Updated: Mar 7, 2020
I HATE DIETING.
But I'm not going to lie - I have successfully lost weight and lost it rapidly by dieting under pressure (e.g. special occasions, such as weddings, bachelorette parties, vacations, etc.). I still hate diets though, and I have never been able to sustain the weight loss from them. When I saw this 30-second elevator pitch on TV, I felt that Noom was able to offer something different. These key words stood out for me: change, psychology, nutrition, motivation, and accountability. Compelling enough words to pique my interest. Nowhere in this ad did Mike say things like "Diet" or "Instant Results." And so began my Noom journey...
Noom has supported my fitness and wellness goals in such huge ways. After 100 days into the program (today is my 100th day), I've curbed my sugar cravings, learned to make better food choices and established a much better relationship with food. As an added bonus, I lost 17 pounds and kept them off WITHOUT restricting any food. I still eat all the beautiful desserts and carbs I want. It's insane!
What is Noom?
Noom is a paid fitness/weight loss program via app. Registration starts off with an evaluation of your health goals whether that be fitness or weight loss. Weight loss was a "nice to have" result of the program but wasn't my #1 priority. Therefore, my intention for using Noom was for fitness reasons - mainly to help me overcome my sugar "addiction."
Each week is a different learning module, and every day has 3-5 articles related to the week's theme. It only takes 10 minutes or less to read all of them. I basically read them while having breakfast.
Content is key. The articles posted each day on Noom are pretty informative and insightful. For instance, an article that I recently read on Noom was on how to identify different types of hungers. Did you know that there were different hunger types? I sure didn't. This article in particular explained how to identify cues from mouth hunger, stomach hunger, and hormonal hunger. Although the bulk of the content is on nutrition, Noom has articles on mindfulness, ways to reduce stress, how to get better sleep, and other things related to creating better lifestyle changes.
In addition to reading the articles and applying the psych tips and tricks, you're also encouraged to track your food and weight everyday. So remember when I said that I hate dieting? Technically you are dieting in the Noom program, because you are creating a calorie deficit. You have a suggested calorie allocation per day, and Noom won't yell at you for having a brownie for dinner. I've done this a few times during the program and have seen the scale drop the next day. You'll be OK. The most important thing is do your best at staying within budget as much as possible.
You get remote support from a goal specialist coach and your "Noom Group," who are people working toward their fitness and/or weight loss goals along with you. My goal specialist checks in with me once a week to establish a new goal for the upcoming week as well as reflect on what worked/didn't work the past week. Admittedly I am not very good about keeping up with my Noom Group, because I feel like it's just one more social media account I don't want to maintain. However, I do pop in once and while to see what everyone's up to. People use the space to vent about their struggles, ask for nutrition advice, post recipes, and share small wins.
How I kicked sugar's ass.
Noom helped me realize two things about my relationship with sugar:
I had a habit of eating dessert after every meal, and
I shamed myself for having something sweet.
I learned from Noom that the habit of eating dessert after each meal was signaling to my subconscious that my meal wasn't complete until I had dessert. In order to address this, one of the Noom articles suggested that I replace dessert with tea instead. This totally worked for me and helped me reduce my sugar intake significantly. Plus I got the added herbal benefits from the teas, and drinking something warm after each meal aids digestion and balances my doshas according to Ayurveda. I've gotten accustomed to drinking plain ol' teas, so much so that I haven't had milk tea boba in 100 days... and neither do I crave it. That's saying a lot, because boba to me was like soda for others. I used to love those sugary drinks and would even order extra sugar sometimes. Now I simply order iced teas without any sweetener (and pearls while I'm at it).
If I restricted sweets from my diet, I often felt shameful whenever I did have them. The guilt was good enough to stave off sweets for a couple of weeks, but it didn't mean that I didn't desire sweets any less. In fact the more I restricted ice cream or cookies, the more I wanted them. I would be moody and grumbly for not having them, and yet I would make myself feel like a terrible person for giving in to temptation. I would even feel worse for binging, which was often the result of hardcore deprivation. It was a vicious cycle. Noom helped me overcome my feelings of guilt and learn to eat desserts in moderation. I'm at a point where I never really want to eat the whole damned cake slice; I just eat a spoonful because all I really want to know is how they taste like!
Trust the Process
If you're not seeing results as quickly as you'd like, remember that Noom is about creating lifestyle changes. These changes don't happen overnight, and you are unlearning habits and behaviors you may had since you were a kid. So as a final tip on being successful with Noom, be patient with progress and be kind to yourself.