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Old 06-26-2001, 09:56 AM   #1  
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Default 'Compensating' for exercising

Hello all... I've got a question about activity points that I earn. I'm into my 10th week, so I've been counting my activity points for awhile, but there was one thing I was never too sure about.

Some days I go like gang busters and accumulate a lot of them (i.e. yesterday I did 30 min 'moderate intensity' weight training, 45 min 'high intensity' cardio, and another 45 min 'low intensity' walking). For my weight, that works out to be 12 points.

When I accumulate activity points during the day, it's because of a lot of physical exercise - how many points do I then have to add onto what I eat to make up for all this extra energy used up? Or should I be adding any? I always assumed I should, but I don't know how many. Is it '1 for 1' - like if I accumulate 12 activity points, should I eat 12 extra points to make sure my body has enough fuel? Or should I eat a certain percentage extra - like half as many as I accumulate?

Help. Is there any WW 'rule' about this, or does it really just depend on the person?

Thanks.

Christine
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Old 06-26-2001, 11:26 AM   #2  
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This article was on the weight watcher's web site. It really is a good resource, even if you don't join. They have success stories, recipes, and articles about the program and fitness.

Okay, so you've been around the block a few times (literally, on your now nightly walks), and you know the scoop on activity POINTS a little extra exercise each day can help keep you successful on Winning Points.

Great! But the question is, what should you do with the activity POINTS you've earned? You have three options:


Option 1: Spend them on food that day. Whether you've been craving chocolate and need the extra spending power or need a post-exercise apple to curb your appetite, when the POINTS are yours, they're burning a hole in your proverbial pocket (not to mention your calorie count).


Option 2: Don't do a thing with them. After all, you don't have to eat more. In fact, activity POINTS earned that are not traded in for food will be more likely to help you lose weight faster.


Option 3: Bank them and decide what to do with them later. If you take an extra-long walk on Sunday (when you have the extra time), you can use the extra POINTS on, say, Tuesday, when you have no time to exercise at all. All told, you can bank up to 28 POINTS a week (up to 4 per day), but you have to use them during that week you cannot carry them over into the following week.


Whichever option you choose, if you eat within your POINTS range, you will lose weight. But it's good to know that exercise can earn you a few activity POINTS to spend on food, whether you use it this afternoon or after dinner (on the tiramisu at your favorite Italian restaurant).

Spend Wisely or Splurge?
So, you've decided to spend the activity POINTS you earned today. You've been struggling with staying in your POINTS Range, and you could really use the extra food. The question then becomes, should I spend it on something I'm craving (like an extra slice of that birthday cake your colleague brought into the office), or a "safer" non-trigger food (such as an apple).

"It's all about balance," says Leslie Fink, MS, RD, a WeightWatchers.com nutritionist. "Spending POINTS on fruit is nutritionally better than spending them on cake, but staying within your POINTS Range overall will help you lose weight, no matter what you choose." Plus, if you go for the craving quencher, you've, well, quenched a craving a worthwhile accomplishment in the long run as well.

Basically, it's up to you. Just weigh your options as long as you stay within your POINTS Range for the day, you're all set to see the scale move downward.

Trial Run
We wanted to see what food we could get for our exercise, so we plugged our weight (130 pounds) and a few exercise routines into the Weight Watchers.com exercise database, then did a little snooping around to find some things we could spend the POINTS we'd earn on. Call it Windows shopping



If you do this activity And earn this many POINTS Maybe you could trade them in for The benefit would be
Stretching, 20 minutes 1 POINT cup orange juice Quick post-exercise energy
Leisure walking, 1 hour 2 POINTS Reduced-calorie granola bar Long-term energy boost
Yoga, 1 hour 2 POINTS Hershey's Sweet Escapes Crispy Caramel Fudge Bar It's chocolate
Playing softball, 70 minutes 3 POINTS 1 ounce mini cheese-square crackers Great salty snack-attack craving quencher
Housework cleaning windows, 65 minutes 3 POINTS 20 peanuts plus 2 tablespoons of rasins Energy boost
Low-impact aerobics, 45 minutes 3 POINTS McDonald's Vanilla Reduced Fat Ice Cream Cone The smell of those fries lured you in, but you don't have to let Mickey D's get the best of you cool off with this low-POINTS menu option instead.
Brisk walking, 1 hour 4 POINTS Pineapple-Mango Smoothie Immediate energy boost
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Old 06-26-2001, 12:55 PM   #3  
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Thanks for that (and so quick too!). It was very informative. But I've actually got some more questions now that I've read it.

It said that I can bank up to 28 pts a week, at 4 each day. Not that days like yesterday are my norm, but what do I do if I get more than 28? Do I just not count any exercise that puts me over the top? Or would you just not 'spend' anything past the 28 you're allowed?

And what about the option to not use the points at all because you'll lose more weight ... isn't that kind of misleading? I guess I'm thinking of the danger of falling into the 'starvation mode'. I.e. if I'm exercising a lot, but not taking in any extra energy above my max pts allowed (which I'm assuming is what my body if I don't do any exercise), then I'm actually not giving my body enough to get by on, so the weight loss may actually slow down or stop.

Anyway... just some things I was thinking about. My losses have started to slow down now that the 'honeymoon' phase is over, so I'm starting to look at what I'm doing and figured that I may not be managing these activity points as well as I could be and that it may have something to do with it.

Thanks.

Christine
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Old 06-26-2001, 04:16 PM   #4  
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I think this is one of those issues where you just have to experiment on yourself. I don't think that Weight Watcher's covers "heavy exercisers" (meaning exercisers who exercise a lot - not overfat exercisers) very well, because for most people, if they exercise a lot, they don't have much of a weight problem. I am like you - I exercise a lot - I walk my dog every day, ride my bike back and forth to work, attend 5 aerobics classes per week and 2 - 3 weight training classes and do additional fun things on the weekends (like go hiking). HOWEVER - I still have a weight problem because I am a binge eater. I find that if I worry about this issue too much, I find myself saying things like "well, I did two classes today, I can eat that hot fudge sundae, no problem". Then guess what? I show no loss at weigh in time if I do too much of that. I suggest you experiment a little - if you find yourself not losing much at the point range your at, maybe go up 2 points a day (the next range) and see how you do there. I know all about the starvation mode everyone's always talking about, but I never hear anyone talk about the other side - i.e., that exercise is suppose to raise your metabolism for 3 to 4 hours after you do it if you get your heart rate into your aerobic zone for at least 20 minutes. So wouldn't you think that if you were exercising daily, that this raised metabolism would offset the lowered metabolism????? I'm sure at a metabolic level its all different for all of us and the only way we'd truely know how our bodies are reacting is to go into a laboratory setting and have someone determine our metabolism at rest and at various calorie intake/outgo levels. BUT - I certainly can't afford that, so I just experiment on myself, keeping careful track of my points in and my activity points out and adjusting to see how different things affect me as an individual. Good luck, this is such a personal thing for each of us -
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