Food restriction leads to a paradoxical increase in physical activity and further suppression of food intake, such as observed in anorexia nervosa.(1,2) To understand this pathophysiological process, we induced physical hyperactivity and self-starvation in rats by restricting food in the presence of running wheels. Normally, decreased melanocortin receptor activity will prevent starvation.(3,4) However, we found that self-starvation increased melanocortin receptors in the ventral medial hypothalamus, a brain region involved in eating behavior.(5) Suppression of melanocortin receptor activity, via central infusion of Agouti-related protein (AgRP), increased survival rate in these rats by counteracting physical hyperactivity, food intake suppression as well as deregulated body temperature. We conclude that self-starvation may result from insufficient suppression of central melanocortin receptor activity.