You might have seen the ads for the Noom app all over Instagram. I’ve mostly ignored them because I’m not at all interested in dieting. But, a friend of mine who had great success using it suggested I check it out . She was most impressed with the way they categorized food by caloric density and the informative psychology articles on the way.
I admit, I was curious. So, I downloaded the app and took them up on a two-week trial. Noom calls itself a ‘healthy weight program’ which felt like a good start. They make little mention of the fact that you will be food/calorie tracking in their marketing, and I think I know why. Most of us loathe doing it, and in fact, feel deprived almost immediately. My enthusiasm sank a bit when I saw that, but I’m glad I persevered.
The first thing they do is talk to you in the form of a step by step plan for the day. You are given a task list which includes playfully laid out articles on the psychology of weight loss, an initial step count, food logging and an introduction to caloric density. One of the biggest issues with calorie counting is that it’s an outdated concept that rarely accounts for healthier choices (like avocado).
Noom’s green, yellow and red categories make a good stab at explaining the difference between various kinds of calories. It’s important to pay attention to this breakdown. I had an off day where I ate too many foods in the red zone and really felt it. I was sluggish and overly hungry as a result. Back to my salads, brown rice and fish (yellow and green).
Noom has no set meal plan so you will need to construct your own. I’ve been a home cook for years so this wasn’t especially difficult. I can imagine a person starting from scratch would feel a bit lost. That’s ok, the struggle towards a healthy and sustainable weight is part of the process
. They do provide a catalog of recipes to choose from and I also suggest checking out the NY Times recipe app
Noom lets you set the pace of your weight loss. I picked a more aggressive schedule which gave me 1200 calories for the whole day. You can up that count by exercising, which I do and did. A true beginner should pick a much slower pace, limiting your daily intake severely can lead to rebound behaviors and dropping out.
Overall, I ended up liking Noom and even slimmed down a bit. I was heartened to see some of my ideas put into practice. Here are my best takeaways:
- an emphasis on increasing daily movement (see also, principle 4), not just working out
- lots of data to geek out on
- informative and fun progression of ideas
- a coach you can message with questions
- DAILY WEIGH-INS (sound familiar?) because that is proven to work 😃
- actionable tips to keep you focused and on-track
There was something I liked a bit less. Calorie/food tracking doesn’t leave much room for evaluating your own sense of fullness. My first principle
suggests eating until you are no longer hungry. I found when I was concentrating on tracking my intake I paid less attention to my actual hunger. There were times I ate past satiation because I was more focused on getting calories when I could. This can be remedied by staying in touch with fullness rather than eating all you are allotted.
The Not Another Diet
series is about learning to create a life that sustains a healthy weight. My principles offer tools to do that, and so does Noom. They can be used together, or one after another. Take what works for you and leave the rest.
Sometimes, it helps to have a little more structure. If that’s your case, then give Noom a try with the link below.