I don't use Activity Points to offset Food Points. I still enter them into the online tracker, but I don't use them. There are a few reasons why.
First, I believe I should be exercising and not just because it allows me to eat that extra jelly donut. I think it sets up a bad dynamic to say that my reward for activity is that I get to eat more food. I should be exercising so I don't stroke out by the time I'm 50. I should exercise so I don't get winded walking up 10 steps. I should exercise so I can lift a bag of mulch without needing to take a break. I should not be exercising so I can allow myself that extra martini that I don't have room for because I used all my Points.
Second, I think that WW makes it too easy to trade off everyday activity for more food. For example, I don't track the points for activities of daily living. I can just see people at 8PM going back through their day to count up what they did throughout the day so they can find a way to squeeze that extra piece of cake into their...pie-hole.
In fact, I cant help but laugh at some of the things that the online tracker has AP values for...
...Picking up yard
...Playing with children
...Sanding floors with a power sander
...Sweeping, outside of home
Isn't having a clean bathroom reason enough to scrub it, I ask you? Am I also going to give myself more food for doing it?
Other equally silly APs?
Points for Billiards.
Points for Bowling.
Points for Fishing.
Sorry, but any activity that is better enjoyed with a beer in hand should not be considered eligible for Activity Points.
I guess I've just stopped trying to look for easy ways out and rewarding myself with a food trade-off for "spreading dirt with a shovel" seems too easy.
Third, I think people would more properly understand Activity Points if they were called Exercise Points. Give me Exercise Points for running, stair climbing, weight lifting, sit-ups, Zumba, Pilates, etc. Yes, there is always a little awkward laughter when Grits suggests we should get Activity Points for "lifting food to mouth" because we all know we would love to get credit for any little effort we do. But I think we really need to draw the line if we want to be serious about losing weight.
Fourth, I think APs overestimate their daily benefit. In fact, I don't think I would lose any weight if I knew I had an extra reservoir of points.
As it is, I reduce my Weight Watchers daily points by five below that they are giving me, I only give myself 21 weekly points, and don't use any APs. And I'm still averaging a 1.5 pound loss per week. Seems like if any of those go up, I would be holding steady or losing less than 1 LB/week.
I mean just think about it. I started Weight Watchers with 71 daily Points and 49 weekly Points, plus I could add my Activity Points. Today, after 90 pounds lost, WW has me at 61 Points with 49 weeklies and my activity points (which average 8/weekday). If I prorated my weeklies, I could give myself 76 daily Points...more than my daily allowance of points after losing the weight of several small children ago.
That just doesn't seem right.
Anyway, just wanted to share. From folk's blog postings, it seems like people are struggling with slow weight loss this time of year. While I love Weight Watchers for 95% of what they do, I believe that having an honest conversation with their members about what it might really take to break through some weight loss barriers with respect to activity may be in order.
We critique because we love.
Photo by therichardlife