I just wanted to mention a few recent Weight Watchers related changes that I noticed. Two of them are FitPoints related dealing with situations where there is an activity monitor being used. The third relates to the demise of the Weight Watchers message board.
Tracked Walk No Longer Double Counted
I haven’t been exercising for a few months due to my plastic surgery. But, I was finally able to start walking again. So, the other day I went for a walk in the neighborhood with my husband and tracked the walk using Fitbit.
When I had last been doing that a few months ago, I found that if I tracked the walk as an activity on Fitbit that my steps got double counted. So, I would get FitPoints for the number of steps in the walk plus I got FitPoints for my total steps for the day, including those in the tracked walk.
Apparently, while I was away from exercising that was fixed. It seems to now track the steps in the walk and to then deduct those steps from your daily total before giving you FitPoints for your total steps.
[As an Aside: Note that in awarding steps during a walk — and I think for runs — Weight Watchers goes by total steps and not by intensity. If I manually put in a walk at moderate intensity – I determine this based upon heart rate – for longer walks I will often earn a FitPoint or two more than I earn based upon steps. In those situations, I manually add the extra FitPoint. That is, lets say Weight Watchers gives me 2 FitPoints for a walk. But, I would get 3 FitPoints if I manually tracking the walk. I will add in 1 extra FitPoint for the higher intensity. Of course, I need to be cautious doing this and I only do it if I feel certain I was really at the higher intensity and earned the extra point. I will also check my calories burned for the walk based upon heart rate to determine if the higher point makes sense.]
My FitPoint Baseline To Swap For Food Has Gone Down
Several months ago, Weight Watchers instituted a baseline for the FitPoints you need to earn before you could swap FitPoints for food. If using an activity monitor, Weight Watchers would award FitPoints for all your activity, but the FitPoints for the first 3000 steps couldn’t be swapped for food.
Even now, Weight Watchers FAQ on FitPoints says:
If you’re swapping, you’ll need to first earn the FitPoints equivalent of 3,000 steps a day before you can start swapping any additional FitPoint for SmartPoints. (That’s 3-4 FitPoints a day for most people.
So, pre-surgery I found that I had to earn 3 FitPoints before additional FitPoints could be swapped for food. At the time, earning 3 FitPoints required 2974 steps (this would fluctuate a bit as I gained or lost weight). Well, the other day I realized that I am now able to swap FitPoints for food after earning 2 FitPoints. So, the day I earned a total of 4 FitPoints, I could now swap 2 for food. Before, I would have been able to swap only 1 FitPoint for food. I did notice that it now takes 3025 steps for me to earn 3 FitPoints (I weigh about 7 pounds less than I weighed before my tummy tuck/breast lift). To earn 2 FitPoints, I need to walk only 1815 steps. So, after I’ve walked 1815 steps I can swap additional earned FitPoints for food. Before, I had to walk 2974 steps before I could do that.
What I am curious about is whether the 3000 steps a day as a baseline before swapping has been changed for everyone or if there is just something strange about my baseline now being 2 FitPoints instead of the more common 3 FitPoints?
Did this change for anyone else? If you previously had to earn 3 or 4 FitPoints before you could swap food, has that now gone down?
Weight Watchers Message Boards Gone
A few months ago, I would have posted the above questions on the Weight Watchers message boards. I would have quickly gotten responses and found out if this change happened to others and, if so, when it happened. I loved those boards. It was one of my best sources for really detailed information.
I was afraid they were going away because the prominence of the board and the other community features had gone down. After Beyond the Scale first came out, the links to the boards didn’t work for awhile. I had to get to the boards by making a Google search. Finally, they put a link to community at the bottom of the My Day page. If you didn’t already know about the boards you weren’t going to find them. So, of course, the boards didn’t get much new traffic. I figured they were probably doomed.
While I was recovering from surgery, I didn’t go to the boards since I had so much trouble just sitting up at the computer. So, that went by the wayside. But, the other day I wanted to look up something so went to Community and was disappointed to see this:
Of course, I immediately clicked on here to learn about the changes. And that brought up this page:
Now, I knew about Connect. I have an iPhone and it is part of the mobile app. For those who haven’t seen it, the best description I can give for it is : Twitter for Weight Watchers.
It basically works very much like Twitter. You post something to the entire user base (well, everyone who looks at Connect). I post as catspell if anyone wants to follow me on there. Anyway, you post and others can respond to your post. And you can see everyone else’s posts and respond if you want.
I preferred the message boards to Connect. Why? The message boards were threaded and the posts would persist and have a subject title. So, I could scan down the message list of topics and see which posts and replies I wanted to read.
You can’t do that with Connect. If you want to see everything you can go and see new posts but you have to go through each one to see if you find something that interests you. While many of the posts on Connect are inspirational, it is really high volume. So, if I am looking for something about FitPoints I might have to go through many, many posts before I find something on FitPoints.
You can search by hashtag. So, if someone put in #FitPoints you can call up those posts. But, if you are trying to find out if the FitPoints baseline has changed you have to wade through a lot of FitPoints posts to see if you can find anything relevant. And most of the posts you wade through have nothing to do with what you want to find out about. Now, maybe someone put in #baseline and you can search on that. But, if they didn’t, you won’t find it. You can’t search the entire posts. You can only search for hashtags or users.
You can narrow things down by following certain people and only seeing their posts. That is what I do on the actual Twitter. I have a group of people that I follow and I don’t see posts of anyone else. That works reasonably well. But, at this point, I really don’t know who to follow on Connect. And, of course, you miss out on posts of those you don’t follow.
The other thing I don’t like about Connect is that I had to use my iPhone or iPad to access it. I couldn’t do it on my browser. While I do type on my phone and iPad I prefer to write things on my computer. So, I ended up reading stuff but not doing much posting.
One thing I was excited about on the page above, is that it said to “Check out Connect for Web!” That language seemed to imply that they were making Connect available from your browser while using a computer. And, the text seems to support that by saying:
If you want to create a post, do so via mobile app (desktop is view-only for the time being).
Now, that was a bit disappointing. I primarily want to use the desktop version so I can more easily post. But, I was happy to see that it existed for the desktop at all, even if it was view-only at the moment.
The problem? There is no link on that page to this alleged desktop version at all! There is a video on using Connect, but it is all about using the phone app. If Connect exists to be used in a browser I have no idea how to get there. And, it may exist. I just haven’t been able to find the link to it. (And, I’m pretty computer literate so if it isn’t obvious for me I suspect it won’t be obvious for a lot of people).
If there is a link for the web version of Connect, please post it in the comments!
By the way, I don’t hate Connect. I think it is fine to have as an option. There are often inspirational posts on there. I probably will start posting there a lot more since the boards are gone. I will like Connect a lot better if and when it can be fully used on the computer (I like Twitter on the computer as well).
Anyway — those are 3 things that I’ve noticed are different since I started my surgery journey. Many of you may know more about them than I do so look forward to any illuminating comments.