How accurate is your burn??


No post in the last couple of days because I have basically been at work the entire time!  I am back in the ICU and the hours and workload are pretty brutal.  Last night, a very young patient “coded” (meaning his heart stopped).  He was VERY sick and we had made the decision earlier in the day to not resuscitate him if this happened, but the family was not totally on board.  There was nothing I could do for him despite the obvious agony of his family members pleading for me to do something.  But there was nothing we could do.  It was a difficult situation, but I feel like the something I did do was let him leave this world in a peaceful way.

On a much lighter note, I want to talk about my favorite activity to relieve all that stress and pent up emotion… CARDIO.  It is so good.

So good. 

We all know that the secret to weight loss is the simple math equation of more calories out than in, or to balance these in order to maintain a healthy weight.  So I was wondering, how accurate is the calorie counter on your usual treadmill or elliptical, even assuming I input the correct age and weight? (Recently, I have started to forget how old I am and have to think embarrassingly hard when inputting my age… but I somehow can’t forget the weight!).

I was actually unable to find any GOOD studies on how accurate this is.  But after reading some smaller studies and interviews with exercise physiologists, it seems that most cardio machines overestimate cardio expenditure.  New machines do this less so because of improved formulas.  To come up with the numbers, companies like LifeFitness use people of both genders with different body type and weight to calculate VO2, which relates to the oxygen consumed by your muscles during exercise and can be used to calculate energy expenditure, or calories burned.  However, the calories are an average. So if you have more or less body fat, are using or not using the hand rails, or are not using the equipment correctly, it will understandably be less accurate.  Treadmills seem generally better at estimating than ellipticals, likely because they can replicate a normal stride and are used similarly by most people.

Bascially, don’t use the machine saying you burned 800 calories as an excuse to eat a cheeseburger!  Exercise until you feel that burn and trust your body.

On that note, I wore some seriously HOT PANTS to do my elliptical and circuit work out tonight.  They are from LuLuLemon and I got them at my bachelorette party –  a cute idea in place of lingerie!   They are so short – and can even tie up shorter if you have that sort of desire.  Don’t worry, I was alone in my home so literally no one saw me in these…. and probably never will!



Weekend Recap

The weekend is over… and 5 more weeks until I get my next one. Working 6 days a week is no fun, but the rare times I get a weekend off, I enjoy it much more than I ever did before – and this one was no exception!


I got out of work early and went to the 3 PM class at Barry’s Bootcamp in Nashville. Barry’s has got to be the hardest workout class I have ever done, which also makes it one of the best. At $22 per class, I can’t afford to go often, but I always love it when I do. It really brings back that old competitive, on the brink of vomiting feeling that I haven’t had many times since high school track. But this time,

O M G,

guess who was working out beside me? Olympian gymnast and dancing with the stars champion Shawn Johnson!!!! I tried to take a picture creepily but was unsuccessful. It was awesome to push myself to keep up with her and I must say, I was actually able to!


Barry’s is a mix of treadmill and bootcamp exercises. Friday was a full body day. What I remember of the workout is at the bottom of this post – go hard and do everything in order without stopping for even a moment if you want to recreate the atmosphere of the class!


One of my good, new friends here in Nashville turned 30 this week (Ah!), so we headed out with a pontoon boat on Percy Priest Lake to celebrate. It was actually the same boat that Little Big Town filmed their music video, On The Pontoon! The very same one! I made John Dalys with light lemonade and sweet tea vodka, as well as key lime pie cookies (no recipe- they were from a Pillsbury box and not healthy at all!). We had a water slide … and a grill… and a great time!




Mr. B and his friend Austin are insane (in a good way!). After a day of cold brews and hot sun, they decided to go on a 100 MILE bike ride this morning. They are training for the AIDS Ride for Life in September.


Austin’s wife and I decided to take a Whole Foods picnic to them at the half way point and re-energize them. We also took their two puppies and went for a hike while we waited for the boys to finish the ride.

Now I am headed for an elliptical workout while I wait and see if NSYNC does in fact reunite on the VMAs tonight! And these pumpkin muffins are waiting for me as well as a re-fueling snack!


  • 3/4 cup honey
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 2/3 c. whole wheat flour
  • ½ c. light butter
  • 1/4 c. cold water
  • 1 c. pumpkin (about half a 15 oz can)
  • ½ t. cinnamon
  • ½ t. nutmeg
  • ¼ t. baking powder
  • 1 t. baking soda
  • ¾ t. salt

Mix all ingredients in a bowl. Place in muffin tin and into the oven at 325F for 35 min!

Barry’s Bootcamp:

Treadmill 1, warm up:
Jog at 6.5 mph - 2 min
Run at 8.5 mph - 1 min
Jog at 6.5 mph - 1 min
Run at 9.5 mph - 1 min
Jog at 6.5 mph - 1 min
Run at 10.5 mph - 1 min
Sprint at 11.5 mph - 30 sec

Floor exercises, using light (8), medium (12), and heavy (15) dumbells:
3 jumping jacks then 1 push up burpee, repeat for 3 min
21 bicep curls with light weights then 7 push ups - repeat for 3 min
21 bicep curls, light and 12 upright rows, heavy - 90 sec
15 bicep curls, medium and 15 upright rows, medium - 90 sec
12 bicep curls, heavy and 21 upright rows, light - 90 sec
Hold a plank - 90 sec

Treadmill work out 2 - HILL
Jog at 6.5 mph - 1 min
Increase incline to 3.0 - 1 min
Incline 5.0 - 1 min
Incline 7.0 - 1 min
Increase speed to 8.5 mph, keep incline 7.0 - 2 min

Floor exercises, same dumbells:
Alternating lunges with weights x 40 reps
Side to side box jumps (FAST!) x 40 reps
Box squats x 40 reps
Alternating lunges with weights x 20 reps
Side to side box jumps x 20 reps
Box squats x 20 reps
Shoulder press, heavy weights - 12 reps
7 push ups
Shoulder press, medium weights - 15 reps
7 push ups
Shoulder press, light weights - 21 reps
Hold a plank - 60 sec

Treadmill workout 3 - short sprint:
Jog at 6.0 mph - 1 min
Run at 8.0 mph - 2 min
Jog at 6.0 mph - 1 min
Sprint at 11.5 - 45 sec
Jog at 6.0, increase incline to 5.0 - 1 min
Sprint at 10.5 mph, keep incline - 1 min


Superfood 1: The Avocado

We hear the term “superfood” all the time…. it is not really a term that means anything and basically anyone can say it about any food.  It has come to mean a food that has a high nutrient density and is supposed to impact health in a positive way.   But I also think Graeters black raspberry chip ice cream is pretty super… it’s rich in calcium and it makes me feel happy, so shouldn’t that count?  (Never mind the insane saturated fat content.  Seriously, click the link and order some.)   I have decided to actually look into some of these foods and see how super they really are.

I’m starting with avocados – part of my dinner tonight in a Buffalo Chicken Salad  with spinach, broccoli slaw, red onion, tomato, 1/2 avocado, and one can of chunk chicken mixed with buffalo sauce.  I topped it with light chunky bleu cheese dressing (just a little!).  So good.


Sooooo what can the mighty avocado get you? One regular avocado has about 4.6 g fiber, only 0.2 g sugar, 345 mg potassium, and 6.7 g monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA – the good kind.  Dosen’t MUFA sound like a bad*ss?).  Plus magnesium, Vit A, C E K, B6, folate, niacin, leutin, riboflavin, pantothenic acid… the list goes on.  And if you’re wondering why we need that last one, basically it is essential for life, but it also helps improve your cholesterol profile.

In addition to being nutrient dense, the avocado is 80% water and has a lot of fiber; so even though there is fat, it is comparable to other “diet” foods and will help you feel fuller.   Analysis of the NHANES data showed that avocado consumers had better cholesterol, less risk of metabolic syndrome, and small waist circumference.  Plus proven benefits of preventing arthritis and protecting your skin!  If you’re interested, you can read a good and accurate review of avocados here, complete with a full nutrition facts panel.

If you are worried about the fat, even though it’s the awesome MUFA kind, there has actually been a study comparing people eating the same low fat diet, but half of the people had avocados – there was no impairment of their weight loss!  (Peiterse et al, 2005).

Ole!  Guacamole! 

Avocados are no Clark Kent… they are a super food for sure.  I plan to experiment next with adding them to a smoothie for some creaminess.

And speaking of MUFAs…. I just had a spoonful of peanut butter.  Oh. Yes.



My Monday did not start off super great.  My alarm did not go off.  Neither did my back up alarm.  Or I guess it is conceivable that I didn’t hear them, but I consider this much less likely.  I also got stuck in a traffic jam on the way to work that didn’t seem to have a source (those are the worst kind… where they just resolve but you never figure out why people were going so slow in the first place?).   So I missed a mandatory 7:15 am meeting and arrived at work at 9 am.   I hate being late, but luckily it didn’t matter too much because the oncologist I was working with was not even expecting me. I spent the morning seeing head and neck cancer patients in chemotherapy follow up.  They were all actually doing well, so I considered it a success!


I was pretty energized from the turkey bacon, egg white, and avocado breakfast sandwich that I made this morning, so I worked through lunch.  I later had a spinach and avocado salad while seeing some of my primary care patients.   It’s funny that they are called “patients” because it definitely requires all my “patience” most days.  One man yelled and threatened me for not giving him a medicine he wanted – one he did not need and that has very bad potential side effects.  “Don’t you dare tell me you can’t give it to me!”  Another was a sweet gentleman who is completely cared for by his family, but they did not come with him and he didn’t know any of his medications.  Yet he had a big stack of paperwork for me to fill out about his medical conditions.  I am not a parent, but I imagine it is quite similar.  Wanting to do the best for someone, but they fight you every step of the way.  Trying hard to help someone even if the demands are large and they may not be helping themselves and they may not show you any appreciation.  It’s rough.

I ended with one of my favorite patients (they aren’t actually my children, so I’m allowed to play favorites) who unfortunately has had a few months of neck swelling, trouble swallowing, fevers, and weight loss.   I probably don’t have to tell you this is very concerning for a head and neck cancer… which would bring my day full circle in a terrible way.  Say a prayer for him.

After work, I went to the gym for a 90 minute incline treadmill workout and I am wiped!   I just finished off the leftover chili and had an almond milk smoothie for dessert.  With my eyes half open, I’d say it’s time for this Monday to be over!

Hard Hitting Circuit and No-Grocery Chili

Best done in that order.  I made the mistake of having the chili before the circuit workout…. and tomato based meals are not the best for a pre-workout feeding session.    Mr. B and I were wondering around the kitchen trying to decide what to have for dinner given our slim pickins in the fridge.  We went to the pantry and decided to make a healthy chili some of our canned goods.  It turned out pretty good!



No Grocery Chili

  • 1 can hot chili beans
  • 1 can black beans
  • 1 can great northern beans
  • 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 1/2 c tomato sauce (I used Prego low sodium Heart Smart)
  • 1 can green chiles
  • 1 can white and golden corn
  • 1/4 red onion, chopped
  • 1/4 c cilantro, chopped
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • 2 tsp chili powder

Or really, let’s be honest, anything in the pantry.  I put extra chili powder in my bowl (Mr. B can’t handle this!) and topped it with my favorite sour cream substitute – plain greek yogurt.

I did the same circuit tonight that I did a couple of nights ago.  I will admit, it’s pretty tough.  My goal this week will be to get pictures up of some of these moves.


Do Not Resuscitate

I’m currently sitting in the hospital in charge of taking new oncology admissions, hoping right along with all the cancer patients that none of them get sick tonight. I just finished tucking in a young man with a terrible disease, here simply because he is too sick to exist in the comfort of his home. He has a rare cancer that is metastatic (meaning spread outside it’s starting place). And it’s metastatic EVERYWHERE. Bones, liver, kidneys, stomach, even huge skin nodules so he has a visual reminder of how fast the disease is taking him over. I discussed with him the nature of his disease and what his goals might be – did he want our invasive chest compressions and breathing tube if his heart gives up while he is here?

I was just reading a couple of doctor blogs I like, Reflections of a Grady Doctor and Everything Health, and I came across this poem from JAMA, actually written by a doctor I know. It really reflects what it feels like to discuss this with patients and I thought I would share:


Say a thank you for your health!