Sunday, 12 February 2012

Weekly Points - budgeting for fun and profit

I'll freely admit that one of the many things I've never been very good at is managing a budget.  As some of you will know, the current iteration of the Weight Watchers system, the "ProPoints" system involves both a daily allowance and a weekly allowance of ProPoints.  For each person the daily allowance is different, but for everybody the weekly allowance is the same - 49 ProPoints.  The idea is that you use your daily points for your day-to-day meals, and your weekly ones either for days when you find you need a little more latitude, or for treats, perhaps for a meal out or a takeaway.  Your choice, really.  

Here's a screenshot, taken last night (when I first started writing this post) from the gaudily-coloured spreadsheet that I use for keeping track of such things.  You can see that I used almost all my weekly ProPoints in the first couple of days of the week - well over half of them the first day.  It's unfortunately starting to become a habit.

Part of the problem with this, as with so many things related to weight loss and weight management in general, is that there's a large psychological component to the issue.  I strongly suspect that I'm not alone in this.

In an average week I start the week knowing that I have my full week's allowance to play with - and so I inevitably find myself indulging in an oh-my-god-I've-got-my-full-allowance-to-play-with-again frenzy.  By the weekend I've used most, if not all of my weekly allowance, and then find myself pushing against self-imposed restraints if, for whatever reason, I'm struggling to stick to my daily allowance.  And this is where I end up eating (quite literally) into my activity points, and sometimes feeling bad about it if it's been a week when I wanted  to bank my activity points and not use them.

Additionally, the other psychological element is that once I know that I have no weekly points remaining, once I know that my "safety net" is gone, it becomes far harder to stick to my allowance each day.  Purely psychological of course, there's no reason for it to actually be any harder, I still have the same number of points each day, I still cook the same way, I still have the same things in my fridge and in my cupboard.  The problem is between my ears.

I find myself not quite sure how to go about changing this.  At the moment my weight loss is going in the right direction but I'm acutely conscious that as I lose more weight and my daily ProPoints allowance drops, I'm much more likely to need my additional weekly allowance to be spread out over the course of the week instead of all bunched up together.  It's something I'll need to address and work on as time goes on.

I've always known that doing this properly this time was going to involve a major change in my thinking in a lot of ways.  Much like pine needles in the weeks after Christmas, every time you think you've got them all another one pops up!  If this is a problem that anybody else has addressed successfully, I'd love to hear how you did it.


  1. I have a similar problem with my flagrant abuse of [slimming world] syns (typically gone by 10am) and enthusiastic use of flexi-days :) I won't claim to have it sorted! Trying find a kind of level routine so there's no cycle of blowing all the syns, and then going without, then 'rewarding' myself... Currently this involves lots of planning and taking a massive bag of food everywhere :-/ Really interested to see what you come up with :)

    1. I seem to remember being much the same way on Slimming World! I never got my head around the "flexible syns" business, simply because there was no defined upper limit for them, so for me it just felt like a licence to misbehave.

      Routine has to be the answer I think - in learning to live with my epilepsy and since the fibro has been getting worse, I've been getting better at managing my daily routines at home so that I don't end up running out of energy in the middle of the day, I need to do the same thing here.

      Theoretically getting into a routine and eating the same things at the same times is a bad thing as it's so easy to get bored, but perhaps it'll help if I do that for a few days or a week just to properly establish a routine then learn to vary it from there without blowing it all in one go? Food for thought.