Sunday, December 11, 2005

WEIGHT WATCHERS AND EXERCISE


Bunnygirl asked: "Does Weight Watchers take into account your activity level? Most days I would be hungry on 1500 calories, too. That sounds like a goal for sedentary folks, not for runners and triathletes like us."

Good question. Actually, yes, they do. You get extra "points" for exercise, based on the intensity and duration of activity, combined with your weight (heavier people work harder than lighter people and burn more calories.) A lot of people see exercise as a way to get to eat more, but what I see here is WW's recognition that exercise requires fuel.

However, a lot of members are at the stage of starting to think about considering maybe beginning a walking program.... not coming off an Ironman triathlon by training for a marathon. At my meetings back "home" in Maryland I got "What are you doing here? You just run it all off." As we have seen, I don't run it all off. Well, maybe I do.... maybe I would have even more extra weight if I didn't do what I do. However, even though the WW leader here in AZ thinks the number I set for my goal weight is too light, my current weight is 14# over the maximum WW recommendation for a person of my height of either sex. They base their weight parameters on a healthy BMI of 22-25. If you go below a weight equivalent to a BMI of 20, you have to produce a doctor's note stating that that is an appropriate weight for you and giving you permission to continue attending meetings. My goal weight would give me a BMI of about 22.5. My current BMI is about 27.5, easily into the "overweight" category. Despite being a runner and triathlete.

You can also select from "eat anything" plans, higher-protein-lower-carb plans, higher-carb-lower-protein plans, and "eat as much as you want but only these foods" plans, depending on your food preferences, how willing you are to write down what you eat (on some of the plans you don't have to), or, as in my case, understanding that different activities require a different balance of nutrients.

For newcomers, they don't start you counting "activity points" for a few weeks, until you get used to the system. However, I think, since I remember about how many points (calories) I burned/earned per mile or per 10 minutes, I will credit myself for that even though I'm back to square one. As Bunnygirl described, I get too hungry on the "target" amount of food if I have run or biked for an hour.

3 comments:

Lynne said...

This is what I struggle with. I am definately overweight, 189.2 this past weigh in; and I am training for a marathon. I am HUNGRY all of the time and haven't lost any real weight in months-- I seem to just hover between 189-193. I have tried switching to CORE, but I still feel that I am eating way too much - and obviously the scale reflects that. I will fight this and continue to go to WW - hoping to eventually strike a balance, live with a little hunger and finally start losing again. It's so hard to figure out what is going to work!

TriFeist said...

IMHO, weight watchers doesn't give enough excercise points if you excercise at a high intensity. It might not seem like a big deal (you'll lose weight faster, right?) but for me, it meant I would do really well for 2 days then end up eating everything in sight.

Ellie said...

I'm thinking of trying out CORE this week (you can't switch plans oftener than once a week.) Because of what Linae described: They don't give you enough points for hi-intensity extended exercise. However, I used to compromise and just give myself a point per mile of running or per 20 minutes of biking. I think the "hard-core" CORE plan is a little too low-carb for endurance athletes, but you do have FLEX points, which could go for carbs, as could activity points (do you get activity points on CORE? I need to learn more about it.) After today's 16-mile run, I figure all bets are off and I'm eating what I want for the rest of the day. It was a 16-point run!!