This is a bold statement made by Noom, an app that helps people change their daily habits to lose weight in the long run. I tried it for four weeks, not knowing that eating colored-coded food and learning about the psychology of eating every day would help me lose 7 pounds and teach me how to ride an elephant (more on that later).
Here’s everything you need to know about Noom so you can decide if it’s right for you.
Noom is a subscription service for a mobile health app that pushes people to change their habits to live better lives.
Noom isn’t something new. It came out in 2008 as an easy way to track exercise and calories. But by 2016, the app had added a section on psychology and changing behavior, as well as support groups for users and personal trainers.
Noom has a team of experts in mental health who have studied cancer, diabetes prevention and management, high blood pressure, and more to make a program that gets to the heart of weight loss problems. Noom wants to help people pay attention to their thoughts before they think about food. “Once you know what you want to work on, your mindset will help you make new neural connections over time to change your habits,” says the company.
Today, dropping weight the Noom way means looking at how you eat, dealing with your feelings about food, being accountable, and making changes to your lifestyle that can lead to long-term weight loss.
When you begin the Noom diet plan, you will be asked unique questions that you may not have encountered with other diet plans.
To start the program, you will need to take a 10-minute online quiz. The quiz will ask you some common questions about your height, weight, gender, age, and reasons for wanting to lose weight. It also wants to know how much you exercise, how frequently you eat, and if you have any health conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, or depression.
Are there any life events that have caused you to gain weight in the past few years? Why are you not sure about achieving your weight loss goals? A pop-up will appear to evaluate your habits and behaviors.
After you have made the decision to join the program and paid the required fee, you will need to download the Noom app. Right now, you can only use it on iPhones with IOS 12.4 or newer, and Android phones with version 6 or newer. You can use Noom on iPad and Android tablets, but it may not work as well because tablets usually don’t have motion sensors like Noom’s step counter. Once you have downloaded the app, you will be prompted to sign in using the email address that you used when you joined the program.
Noom wants you to finish 10 short lessons about psychology and changing behavior within 16 weeks. You can choose to spend anywhere from five to sixteen minutes per day on the lessons. After approximately two days, you will be connected with a goal coach. This coach will reach out to you personally about twice a week. They will check in on your progress, ask about how you’re doing, and send motivational messages to keep you motivated.
After a few more days in the program, you will be given a group coach and a peer group. The person in charge of the group chat, called the group coach, makes sure everything runs smoothly. They share tips on losing weight and occasionally reply to individual messages. The goal coach and group coach are both trained in everything related to Noom. They have either a bachelor’s or associate’s degree, as well as 2,000 hours of experience in wellness.
The calorie restrictions are based on your information. Noom might suggest its diabetes prevention program to individuals who are obese or pre-diabetic. This program is the first mobile health program acknowledged by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) for providing a type 2 diabetes prevention program that is supported by evidence.
Your personalized plan will give you a daily calorie budget, which is the minimum number of calories you need to function each day. You will also need to keep track of the meals you eat and the physical activities you do every day. You can also choose whether you want to spend two to 10 minutes each day reading short articles about positive thinking, mindful eating, and stress relief.
In addition, Noom includes a step counter. As long as you keep your phone with you throughout the day, you can easily track the total number of steps you take. The app motivates you to record your blood pressure readings, blood glucose levels, and water intake every day.
The Noom plan is meant to last for 16 weeks, but you have the option to purchase up to twelve months at once for weight loss and maintenance. In order to lose 12 pounds, I followed a calorie budget of 1,250 calories per day for 16 weeks. When I recorded my food, the app showed me the remaining calories in each food category for the day. Here are the details: When I exceeded my calorie budget, I didn’t receive any scolding. Instead, I received positive messages to keep following the plan and learned lessons to understand what caused my unhealthy eating day (or week).
This is the first plan I’ve ever tried that doesn’t restrict any specific foods or food groups. All restrictions are imposed by oneself. Noom offers choices for people who follow vegan, gluten-free, or low-carb diets. However, it does not categorize foods as bad or forbidden.
Noom believes that the weight of food, not the number of calories, affects how full you feel. To help with this, they use a color-coded system that ranks foods based on their caloric density (CD). Foods with more water have lower CD. As a result, consuming foods that have a low-calorie density can make you feel full more quickly, even with fewer calories.
Green Foods: Fruits, vegetables, and whole grains are foods that have fewer calories per volume. This is because they contain a lot of water and are packed with nutrients.
Yellow Foods: It’s important to eat lean meats, legumes, and low-fat dairy foods in moderation. These foods have more calories and fewer nutrients compared to green foods.
Red Foods: Foods like red meats, processed foods, and full-fat cheese have a high number of calories but provide very few healthy nutrients. Eating between one-fourth to one-half cup servings of these foods will provide you with 25% of your daily calorie intake.
The Noom diet plan doesn’t forbid “red” foods, but it suggests being mindful of the quantity you consume. When you log food on Noom, it is instantly categorized by color. This helps you see which areas of your diet need improvement.
Noom offers a free one-week trial, but after that, a subscription can cost up to $59 per month. Every plan is customized, and the length of the program is determined by how much weight you want to lose. I wanted to lose 12 pounds, so someone suggested a four-month plan. I found some discount codes and now I only pay $26.00 per month.
If I had signed up for a year, my monthly cost would have been approximately $16.00. The prices for our services are tailored to your specific goals, so we don’t have a set price for losing five, ten, or fifteen pounds. It is evident that the longer you subscribe to Noom, the greater the monthly discount.
- Psychological Approach
- Focus on long-term Goals
Right now, there are four note cards tacked up above my desk with “Noomerisms” on them. These are little bits of wisdom I got from logging into Noom every day. “You may be going through waves, but you’re also making them. “Go with the flow.” With daily statements like that, Noom is a lot more than just a way to lose weight. I can’t think of another weight loss program where I would learn tips from dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT) in one of my five- to nine-minute daily reads to help me deal with the stress of a new job (and the mindless eating that comes with it). Through DBT, which is based on the idea of mindfulness, I became more aware of why I was eating buttered popcorn with truffle salt and thinking about the past instead of connecting my feelings to at least one good thing at the moment.
Another three-minute read taught me about the locus of control, a psychological idea that looks at whether you think you control events and results from the inside or from the outside. For example, you have an internal center of control if you think, “I don’t have enough willpower to lose 5 pounds.” You blame yourself for not being able to lose weight. But if you think, “I can’t lose weight because my spouse loves to eat out,” you have an external locus of control, or the tendency to blame outside forces for what happens.
The Noom diet plan requires you to read stories like this every day. This is because the plan works. When you’re forced to look at the mental reasons why you overeat, keep making bad food choices, or just can’t seem to stick to any diet, you become more self-aware, and your relationship with food changes… for the better.
Noom wants you to take responsibility not only for what you put in your mouth but also for how you think about what you eat. Certified health coaches check in with you once a week to see how you’re doing and cheer you on. The app also lets you meet with other Noomers who are happy to help you lose weight, stay hydrated, and move around more during the day. You can join the group chat through the app, or if you meet one or two people you get along with really well, you can swap contact info and make your own Noom team.
For weight loss to last, you need to be committed, know what you’re doing, and be aware of what’s going on. The program doesn’t offer any quick fixes, and it doesn’t ban any foods or suggest eating during certain times of the day. One of the main ideas behind Noom is that people will lose weight and keep it off if they focus on eating whole foods and get along well with them.
- Huge Commitment
- No Specific Meal Plan and Delivery Option
Even though there are free trials and deals, the monthly cost might be more than what some people are willing to spend on a weight loss program. I tried a few well-known weight loss plans and bought their bars, shakes, and vitamins. I found that the prices were pretty close.
I always looked forward to the daily reads, but it’s scary to have to write down everything you eat every day. Noom also makes you weigh yourself every day, which can be hard for some people. I also missed the check-in with a goal guide every week. The letters were too casual and not sent often enough to be useful.
Noom is not the right app for you if you want ready-made meals or a special meal plan. Aside from the number of calories you can eat each day and the amount of red, yellow, and green things you should eat, Noom doesn’t have any rules about food. Some people will do well with this freedom when it comes to food, while others who are used to eating in a structured way might feel uncomfortable without it.
I’ll admit that there were times when I didn’t want to plan or make a meal. Instead, I had a bowl of cereal because I didn’t feel like cooking, I had enough calories in my budget, and Noom said I could.
One of the paid benefits of Noom is a collection of recipes from Rodale, Inc., which runs health websites like Prevention, Women’s Health, and Men’s Health. The company says that this database has more than 1,100 meals that are split into breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks.
People who have tried other business diet plans and felt like they didn’t work well may find Noom helpful. Because Noom is more focused on changing behavior, it may also be helpful for people who want to know things like, “What makes you eat when you’re not hungry?” And how to choose healthy things that still make you feel full.
Because it teaches you things and gives you advice, Noom may also be good for people who do better when other people push them.
Noom says that people can lose about two pounds a week if they eat closer to the lower end of their Weight Loss Zone, which is the range of calories they need to eat to create a caloric balance. The company says that someone who eats at the higher end of their Weight Loss Zone can expect to lose about half a pound a week.
The company says that vegetarians, vegans, and people who eat other plant-based foods can use the Noom weight loss plan. Noom’s premium features include plant-based meals, and the company says that trainers are available to help users switch to a diet with more plants if they want to.
Noom is a real company that has been around since 2008. It has a grade of 3.9 out of 5 on Consumer Affairs (from more than 2,600 reviews) and 4.3 out of 5 on TrustPilot (from more than 61,000 reviews).