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Noom isn’t a diet app — it uses psychology to guide you on your health journey

Noom isn’t a diet app — it uses psychology to guide you on your health journey

Let’s face it: sustainable weight loss is challenging and getting your head in the game is a vital aspect of success. As a registered dietitian nutritionist, many of my clients use apps whether to track what they eat and drink and/or their steps, but there are not many apps that focus on ‘why’ you are eating certain foods at random times. All too often there’s no expert advice or support connected to the app and that doesn’t foster progress or success when it comes to making lifestyle changes for lasting weight loss.

This is where the Noom Weight Loss App comes in. Noom is not a diet app, but an evidence-based lifestyle behavior change program that focuses on personalized nutrition. Programs are guided by studies from a team of behavioral experts with PhDs and masters degrees in psychology, neuroscience, and integrative medicine.

With courses for weight loss and management, as well as others geared toward health-specific concerns, like diabetes and hypertension, Noom provides tech tools you can use to reach a variety of health goals. It’s an interactive portal that enables you to take a deep dive into eating behaviors through a series of educational pathways or courses.

It’s important to note that if you’re struggling with an eating disorder or disordered eating, consider seeking guidance from a professional, like a registered dietitian nutritionist. This app uses the scale as a benchmark, which might not be the best option for everyone.

Easy to log food • water • activity • Clever and engaging to use • Good support system • Provides concrete goal date

Psychobabble may not be for everyone • Lessons can get wordy • Need a wearable to accurately record steps • Scale is daily benchmark

An empowering weight loss app that is not a diet, but a lifestyle change program that encourages daily action toward your goals.

With a focus on ‘progress not perfection,’ Noom uses the psychology of eating as its primary motivator (after all, it was created with a team of psychologists). With the use of hashtags for key terms, such as #psychtricks, #noomwin and #mindfulness, Noom establishes a relatable way to motivate and educate users on the psychology behind behavior change. 

Noom app how it works

From the get-go, Noom makes users feel like part of the “Noomologist” club and identifies members as #NoomNerds. The app encourages a community feel with support from a Noom virtual coach, who is trained in cognitive behavioral therapy and posts direct messages to you in the app. This feature allows you to chat one-on-one with your coach to get quick answers to your questions or follow-up feedback.  Plus, there’s group support where members chime in on discussion topics in online group meeting rooms.

How much does Noom cost?

Noom offers a 13-day free introductory trial, which is enough time to really set everything up and see if you want to give it a go for the long haul. After that, it’s $59 per month or $129 for a three month subscription. Everything auto renews unless you cancel.

Setting up your personalized Noom course

It takes some patience setting up your Noom profile so plan to set aside 20-30 minutes — but that’s a small price to pay for personalization, right? At the beginning, you create your own customized course through a series of self-assessment questions where you’ll identify your big picture goals (“YBP”) — whether that’s weight loss or overall health.  Based on your answers to the profile questions, the app pinpoints a magical date that predicts when you should reach your goal. Something that makes Noom different than other wellness apps on the market is that it asks you to define “why?” you want each goal. This creates a ‘believe’ mindset to help you move forward in your course.

Noom is about empowering you to create change in your eating and lifestyle by using the app for a certain number of minutes every day (mine was nine minutes a day) to read through the day’s course lessons.

Similar to other health and wellness apps, Noom encourages daily engagement with the app in order to get the best results. But they do gamify it in a way that feels fun — you can save lesson articles in a bookmark at the top of the app to reference later, too. When you use the app daily for your allotted time you earn a daily “streak”.  Every day you track your progress with a weigh in and logging your food, water and daily steps.  

Logging nutrition and activity  

With the notion of ‘progress not perfection’ as the prevailing mantra, Noom provides a series of fundamental lessons to structure your journey. This is helpful if you’re really not sure where to begin in your journey.  For example, one of the first lessons is about food’s calorie density and Noom’s system of color-coded foods: green, yellow and red, based on their caloric density and the amount of water in them (grapes are “green” food as they are water-filled and satiating vs. raisins are “red” food as they are calorically dense per serving). It can be helpful if you’re not sure where to begin with nutrition. 

The goal? Eat more green and yellow foods and fewer red foods. There are no “good” or “bad” foods on Noom, it’s about creating a healthier relationship with food and becoming aware of making nourishing, satisfying choices. Foods are easy to log in the app and the color of each is revealed at the top left of the screen along with the calories per serving at the bottom. You can even click “more” at the top right of the page to see detailed nutrition facts about each food. Water is considered a “miracle nutrient” that is essential in foods and as a drink so you set your own daily water goal.

Searching for recipes on Noom

Searching for recipes on Noom

As far as physical activity, you set your daily step goal to encourage you to take more steps (walking and running are encouraged for daily activity). The Noom app syncs up with your smartphone’s motion coprocessor or other wearable smartwatches, fitness trackers or straps to track your steps so it’s a seamless integration.

The Noom Journey 

Like any big goal that’s looming on the horizon, it’s better to tackle it by breaking it into small, manageable steps. Noom does that by dividing your journey into 10 mini courses split into 4 levels: Novice, Apprentice, Advanced and Master. For the weight loss course, Noom sets you up to focus on ‘progress beyond the scale’ by offering lessons to help in all areas of life, such as work productivity and relationships. 

Noom courses

Noom courses

The mini courses are designed to build upon one another and create mastery in that area before moving on to the next course. Although, there are a lot of psychology terms and definitions for various eating related behaviors, they are highlighted in yellow and defined with examples using real-life scenarios. Plus, to reinforce key concepts, your knowledge is tested at the end of every course with a brief quiz.

Along the way, #Noomwins are featured with success stories of real people who have lost weight and kept it off.  You can access Noom’s library of recipes, and you can track all types of physical activity, as well as your latest blood pressure and blood glucose readings in the app.   

Is Noom worth it?

Overall, it gets your head in the weight loss game with applicable psychology tools you can easily use to navigate daily food choices. I like that it’s clever and engaging — it works to reinforce the “why” behind your weight loss goals and works with an evidence-based behavior change model for steady and sustainable weight loss with concrete goal dates.

If you are looking for support in your health and wellness journey, Noom offers virtual individualized coaching and groups. Plus, it’s really easy to use — logging food, water, and activity didn’t feel like a chore. However, the scale is the daily benchmark, which can be challenging for some people. 

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