Inside: Get a look at the new Noom Weight Loss App, along with a full review and my personal results. Direct affiliate links are used in this post.
Oh Hey! Did I ever tell you guys about that time I actually lost weight during the holidays?!
True Story. It Happened.
Here's the quick version.
The past several years I saw a trend in my life, starting about a week before Halloween. The first crinkle of a fun size Snickers would ring in my ears like a starting pistol.
The days and weeks that followed would see me gobbling up everything in sight, like I was Ms. Pacman and ALL THE FOOD was my power pellets. “It's the holidays, it only happens once a year” became a daily mantra. It was ridiculous.
Now, I write a lot about being healthy but I was totally ignoring my normal personal standards for weeks at a time. It was a cycle that needed to end.
The crazy thing is that I am a Fitbit fanatic. I write a lot about them. For years I've had a system to ensure that I exceed my step count every day, and even with that, I would gain weight every year over the holidays because of “the Pacman effect.”
It's because I was only paying attention to one side of the equation. I was getting my steps every single day, but I was completely ignoring my eating. You can't just do one without the other.
Well this year, back in September I decided to try a new weight loss program that I found. It's a paid app and, while it wasn't perfect, it was different from any other weight loss program or product out there.
Let's take a look at the features, how it works, my review of the app, and I'll reveal my results.
Noom Weight Loss Coach App Full Review
Noom Weight Loss Coach App is a smart phone app available for Android and iOs. I have the iOs version on an iPhone, in case you see a slightly different screen on your device.
If you are already using a tracker or health app of some sort, chances are it syncs with Noom. As of today the list is Fitbit (but of course!), Bewell Connect, Misfit Wearables, Biomedtrics, Movable, Moves App, Fitbug, Polar, Garmin Connect, Qardio, iHealth, Runkeeper, Jawbone UP, Sony Lifelog, Life Trak, Striiv, Lumo, Withings, Microsoft, and YOO.
When I first heard of Noom, it was on a Facebook ad that said, “You're not on MySpace Still, So Why Would You Use Weight Watchers?'” I was curious so I actually ended up having a back and forth email with them to find out How they are different from Weight Watchers.
The Process of Joining
The day I actually joined Noom, I started by taking their Quiz to Get My Customized Plan. They offered a short free trial but I really wasn't interested in it.
The truth is, if I had gained one more pound, I would have been the heaviest I ever was. I just needed to start today and not look back. Hitting my step goal or not- my efforts were worthless if I couldn't my eating under control. There was no time for second guessing myself.
After I joined I received an email from a concierge coach introducing me to the program. She paired me with a coach who matched my goals and struggles, and assigned me to a group with other people who recently joined.
What's Included in the App?
The Noom Weight Loss Coach App includes several standard features that you can find in many free apps, plus the coaching by experts, a group chat and most importantly the behavior & lifestyle change program, which is doled out in small snippets throughout the 16 week program.
I'll talk about each feature below, but here is what you get:
- Food Logging
- Exercise Logging
- Weight Logging
- Expert Coach Check-Ins for Goal Setting
- Group Chat with a Group Coach Moderator
- Searchable Recipes
- A new way to categorize food (more about this below)
- A behavior change education program
- Saved Articles Folder
Features I didn't really use:
I didn't need the help section. It also does have features to record your blood glucose and log your blood pressure.
How easy is it to use?
Overall it has really easy for me to use. I'll go through the ease of each basic feature below.
As for the food logging, I have used other apps to log my food before (fitbit, spark people and my Fitness Pal) and it functions mostly the same. You can search for foods, you can search by barcode, or you can look in the list of your most frequent foods for that meal, which pops up every time you log. You can create a new dish as well, or add something if it's not in the database. You can add as little pr as much info as you have available.
There are two features I'd love to see added in the food logging section:
One is the ability to swipe a whole meal from the previous day over into today in one move. For example, I eat the same oatmeal, blueberries, almond butter and espresso every day. All four or these items show up at the top of my favorite meals when I go to log my breakfast but I have to add each one. Not a huge issue but it would be an easy time saver.
The other food logging feature I'd love is the ability to add a recipe by using a URL. We cook a lot and rather than add all the ingredients one by one, or create a dish, some apps I've used allow you to copy and paste the URL of a recipe and it pulls the info and allows you match ingredients for an accurate calorie count and then lets you select how many servings you had. Again, not a deal breaker just another way to log.
Weight logging and exercise logging
These were both also super simple. There are reminders for each one in your menu/to-do list on the days you are supposed to do them. My steps were recorded by syncing my fitbit.
Reading the Behavior Modification Short Articles:
I found that the education/behavior modification was one of the two features that truly made this program totally different from anything else. There is no pill, shake, supplement, food delivery service, diet or medical treatment that can help you tackle your emotional triggers and relationship with food. Negative thinking, stress eating, boredom eating, social pressure, etc. This is where Noom stands alone.
Noom accomplishes this behavior modification feat with super quick and fun short daily articles in your daily menu/to-do list. I'd read them while I was waiting for the kids to get shoes on, in line at the grocery store, waiting for an elevator, that kind of thing. I liked the light, fun, very slightly self deprecating tone they used (referring to themselves as nerds, that kind of thing). I will say I noticed a change in the tone of writing part way through. It became less light and chummy and more matter of fact. I don't know if it was because we don't really need it at that point, or if the objectives change. Either way I didn't mind, it was just kinda noticeable.
The food classification system
Noom uses a red, yellow and green food system. This was the other feature that I found truly unique and helpful. All foods are allowed under Noom's system, and no foods at all are off limits.
I'm supposed to have foods of each color, every day. Noom is different from weight watchers in the way it categorizes food. Also, unlike weight watchers you can figure out the classification for any food if you can see (or look up) the calories for it based on simple math. Although the app does it for you while you are doing the program, it just means that you don't need to be a lifelong member in order to figure out how many points something is.
I'm not going to lie. The first week I did noom, ALL my foods were red. ALL. Like. Every one. I went over my suggested calorie count. Every day. But that was okay. It was the first week. Perfection is never required, and over time it became very habitual to eat with a better balance based on their food system.
I think the food guidance for me was good because it gave me permission again to eat fruits and vegetables. It's weird to say it but I always saved them for my kids. And I never liked taking the time to make food for myself. I'd feed everyone else and kinda just shove a couple slices of cheese in my mouth. Having the food system kind of was validation to treat my body right again. I'm worthy. And that took a while to realize. When you battle with your weight, you can even use fruits and veggies to beat yourself up. Deep, right?
Goal Coach Check Ins
My goal coach checked in with me once a week to talk about the previous week, to see if I met my previous goal(s) and to help me set a specific goal or goals for the coming week. If you've ever had an accountability buddy, imagine having one who is trained in helping people meet their goals. That is what this is like.
This was easy, and done over a private chat from within the app, usually just 2-4 quick text replies (although she was always available for more, I found this more than sufficient). The weekly goal was never dictated to me, it was always a goal I suggested.
The goal coach helped me if I was stuck, and walked me along the process of making it specific, measurable, realistic. We also talked about ways I would accomplish my goal, as well as troubleshoot any upcoming challenges or recent short falls. Like once I went to take my daughter out for lunch with some of her friends and their moms one day and found myself relenting to the table's desire to order pizza. Then I ate like waaay too much pizza. It was my own decision and no one else is to blame, but I wanted to have some ideas for the next time. So we talked about how I could handle that next time something like that came up.
There was never any sense of judgement or right or wrong. The goal coaches (and group coaches…and group mates for that matter) were all supportive, empathetic and kind. I say coaches, because they are real people and twice during my program my main goal coach had the day off and another goal coach would cover for her. I was never without support.
Again, nothing hard here, you do as much or as little as you like in this section. There is a group coach who moderates the group. She posts regular prompts to get us talking but people also post their successes, struggles, healthy meals, workouts achieved, milestones reached, and ask questions when they need help. Some days I go through and reply to several posts at once, some weeks I just read and don't think to comment. I really liked the times when someone shared a struggle and we as a group brainstormed ways the person could handle the issue. I felt it was a really respectful and supportive way to get ideas or see how others handled that problem.
Oddly enough I didn't use the recipes all that much, even though we have been cooking a lot. They look good and the app is easy to use, but I just happened to get recipes from other places.
Saved Articles Folder
I loved this feature and in hindsight I wish I used it more. I'd love the ability to search previous topics. They are still in each day's menu after you read them but in order to go back to one to review it, you either have to have clicked save or you have to remember what day it was. I wish I could search for key words from the days I really liked. There were a couple days where I'd have an off day and I thought, Oh I need to review that one article but I didn't save it.
I didn't need it. The main questions seem to be pretty basic app questions as well as how to cancel your free trial, which as I said above, I had no need for. I knew this was the program for me, and truth be told, if I'd have done the trial and cancelled and gone back to my normal habits, then I know I would have gained that “one more pound” so I didn't give myself the option.
My Noom App Results
I started Noom in September with an awesome group of “noomers” so it has actually been pretty cool now that 16 weeks has gone by, to see everyone celebrating all the weight they lost- even though we all did it during the holidays!!!
So there is my chart. It has ups and downs, as you can see. On previous diets I would have viewed these ups as failures but because this is not a diet, and because of the coaching and behavior education I can instead see them as just another day in my weight loss experience.
I lost 17 pounds, 1 pound more than my goal weight, and several of my groupmates have lost quote a bit more in the same time. I no longer have to do that thing I did when I was actually pregnant, where you wear you are avoiding maternity jeans as long as possible so you wear your normal jeans but leave them unbuttoned at the top….you know with like your belt just kinda clinging on for dear life. Yep. Done with that.
You can see above that I did go back up over Christmas but considering my previous routine of plowing right through the holidays towards a bigger size in jeans, and considering how equipped I am to stay on track, I am pretty much fine with that- AND ready to keep going.
I have made so many improvements, I feel better, happier, my back pain is gone. I have better self esteem and I know how to handle my triggers.
I have control again. And that is my result. Take their quick quiz, it's the first step.