Weight Watchers Says Yes to Eating FitPoints… and Makes Some Changes

Not very long ago, I did a blog post asking “Should I Eat My FitPoints?”  In that post, I pointed out Weight Watchers advice on whether to swap FitPoints for food had switched (in the U.S.) from “In a nutshell: no” to “In a nutshell: Do what works for you.” (Note this post is based upon what Weight Watchers says in an email.  The changes may end up being implemented in a way different from how it is explained in the email.)

Weight Watchers Again Changes Advice on Swapping FitPoints for Food

I woke up this morning to finding that the nutshell had changed once again.  In an email this morning, Weight Watchers made several changes to FitPoints.  On the topic of swapping FitPoints for food, Weight Watchers changed that nutshell once again, saying:

So, can I swap FitPoints for food?

In a nutshell, yes. At Weight Watchers, we believe in physical activity because it gives you more energy, helps you feel comfortable in your own skin and is vital in helping you keep off the weight you lose. If swapping works for you, keep doing it.  If you’re not seeing the results you want, don’t.

So, yes, Weight Watchers is now forthrightly says we can swap FitPoints for food.  A subtle difference is that the prior questions on the United States website (which are still there as I write this) asked “Should I swap my FitPoints for food?”  The new question asks “can I swap FitPoints for food?”  Still, it is clear that there is a change of philosophy that is now much more encouraging to swapping FitPoints for food. And, there is no discouragement from doing it.

Of course, the immediate objection many may have is based upon how easy it now is to earn FitPoints and wondering if we really can eat all those FitPoints.  The new email addresses that as well.  Essentially the FitPoints for the first 3000 step daily base you take each day will not be swappable for food.  Only FitPoints after you meet the new daily base will be able to swapped for food.

The Weight Watchers email about the changes to FitPoints is, frankly, not all that straightforward.  I do think the overall changes they have made are very good.  And, I do think it is far better to have a baseline before you can swap FitPoints for food.  However, the way Weight Watchers explains it in the email is less than clear.

Changes to FitPoint Goals

Somewhat, bizarrely, the email doesn’t even start out with the issue of swapping FitPoints or talking about the baseline.  The first part of the email addresses changes to FitPoint goals. The title of the email is “UPDATE: We’re changing FitPointTM goals. Find out more!”

The email then starts out saying that in Phase I, Weight Watchers gave us FitPoint goals that were based upon weight, gender, age, height and activity level.  It then says we are moving to Phase 2, which has two new features.  First, the daily goal for FitPoints will go up to account for day-to-day activity.  The email says this updated goal will start on our weigh-in day next week.

The second new feature is called responsive goals.  Weight Watchers will review our goals about every two weeks and then will suggest changes to our goals based upon our level of activity.  That will start in a few weeks.

Now, all of the above is fine.  To be honest, I had (wrongly) assumed that FitPoint goals already included these things.  I guess that shows that I haven’t really paid much attention to FitPoint goals.  In any event, I think these are good changes.  But, they are far from the most important changes in the email.

Weight Watchers goes on to say that it is adding the equivalent of 3000 steps to everyone’s daily recommended FitPoints goal.  This equates to 3 to 5 FitPoints based upon weight.  For me, I suspect this will be 3 FitPoints since I currently get a 1 FitPoint per 1177 steps.  For my husband (who weighs a little more than 30 pounds more than I do), this will probably be 4 or 5 FitPoints.

So right now, I have a goal of 36 FitPoints a week:

Activity goal

I suspect that when this change goes live I will have a goal to earn another 3 FitPoints a day, giving me a total goal of 57 FitPoints a week.

What is really going with this change is explained in the email when Weight Watchers addresses why FitPoint goals are being changed.

Weight Watchers has found that members using activity monitors earn FitPoints more quickly than than people who do not use activity monitors.  This is because those with activity monitors earn FitPoints throughout the day from their first step, while those without activity monitors only earn FitPoints when they track specific activities.

Activity Points and the Baseline with Pedometers and Activity Monitors

Now, this is not a shock to me. This occurred as a consequence of getting rid of the baseline that was required with activity monitors before this program.  To go back in history a bit, way back in 2011, I bought a Weight Watchers pedometer.  It had two settings.  You could track specific walks only.  That is, if I was going to walk around the neighborhood for an hour I could track just those steps.  That was treated like any other activity.  I would earn Activity Points based upon how long I walked coupled with the intensity (this might also change with my weight).   Alternatively, I could put it in All Day mode.  In that mode, it tracked all of my steps the entire day.  I could enter those steps on the Weight Watchers activity page and I would earn Activity Points.  However, because this included my day to day activity and not just purposeful exercise, there was a baseline of steps that I had to meet before I started earning Activity Points.  So, if I walked only 2000 steps during the day I didn’t earn any Activity Points.  I had to walk somewhere north of 3000 steps to earn my first Activity Point and then the next point would come more quickly.

Later on, I got the ActiveLink when it first came out.  It was similar.  It measured your entire daily activity.  Because of that, you had to have a certain baseline of activity before your earned any Activity Points.  Still later, I got a Fitbit.  And, when I could connect my Fitbit to Weight Watchers, a certain baseline of steps was required to earn an Activity Point.  I found that I didn’t earn my first Activity Point until I was at about 3500 steps.  If you think of 1000 steps as equal to an Activity Point, that made sense.  About 3000 steps for my baseline, and then 1 FitPoints when I was halfway to the next 1000 steps.

All of that made sense to me at the time.  Your daily basic steps as a sedentary person shouldn’t really earn Activity Points.  People who didn’t have activity monitors or pedometers didn’t earn Activity Points for those kinds of steps, so those with an activity monitor shouldn’t earn them either.  On the other hand, someone who doesn’t do formal exercise but who does a lot of daily walking might reasonably earn some Activity Points for walking more than the baseline number of steps even they weren’t engaging in formal exercise (for example, someone who walks 10,000 steps in a day just through day to day activity).

The Baseline Vanishes When Beyond the Scale with FitPoints Came Out

Given this history, it never made much sense to me when the new program Beyond the Scale came out and FitPoints were earned from the first step walked.  The other day I didn’t feel well and was in bed a lot of the day.  I walked 784 steps total and earned one FitPoint!  I mean, really?  That makes no sense that I could swap that for extra food.  In fact, Fitbit told me I burned a total of 1181 calories that day.  I did not need to be eating extra food!  I never felt that getting rid of the required baseline made much sense.  There should be some amount of daily movement required before we can earn points that we can swap for food. I felt from the beginning that getting rid of it was problematical.  And, this was the real risk in eating FitPoints.  I think this was the heart of the reason that Weight Watchers originally recommended against eating FitPoints.

I think Weight Watchers was in a hard spot.  To motivate people to move, they gave FitPoints out easily even if you barely moved.  Since they were given out so easily, they were most likely wary of people eating them.  Hence, the discouragement to use eating them.  But, I suspect there were finding that people weren’t really motivated by earning a FitPoint by brushing their teeth.  And, if people did eat all their FitPoints they were often finding that would be too much food.  On the other hand, the people who really did need to eat FitPoints (those who do engage in a lot exercise) were often discouraged from eating FitPoints.  The simple solution to a lot of this was to put in some sort of baseline.

With the new iteration of FitPoints (not yet active as far as I can see), Weight Watchers has now fixed that problem.  The result of the solution is to essentially put back in a baseline for people using activity monitors.  The way the solution is implemented, however, may end up being confusing to people.  To understand, it is important to talk about people with activity monitors separately from people without activity monitors.

Earning and Swapping FitPoints With an Activity Monitor

Basically, we keep doing what we are doing.  We will continue to earn FitPoints from our first step.  Nothing changes in how we earn FitPoints if we are using an activity monitor.  What changes is how we swap FitPoints.  Conceptually, we have to exceed a 3000 step daily base before we can swap additional FitPoints for food.  This will equate to 3 to 5 FitPoints per  day.  What I take from the email (without seeing this implemented yet), is that depending on our weight we will have to earn from 3 to 5 FitPoints a day before we can swap FitPoints.  I suspect it will be 3 FitPoints for me.  Let’s say I have a sedentary day and earn 2 FitPoints.  I would earn those FitPoints but would not be able to swap any of them for food. On the other hand, let’s take a day where I earned 3 FitPoints weight lifting and then earned another 3 FitPoints from walking about 4000 steps that day.  That would be a total of 6 FitPoints for the day.  If my baseline is 3 FitPoints, then I would be able to swap 3 of the FitPoints I earned that day (6 – 3 = 3).

I saw that conceptually we will have to exceed a 3000 step daily basis before we can swap FitPoints for food.  It looks like from the email that it doesn’t really matter how you earn those first 3 to 5 FitPoints that constitute your base.  That is, the first 3 to 5 FitPoints you earn (regardless of how you do it) won’t be swappable for food. The FitPoints beyond that will be.

The difference between this and how the baseline worked with Activity Points is this:  With Activity Points I wouldn’t have earned any points until I got to my baseline.  Once I started earning points, I could then trade all of them for food.

With Beyond the Scale, however, I earn FitPoints from the first step.  But, I can’t swap them for food until I’ve earned a certain number of FitPoints (3 to 5 depending upon weight). In other words: I don’t have to meet a baseline to earn FitPoints.  I have to meet a baseline to eat FitPoints. (Note that all of this is based upon what is in the email.  I do wonder if that is what Weight Watchers will actually implement.  It is possible that despite what is in the email they will implement it like they did with Activity Points: you have to meet a baseline to earn points and then can eat all you earned.  That isn’t how the email is written.  But, Weight Watchers has not always been clear in how they explain what they are doing.)

Earning and Swapping FitPoints Without an Activity Monitor

Without an activity monitor, things are different.  You only earn FitPoints when you personally go into the Weight Watchers site (or app) and record a specific activity.  Weight Watchers strongly implies in the email that those without activity monitors weren’t earning as many FitPoints as members with an activity monitor.  This makes sense when you realize those with activity monitors were gaining FitPoints for daily non-exercise activity and could earn a FitPoint even if very sedentary.  So, the phenomenon of the easily earned FitPoints was most likely seen primarily with those who use an activity monitor.

Now, under the old way of doing a baseline (the first X number of steps earned no FitPoints), there was no need for those without an activity monitor to do anything different.  With the new method of creating a baseline for swapping FitPoints, those without an activity monitor must find a way to enter a daily baseline of activity into Weight Watchers.

Basically, Weight Watchers wants you to go into the website and simply add in 3000 steps each day to meet your baseline.  Weight Watchers puts it this way as to how to do it if you don’t have an Activity Monitor or other way to measure steps:

…if you’ve completed your typical routine (errands, work, etc.), give yourself 3000 steps.  Gone beyond your usual routine but unsure how many steps to track?  Estimate the amount of minutes you’ve been walking (and at which intensity) instead of steps and track that.

I can already see that this will be confusing for many.  First, let me be clear.  If you don’t use an activity monitor and you paper track and don’t use eTools, don’t worry about any of this.  You can award FitPoints for specific activities and can, if you choose, swap them 1 for 1 with SmartPoints.  It is as simple as that.

Also, if you have an activity monitor synced to Weight Watchers, it is simple.  Keep wearing it and Weight Watchers on your app or on the website will tell you how many FitPoints you earned and how many you can eat (if you choose to swap).  Simple, again.

The more complicated scenario is if you use eTools, but you do not use an activity monitor, and you want to swap FitPoints.  If you don’t swap, then this doesn’t really matter.  If you do want to swap FitPoints for SmartPoints, you must record 3000 steps a day online with Weight Watchers or you will be shortchanged in the number of  FitPoints you can eat.

Why is that?  Well, imagine 2 people.  I am one of them. I walk 4000 steps one day and I earn 3 FitPoints doing it.  I also go to the Y and exercise and earn 4 FitPoints doing that.  My baseline is 3 FitPoints.  I earned 7 FitPoints can can swap the 4 FitPoints above my baseline for food.

Now, imagine someone else identical to me, but without an activity monitor.  She walks the same number of steps but doesn’t have an activity monitor and doesn’t record the steps on Weight Watchers.  She goes to the Y and does 4 FitPoints of exercise and does record that.  Her baseline is also 3 FitPoints.  Weight Watchers says she can swap 1 FitPoint for food because she had that baseline and only earned 1 FitPoint above her baseline during the day.  However, if she instead records 3000 steps taken (or, frankly, anything that would give her enough FitPoints to meet her baseline), then she would earn 4 FitPoints at the Y and could swap all of them for food (since she met the baseline with the 3000 steps).

In short, if you don’t have an activity monitor and you don’t record 3000 steps each day to Weight Watchers online, you will be shortchanged in swapping FitPoints as compared to the person using an activity monitor.

A Word of Warning for Those Without Activity Monitors

I do want to give one word of warning for those without activity monitors.  It is entirely possible to over estimate your FitPoints when not using an activity monitor.  This can happen in two ways.  First, your FitPoints are determined by intensity.  Many people kid themselves when recording activity.  They saw it was medium intensity when it was really low intensity.  Or, it was high when it was medium.  Or, they fail to realize the intensity changed during the exercise.  For example, you go to a class for 30 minutes and it got really intense during the middle.  So, you record it was 30 minutes of high intensity exercise.  But, you forgot that during part of the 30 minutes, you were warming up or cooling down.  Part of it was low intensity, part of it was medium, and only a minority of it was high intensity.  When you don’t use an activity monitor, it is easy to get this wrong.  When the ActiveLink came out, I remember some members being shocked to find out they were earning way fewer Activity Points than they had been recording.  One of the reasons was that they were overstating (unintentionally) the intensity of their exercise.

The other warning to those without activity monitors, is that if you only count purposeful activity and assume you meet a daily baseline, you may be overstating FitPoints earned if you had a sedentary day apart from exercise.  Here is a personal example of that:

Baseline

On this day, I did weight training at the Y.  That is the 3 FitPoints I earned which is noted as Digifit Other.  My steps for the day, though, were only 2812 steps and I earned 2 FitPoints for them.  The total I earned was 5 FitPoints.  If I have a baseline of 3 FitPoints to swap food, I would be able to swap 2 FitPoints for SmartPoints.  Fine.

But, imagine I did the same workout and didn’t have an activity monitor.  I track the 3 FitPoints from the weight training.  But, I don’t know my number of steps and simply track 3000 steps as a baseline.  I can trade 3 FitPoints for food!  But, in reality, I shouldn’t do that because I didn’t really meet my baseline of 3000 steps for the day.  But, without an activity monitor, I don’t know it.

This is why I really do recommend using an activity monitor, particularly if you want to swap FitPoints.  It keeps me from kidding myself.  Now, if you don’t plan to swap any FitPoints, then it may not matter as much.  I personally, though, find that it helps my motivation.  Regardless, if you don’t want an activity monitor, I would suggest being conservative in recorded baseline daily steps on days when you aren’t very active.

Rolling Out These Changes

My weigh in day is Saturday so this is not active for me.  I briefly changed my weigh in day to Sunday and it is still not active for me.  So, believe it will not start being activity until next Sunday.  However, this is not entirely clear to me.  If anyone sees  the change active before then, let me know.

Again, I overall think this will cure a lot of the problems with FitPoints.  We will still earn them too easily early one, but we won’t be able to swap the first 3 to 5 FitPoints we earn each day (depending on our weight).  That will make use of FitPoints a bit safer.  And, I will hope that people who need or want to use FitPoints won’t be discouraged from trying it.  At my meeting just yesterday, a member mentioned a relative who was hungry on SmartPoints and was very active, but eating no FitPoints.  That is the kind of person who might do much better eating some FitPoints.  And, I think the baseline will help to make it clear that it is extra activity that is supposed to earn FitPoints.

Comments

  1. LindaFay says

    Thanks for keep me informed. I gave up tracking in December and just came back to see if it made anymore sense. I’d been swapping since I got a fitbit over a year ago and have had some success. I could see right away with the new program that I was getting double the amount of points for the same activity PLUS more daily points and I knew that was not going to work for me. I always “ate” my fitbit points and never used my extra weekly allotment of points. In January, I started using the calorie counter on the fitbit and am feeling back in control. What is great about this is it has so many foods that people have inputted. What’s not as great as WW was is it isn’t easy to make and remember a recipe. Oh, yes, it also keeps the recent things at the top AND you can use drag and drop. I miss the drag and drop on WW.

  2. says

    Loved this explanation. As a 25 year Leader, I always believe in “let your weight loss be your guide”. Some members can swap and lose, some can not.

  3. Paige says

    Great job summing it up. My weigh in was today and I use a Fitbit. During the morning it switched over to the new way of tracking Fitpoints. When I click on my Fitpoints it shows me all the ones I earned today (11 so far) but on my home screen in the app it shows 7 “Fitpoints remaining this week” so they are just scooping them off the total on your home screen to display just the number you have available for swapping. I like the way it displays and I’m so grateful they changed the wording around these.

      • Paige says

        You are welcome. This was the one area of the new program that I didn’t think was handled in a clean and realistic way so I’m very glad they addressed it. I’ve been earning 90+ Fitpoints a week so I do like the option of using a handful here and there if I need to – especially as my weekly points drop lower!

  4. says

    Shut the front door!! I didn’t get this email!! 😮

    I saw your comment on my latest post and was like, “What is she talking about??” I didn’t get any email, despite being an active eTools member. (Checked my junk folder, too, and nothing.) So this is ALL news to me!! Thanks for sharing and, again, thanks so much for your detail!

    My weigh-in day is Monday. I just logged my runs for this week and I can see that I’ve been switched over to the new method (without any warning, I might add!). According to the site, I’ve earned 22 Fit Points (108 minutes of running at high intensity). But when I go look at my “dashboard,” it tells me I have 16 Fit Points remaining for the week (I haven’t yet entered any food this week). So, I lost 6 Fit Points. :/ I suppose I could just track some “steps” like you say, but that seems like unnecessary work to me. I wish they would just let me enter my calories burned (898 for those 106 minutes) and then have it calculate my Fit Points from that. I feel like they’re in cahoots with the activity monitor companies to sucker us all into going out and buying an activity monitor!! :/ I have a Garmin watch that I use for my runs…I don’t feel that I need another gadget!! :p

    I don’t know what to make of all this…but I do appreciate you giving me the heads up!! Thanks!
    Stephanie recently posted…Oh, Those Pesky Fit Points!My Profile

    • says

      Yes, if you aren’t using an activity monitor you are not supposed to lose any FitPoints since you aren’t counting all your daily activity. So, if you added in the 3000 steps each day then that would take care of it and you wouldn’t lose them. (Yes, I understand why it is a PITA to do that each day). Once you enter the 3000 steps the first time though you will see how many FP you get baseline for that (it will be between 3 and 5 and since you weigh so little it will almost certainly be 3 for you). If so, just add an extra 3 FP each day and that would work for your baseline.
      Kitty recently posted…Weight Watchers Says Yes to Eating FitPoints… and Makes Some ChangesMy Profile

  5. Julia says

    Thank you for speaking to our group today and letting us know about your blog. This answers the questions I had about FitPoints.

  6. Reetha says

    This post has been so helpful!!! I had great success with WW about 6 years ago with the regular old points system. Fast forward now to middle age and a slowing metabolism and I rejoined a couple of weeks ago in hopes of losing about 25 lbs. Uhm, lets just say is has been a challenge. A very different experience thanbefore. As in feeling deprived most days. I love fruits and veg and eat plenty, but they do not satisfy my taste buds. I realize losing weight requires discipline and preserverence, but this has just not been the pleasant experience it was before. Nevertheless, I have kept at it. So the first week I joined, I actually came down with a bad sinus infection so did not exercise at all. I plugged in my foods and dropped a couple of pounds, hoorah! I enjoy activity and purposefully engage so that I can eat more. I love cooking and “real” ingredients (not fat-free additives or sugar substitutes), so I knew along with eating less I would need to move more. So this week, I am back on the exercise game and was wondering why in the world my extra points eaten for the day weren’t being pulled from the fit points. One of the first things I did when I joined was to say YES to swapping fit points and to pull from them first (I like to save weeklies for weekend wine and mexican!). Yet it was not happening, nor I could find anything on the website to explain this. Finally this morning I had some time to investigate. Thanks to Google and your thoroughly explained insight, I now get it. I actually sat here and kept plugging fake exercise and food points into my app to be sure I understood. I will explain what I discovered in case it helps anyone (although it could just sound manic, lol).

    So my fit points goal for the week is 35. And to clarify, I have not been wearing an activity monitor. All this week I earned 5 fit points per day working out, but the few days I went over my daily food allowance, it would pull from my weeklies. I thought maybe I needed more than 5 per day. So this morn, I plugged in a fake fit point score of 6 for today and a fake “eaten” score of one over my daily allowance and it still pulled that one from my weeklies. Hmm. So I deleted those entries and then plugged in a fake fit point score of my remaining weekly fit points (10) + 10 — So pretended i had already reached my weekly goal and miraculously earned another 10 points this morn. And that’s when I saw the magic number appear on my log …. I had earned 10 fitness points!! THIS ONLY APPEARS ONCE WEEKLY GOAL IS MET. Why can’t this be clearly stated on the website?? And then I plugged in the fake Saturday points….daily allotment + 5….and boom, it pulled from my fit points. Yay!!!! I finally get it. And have already dug around in the junk drawer, found my fitbit and am now charging it. I quit wearing it as my daily steps were so predictable, but as long as I am investing time, effort and money in WW again I may as well monitor my steps. I appreciate your explanation about the monitoring devices and baselines.

    I feel a bit obsessive with all this detail, but it was driving me crazy and made no sense. Oh and btw, I also tested the values of eaten/fit points after setting my weekly fit point goals lower than 35 (thinking I dont meed this goal if a fitbit cancels it out) and it would not allow me to pull from fit points with the setting any lower. Obviously this may vary from person to person, but it appears although they decided I need to earn at least 5 fit points a day, I may change that value in the settings – to, say, 2 per day/14 per week – but if I end up earning more…say 20 per week, I still can’t swap for food. I gotta earn 35 before I can swap. And swapping is important to me. Thanks for hearing me out!!

    • says

      Wow. Thanks for the detail. For me, though, swapping Weekly Points first I did see my FitPoints available even if I haven’t eaten all my Weekly Points first. But, when I eat above my daily points it takes from Weekly Points first and not FitPoints. I only see as available, though, those that are beyond the baseline. This week I am experimenting on swapping FitPoints before swapping Weekly Points. I am going to see how that goes.

  7. Diana L Michalek says

    Thanks for taking the time to explain these details! Have you found this new phase to be active in your account now? I just joined in February (previously did Points Plus a couple years ago) and this whole Fit Points debate has been the only confusing part. I always thought my app was glitchy because my fit points keep changing after I enter them! Also, did you get the emails because you are a WW meeting leader? I’ve never received a detailed email about the plan, but it sounds like they are really trying to help people out with the newest explanations of how to use the Fit Points properly.

    • says

      Yes, it is. You do have to go to setting and turn on swapping. The default is that you don’t swap FitPoints. You can turn it on and settings and either swap after Weekly SmartPoints or before. I am not a WW leader, just a long-time member. I got an email about the change, but not everyone did. Not sure why some didn’t get it.

  8. says

    Okay, so I thought I’d come back and ask your opinion on this anomaly I experienced last week.

    I have regularly been given 21 weekly points, but last week I must have gained enough to put me over the threshold, because I suddenly had 28 weeklies available. I have set it to swap my FitPoints first, then weeklies, but it really doesn’t matter, because I ALWAYS go over–there hasn’t been a week since December when I wasn’t drastically in the hole by Sunday night (weigh-in on Monday for me).

    By Saturday night, after using up all my earned Fit Points (over and above the 3000 steps I give myself credit for each day, which equates to 2 FP), I was at -59 for my weeklies. I used exactly 30 points on Sunday (shocking! But I was purposefully trying to eat light after last week’s big gain), and I also earned 1 Fit Point (beyond the 2 I earned with my 3000 steps). Because I used the exact number of daily points, I expected my final weekly tally to be -59, same as it was the day before. Instead, I was surprised to discover it was -58! It took me a LONG time to figure out why, and the only thing I can figure is that it added that one remaining Fit Point to my weekly Smart Points total, giving me a one-point credit. I cannot understand why it would do that?? Does that make any sense to you?? Have you experienced this?
    Stephanie recently posted…Sometimes, It’s Just RandomMy Profile

    • says

      Hi, Stephanie. Yes, I do understand this and it does make sense when you think about it. You are set to use FitPoints before Weekly points. I do that also. The way it works is that if you use more SmartPoints than daily points if you have available FitPoints to swap then it uses those first. When you exceed them, it uses your weekly points. For example, yesterday was the start of my week and I ate out for a family occasion. Since I hadn’t yet earned many FitPoints, I ended the day with 22 FitPoints (I get 28). Today, I expect to eat 30 SmartPoints. Let’s say I earn 3 FitPoints (beyond my baseline). The first thing Weight Watchers will do is try to “refill” those used Weekly Points since I have told Weight Watchers I want to use FitPoints first. In my case, I actually aim to end the week with all 28 Weekly SmartPoints available, but feel free to eat all my FitPoints. So, if I earn 3 FitPoints today that would be swappable by food, I will end the day with 25 Weekly points available. If I do the same thing tomorrow then I would end that day with 28 Weekly points available. If I do the same thing on the next day, I would end the day with 3 FitPoints available to eat plus 28 Weekly SmartPoints. If the next day, I go over 30 points, it will first take from the available FitPoints and then from the SmartPoints. If I do this well, I end the week with my 28 Weekly SmartPoints all available.

      I used to start my week on Saturday and ate out a lot on weekends (my highest point days most weeks) and used a lot of my weekly points and then spent the rest of the week refilling those used weekly points:

      http://lessofabetterme.com/2016/03/24/day-start-weight-watchers-week/

      I changed that to start my week on Monday since usually (except for yesterday!) most week days are light eating for me.
      Kitty recently posted…April Weigh In and Reverse Tracking UpdateMy Profile

  9. Beth says

    This article was very informative. I quit WW in October with points plus and rejoined this week and felt like the new kid in class. Thank you for taking the time to late it out in a way I could totally understand!

  10. Emily says

    Thanks for this info. I just rejoined after being off the program for a couple of years and found your article when trying to figure out what the heck was going on with my “FitPoints.” (I go to my first meeting tonight.) Seems like WW should implement one way of tracking fitness online/in-app for those with an activity monitor and another way for those without. A simple checkbox would suffice.

    The minuscule difference between whether you walk those 3,000 steps (or whatever your average is) and whether you don’t, never made that much of a difference between someone’s weight loss when following the program. BUT for someone like me (with naturally high muscle mass regardless of my fitness level but extra high muscle mass when I’m fit) who MUST use a generous amount of my daily/weekly points just for protein and then also eat my activity points in order for the program to work, this whole new system is a sham.

    When I (very successfully) did the program before, some days I would literally work out so that I could eat a snack. Otherwise, I could not have any snacks with point value during the day without going over my points (and sometimes fruits and veggies just weren’t cutting it). I go to meetings along with the online system and my leader was totally good with this.

    Now it seems I have to “cheat” the system to be healthy, mobile and successful?! What on earth?! I get that not everyone needs to eat their activity points (my hubby is like that and it drove me nuts because he would end every week before with 50+ activity points [the “real” kind not activity monitor ones] unused while I was going on a run so that I could enjoy a treat when we went out with friends that night). But this new system makes it seem like you are doing something wrong if you need to eat them, which creates a whole new level of emotional eating difficulties that is just plain wrong. Blerg.

    • says

      If you don’t use an activity monitor, you can simply record each day enough steps (or whatever activity you want) to equal 3 FitPoints then record FitPoints for activity as usual. Personally, I have found that it works well for me to swap FitPoints before swapping Weekly Points.

      • Tonia says

        Your explanation has been so very helpful because WW has done a lackluster job explaining this. It takes all my strength to earn the 3 pts daily through exercise. Now they are saying that I can’t use them to supplement my daily points when needed because my baseline is 3? I will add the 3000 steps and then add my fit points daily.

        • says

          If you use an activity monitor and sync it to WW basically you have to earn 3 FP before they start counting as FitPoints you can eat. For most people that is roughly 3000 steps but can vary a bit.

          If you don’t use an activity monitor, then WW wants you to imply record 3000 steps at the start of the day (or basically whatever will give you 3 FP) and then you record the FP you earn each day for your activity.

    • Karin Krikorian says

      I prefer the old WW system. I was used to swapping my fitpoints each day for food. I would only go over the daily allowance if I had worked out and just wanted to account for a little extra snack or a glass of wine. I lost 25 pounds this way. I did not have a fitness device, but I swam, cycled, or ran vigorously most days of the week. I liked how I could track activity based on my running speed, lap speed in the pool, or cycling speed. I am fit and it takes a lot to get me sweating. I am used to getting my heart rate up there. I feel like the new system based on how much you sweat or if you can talk to decide the intensity does not work for me. If I choose moderate, I feel like I didn’t earn enough points, but choosing strenuous gives me way to much ( compared to the old system). I can run an 8 minute mile while talking the whole way. So is that a light-moderate work out? I say no. I can run( not jog) with a friend for miles and talk the whole way as well. I decided to choose moderate for everything I do so I don’t falsely give myself too many points. I am also very confused on a regular basis trying to figure out what’s up with my weekly points and my Fit Points. I have far exceeded my weekly fit point goal and have selected to use fit points first. But my screen tells me that I have 0 fit points available and it keeps adding to my weekly points. Also, I earned daily fit points and the app took from my weekly points. I actually had a negative number in my weekly points balance. Going a bit crazy here.

  11. Vicki Sholty says

    I found you after another frustrating dialog with WW Live Chat. I learned a lot from this article.
    What WW emails are you referring to? I don’t receive any, ever.
    My “Activity Points” calculator on “My Day” has changed dramatically just this summer. My impression was that there was an algorithmic error, but now it appears that WW changed the conversion “guidelines” and I just didn’t know.

  12. Jenn says

    I have a clarifying question about this: I’m a teacher, so my job includes a lot of walking. Usually I have between 3500 – 6500 steps just from the normal activity from my job, walking back and forth to get kids from other classes. I use a pedometer app on my phone to track my steps, then add them in at the end of the day. Based on this article, and what WW advises, should I still add 3000 MORE steps to reach my “baseline” FitPoints? I don’t know what kind of activity the Activity Tracker tracks…arm movements as I pass out papers across the desk while I’m sitting? Banding over the shoulder of a student to work on a math problem? Those things wouldn’t show up on my pedometer. Can you help me understand?

    • says

      If you are recording all of your steps on Weight Watchers through an activity monitor or through manually adding all steps from a pedometer I wouldn’t add in 3000 extra steps. That is for people who aren’t tracking all their steps.

      If I was manually tracking activity I wouldn’t track as activity every day stuff like reaching or bending over. But, if I went out and did gardening I would track that.

  13. says

    I don’t know why, but I generate a lot of fit points in my daily walking, if I ate all of those, I am not certain I would lose any weight. I hope that at some point I could use some of those fit points for special occasions. Right now, I am trying to just pretend those don’t happen. I am generating about 70 fit points a week by doing a lot of walking.

    • says

      What it tells me is that your walking has really given you a lot of FitPoints in the past so they give you a higher goal. That is really great.

  14. Joanne says

    Thank you Kitty!!! Why don’t the WW echat people explain this? I am a runner (well was but recovering from an injury-gained 20lbs) and reached out twice for help on this. When the new program was launched I was shocked when WW echat told me I was not supposed to eat my Fitpoints…even if I ran a 10K! I re-started the program last week and I am hungry and it is discouraging to see those Weeklies disappear so quickly. Today I changed my settings to use my FitPoints first and noticed that I could only eat 2 of my 5 points earned for a 60min 5.5K walk. I don’t use a step counter or fitbit and almost feel now I may have to get one. What is disappointing is that WW did not explain the baseline. I have never gone hungry on WW until this new plan…I thought I was losing my mind. I am happy to have found your site so much good information.

  15. Liz Terry says

    Well, here we are still talking about this a year later. My question is: Are you supposed to use the points you earn that day ON that day only, or can you save them up & use them anytime throughout the week, much like you would do with the weekly points?

    Thank you again for this blog. Wonderful information.

  16. Kathy says

    I am still confused! I am using my FitPoints first, then weekly SmartPoints. “My Day” shows I have 23 “FitPoints” then when I switch to my “Activity” I have 56 of 60 FitPoints. What is the difference between the 23 “FitPoints” and 56 of 60 FitPoints? What FitPoints can I “eat”, all of them or just the 23 FitPoints?
    HELP!!

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