Why I Don't Count Activity Points

Written by ckoppen on 12/19/2012 7:30 AM | COMMENTS (15)

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...

...Cleaning gutters
...Picking up yard
...Playing with children
...Sanding floors with a power sander
...Scrubbing bathroom
...Sweeping garage
...Sweeping sidewalk
...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.

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Categories: Fitness

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  • Post Image zoewoody (zoe)

    4/9/2014 2:45 PM
    This only works for a certain group of people. If you are a person who gets their 30min exercise a day, this makes sense. For athletes however this is very wrong. For example, I swim 2 hours vigorously everyday. I burn, say, 800 calories on the average day. That's a lot of calories to not count. If I'm on a 1,200 calorie diet and I don't adjust for my swim, then I'm just getting 400 calories, and that is called starvation.

  • Post Image jnpatucker

    3/22/2013 8:00 PM
    Ran out of room. Saying everything that I said, I will say that this is based on daily points and activity points only. I don't use the weekly bonus points. There is a quote that applies here. "Do you workout so that you can eat or do you eat so you can workout? Either way, EAT!!!"

  • Post Image jnpatucker

    3/22/2013 7:56 PM
    I could not disagree with you more. This may be fine if you are not working out that much, but your body needs those activity points if you are doing long strenuous workouts. Your daily points will not be enough to keep your metabolism up. It will go into starvation mode to conserve as many nutrients as possible and losing weight can come to a complete stop. It may work for a while, but if you are in for the long haul, this is horrible advice that you should dodge like the plague.

  • Post Image stiner2

    12/20/2012 8:20 AM
    I also agree- Seriously, doing the laundry? Cleaning? I get yard work but I still don't count it knowing how I do yard work. I do track real activity points- swimming, biking, weight lifting, that kind of thing. I tend to not eat them because I assume that I'm fuzzy enough about something in there that I can't afford it. I do try to track them though- I know watching them grow is good for me. I just don't translate that to good for my next binge.

  • Post Image jenica89

    12/19/2012 7:55 PM
    I agree that mundane activities TOTALLY shouldn't count. But I must admit that I like tracking my activity. but I'm new....I only did this once in 2004 for a few months.....plus I'm kinda a rule follower. I really look at it as psychological more than anything else....at least at this point. You are in a different place. (PS I love the last line of your post!)

  • Post Image lowside

    12/19/2012 10:36 AM
    As another big guy, I get plenty of daily points so stay away from my weekly and APs, but I can see where it would be hard to survive WW if I had to live on half of my 51DPs. I reached goal in my 30s by a combination of tracking religiously (measuring and weighing everything) AND jogging. Two bad knees and 30 years later and I have found it impossible (in the past couple of attempts at WW) to loose if I eat my weekly and APs.

  • Post Image mrspclayton (penny)

    12/19/2012 10:29 AM
    I have that Active Link. I might get 2 AP's a day, but I average 1. I am just starting and don't go to the gym yet, baby steps, but I swap my AL AP instead of the WP. My goal, is to have ALL my WP still available by the end of the week. 95% of the time, I don't use them. Mentally, I like seeing the WP # because I know that the AL is calculating what I really do. My best week is 13 AP so far. Keep up the GREAT work and the wonderful blogs!! YOU ROCK!!

  • Post Image elisa_in_belton

    12/19/2012 10:16 AM
    I don't eat AP's either and I only count exercise for AP. I laughed when I saw that you can earn them for ironing clothes! HA! I do eat some of my WP, but not all of them. I only get 26 DP and so do occasionally eat more if my body needs the fuel from exercise - but I never eat them all in a single day, try to spread them out, and I never use them all.

  • Post Image 50timetolose80 (linda)

    12/19/2012 8:37 AM
    Whatever works for you is great--keep doing it. I'd be too hungry if I didn't eat my APs, and I get a lot hungrier on the days I get a lot of exercise. I also get a lot of spontaneous exercise that I don't count for APs. I think WW assumes a baseline activity level and not everyone gets that. Also, I count APs from my HRM, not the tracker. The tracker would give me way more APs than my HRM gives me.

  • Post Image ckoppen

    12/19/2012 8:29 AM
    Thanks for reacting everyone!

  • Post Image ckoppen

    12/19/2012 8:27 AM
    I agree Diane. Everyone reacts differently and if it's Woking for you then great. I say that my wife also has 26 points, uses 20 points of weeklies and doesn't count her APs. My larger point was that if people arentsseeing success, they might want to evaluate their use and calculation of APs.

  • Post Image cappie71 (michelle)

    12/19/2012 8:27 AM
    I don't workout to earn Activity Points only to trade for food, though I enjoy being able to eat cake! I do exercise to change the shape of my body, and for the health of my heart. I eat my Activity Points because my body needs them for fuel. Without them my energy level suffers. Plus I really like cake!

  • Post Image cappie71 (michelle)

    12/19/2012 8:24 AM
    My Daily Points only equal out to around a 1,000 calories a day, and that is including those 0 point fruits and vegetables, I'm 5'8" and active, I earn 6 Activity Points(per my AL) minimum on my Rest Days. I eat a combination of APs and Weeklies every week, without guilt, and I continue to lose weight. My weight loss slows way down and I get cranky when I start messing around and restricting my points to much.

  • Post Image cappie71 (michelle)

    12/19/2012 8:21 AM
    I'm in a totally different place in regards to Activity Points. One I wear an ActiveLink monitor so I know my Activity Points I earn are above my baseline so they are "earned." Two I've been tracking my calorie intake along with my WW Points after figuring out what my Total Daily Expect Expenditure of calories is, it's a complicated little math formula, so I know that I need to eat more than the 26 Daily Points WW gives me.

  • Post Image eniads (diane)

    12/19/2012 8:01 AM
    Ah, but it's different when you only get 26 daily points! I use only 20 WP, but I do use my APs most days.I would be seriously hungry if I didn't use them. With 26 daily points, it is hard to get enough protein and carbohydrates to support a good workout regimen. On days I don't work out, I don't use those extra points and I am fine. But on days I work out, I NEED them! (I only count gym time plus "exercise" walks or activities, not the stuff of daily life.)


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