If you read the Weight Watchers message boards, you get an interesting view into the mind of people doing the plan. There are lots of questions like "Do you use your WPA?" (Weekly Points Allowance) or "Do you eat your AP?" (activity points). Then there are threads like "Deep Fried Oreos." There seem to be a certain number of super-strict Weight Watchers who claim to never, ever, ever eat their WPA or AP. Then there are the people who admit to using every single point because "Weight Watchers gave them to us to use them." I would have to admit being in that latter category. When I posted a while ago about earning 22 points on a run, and someone commented that I could only use 4 of those points, you can bet I checked my materials. The only rule that I found was that activity points don't carry over into the next week -- there was no rule limiting the number of them you could earn or use. I didn't use them the day I earned them, but later in the week, I dipped into those points (and then some) and still lost. I find there are a lot of "rules" floating around from old plans or things some leader said somewhere that make it in to the folklore but aren't actually part of the official program.
There is never a question like "Do you sometimes go over your points and hope that you can still lose anyway?" Someone who posted something like that would know they would be tempting the wrath of the super-strict WWers for sure. I actually admired the Deep Fried Oreo poster because she had the guts to admit having had three of them (and, by the way, for counting points for them). If she really wanted them, made room for them in her points allowance, and counted them, what's the problem, exactly? It's not like this is a food she will be eating on a daily basis.
One curious piece of culture you can only pick up from meetings. There are a certain number of people who attend meetings and use some of the tips and recipes, but don't actually count points or track. I suspect the woman who made the pumpkin muffins with nuts and frosting was probably one from that camp. Usually they don't have a whole lot of weight to lose and are just trying to make a few tweaks.
I think there is a lot of weirdness surrounding Weight Watchers for the same reason that baseball players have elaborate systems of tapping their cleats before they step up to bat: Weight loss is fickle and invites superstition and ritual. Though over the long term the "calories in/calories out" equation might hold true, in an individual week, anything could happen on the scale. No wonder people have lucky weigh-in pants and make up special variants on the plan to protect them from the disappointed look of the receptionist.
By the way, this week I'm not expecting good things. Maybe that's why all this is on my mind. Setting expectations low is one of my rituals for a week where things got a little out of control.