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.