I’ve been blessed in that I’ve never really struggled with my weight. However, you’ve probably heard me mention that I have struggled with my relationship with food. I’ve let food run my life for a very long time and it finally caught up with me in the last couple years.
I have always led a fairly active lifestyle. In college all my classes were 20-30 minutes apart on foot and I didn’t have a car for the first few years, so I was never sedentary. I actually love to walk! When I graduated, my first job baking was very physically demanding. Around this time I was the smallest I’ve ever been in my adult life: 5′,7″, 132 lbs. When my job became sedentary I picked up dancing and weight training 3-5 days a week.
I did a pretty good job at least prepping my food during the week, but I did exploit all that activity by overindulging when my budget would allow. When I got engaged in 2018, I had a hard time getting a grip on life and time. My schedule and physical distance from my normal activities brought all my active hobbies to a screeching halt. Stress on my job was at an increasing high and I was eating to cope. My weight gain, however, kept going.
I was around 155 lbs. when I started dating again in 2017. I watched the needle move upward and my clothes get more snug. Feelings of helplessness and loss of control took over. In 2020, as I was preparing to leave corporate America, I started assessing the toll life had taken on my body and making a plan to reverse it. I saw this as the perfect opportunity to get back control of my life.
I kept seeing ads for Noom interrupting my YouTube videos. I thought it might be a fad just like most diet programs out there, but a quick Google search returned stellar reviews. Upon further research, I found that Noom is not a diet plan – it’s a lifestyle program. Noom is a psychology-based program designed to get you lasting results by changing your habits and behavior, not restrictive dieting.
Signing Up For Noom
When I went to the Noom website, I was taken through a series of assessment questions. These questions gathered information about my age, gender, lifestyle, current health habits, and my goals. At the end of the assessment, Noom gave me a recommendation for one of their programs and option to try the program free for two weeks. Noom offers two main programs – Healthy Weight and Healthy Mind.
Here is Noom’s pricing model:
- Monthly auto-recurring plan -$59 USD
- 2 month auto-recurring plan – $99 USD
- 3 month auto-recurring plan – $129 USD
- 4 month auto-recurring plan – $139 USD
- 5 month auto-recurring plan – $149 USD
- 6 month auto-recurring plan – $159 USD
- 7 month auto-recurring plan – $169 USD
- 8 month auto-recurring plan – $179 USD
- Annual auto-recurring plan – $199 USD
I did the trial and received a discount coupon for the full program. One 80% off coupon later, I was signed up for a year in the Healthy Weight Program.
Note: Noom also partners with companies and health plans to offer the two main programs and programs for hypertension and diabetes prevention and management. It is worth checking with your employer or insurance provider to see if Noom is offered as a benefit.
Noom Healthy Weight Program
The program consists of 16 weeks of structured content delivered via an app followed by maintenance content. When you start the program, you will set your weight loss goal and Noom will calculate a safe pace and calorie budget for you to reach it. Each day during the first 16 weeks you will receive 1-3 short articles to read and weigh in and log meals daily. You will be assigned a goal specialist and a virtual accountability group. The articles and group include light quizzes and exercises to help you practice the skills you’re developing in the program. Now, no one stands over your shoulder to make sure you’re doing these things, but your goal specialist can help nudge you if need be. The app asks for your preferences on this at the beginning, and you can adjust later as well.
- I felt like there was a good balance of self-guided activity and human intervention.
- The curriculum really lends itself to self-discovery, as opposed to prescription. You’re really tailoring new habits to your lifestyle, and I think this is what makes the changes sustainable.
- I ended up having three different goal specialists over the course of a year. As soon as I got used to one, I had to adjust to a new one.
- As the program goes on, it’s easy to start tuning out your group and your goal specialist as white noise. It’s also easy to stop reading articles, but more on that later.
The Noom App
The Noom program is exclusively delivered through the Noom app. When you open the app, you are greeted with a home screen, which is a dashboard of sorts with a tracker for completing the day’s activities. You can easily see how many calories you have left for the day, your weigh-in, exercise, and the list of educational articles. Coaches and your group also communicate with you within the app. Also included within the app is a recipe database that happens to show how the recipes fit into your personal calorie budget. Noom syncs with a wide range of health and fitness apps, like iHealth, Google Fit, and Fitbit, to name a few. This is especially helpful in tracking steps.
Overall, I like the features included in the app and the fact that it is self-contained. I have a feeling I would be overwhelmed if I had to receive updates via another device or channel, like social media. However, there are a couple of nitpicky improvements they could make.
Highlights: The Noom app is a great one stop shop for your wellness tracking and it is fairly intuitive to use.
- There’s an option to bookmark articles, but there’s not a “jump to” function. If you don’t save an article, you have to manually navigate back through the days to find it. For example, if you’re 8 weeks into the program and you want to see something from Week 1, you’ll have to manually navigate through almost 60 days of material.
- The Noom app uses a weird dial system for logging things, but I’ll talk about that more below.
- There is more support for the iOS operating system than for Android, to the tune of a few missing features.
Noom App Meal Log
Noom categorizes food within its database based on a green/yellow/red color system. This allows you to step away from the mindset of just cutting calories or food groups and take a more balanced approach to eating. One of my favorite drawing points of this program is that I can eat anything I want, and I’m encouraged to do so – in moderation.
- The food database has a pretty extensive catalog of foods from American and Canadian grocers and eateries
- You get an analysis that helps your mindfulness of the content of your meals, not just the calories. It’s about balance, people.
- The food database has errors. You can report them, but you may not see them updated immediately – or ever.
- The food label scanner is touch-and-go. It often has difficulty focusing and sometimes misidentifies the product.
- You cannot build and enter your own recipes in the Android version of the Noom app.
- There’s not an option to directly input servings or units, and the app doesn’t always give the right options. You have to “dial” your way to the correct numbers, but that’s IF the right units of measurements are available to you.
Noom App Exercise Log
The Noom Healthy Weight Program recognizes the importance but does not emphasize exercise for weight loss. It does allow you to log workouts as a bonus of sorts. This is key for people like me, who used to bargain for more calories by exercising, as opposed to dealing with the root issue. Noom does add back half the calories burned to your daily calorie allowance, though.
- There is a growing list of of exercises to choose from in the list.
- You also have the option to log blood pressure and blood sugar in the Noom app.
- The list is still missing some options that are common or growing in popularity, like cardio and barre. You can add a custom workout, but you’d won’t get the benefit of Noom calculating the calorie burn for you.
- Once again, you have to “dial” your way to the correct time and distance measurements.
My Noom Results
As April 4, my weight is 165, having lost 16 of the 20 pounds I was aiming for. Also, I dropped from a size 12 to a size 8. I haven’t quite hit my total physical goal but I’ve gained something far more valuable: power.
There is something oddly rewarding about knowing that I can eat whatever I want – but I don’t have to. I’m not a slave to my compulsions and I can concentrate my energy on other more meaningful things. I also started back exercising regularly. I sleep better, ache less, and generally feel better.
Yes, I have to plan better. Yes, I have to put a bit more thought into my choices, but food is not my master. I’m still going to try to shoot for the last five pounds this summer, but if I never lose them, I’m okay, because I know that I am doing right by my body for the first time in years.
To be honest, if I hadn’t paid for the entire year, I probably could have stopped after week 16. I probably tuned out earlier than that. The material was useful, and my goal specialist was still helpful when needed, but by then, I already had enough tools to govern myself and fly. (I’m sure this is different for everyone, but I’ve seen this sentiment shared in the Reddit groups.)
Verdict: HIGH AND MIGH-T
Overall, I would say Noom is worth every cent, to the point that I’m thinking about gifting a package or two, and eventually redoing the sixteen weeks as a refresher. I HIGHLY recommend Noom to anyone who is serious about a changing their lifestyle for good and getting control of their health.