Weight Watchers Activity Log Double Counting Steps and FitPoints

I just found what seems to be a new error where Weight Watchers Activity Log online is double counting some steps when we are using an activity monitor.  At this point, I don’t know the extent of it.  I know it is an issue for both my husband and me when we use our Fitbit with a heart rate monitor.  Whether it is an issue with other devices is not known at this time.  On the Weight Watchers message boards, I have seen some reports of double counting and errors but I’m not sure if that is for this same error or not.

This is sort of complicated, so I apologize in advance for the length of this.  Here is my Activity Log from today after my husband and I went for a 58 minute walk in our neighborhood.  We each wore a Fitbit Charge HR along with a heart rate monitor which syncs to Digifit (on our phones) which then syncs the calorie burn data to Fitbit.

WW Activity log 2-11

The problem here is that the walk is being double counted.  I walked 6021 steps during the walk itself.  When I returned home from the walk I had a total of 6985 steps — 6021 from the walk and 964 from before the walk.  But, Weight Watchers gave me 7 FitPoints for the walk based upon the walk logged as an activity within Fitbit.  Basically, Digifit syncs my heart rate monitor calorie burn data to Fitbit and it is then logged as an activity within Fitbit.  Fitbit then uses that calorie burn data from Digifit instead of the calorie burn data from my Fitbit Charge HR.  So, Fitbit itself doesn’t double count when I use the heart rate monitor.  The Digifit calorie burn info replaces the Fitbit info.

Weight Watchers, though, is giving me FitPoints for the Digifit Walk but is also counting the 6021 steps I did during the walk as part of my steps for the day and is giving me 6 FitPoints for the entire day’s steps up until that point.  The result is that I’m getting roughly an extra 5 FitPoints than I should have earned.  I should earn the 7 FitPoints from the walk.  And, my 964 steps from earlier in the day should probably have earned 1 FitPoint.  So, where it says “6985 steps from Fitbit”, it should probably have 1 as the FitPoints awarded, not 6.

And, in fact, that is how it used to be.  Here is a log from a few weeks ago from my husband using a heart rate monitor while we walked:

 

Charls Activity

On January 23rd, he earned 7 FitPoints for his walk with a heart rate monitor, but got 0 FitPoints for the 6680 steps he walked that day because most of his steps were during that walk.  On January 22nd, he earned 5 FitPoints during a walk tracked with Digifit, and earned 1 more FitPoint from his other walking.  That is how it should work.  That is, the steps shown are for the whole day, but he doesn’t get FitPoints for the steps that were during the Digifit Walk where he used a heart rate monitor.

But, it isn’t working that way right now.  Now, it is giving the FitPoints for steps as if the FitPoints for Digifit Walk weren’t there.  This results in double counting that walk.  My guess is that this is a glitch introduced with the software changes to implement the new baseline.  By the way, in addition to the post I did about the new baseline, Weight Watchers has modified its Fitness Q&A to discuss the changes.  So, I am thinking that this was working before the new software changes were made and it wasn’t double counting then.  Weight Watchers makes the changes and now it is double counting.  I did put in feedback online about this and encourage everyone else who notices this to do so as well.  By giving feedback, my hope is that this glitch will be quickly corrected.

Oh, you might wonder why I bother to wear a heart rate monitor for walking.  For awhile I wasn’t doing it.  I mostly wear a heart rate monitor while I do weight training.  My Fitbit Charge HR is great, but it doesn’t do well on heart rate monitoring while I am weight lifting.  So, to get accurate FitPoints, I find I need to wear a heart rate monitor while weight lifting to get the correct calorie burn info so I can earn the correct FitPoints.

Anyway, my heart rate is usually measured reasonably accurately while I walk in my neighborhood so I wasn’t bothering with the heart rate monitor and was just wearing my Fitbit.  But, I noticed my husband (who was wearing his heart rate monitor) was earning a lot more FitPoints than I was earning for the same walk. What I learned was that Weight Watchers for walking (or running, for that matter) uses the steps from the Fitbit to assign FitPoints and apparently doesn’t use the calorie burn info at all.  So, it treats a 6000 step amble around the house, a 6000 step walk through my hilly neighborhood, or a 6000 step intense run the same in terms of awarding FitPoints.  All of them earn the same number of FitPoints.

For example, my walk today would have only earned me 5 FitPoints had I worn my Fitbit only.  We can see this by inputting the steps into Weight Watchers online:

Steps WW

But, I did this walk in my subdivision where there is very little flat ground. It is constantly going up and down hills.  As a result, this walk is much more strenuous than you might think from the number of steps.  So, had I not worn the heart rate monitor, I would have gotten only 5 FitPoints for the walk.  Wearing the heart rate monitor (synced to Digifit), I get 7 FitPoints.

And, I think that is right.  Here is how the walked looked within Fitbit:

Fitbit Activity Log Walk

I burned 308 calories during the walk.  At 7 FitPoints, I earned 1 FitPoint per 44 calories burned which is consistent with what I’ve seen when using my heart rate monitor during weight lifting.

So, yes, I think that the FitPoints I earn when I wear a heart rate monitor during walking are more accurate because that is logged as an activity within Fitbit.  In that situation, Weight Watchers seems to award FitPoints based upon calorie burn so intensity does play a part in the FitPoints awarded.  When I don’t wear a heart rate monitor, though, Weight Watchers just syncs steps and doesn’t pay attention to the intensity of the exercise.

Given that, I want the most accurate information so I want to use the heart rate monitor so I get the FitPoints I’m entitled to.  I am set to swap my FitPoints so I want it accurate.  However, even if I don’t actually eat my FitPoints, I want it accurate just because I like to see accurate numbers.  Right now, I am recording my actual FitPoints in a spreadsheet and am taking out the double counted FitPoints.  If I eat any I won’t eat any that are double counted.

I am hoping that the double counting gets quickly corrected.  In the meantime, for those affected I see a few options:

  1.  Don’t use a heart rate monitor that syncs with Fitbit.  Just use the steps from Fitbit.  Manually calculate how many “extra” FitPoints you think you should have earned and then add those manually.  For example, in my situation, I could go into Weight Watchers and check what a 58 minutes walk would earn at moderate intensity.  The result is 6 FitPoints.  If Weight Watchers gave me 5 for the steps, then I would record an extra FitPoint to account for the intensity.  That still shortchanges me by 1 FitPoint though.  The other option is to not sync my Digifit with Fitbit.  Get my calorie burn from Digifit and then divide it by 45 calories to get the FitPoints I should have earned.  That would round to 7 FitPoints and I could then manually add those 2 FitPoints.  I don’t like this option, though, since I want Digifit to sync to Fitbit so I have correct data there.
  2. Look carefully at what Weight Watchers gives as FitPoints and keep a separate list of your “true” FitPoints, taking out any extra FitPoints awarded.  For now, that is the option I am going to do.  If eating FitPoints, I will go by that list instead of what I see online or on the mobile app.  This is tedious, but is probably the most accurate option.
  3.  Don’t use a heart rate monitor and just go by your steps and recognize Weight Watchers is not going to be giving you totally accurate FitPoints since it isn’t considering intensity for those steps.  A lot of people do it this way.  And, certainly, from a swapping food standpoint, this is the most conservative option in any event.  Still, I just prefer to see it be more accurate.

Again, I suspect this error was introduced when they changed the online activity log and syncing to account for having a baseline before you can swap FitPoints.  I am glad they put in the baseline, so I just hope this error gets speedily corrected.

Comments

  1. Patrick says

    I’ve found the same error using Garmin Connect starting almost two weeks ago and it’s pretty frustrating. As someone who eats all of my FitPoints – especially while marathon training – I’ve been pretty happy with the way WW has been allocating the FitPoints with the new tracker. Most of mine come from daily runs, but on some days I’ll earn a few extra if I have a busy day apart from dedicated exercise.

    Sadly, I’ve had to disconnect automatic syncing and track activity manually until the problem is resolved.

    • says

      Yes, it is annoying. Currently I am keeping a spreadsheet where I manually keep track of my FitPoints and baseline (deducting out stuff that was double counted) and I use that result instead of what is on WW. Hope it gets fixed soon.

  2. Meri says

    I’m like you and live in an incredibly hilly neighborhood. This morning, I took a walk up a hill that is 447 feet straight up (some street, some stairs) that amount to 35-40 flights of stairs–depending on the air pressure on a given day. It is quite the work out and it last for about ten minutes of 155-160 bpm in my Charge HR. It’s annoying to me that WW only accounts for the steps taken–in this case, I was 6,670. I’m 245 pounds, so that equates to 10 Fitpoints (which I don’t usually use, but like to collect!). When I drag my big butt up that hill, huffing, puffing, and sweating–I need more reward than the 1700 steps to get to the top, you know? Also, since I’m waking relatively slowly, it doesn’t even seem to register that I’m exercising at all!

    I’m tempted to add in a ten minute stair stepper bit, just to see how much that would mean to my points.

    • says

      Here is what I do. I use a Fitbit during my walk. Afterwards I check to see how many calories I burned during the walk per Fitbit. I divide that by 45 (that is how much calorie burn works out to a FP for me). Then, I look at how many steps I walked during the walk. I go into Weight Watchers and see how many FP I would get for that number of steps. Let’s say that is 4 FP just for the steps. Then I divide the calorie burn by 45. If that would be 5 FP (or even 6) I add a short walk in WW that would give me 1 more FitPoint to equal what I got because of the intensity of the walk.

      • Amy says

        Is there a way a formula for determining how many calories each of your FitPoints is worth? I really miss the old system where you could plug in your calories burned (I wear a heart monitor) and the duration to get an accurate activity point count. I really don’t like the new system where you have you have give your best guess on intensity level, which is totally subjective and can change throughout the workout.

        • says

          What I did was I wore a heart rate monitor during exercise and then looked to see how many FitPoints WW gave me for the activity. In my case, I found that between 42 to 45 calories burned equaled a Fitpoint (there was some variance probably due to rounding). I don’t know if that varies by person or not.

          • says

            I wore a heart rate monitor while doing exercise and it told me how many calories I burned during the activity. Then I looked at how many FitPoints WW gave me for the activity. Over time, I found that for every 42 to 45 calories of exercise I received 1 FitPoint.

  3. Jennifer says

    I turn on my timer on my fitbit during my workout and then subtract the steps from my total steps at the end of the day. I track manually.

  4. TheNewGreg says

    I have the same problem. I use a Garmin 920XT watch to track my activities and steps, but the WW app keeps giving me points for all the steps plus points for all the activities, even though the steps from the activities are already included in the total steps. The app has a pop-up notice that says “Don’t worry, we are not double counting” but in fact they are. My solution is to disable the auto upload and to manually enter both activities and steps. Garmin Connect allows me to determine how many steps I took during my activities, so I subtract that from the total daily steps and input the difference as my total steps for the day. For example, yesterday I took 15,880 steps, but 5,080 of those were for 30 min of running. So I entered the 30 minute run as an activity, and then also entered 10,800 steps for the day (i.e. 15,880 – 5,080). It is a bit more time consuming but at least it is accurate.

  5. Courtney Todd says

    I synced my jawbone UP today and it double tracked my steps and activity entered as well. I earned 17 FitPoints for 8500 steps! I tried chatting with three different people on the WW site today, and they are clueless. One even told me she had the same issue. It isn’t a concern for them, according to the customer service rep. She said it wasn’t a bug in the system, but it is obviously a problem. From all of the comments above, it seems like everyone has to track outside of the app, which defeats the purpose entirely. WW send to have an increasing number of technical issues. I would love to figure out how to get them to fix this, now that I know it’s not just my device.

    • says

      From what I can tell the customer service reps are well meaning but they often have very limited information they can draw from. I suspect there probably are people working on bugs…but it may not filter down to the reps until they have a solution.

  6. Elizabeth Anne says

    I am using a fitbit Alta and it is also giving me double points for the walk and the steps
    how do we fix it not one seems to care I also called fitbit

    • says

      What I did was on Fitbit I turned off the thing to automatically recognize the type of activity. That was causing Fitbit to log the walk as a separate activity and then WW was double counting points. So I turned off the automatic recognition and I don’t separately log the walk. Note that doing this WW only gives points based upon the steps and not intensity. So I check on WW what the intensity would give me and then manually add on WW any extra fitPoints I’ve earned.

  7. Becky says

    Doing this with Apple Health too! I loved how it used to work when it subtracted for me. I like having a record of everything in my app so I guess it’s manually/mentally tracking for me. Traditionally I’ve only used Activity Points (I’m old school) from actual working out so I guess it’s not that difficult. Just annoying!

  8. says

    So I just got a new watch (Garmin 230) and discovered this morning that it was double-counting my steps. When I did an Internet search for “garmin double counting steps weight watchers,” this post was the top hit! 😉

    I will say I do not like this one bit. I don’t want to have to manually track my activity…it’s such a pain! :/ I’ll let you know if I find a solution.

  9. Crunchymama3 says

    Spent half an hour on phone with WW rep- and her best answer to me was that my Garmin device tracks both activity and steps. I’m not sure where WW spends my dues, but I’m fairly certain it’s not in customer support.

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