercise (the kind that occurs when you don't have enough breath to chat with a walking partner or the guy on the next treadmill) can suppress the hormone ghrelin and raise peptide YY levels. The first tends to stimulate appetite and the second suppresses appetite.

Timing is Important

The hormonal effect of exercise doesn't last forever. About an hour after your workout, you're more likely to be craving something to nosh on. Women seem to be more susceptible to this effect than men. If you're aware of it, however, you can make sure you have a healthy snack handy. This is also why it helps to exercise first and then eat lunch.

Make Lunch Hour the Exercise Hour

Frequent exercise does help reset your brain's hunger signals. A brisk walk at lunch takes only 20 minutes, but it can help promote this brain reset effect – and you'll still have time to eat something. Exercise at this hour of the day also revs you up for the afternoon but shouldn't interfere with sleep. Just remember that while exercise does give you some after-burn effect, it's not a license to overindulge. Keep your food choices healthy, with a combination of protein, a little healthy fat and lots of vegetables.


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