Things you’ll learn in this blog…
If you’ve ever thought about losing weight, then you’ve no doubt been bombarded by ads on Noom. Since Noom kicked off in 2008, the behavioral-based weight-loss app has become popular worldwide - and is one of the most searched-for diet apps.
However, unless you’ve dived into the app, it can be difficult to figure out what it is.
Is it a diet system?
Is it another fitness app?
Does it have more in common with weight watchers, or is it another MyFitnessPal?
Whatever it is, it’s popular, so we’re diving into everything you need to know about Noom. If sustained weight loss is important for you, we’ll help you determine if this is the right program.
What is Noom?
It would be easy to lump Noom in and describe it as a diet, but that would be lazy. And while it does aim to help you gain control of your weight by maintaining a calorie deficit, it’s a little more than that.
Noom is a personalized diet app centered around the principles of psychology to help you break bad habits and build healthy ones in the long term.
Yes, food logging and calorie guidance tools do play a part in noom, but it’s more than that. It combines food tracking with cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) to help you become aware of inaccurate or negative thinking to live a healthier lifestyle and ultimately lose weight.
Fundamentally it’s a weight loss app, that helps you count calories, lose weight and make the necessary behavioral changes to keep it off.
How do you get started with Noom?
Before you get started, you’re presented with a quiz. Using these questions, Noom builds a demographic and behavioral profile on you and analyzes the goals that you want to achieve.
Some of the questions you will be asked in the quiz include:
- What is your age?
- What do you weigh?
- How much do you want to weigh?
- How long has it been since you were at your ideal weight?
- Is there any event you are trying to lose weight for?
- Have any life events led to weight gain in the last few years?
This allows Noom to build a picture of where you are currently, and you can more accurately plan the weight loss journey you need to take.
After answering these questions (before signing up), you will be presented with a nifty little personalized graph showing your current weight and how quickly you might reach your goal weight.
We have to admit, this is a big motivator, and as you answer more questions and teach the app more about yourself, the date you could reach your goal weight becomes closer (see, psychology is already coming into play).
This happens before you hand over any payment details, and by this point, you already feel quite invested - which is a testament to how the rest of the app plays out.
If you choose to sign up (you can go for a trial period), you’ll be presented with your home hub containing daily learnings and areas to track your food, water and exercise.
You can customize the app and let it know how long you’d like to spend each day learning on Noom, from:
- 1–4 minutes
- 5–8 minutes
- 9–12 minutes.
The quiz is a pretty fun way to get a personalized plan from Noom and piles them with loads of information about you, so it’s customized. However, it takes about 15 minutes to get things set up - so it's not the shortest time commitment.
How does the Noom program work?
Ultimately Noom is a program based on counting calories, like so many other diet platforms. This makes sense, as to lose weight, you must consume fewer calories than you burn.
However, Noom operates through the mobile app, and each weight loss plan is tailored to the individual user.
Once you’ve signed up, you are set up with a personal health coach who will provide you with the dietary information you need to achieve your goals. You can message your health coach about any issues regarding the plan and your progress.
Noom will then set you up with a calorie goal based on your height, weight and goals - and will prompt you daily to log your food intake. You can adjust this manually if you wish or automatically adjust it by slowing down or speeding up your weight loss goals, i.e., if you want to reach your weight loss goal for an upcoming event.
However, there are no “quick fix” or fad diets here. Just sensible and sustainable plans to get you where you want to be.
Some daily learnings and courses offer tangible, sustainable lifestyle shifts that will make a difference to your calorie intake and exercise habits and promote the change. The plan is broken down into
- Daily articles on nutrition, exercise, and health and wellness
- Daily interactive challenges
- Daily calorie tracking, food logging, and exercise logging
- Weekly weight logging.
These courses help keeps you engaged and mindful of how and why you eat - keeping you on track with your goals. This forms the basis of how you lose weight using Noom.
What foods can you eat on Noom?
Foods are categorized into green, yellow and orange based on calorific density, and although nothing is off-limits, you are prompted and encouraged to limit orange food.
Noom recommends that you enjoy green food and eat yellow in moderation, and limit your portions of orange foods.
These colors are founded on the principle of calorific density, which is important as the lower the calorific density, the more water the food contains and the fuller you will feel on fewer calories. For example, grapes and raisins are technically the same - but you’ll feel fuller after eating 60g of grapes vs. 60g of raisins due to the water concentration.
Much like MyFitnessPal and others, you can scan food or add to your recipes and log your daily weight, exercise, blood pressure and blood sugar levels.
Some examples of different colors of food are
Green: fruits, vegetables, dairy, whole grains, coffee, tea
Yellow: meats, seafood, bread, diet soda
Orange: red meat, nut butter, deserts, and sweets
These classifications are useful, and nothing is off limits, but it does still continue the narrative or good and bad foods, which isn’t always useful.
However, it’s good that it doesn’t just focus on calories consumed (quantity), but on the quality of the food that you are consuming. This helps build healthy habits around what foods make up most of your diet.
Noom custom meal and workout plan
Although the Noom plan is primarily focused on getting you to log meals and movement, it does recognize that you might need additional help - and that might be a barrier for some people.
You have the option of “add-ons” for your standard plan, which includes:
- Custom meal plan
- Custom workout plan.
They also prompt you to join Noom mood if they think that your weight gain could be stress related.
These “add-ons” come at an extra cost, and the customized plans are emailed to you in PDF format. Diet and exercise are two big obstacles to overcome, and if you are struggling with nailing these, you’ll find it difficult to lose weight.
Although customized, some reviews mention that they appear to be generic, although if you struggle to know what to eat or what exercises to do, then they might offer more guidance.
How much does Noom cost?
Noom is a paid plan - there is no free option (although you get a very cheap 2-week trial to figure out if it is right for you).
And in a way, that is good…
Free apps are brilliant to support you, but if you don’t pay anything, there is no skin in the game, and even if you enthusiastically use them every day, to begin with, slowly but surely it will drift off.
Paying for Noom on a monthly basis means that you will have a monthly reminder about the app that will nudge you towards using it to get the most from your money.
However, saying that, Noom is a fairly expensive app and the current pricing structure is based on how many months you pay in one go. The more months you pay for, the cheaper it works out per month.
This is an outline of how much Noom currently costs (Dec 2022):
- Monthly $60
- 2-month $119
- 3-month $149
- 4-month $159
- 5-month $164
- 6-month $169
- 7-month $174
- 8-month $179
- 9-month $185
- 10-month $189
- 11-month $195
- Annual $199
The premium plan which includes a customized exercise plan and meal plan will cost you extra, so when you add them on it can become quite expensive - and that doesn’t include the food or gym membership.
Does Noom help you lose weight?
Noom says it aims to help users lose around one to two pounds per week, which is a reasonable claim. Although this can be sped up or slowed down depending on your goals.
There have been a few recent studies to see how much weight Noom users actually experienced.
Trusted Source launched a study into Noom in 2016 to see if they could back up this claim. They took data from over 35,000 Noom users to see just how useful the app had been for them over a six-month period and whether or not they were able to lose weight by following the app.
The findings were that nearly 78% reported that they lost weight while using the Noom app. Still, perhaps more interestingly, the Noom users who reported the most significant weight loss were those who monitored their dietary intake more often.
A further study by the DPP (Diabetes Prevention Program) showed that 64% of participants lost more than 5% of their body weight.
And the University of Sydney’s Medical Center ranked Noom as the number one out of 800 weight loss mobile apps in a 2015 study.
The results do seem to suggest that if you follow the Noom diet app, you will see a significant weight reduction, and will help keep it off.
But, it’s not a quick fix, and you will have to continually implement your learnings going forward or else the weight will go back on again.
What are the benefits of Noom?
So, are there any benefits to using Noom?
Well, yes, and we’ve already covered some of those…
Easy to use…
The Noom app itself is easy and intuitive to use - designed to look visually simple with an easy-to-follow course pathway.
The virtual coaches are on hand to offer motivation if and when it is needed and gently nudge you along if you don’t log your weight or complete any courses for a few days.
No food is off limits…
One thing about many diets and apps is that they tell you to eliminate certain food groups completely. Unless there is a dietary need for this (ie celiac), then removing food from your diet can be restrictive and lead to falling off the wagon and disordered eating.
The good thing about Noom is that while it encourages you to limit food, it doesn’t make you cut anything out. This makes it much more sustainable and, more importantly, enjoyable to follow.
Helps focus on the quality of food…
Again, it's not just about the number of calories you are eating but about what foods make up your calorie intake.
It’s all focussed on calorific density - foods with low-calorie density have high nutritional value, and you are encouraged to eat more of these (green foods).
It is a good way to identify the foods that you can eat more of, and helps you build a food plan centered around these.
It Helps you build healthy habits…
Ultimately building healthy habits goes beyond just healthy eating - and Noom encourages you to identify negative behaviors and build healthy ones.
Plus, most people that lose weight end up putting it back on - so identifying and dealing with this challenge is a big obstacle in most weight loss plans.
Noom’s psychological and behavioral therapy helps you change habits and most importantly, believe that you are capable of making the change.
What are the downsides of Noom?
Of course, as with everything, there are some downsides to Noom that you should be aware of.
Noom is expensive…
First, we need to address the cost, as it is significantly more expensive than other apps on the market.
However, you do need to consider that you get the expertise of a virtual coach, as well as the CBT aspect which would be much more expensive if you were to do 1:1 coaching in person.
However, it is still a significant monthly financial investment, which doesn’t include the cost of meal plans, exercise plans and potential gyms to carry out the exercise.
Have to stick with it…
The Noom app is virtual, and while you do get daily reminders and are encouraged to undertake the learnings, you have to endeavor to stick to it.
You aren’t setting a meeting with a PT or counselor; it’s all virtual - so you could just not log in. And even if you do, you must be motivated to listen and implement the learnings.
Yes, Noom does aim to dismantle this lack of motivation and negative thinking, but you do need to carry out the lessons, or you won’t make progress.
The food tracking tool is clunky…
Although it operates in a similar way to the likes of MyFitnessPal, the food tracking tool is a little more clunky to use.
It doesn’t allow you to add food as easily, and you can’t add your custom recipes - which means it takes a little more time to log meals - a barrier to using it.
Pros of Noom
✅Easy and intuitive to use
✅Simple to follow
✅Promotes healthy habit formation
✅No food is off limits
✅Promotes quality food
✅Provide coaching and support to change habits
Cons of Noom
❌Have to use the app
❌Easy to stop using
❌Food tracking tool is difficult to use
So, should you sign up for Noom?
Noom is certainly diet-focused, but it is primarily a plan to get you in the correct behavioral patterns to control your weight.
Getting into the right mindset and knowing what works for you is a huge step forward for anyone who wants to change their lifestyle and weight. Noom guides you through a step-by-step plan and looks after you in every step of that journey.
Once you know what works for you, you can gain proper control over your weight, and when you get to your target weight, you can continue to use the app to maintain it. Yes, the healthy choices need to continue, but once you’ve made your first weight loss journey with Noom, you’ll have added confidence in yourself and confidence to make any changes you need after that.
The main point of Noom appears to be to educate its users by getting them into healthy habits, and once you’ve got to your target weight, you’ll be far more confident in your ability to get back to it should you experience any weight gain at any point in the future.
Perhaps the best feature of Noom is the “no pressure” ethos. If you make some wrong choices and stray off the plan for a while, you’ll not be berated for it. The app will help put you back on track without any pressure.
However, noom isn’t cheap, but it’s the next best thing to having a real-life health coach taking you every step of the way, and it seems well worth the money if you can afford it. The chances are that the money you save on junk food in making the correct choices instead may well cover the monthly fee!
So should you use it - well that’s up to you - if you want a boost to lose weight you can implement PhenQ alongside Noom to help supercharge your weight loss.