Do I Have to Eat All My Daily SmartPoints?

Some members find that they quickly run out of Daily SmartPoints.  The first two posts in this series basically deal with that situation and discuss eating Weekly SmartPoints and swapping FitPoints for food.

This post deals with the opposite problem — members who find it difficult to reach their Daily SmartPoints Target.  So, is it OK to just not meet the daily Target or must we eat the minimum?  I would say that…it depends.  First, note that members have a wide range of Daily SmartPoints Targets.  The minimum Daily SmartPoints Target is 30 SmartPoints.  But, it can be much more.  Men tend to be larger than women and are usually more muscular and burn more calories.  So, it is more common that men get a higher daily Target.  Those who have lots to lose will also have a higher daily Target.

At times, I personally have struggled to get to my 30 Daily SmartPoints.  Here is an example:

Low SP Day

On the day above, I ate 28 SmartPoints.  Note that I don’t always record zero point foods on Weight Watchers.  I have some listed as part of my salad since I have that saved as a meal.  But, if I had a snack of berries I wouldn’t record that on Weight Watchers.

I don’t remember the day specifically, but the typical situation where I end up not reaching 30 SmartPoints is when I don’t go out to eat and I am busy and just not thinking much about food.  In the specific example, I had a salad for dinner and I’m often not really hungry after I do that.

I could have certainly eaten something to get to 30 Daily SmartPoints, but if I am not that hungry then I don’t always choose to do that. So, is that OK or am I required on Weight Watchers to eat my 30 Daily SmartPoints Target in order for me to be considered on program?

Does Weight Watchers Require That We Eat All of Our Daily SmartPoints?

I actually haven’t seen anything in the materials I received which said that it is mandatory to eat my Daily SmartPoints Target.  In fact, it is often referred to as just that — a target.  That to me seems to be a bit less firm than referring to it as, say, a minimum.  In the materials, I have seen Daily SmartPoints referred to as a target or as a budget, but I haven’t seen anything say that it is mandatory eat that amount as a minimum.

On the other hand, the Weekly booklet received when SmartPoints came out specifically says about Weekly SmartPoints: You can choose to use them or not!  That statement is not made about the Daily SmartPoints Target.  And, online at the Weight Watchers site it is points out that daily SmartPoints Target doesn’t roll over and that it resets each day.  You can’t save up unused Daily SmartPoints to use on another day.

So, does that mean the daily Target is a required minimum or is it more flexible?  My perception — which might be wrong — is that it is a bit more flexible with SmartPoints than it was with PointsPlus.  During PointsPlus, I had the very decided impression that we were encouraged pretty strongly to consider our daily PointsPlus as a minimum.  In a past program there had been a daily range.  So, my daily points might have been 20 to 22 points (I don’t recall exactly what they were).  When that shifted to one number when the program changed back then, that really did seem to be a hard minimum.

And, we still have a single number with SmartPoints.  So, from that standpoint, it does seem like a minimum.  And, yet, I still have the perception that Weight Watchers has gone out of its way to not explicitly say that it is required for us to meet the minimum.

I did mention to my leader early on that I was struggling at times to get to 30 Daily SmartPoints.  I commented that I could eat something even though not hungry and she was quick to not advocate that.  But, other members have reported that some leaders still present the Daily SmartPoints Target as being a minimum.  However, still other members have said that their leaders have said it is a target and is not a hard minimum.

Of course, the reality is that if I eat 28 or 29 SmartPoints, the Weight Watchers police isn’t going to come after me.  My sense is that the daily Target is a goal and, more often than not, we should probably meet that goal.  At the same time, to not meet it each and every day may not be that big a deal.  And, in the end, it is up to us to decide what works for us.

In doing that, I think it is important for each of us to look at why Weight Watchers has a Daily SmartPoints target and to think about why we sometimes don’t reach it.  Then, we can reach a considered decision about how important it is to reach it or not.

I also note that there is a somewhat different situation between the member who has a Daily SmartPoints target that is above 30 SmartPoints who sometimes eats less than their target but does eat at least 30 SmartPoints and the member who has a Daily Target of 30 SmartPoints and to not reach it would have to eat below the minimum Daily SmartPoints Target that Weight Watchers sets.

Why Does Weight Watchers Set a Daily SmartPoints Target?

Weight Watchers sets a daily SmartPoints Target so we will lose weight. In the Plan Guide, it is starkly stated:

When you joined, you got a personalized daily Target. Stick to that number and you’ll lose weight.

That is an important point to remember.  Weight Watchers gives us a Daily SmartPoints Target based upon our age, weight, height and gender.  Weight Watchers flatly states that if we stick to that Daily SmartPoints Target that we will lose weight.  (I am sure there are exceptions.  For example, if you eat 10 bananas a day then you might not lose weight, even if you stick to your daily Target).   So, when we eat more than the Daily SmartPoints Target, whether by eating Weekly SmartPoints, or swapping FitPoints, or just going off program, we may or may not lose weight.  Personally, I know I will lose weight if I eat exactly 30 Daily SmartPoints a day.  But, it would drive me crazy and I would never stay on the plan.  So, some days I eat more.  And, I eat some or all of my Weekly Points and occasionally some FitPoints. And, occasionally, I eat less than my daily Target.  But, the fact remains.  Weight Watchers designs the program for us to lose weight if we stick our daily Target.

Why Would Weight Watchers Want Us to Not Eat Less Than Our Daily SmartPoints Target?

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