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How do calories and points correlate?

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Old 02-06-2012, 11:54 AM   #1
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Default How do calories and points correlate?

So I've been wondering lately -- at 29 points a day, how many calories am I actually taking in during the run of a day? Most days, my 29 points seem to be enough....but on days when I exercise, for example, I find that I'm half-starved and my 29 points aren't enough. (And yes, I know that's where my weeklies come in or whatever, but the thing is, I prefer to save those for treats, rather than food during the day.)

I sat down a couple days ago and actually calculated, calorie-wise, how much I took in during the run of a week in terms of calories, based on my number of daily points. And I was shocked -- I wasn't taking in *nearly* enough. I mean, I don't think 1,000 calories a day is healthy for most people -- especially someone who exercises as much as I do.

So I'm just wondering how many calories a person is actually eating when they're at 29 points per day. 1200? 1500? Some other number? I know WW claims to have researched all of this very carefully, but it just seems to me (at least in my own personal case) that the number of calories I take in sometimes does not match up at all with what a healthy number of calories should be.
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Old 02-06-2012, 12:03 PM   #2
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It kind of all depends on how many 0 points foods you are eating. I get 26 points a day, and like you, I prefer to save my weeklies for treats, I use the fruits and vegetables to stretch my 26 points out for those times when I'm starving.
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Old 02-06-2012, 12:15 PM   #3
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I'm not on WW at this point (have been trying to convince hubby to go with me. I already belong to TOPS, which hubby refuses to join (because our group sings at every meeting). He did like WW though, in the past, so I've been trying to persuade him to join with me. I'll keep going to my TOPS meetings too).

I have used the old points system, and have been talking to my mother and sister about the new system changes, so I know that the new points still don't have a set calorie value (but can be as low as 30 calories), and then there are also the zero-point foods to consider, which means someone on 29 points might be taking in only 900 calories, and someone else on the same 29 points could be taking in 1800 calories.

The weekly points and the fruit are meant to be used, so if you feel you're not taking in enough calories, then you've got to dig into those to make up the difference. You may prefer to use them as treats, but you're not doing yourself any favors if you're shortchangeing yourself, especially if you're active. If you know you're not reaching a healthy calorie range, then you may need to compromise, and either eat more of the zero-point fruit and veggies or use some of those weekly points (you don't have to use them all and can still set aside a treat budget).


You can't discount the fruit and weekly points. If you need them, you need them.

I think most people do use them regularly (my mom and sister do).

Even though WW has developed their program carefully, it doesn't make the plan error-proof, especially if you don't use the system to your own best advantage. You still have to pay attention to your own body and experiment to discover the optimal use of your points and zero-point foods like fruits and vegetables. In fact, that's why the flexibility is figured in. People who need more calories can get them by using the weeklies and the zero-point (but not zero-calorie) foods. People who need fewer calories can (and may have to) use less. If you're older and inactive you may be able to get by without dipping into the discretionary budget, but if you're young, active, and exercising regularly you'll need more calories to sustain your activity level. Shortchangeing yourself could reduce your energy level and ability to exercise (and could even eventually impact your metabolism)

You still have to experiment to find your optimal food plan within the WW framework. It's designed for tweaking - so tweak.
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Old 02-06-2012, 12:34 PM   #4
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It doesn't always correlate exactly. Due to the formula they use it means that some foods are going to be higher points and others are going to be lower points depending on the macronutrients. While the calories for the foods might actually be the same.

The older plan used to be about 50 calories per point. Points Plus is somewhere in the vicinity of 35 calories per point, but again, only somewhere around there. Not exact.

This means that generally speaking a person on 29 points is getting roughly 1,200 as long as they are using their Fruit & Veggie servings. Since fruit and veggie servings aren't included as points, but are rather included as servings per day that's why it's important they're eaten.

This means that what a person eats is going to matter. Due to the way the Points work a person who eats their Daily Points worth of chips and only chips may actually be eating fewer calories than the person who chooses the salad, the grilled chicken, the sandwich for lunch, the fruit as a snack...

That also means that the day-to-day calories are going to vary.

One thing is for certain, the Daily Points are not the be-all-end-all. It's merely the starting point. It's the suggested starting point. For example, to someone who counts calories it might be said "Oh, start at 1,500 and go from there." That's how the Points work with WW. They don't stress the experimentation in meetings quite as much as they might need to, but the idea is the same. Especially now that they allow Points to be changed up or down due to the needs of the member.

If 29 Points isn't enough, then up them. Use your Weekly Points. Use your Activity Points. Have a few extra Points. Try different combinations. Say you think you should be eating a hundred more calories, then sticking on 2-4 extra points to your day should roughly cover it to see if it makes a difference.

ETA some rambling on the subject of Points:

You know how the program has members automatically readjusting their Daily Points when they lose weight? Confession... I don't always automatically adjust my Points. I might be at 45 Points for a good number of pounds lost even when the plan tells me I should be eating 44 or 43 or lower. I don't always eat that number of Points daily until I'm at a plateau, but I could without it being a bad thing. I sincerely think of their Daily Points target as a good starting suggestion. And go from there. Most of the time it's perfectly fine. But everyone's different. The plan is flexible for exactly this reason. It needs to accommodate so many members that experimentation is necessary for the individual.
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Old 02-06-2012, 01:26 PM   #5
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There is no exact correlation between calories and points so quit worrying about it.
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Old 02-06-2012, 01:56 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by QuilterInVA View Post
There is no exact correlation between calories and points so quit worrying about it.
That's not a very supportive attitude to give someone who is concerned that she's not getting enough daily calories in, regardless of if she's on WW or not.

Snoofie, is there anyway you could post some of the food you've been eating to give us an idea? Like Lovely said, because of the way the points are structured it could all depend on what you're eating to give the calorie intake. If you're that concerned, perhaps we could offer suggestions to keep you in point but with higher calories.

Also, if you're exercising you are given activity points, too. I usually always eat those -- sometimes the same day as my workout if I'm super hungry or I save them for the weekend and a treat. I actually have it set up to take my AP points first then weeklies. If you eat the activity points, you still can save the weeklies for something else.
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Old 02-06-2012, 02:38 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by QuilterInVA View Post
There is no exact correlation between calories and points so quit worrying about it.
There's really no need to be snotty. I merely asked a question because I was curious. Your attitude is incredibly off-putting.
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Old 02-06-2012, 03:48 PM   #8
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I understood Snoofies question to be something like this....
X points = X Calories.
If that is her question then Quilter is not wrong in her answer.
Calories and points are two different things, however if you are using points you are using fewer calories. Only WW knows how they determine the ratio.
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Old 02-06-2012, 04:04 PM   #9
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Regardless of the intent (which I'm not going to guess), I'm not sure that "quit worrying about about it" is terrible advice. Blunt, perhaps, but not necessarily bad, unsupportive, smug, snarky, snotty, opinionated, know-it-all, or rude.

One thing to keep in mind online, is that you get no facial expression or tone-of-voice , so it's very easy to misconstrue intention. I've gotten bipolar criticism on the same exact post - where someone thinks I'm being snarky or rude and someone else will criticise the same post for being too sacharine.

As to the topic, if you're worried about calories, then count them and do what you need to increase the calories within the point system - or if calories are more important to you than points, consider counting calories instead of points. Or do both, if that makes you happy.

Stressing over it though could make it difficult to do either, in which case the advice "quit worrying about it" could actually be very good advice.

I think the intent and advantages of the WW plan is in the ease and flexibility of implementation and aslo its focus on healthy eating, and of course the group support (which personally I think is the most important aspect for many people).

Trying to combine point counting with calorie counting can be unnecessarily stressful and confusing. If you're comfortable doing both (at least for a while) then great - do both. If doing both is stressful or a burden in any way, then choose one or the other.

A lot of people criticise WW because the calorie-level isn't precise and consistent - and yet this can also be seen as the very advantage to the program. Some people say it's calorie-count is too low, but they don't take into account all of the ways you can increase the calorie level and stay within points. Other people say the WW plan is too high in calories, not taking into account all of the ways you can decrease the calorie level and stay within points. Trying to juggle calories and points may be easy for some people, and maddening for others (just keeping track of one or the other can be difficult enough).

To some degree, all of the criticisms are unfair, because they don't account for the flexibility and personal accountability of the plan - the understanding that you're going to have to experiment - with using the zero-point foods, the daily points, the weekly points, the activity points...

As with all flexible plans (and most of us like flexible), experimentation is part of the process - trying to simultaneously do two or more plans doesn't always work well. With all of the experimenting that you have to do within the program, adding an extra component (of calorie counting) may be an unnecessary burden (but if it's a burden you want to take on, feel free).

I actually agree that whatever you choose to do in eterms of experimenting (even adding calorie counting if you want to), I would rsuggest that you not "worry" about it - experiment, but don't worry (unless you really like worrying, in which case, worry and enjoy as long as you don't let worry lead to doubt, and let doubt lead to frustration, and let frustration lead to giving up entirely).
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Old 02-06-2012, 04:15 PM   #10
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Things may have changed in recent years, but when I did WW several years ago I recall that one point was equivalent to about 50 calories, give or take. So 29 points would be 1,450 calories, which sounds like a reasonable weight-loss pace to me.

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Old 02-06-2012, 04:27 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by freelancemomma View Post
Things may have changed in recent years, but when I did WW several years ago I recall that one point was equivalent to about 50 calories, give or take. So 29 points would be 1,450 calories, which sounds like a reasonable weight-loss pace to me.

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Yes the points have changed, and they're now smaller - but not tied exactly to calories, just as the old ones weren't either - and free foods have also always affected calorie levels.

The formulas that WW uses to calculate points both in the new and old systems aren't advertised, but aren't hiden or secret either (appearing in their patent documentation and in publications) and are available online.

The old formulas for the two prior point systems took fat, calories and fiber into account rather than protein, carbohydrates, fat, and fiber.

I used to have the old formula memorized, because I was always losing my points calculator.


All of the formulas WW has used (past and present) to calculate the point values are listed here
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Weight_Watchers
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Old 02-06-2012, 10:04 PM   #12
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OP if you feel that you need more cals or points then eat zero point fruit or tap into your WP and AP. I would be hungry also if I worked out and didn't up my points a little for that day but I will also admit that I eat ALL of my WP and AP. My weight loss has been slow but this isn't a race and I'm not hungry either My advice is for you to start using your WP and AP, you don't have to use all of them but I would definitely tap into them especially if you're hungry.
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Old 02-07-2012, 06:43 PM   #13
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Start dually counting calories and you'll be able to see what you are in actuality consuming. If you find that you can stick with WW and enjoy some benefit from the program and lose weight when you have figured out how to make it work for you...perfect. You had a valid concern and asked a question that people have been asking since PP rolled out. The answer is...? I don't know either.

I am a WWPP drop out. I've seen much more success with counting calories and I'm done with WW. There is no mystery anymore, no secret proprietary formula. I don't call it a magic formula, cuz its magic was lost on me.

Also, as to people being rude, I put them on ignore...perhaps they put me on ignore too. Who knows? Some people will just rub ya the wrong way. I found with my WW posts last September/October, there were people who did the program eons ago, who liked to pipe up and chime in with the wrong information. Some of them are adamant about WW being the best program and points being the only way to go and if you do it right and follow the program, you'll be successful....only problem is they may have hit maintenance years ago too....and still follow a prior program, which is fine...but then they should keep mum about the new one and keep their misinformation to themselves.

Anyhow, I hope you find success and the right "number" for you, be it points or calories....and remember the ignore button.
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Old 02-10-2012, 12:47 AM   #14
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I've kept track for over a year of PP and calories. For me,a Points Plus averages out to about 37 calories. Obviously it depends on the food but I find that if I assume 37 calories a point I am fairly close for my eating style. YMMV depending on the type of foods you eat.
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Old 02-10-2012, 11:30 AM   #15
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There is no exact match up, however, I use calorie counter to keep track of calories, also since I'm new to WW and want to become really aware of portion size, calories, etc. I have found that a ROUGH equation is 1 point = 50 calories. Therefore, someone with 29 points would be consuming in the VACINITIY of 1450 calories. You have to be careful with fruits, though. For instance, an apple is 95 calories. With WW, apples count as 0 points. If you, let's say, ate 5 apples a day - that's 475 calories!! I am finding this method (counting points AND calories) is working very well for me right now and helping me greatly to stay on track.
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