Monday, April 30, 2012

Weight Watchers Activity Points: Weekly vs Daily

A quick explanation for those who are not familiar with Weight Watchers (WW).  The whole thing is based on points, which I'm sure you already know.  Similar to counting calories.  But you can also "earn" points through activity, called Activity Points (AP).  Once you've earned an AP you have the option of "eating" that point.  Lots of different opinions out there about whether or not you should eat APs but most of the time, I eat mine.

There are two ways to track your APs throughout the week.  You can either track them by day or by week.  If you track them by day, you only have them available for eating the day you earned them.  If you don't eat 'em, they disappear.  However, if you track them by week, any remaining (non-eaten) APs roll over to the next day - until your WW week starts over, then they disappear (mine starts over on Fridays).

I used to track by day and sometimes I'd leave some on the table.  If I went to the gym and earned 7 APs I might eat 5 of those and leave 2, for example.  The next day those 2 would be gone.  But after this past weekend I was in the red (and still am) on my points for the week.  So I decided to change to tracking them weekly so I can catch-up on my points and get back in the black before Friday.  At first this idea seemed like cheating but then I went on the WW message boards and asked what others do (and if they change back and forth from daily to weekly).  Here are the responses I got (btw, the numbers under the screen names are the writer's starting weight/current weight/goal weight - as you can see, some are under their original goal weight):

213.6 / 156 / 165
I always do mine weekly. I don't intentionally play catch-up but I find that weekly does more accurately reflect my weight losses long term. then again I am extremely active all the time any way.
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270 / 134.2 / 135
I set it to use them the day I earn them and haven't changed it. I kind of view it as scale games to move it around but it's really up to you.
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190.6 / 152.4 / 155
I have it set for weekly...I get a fair amount now (over 50). I've considered doing daily but I think that will lead to me wanting to use them...I feel less pressure to use them and it keeps me in the mentality that eating and exercising is collective and the goal is an overall deficit..even if every single day you're not at a deficit. If that makes any sense.
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244.8 / 207.4 / 155
I keep my APs weekly. Typically earn over 50 in a week - in my worst week I only ate a little less than half. My goal is to use DPs only. Have never eaten any WPs in 281 CDOP. I exercise at least 60 minutes/ day, every day. I like weekly APs just to see how many I have and as a security blanket in case I ever got REALLY hungry. Hasn't happened yet.
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111 / 48.8 / 62.2
I always leave mine weekly. I do sometimes have to play catch-up -- I'm 10 WPs in the hole right now, but I expect to earn another 19 APs before weigh-in on Thursday -- and I'm fine with that as long as I keep losing.  Honestly, I don't really bother changing my settings a lot. I just leave them as is and do what I'm going to do.
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247.4 / 162.4 / 169
What Podkey and Wendy said.  I'm crazy active, and sometimes there is just no way that I'm eating those points all in the day they get earned, but I might crash and burn later if they aren't there. This happened with my marathon last fall. I think I only at about 55 points that day because I was just too tired to bother, yet I'd earned 46 AP.  Sunday and Monday, I ate more than usual by some. Then Tuesday hit. Went. off. the. freaking. rails. 92 point day. Which I clearly needed. I just didn't need it the day I earned all the points, though I did earn a lot that day as well, as I'd gone hiking.  My more normal activity patterns are a mini-version of that. The heavier exercise days aren't usually the ones where I'm starving. That happens a day or two later.
Lots of good advice/information there.  I bolded some of the stuff that influenced my decision to change to weekly and probably leave it that way for good.  So, as it stands now I am -9, which I can make up by not eating all my APs over two gym days.  That seems easy enough.  I usually earn 7 per gym visit.  I have three more gym visits planned - today, tomorrow and Thursday - before my week starts over on Friday.  I am looking forward to getting this week, most especially this past Friday, behind me.

A quick word on my last post.  Two of the four comments I got (Thanks Kristy, Nicole, Irene and Meg for the support!) mentioned the word honesty.  And that got me to thinking.  You might think that because I keep this blog and blabber on about my eating and exercise, you might think that means I have little concern for what others think.  And I guess oftentimes that's true.  But I'm still human, and I sometimes cringe when I share particularly unflattering details.  I wanted to leave the McDonalds out, and I actually thought about doing that.  But I couldn't, I knew that hiding it meant harboring the shame.   
shame/SHām/Noun.  A painful feeling of humiliation or distress caused by the consciousness of wrong or foolish behavior.
I am conscious of  eating the McDonalds being foolish, but I wouldn't go so far as to call it "wrong" necessarily.  It was more of an unfortunate decision.  One that I will probably make again in life.  Wrong is just too black and white.  You might find this analysis tedious and unnecessary but I am believing more and more that this is key to making permanent change.  Rooting out these underlying thoughts about my eating behavior, identifying a language and phrases that reinforce the way I want to think about eating - it's important.

I also couldn't hide my mistake because I felt to do so would make my whole blog a lie.  Maybe that's a bit dramatic but it's how I felt.  I haven't hidden the ugly stuff yet, so why start now, right?


  1. I wouldn't call McDonald's wrong, either. Foolish at times, maybe, though I swear a McDonald's hamburger made me feel better after a really, really humid/horrible half-marathon once. I seriously thought I was going to throw up until I ate it. Apparently it was the perfect mix of salt, protein and carbs that day.

  2. I agree that McDonald's wasn't wrong just a bad decision. I recently had a death in my family and have had a hell of a time getting back on track. Instead of being honest I have just not been consistently tracking. I have gained 4 pounds! I'm hoping to get back on track this week. Reading posts like this help me stay motivated!

  3. Right! Just keep being your beautiful strong real self with all the triumphs and foibles. Yay! I got to use foibles in a sentence ; )


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