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freckles's avatar

Why does excercise control my appetite, it seems backwards?

Asked by freckles (363points) February 21st, 2010

I am dieting and exercising lately. Some days I have a really hard time controlling my hunger. But then if I get my heart rate up for awhile with an exercise video, I lose my craving for food. What’s up with that?

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11 Answers

sevenfourteen's avatar

I feel the exact same way! When I hit the gym hard I don’t even have the urge to eat, and it has nothing to do with not wanting to eat – I’m simply not hungry anymore! I def want to know what others have to say about this one..

stardust's avatar

I usually need extra food for fuel when I’m working out. I have a slight injuryat the moment, which is preventing me from working out & I’m eating way more than is necessary.

mass_pike4's avatar

it is just because you are focusing on something else and not the hunger. I can guarantee that you could wolf anything down after exercising though. You may be drinking fluids as well when exercising. That occupies space in the stomach so that may be another reason why you do not feel hungry anymore.

It would be best for you to eat something light before exercising and eating more after. It is never a good thing when you become hungry. Your body is telling you to feed it, so listen to it!

DarkScribe's avatar

It tends to happen with people who use food for stimulation rather than when genuinely hungry. I have seen this for decades, those who will eat for the taste rather than to satisfy appetite all seem to experience this.

JLeslie's avatar

Same thing happens to me. I was thinking that maybe it is because I tend to over eat when I am cold. Eating makes your temp go up, and I think people don’t realize sometimes they crave food to warm up. It was much easier for me to stay thin when I lived in FL. Not only do I eat more when I am cold, but I wind up want hot, harty, high calorie food. Anyway, that’s my theory.

philosopher's avatar

Exercise speeds up your metabolism.
It also takes your mind off food. The good thing is your more likely to think before you eat.

freckles's avatar

@darkscribe that makes sense, because I know I eat for taste and craving alot, not always genuine hunger. So, interesting….

DarkScribe's avatar

@freckles I know I eat for taste and craving alot, not always genuine hunger. So, interesting….

Eating a food that you enjoy releases endorphins, (they create pleasure among other things…) but so does exercise. Not hard to understand I suppose if you look at it in that manner.

freckles's avatar

@darkscribe Ohh so basically my body is hungry for endorphins when I am craving food, but exercise can fill the same craving?

TheBot's avatar

When you exercise, you stimulate what is called the sympathetic nervous system, which, among other things, inhibits digestive function. See the sympathetic nervous system as your “full speed ahead” physical mode. Its counterpart, the parasympathetic nervous system is the one that promotes rest and digestion. You basically either use one or the other of these systems.

When you exercise, the SNS causes blood flow to be directed from the digestive track to your muscles and lungs. Moreover, the sphincters in your digestive tracks close. Hence, digestion is slowed down dramatically, if not completely. Food from your last meal stays in your body longer, and hence you do not feel as hungry as usual.

sevenfourteen's avatar

@TheBot – I feel stupid for not realizing that. I have been tested on the parasympathetic vs. sympathetic many a time and I never made the connection. That totally makes sense though.

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