Thoughts on Noom

I joined Noom at the end of September 2020. I weighed 179 pounds and set a goal to lose 34 pounds to end up at 145 pounds on my 5′ 6″ frame. Today, 11 January 2021, I weigh 169 pounds. Using the app, before the holidays, I weighed 163 pounds. I was still using the app in between. I just gained 6 pounds on the scale and most of it was fat. *I do body composition every 2 weeks with a store called Complete Nutrition.

The Basics

From the start, there were daily tasks in the app.

  • Weigh myself. I was asked to weigh myself daily at the same time. The intent was to take away the stigma of the scale.
  • Track my food. There was a calorie budget based on information given to the app upon signing up. My budget was 1200 calories per day with half of my workout calories added back if I logged a workout. The food diary was divided into red, yellow, and green foods. The basis for the color assignments was “caloric density,” or the volume of the foods in relationship to the calories they contained.
  • Read lessons based on the psychological aspect of weight loss. Each day, there was a set of lessons to read. Often, there was a larger theme to the lesson that went on for a week. Lessons included how to read food labels, how to deal with cravings, and other helpful things to assist with weight loss. I actually took notes and did some of my own research to help the information sink in. This part is basically dialectical behavioral therapy.
  • Take mini quizzes. These were set up to try to help the information sink in that had been learned. They tend to remind me of that often in the introduction to the quizzes.
  • Step Tracker and Fitness Encouragement: The app can automatically adjust steps and is helpful for people who are not regularly physically active. I did not find most of the advice particularly helpful since I was already active 6 days a week prior to getting the app.

A Goal Specialist and a Support Group with a Group Leader

The goal specialist uses private messages within the app to chat back and forth with a person individually. I would have a quick chat with her weekly and set small goals to help with my bigger goal. She would send me articles with lessons from Noom.

The support group was like a social feed dedicated to people on the app. I think we were matched based on where we were in the lesson plans. Some people posted daily, and some rarely. The lessons would encourage us to share things with the group, but I rarely did. Our group leader would post most weekdays with something that was to be interacted with. It was often a question posed like, “How do you plan to deal with challenges over the holidays?” Sometimes, she would post a helpful motivational photo along with her question.

Self Renewing Membership and Unhelpful Customer Service

Now I’ll share the reason I’m not on Noom anymore. I told my goal specialist I didn’t want to renew when the time came up [in May]. After my 7 day trial, I was charged $169 for 7 months that would automatically renew at the same cost and time frame. My request was sent and answered with a full refund and cancellation. I lost access to my group and my specialist, but could still view my lessons and my food diary. Confused, I got in touch with their customer service and explained the mistake. They apologized, but said I had to sign back up for the program at a discount for my troubles and they would cancel the automatic renewal immediately afterward. I signed up for a month, emailed to remind them to turn off automatic renewal, and received a refund and cancellation again. Upon telling them that this was a mistake, I declined to repeat signup.

My Conclusion

The program/application is somewhat costly, especially since the price is variable and not published anywhere. My cost was $24 a month, but I’ve known people to pay $20 per month. I found the lessons to be informative and helpful to me. There were some parts of the lessons that were annoying due to their repetition and attempts to be humorous. They use the word “nerd” often and themes from popular culture as attempts to be relevant or use entertainment to maintain attention. The cringe or eye roll factor at that and some typographical errors can take away from the lesson at hand. I didn’t feel like my Goal Specialist and I had a particularly meaningful relationship and I didn’t feel at all accountable to the smaller goals she gave me. I disagreed with the food journal colors and I felt like my calorie goal was too low. I tried to adjust my goals and Noom did not adjust my calories in the app. My hunger contributed to some of my slips back into eating binges. I got tired of supplementing with protein shakes, which could be anywhere from a green, yellow, or red food depending on the brand and flavor. Caloric density could be helpful in understanding which foods were more filling, but the colors used led me to feel “guilt” for eating red foods despite the necessity to eat them for nutrition. An example of similar foods with very different colors is grapes vs raisins. 100 calories of grapes is a green food and 100 calories of raisins is a red food. This is because the water content in the grapes makes them more filling than their dried counterpart. While this is helpful information, the system was flawed in other areas. They didn’t have the ability to enter and divide recipes and nor fully accurate listings of some foods.I have experienced a small amount of fat loss while using the program, but I was not 100% following it after about 6 weeks. I think Noom could work for people who have tried a lot of restrictive diets and need a brand new starting point. It might even help someone with disordered eating. It helped me with my relationship with food and my goal is no longer a number on the scale thanks to Noom, but the app wasn’t enough to keep me long term. I think it was helpful in stress management, but weight loss had proven to be complicated for the app to help me achieve.

Thanks for reading! I intend to continue tracking my food so I can ensure I’m getting the fuel I need for my fat loss and for my workouts. I wasn’t asked by Noom or anyone else to write this. I wanted to be open about my journey just as I always have been. Have you tried Noom? Other programs?

Carrots, Peppers, and Grapes are “Green” Foods
Naan is “Red,” but so is hummus.

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