I just read about a study that confirms what I always thought. When you are really using your mind to solve problems and do other “intellectual” pursuits, you tend to have a higher caloric intake. This is glaringly apparent in my eating habits. There exists a great contrast between my caloric intake on my days off and the days that I am working. On a day off (like today), I eat a moderate breakfast, very little lunch, almost no snacks and a small to medium dinner. The complete opposite occurs when I am working. I need a large breakfast and then pretty much gorge myself at lunch. Dinner, which is usually delayed because of the way our shifts work, is also a gluttony – fest. I swear I eat almost double the calories when I am working. Why? I am using my brain vigourously. The main skill an ER doc develops in the ability to multitask. You need to maintain awareness of 20 or more patients at one time and be prepared for your nice little plan of action to be messed up. A consultant calls back finally, a new sick patient comes in, all the labs are delayed, a family member needs a extra-long explanation, etc. You are constantly reshuffling what needs to be done next. That, plus you are constantly forming opinions based on streaming data (patients’ histories, lab results, CT scan results, etc) and solving problems. Thank God you are also walking a lot. I remember a study (sorry but I can’t find the reference) that stated that the average ER doc walks between 3 and 6 miles during a 12 hour shift. I wonder if anyone ever looked at the average weight of an ER doc (or nurse) and compared it to how many hours they work per week. I would gather the more you work, the fatter you are!