When I heard that the Jawbone UP and other activity trackers were now going to be able to be linked to Weight Watchers, I was intrigued. Weight Watchers had a history of preferring their own proprietary tools (like ActiveLink), and this seemed to be a big change for them. I looked forward to connecting my Jawbone UP to my tracker.
I was disappointed when I did link it up. Yesterday's activity earned me 2 points. I had a very normal day, but instead of running or walking, I did a 30-minute swim. If I had tracked the 30-minute swim on my Points Tracker, it would have earned me 6 points. When I looked up the reason in the FAQ, it had to do with not meeting the activity baseline for the day. The baseline formula is not available, but Weight Watchers seems to have a fairly high standard for a "low-activity day" if 6,000 steps doesn't count. The Activity Points formula was already designed to take into account that people overestimate the calories that they are burning. Adding in a high baseline seems to be set too high a bar.
True, I didn't have 10,000 steps on top of my 30-minute swim, but if I had done a 30-minute walk instead of the swim, which would have made me exceed the 10,000 steps goal, I wouldn't have burned as many calories as I did in a 30-minute swim. Would I have earned more Points? I haven't used the ActiveLink, but the reviews I read suggested that results were similar. Users doing step-based activity got a lot more points than those doing other types of exercise, even after entering those activities.
I know this will be controversial, but I disconnected my Jawbone UP after that first day. I'm already finding Weight Watchers hard to stick to because the points allowance seems low for me. I get 26 points a day, plus an average of 7 from the Weekly Points. The approximate value of a point is 35 calories, putting me at just under 1200 calories a day if I used all of those Points (and many people don't use their Weekly Points. Even if I add in a few Points for activity and a reasonable amount of "Free" fruits and vegetables, I should have a sizable deficit. If I didn't use any APs and stuck to the baseline, I'd feel too tired and hungry and would be more likely to just quit.
I don't want Weight Watchers to be any harder for me to stick to, even if that would make it more "pure" somehow. When I was tracking consistently and swapping my Activity Points for food, I was finding it much easier to stick to, and I was losing weight -- multiple pounds a week. If my weight loss slows, maybe I'll go back to the "better" way. For now, I'm doing what was working for me.