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Exercise before breakfast?

According to a recent New York Times article, healthy young men who engage in vigorous physical activity before breakfast are less likely to put on pounds even when eating a high calorie diet filled with fat and sugar. At this time of year, when we face large quantities of fattening foods,

[as] unpleasant as the prospect may be, set your alarm after the next Christmas party to wake you early enough that you can run before sitting down to breakfast. “I would recommend this,” Dr. Heilbronn concluded, “as a way of combating Christmas” and those insidiously delectable cookies.

That’s a lovely thought. But I wonder what happens when you cut half an hour sleep from someone who is already sleep deprived. In my case, that sleep deficit is particularly pronounced this time of year because there are so many things to do before the holidays in addition to the regular chores of life. Deliberately cutting out more sleep strikes me as crazy.

The irony, of course, is that I’m at the age where annual weight gain is a real concern. But cutting out sleep to lose weight? Perhaps when I was as young as the men studied for this experiment, I might have been able to cut sleep. But please, come up with a more realistic solution for someone holding down a real life, with real responsibilities, and a corresponding lack of sleep.

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