Three Weeks on SmartPoints: Working on My FitPoints (Part 3 of 5)

Three Weeks on SmartPoints: Working on My FitPoints (Part 3 of 5)

Happy Wednesday! How are you doing with the third day of #SmartPoints?
I am 3.5 weeks into SmartPoints, and I can tell you that I do not have it all worked out yet, so if you don’t either, it is OK! My breakfast and lunch are so low in SPs that I am finding myself hungry in the late morning and hungry in the late afternoon, which never happens to me.
Also, I’m ending up with about 16-18 points left at dinner time, which is never good. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I’m all about having a glass of wine with dinner, but I need to work on menu plans that distributes my points a little more evenly throughout the day so I’m not hungry!
But today is not about the food, at least directly. Today we are going to work on our fitness!
A little background for those of you who may not know me already:

The whole reason I started blogging with the name “Trading Cardio for Cosmos” was that I viewed my body like a bank account. Deposit some exercise, and feel free to withdraw some points for cosmopolitans! Because of my active social life, I found that trading my activity points for my weekend splurges was like my own little system of checks and balances.

When I started out my weight loss journey in November 2014, I could not walk up stairs without becoming winded. I was always hot, and I felt like my skin and my body was stuffed and stretched to the limit. Imagine the shame and humiliation that comes with not being able to do the things you should definitely be able to do at 32 years old.
So when I embarked on an exercise routine, I knew that my best chance for success would be to start small and gradually build up. I knew if I went out guns blazing, I’d end up pulling a muscle, hurting myself and not following through on my exercise routine.
The first week, I biked for half hour, and then I walked a mile on the treadmill. I did that for four days. The next week I added a little resistance to each of those pieces. After that I went a little faster, and finally I came to find my love, my favorite place in the gym: the elliptical.

I know tons of people who would preferred to lift weights, circuit train or bike, but I love the elliptical. 

When I started out I was doing just 10 minutes. One year later, I do 45 minutes to an hour, running hill intervals on a level eight. If that sounds like gobbledygook to you, it means I run up and down hills fast, for an hour.

Today I enjoy a variety of activities, mostly to see what I can push my body to do. I love Bikram yoga, I’ve taken a number of Aqua Tabata classes, and I have learned I am not coordinated enough to manage Zumba. LOL
But most of the time, it is me and Planet Fitness. I was definitely slow to the circuit training, but now my week routine looks like:

3 nights per week of 45 minutes = one hour cardio, be it elliptical, StairClimber or bike.

2 nights per week of 30 minutes cardio, and 30 minutes circuit training.

As a method of scale, I earned roughly 80–90 activity points a week under Points Plus.
So what happens to the concept of trading cardio for cosmos when we move to fit points? The shortest answer is “I don’t know.”
:::Cue sad music:::
What are FitPoints?

FitPoints are the modern day, new program equivalent of Activity Points. But, you earn many more FitPoints then you would have Activity Points. For example, a half hour of elliptical at a high intensity would have gotten me six Activity Points, but nets me 11 FitPoints.
FitPoints are cool because they are The next aspect of the program to be customized by the user and the user’s age, gender, activity level and goals. From there you receive a baseline, which tells you how many points you should try to achieve each day.
I am incredibly active, so my plan has me striving to earned nine points per day. This can be achieved by walking 9000 steps, or one half hour of moderate impact cardio each day.
I like the idea that my goal is specific to my person, my goals and my activity level, but here’s the twist:
Weight Watchers is no longer encouraging you to swap your points for smart points. Weight Watchers is moving the program to the idea that you should be exercising for The benefits of exercise, not simply to swap for more food or cosmos.
:: Cue the really sad music.::
I understand this rationale, because when people are intends on their weight-loss journey, they often are all so intense in their fitness. And when you are attending the gym regularly, you can eat more junk, or at least more food, because you are burning it off. It is definitely more sustainable weight loss if we don’t swap the FitPoints for SmartPoints.
Now, with that said, I’m going to be a little bit of a rebel and tell you, “I’m still gonna eat them!”
Just because you are discouraged from eating them, does not mean you will not be able to do so. There is a feature on the desktop tracker that allows you to swap your fit points for smart points.
I understand that my body requires a certain amount of protein, a certain amount of calories and good stuff to continue to function at the level I exercise. And I have no intention of stopping with my exercise, because it makes me feel better. Not just physically, though there are significant benefits to the level of cardio I complete, but also emotionally and mentally. If I have a bad day, Mr. big will encourage me to go run, because he knows it will allow me to essentially run out my stress and my angst, and make it much easier for me to sleep.

Also, and they cannot be understated, the endorphins that come from pushing your body through exercise are amazing. Ah-mazing! I am always in a better mood when I leave the gym then when I arrived.
So, if I feel better when I exercise, but I need more fuel for my body when I exercise, and I’m not willing to give up my weekly points which I utilize for my social life, then I’m going to have to play around with eating some points:

  • I have tried eating all of them, which is not really a good plan because I gained 1 pound.
  • I have tried eating none of them, which meant in order to enjoy nights out with my friends I had to live on 0SP fruits and veggies all day. This was incredibly unsatisfying, but helped me lose the 1 pound I gained, plus another 2.2 pounds.
  • So the answer for me is probably somewhere in the middle. With all things, this is a work in progress. I’m trying to figure out if I can still lose weight by meeting my baseline for activity each day, but then eat any points I earned over that mark.

For example, if my daily FitPoints target is 9 and I earned 16 points, will I still lose consistently if I eat the other 7? In my first week of trying this moderation concept, I lost 1 pound. It will be interesting to see if that rate of loss continue moving forward.

As I wrap up today, I want to take the opportunity to speak to those of you who are freaking out about the changes. First of all, let me say “I totally, totally understand!!!” 

I have spent a year+ losing with PointsPlus and making my “Trading Cardio for Cosmos” plan work for me. I was very reticent about the new program and the associated changes, but then I remembered:
What makes Weight Watchers so great (and what I love about the customization of BTS), is that the program works when you work it. 
If you need to modify the guidelines because they help you succeed more, or lose more or encourage you to exercise more, then do it! There is nothing holding any of us back from being successful, except our own unwillingness to try.
Despite my perfectionist tendencies, I am giving myself permission to test out my theories about the new program, test out new menus and see what works best for me. I’m not concentrating on losing pounds by Christmas, but rather having a full understanding of BTS, smart points and points by December 31, so I can kick off 2016 right!

What do you think, what do you think about FitPoints and having a specific target created just for you each day? Is anyone thinking they need to change up their workout routine? If so, what are you going to try?

Check out Part 1 “What I’ve Learned After 3 Weeks With SmartPoints

Check out Part 2 “Working on My FitPoints!”

Check out Part 4 “How Did You Do It?

Don’t forget to follow Trading Cardio for Cosmos on Facebook for tons of recipes, meal ideas and inspiration daily!

19 thoughts on “Three Weeks on SmartPoints: Working on My FitPoints (Part 3 of 5)

  1. Thanks for your blog posts about BTS!! As a marathon runner and weight watchers member, the Fit Points is what most concerned me about the new plan. My mom mentioned when she first was on WW in the weight watchers, everyone had the goal of 2 APS a day and anything over that you could eat. I really like your idea of maybe eating the points you got above your goal. I think I will try that for the first few weeks.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes. If your clothes are wringing wet when you are done as mine are. You should rate it high intensity. This was told to me on the chat so I tried and it works.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. So glad I found this. I’m also a runner and WW member and was really unhappy about the message not to eat my FitPoints. We know that we have to eat carbs during our long runs. Glad to find some compatriots! You’re all making me feel like maybe the new program isn’t an abysmal failure.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. How can I start exercising. I am a Young 70 with two knee replacements . My problem is I need someone to go with me to exercise. Hate to go alone. Belong to 24 hour gym but don’t go help with motivation thanks vera


  3. I have to reevaluate everything I’ve been doing since the points have changed up on some of the foods I eat for breakfast and lunch. Thank you for your posts they are very informative.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. So so happy I found your blog. Thanks so much for this. I switch over this weekend and now I’m pretty psyched about it instead of being stressed. Happy holidays!!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Yes, yes, yes. Fit points are confusing! The exchange really helped me understand equivalents- that a 20 min walk didn’t mean you could eat a piece of cake. That’s been lost.
    I like your idea of using only the extra (I also had the idea of using half)- but I wish the calculator would let you specify what you wanted to exchange. Yes, I can do math in my head, but part of the reason I’m on ww is for it to do the calculating for me!
    It really took a lot of the joy of earning activity points out of the equation (esp when they are so easily earned). I wish they would offer more options around activity.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I am new to smart points, but I have read (&tested) that not all fit points can be swapped. App only lets you swap after so many steps ( thia is using fit bit flex, much like the old ww pedometer of years gone by) I think it’s Ok to use them & certainly better than going hungry, or even worse, then going on a binge. At least you are more likely to make right choices. Good luck!:)

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Thanks for your post! I have decided to reserve the right to use some of my fit points if I need to get thru a highly social time – like Christmas. I have been given 30 daily and only 21 wkly do feeling like I have a safety net helps me be less stressed about the new plan. I really like your idea of limiting the use of the fit points to what you earn above your target. I finally reached goal after 25 years of trying and never achieving lifetime. I’m wondering how things will change for maintenence😃. One day at a time!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. This is a really great blog that I’ve now saved to my favorites. 🙂 I totally agree with you on the fitpoints. I’m only week one on the new plan but I’ve lost 22 lbs this year on the old plan and I almost always used at least some of my activity points. Since they are giving us more points now for the same activity I definitely need to make sure I’m not using all of it but it technically all evens out. Any treat I may have are higher points now too so as far as I’m concerned it’s likely going to be the same. I’d rather only lose a pound a week and not feel deprived then losing more each week and then in a month I go crazy because I want to eat everything. It will obviously work differently for every person but my plan with WW this time around is to figure out how I can make this work for me in the long term and not just a lose weight and move on mentality. I love my sweets and I “need” them sometimes. I do like though that the new plan gives me even more pause on what’s really worth it. I do think cutting back on sugar is something I can continue to work on. Thanks for this great blog!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I can’t find the feature where you swap your fit points. I read somewhere that it’s under some picture at the top right of your screen but I can’t find it. I even quit tracking for a while because of this. Can you help me out?


  9. First I want to say I’m very inspired by your success and devotion. 3.5 years into a desk job and 2 years into going back to school full time, my body has gone to hell in a hand basket. I’ve undergone this journey before, and WW really helped me. Yet I never loved their stance on activity, and reading what they’ve changed I still don’t…. but really love your notion that you have to “work the plan to work for you.”

    I do have some educated ideas for your FitPoints…. and these go along why I think WW really needs to still figure out how to educate people and encourage activity.

    So when you hop on the elliptical (my fav too), your body will take all it’s carbohydrate stores and suck them down like you long to sip away a cosmo on a Friday night to fuel your workout.

    When you leave Planet Fitness (A place I pay money to each month and need to manage the time to get my behind through the doors again)… your body has depleted all it’s carbs and begins to use your fat stores as energy. This is good! You continue to burn fat (how long? It can be 10 minutes or 8 hours…. depends on your work out, your body, your diet, etc. but it’s good regardless).

    So when you decide to eat some of those points (and you might be seeing where this is going), it’s what you eat post workout that is going to see if you gain that pound like you did or lose it. Diet isn’t as black and white as calories in vs calories out as we wish it were, because our bodies frankly our like a hybrid of cactus and hibernating bear. If it feels dehydrated or has too much salt, it will store water. If it thinks it’s starving, it will store fat (which is where the exercise component keeps your body from becoming the hibernating bear). This is also how some people would plateau under the old points plus or 123 Success from years before. Sure, you can lose weight eating pirates booty if you stay in your points, but at a certain point your body will rebel.

    So after your work out, eating something more protein based or lower carb with your points will sustain you and not shock your system from being in fat burning mode and put it back into fat storing mode. Mind you, your metabolism is elevated after a work out so you don’t have to eat pure protein. Just don’t carb splurge. Your elevated metabolism will burn bonus calories too, so try to eat as close to finishing your workout as possible before that bonus curves dies off.

    Lifting weights is also the most misunderstood exercise ever. It won’t make you “big” (unless you want to work it to do that). Every 2lbs of lean muscle you add to your body consumed 1250 fat calories a week, or if you pack on 4lbs of lean muscle and maintain it…. you get a bonus fat loss of 1lb per week. Yes, BONUS. (You probably are seeing that halo effect form the elliptical because you do build muscle but not as well as with strength training, which also burns tons of calories as you lift as well and keeps your body in that mode after your workout. I like lifting first and cardio second…. and you don’t need to lift heavy weights to build lean muscle. Kettle balls are fun and your friend.)

    Google 5lb of fat vs. 5 lbs of muscle if you’ve never see the difference. This is where I have my most major issue with weight watchers. Despite going “beyond the scale” the scale is still what weight watchers uses to measure success (or failure, because let’s face it, we all feel like a failure when our weigh in stays the same or goes up….) Once upon a 123 success journey on ww, I realized this is why. I lost inches, lots of them, but the scale didn’t move.

    Check out the photo at this link to see what I mean.

    And there is always room for a cosmo…. always.


  10. The biggest struggle I have with FitPoints is whether or not I need to add an activity (for a dedicated exercise session) if I have my FitBit syncing steps. I understand that WW only picks up the steps from the FitBit, but what about all those extra calories you burn per step if 5 miles of those steps are at pace, with heart rate through the roof. I easily take 12,000 steps per day…but most of that is incidental…i.e. just walking around the office at work…not actual dedicated exercise. I run 30 minutes most days, and do body weight training other days…do I add an activity on top of my FitPoints for these dedicated exercise sessions…or does it all get picked up through the FitBit…


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