Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Should I Eat Activity Points? Weekly Points? And Other Weight Watcher Questions...

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Some of my most popular blog posts of all time are the ones in which I answer these basic questions about Weight Watchers. Of course the answers are nothing more than my opinion but I had a lot of success on WW so it makes sense people would want to know my thoughts on things. Rather than put all this in a comment I'm answering here for a potentially wider audience that might be interested.

To that end, I'm sharing WW related questions posted in a comment from MtngirlinCali.
what's your official take on eating activity points? And if you are wearing a heart rate monitor that is calculating calories during your training, do you just do a conversion to get to activity points? I'm doing Orange Theory Fitness 3 times a week right now -- have lost 20 lbs over the past year and gained some great muscle definition, but after my first few weeks back on WW, I have stalled out. I was maybe eating 2-3 of the activity points I earned. (And I earn 12 for an hour session) I never touch my flex points. Wondering if maybe I need to eat a little bit more (maybe take a protein shake after my workout) and see how that works? But would love to know how you've cracked the code.....
Ok, I'll break these down into numbered questions...
  1. What's your official take on eating activity points?
    Eat them. I used to eat almost all of my APs. Of course, if you're not hungry and don't feel like eating them, don't force yourself, but I never really had that issue. You might know that I'm currently counting calories (as a temporary support to myself, not as a lifelong maintenance plan). I add in my exercise calories and eat those on the days I exercise.
  2. And if you are wearing a heart rate monitor that is calculating calories during your training, do you just do a conversion to get to activity points?
    The way I handled this was unofficial (of course I'm no WW spokesperson so this is all unofficial) but here's how I figured it. I took the calories my Polar heart rate monitor told me I'd burned (NOT the machine or my Garmin, I only felt my Polar was reliable enough to count on those numbers) and for every 100 calories I gave myself 1 activity points. Why? I can't exactly recall but I think I read somewhere that this was roughly how WW calculates APs. Don't quote me on that.

  3. I never touch my flex points
    This isn't a question but I can't help but comment on it anyway. Why not eat them? Have you tried eating them and not lost weight? You mentioned you've stalled, not sure what you mean by that but if you mean you're losing motivation and going off track, maybe giving yourself more wiggle room by eating your weeklies would be something to try? If you can maintain not eating those extras for the rest of your life I say ok, but if you're doing this only to lose weight but plan on eating a bit more during maintenance, reconsider. Maintenance is hard so it's good to get used to eating the way you plan to eat for the rest of your life starting now.

  4. Wondering if maybe I need to eat a little bit more (maybe take a protein shake after my workout) and see how that works?
    Maybe. How do you feel? How's your energy level? Are you satisfied with the way you're eating? I think the greatest thing to do in these cases is to experiment. But one week is not enough, you have to give it around a month. Start adding in that protein shake after the workout and see what happens over your next four weigh-ins. And incorporate how you're feeling in terms of hunger and satisfaction, those are important for maintenance. Hunger is tricky because in the beginning you have to tolerate it while your appetite goes down. But after a couple months I only expect to be feeling hunger in the hour or so before my next planned meal/snack. I'm not happy being hungry all the time and don't know many people that are.
Ok, that's it from me. I'll post my workout/eating/weight update in my next post. Happy day all!


  1. I read a blog (www.thatloudredhead.com) where the woman spoke to her WW counselor (I don't do WW so I don't know if that's the right term) about not losing weight and this is what she was told:

    "She told me that I not only needed to add an extra three points of protein per day, she told me that every single one of my daily points, all 29, had to come from real food. She asked me if I was using my 26 points for a mixture of food and treats, like wine or dessert, and I said of course, isn’t that what you’re supposed to do? To my surprise, she said no! She said the way she teaches it is to take the weekly points, which so many people rarely use, and make those your snack and dessert points. Activity points are also for the snacks and treats, like wine. She told me that my 29 points per day should be real food, and I should count any of my wine or chocolate and anything else that isn’t “fueling” my body as the weeklies."

    Just something to maybe keep in mind.

  2. A little late here but I really appreciate running Meg's information as well.


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