Unlike traditional weight loss services, Noom is a healthy lifestyle app run by coaches who help to challenge our distorted thoughts on food, exercise, body image and lifestyle in a similar style to cognitive behavioural therapy.
For example, if you said you wanted to stop eating chocolate, a dedicated goal specialist might ask you: Why? And, if you said because you don’t like gaining weight, your goal specialist might ask you to explain why you think that’s a problem.
“Our relationship with food is particularly complex, with many influential aspects deriving from previous experiences that have had a lasting impact,” explains registered associate nutritionist Alice Clarke of ARC Nutrition. “Often many of the previous experiences that have had a role in developing our relationship with food are buried in a psychological base rather than physical. This means that the process of improving that relationship will need trained support to unpick the psychological reasoning.
We all know what Zoom is (too much, if anything) but if you’re hearing more and more buzz about Noom, you’re not alone. There is quite some interest around this new approach to weight loss, making it one of the most-top trending wellness plans of the last 18 months.
So, what is it? Noom is the wellness programme where the bottom line tells you to: stop dieting. We like to hear it. In recent years, the wellness world certainly seems to have moved beyond restrictive eating plans that help us shift a few pounds then gain even more, often building a destructive relationship with food in the process. Instead, this programme offers tools designed to help us to make better food and lifestyle choices in the long-term, which is what we’re all about here at GLAMOUR.
“The kind of psychological support is often carried out in the same way that a therapist might discuss an individual’s family relationships, therefore this is something that is more easily and effectively done with the correct trained support, rather than trying to go it alone!”
Aside from ongoing coaching, the app uses food, exercise and goal tracking to help users achieve weight loss at a pace they determine, which Alice thinks could be effective.
She adds: “Food tracking apps can be beneficial educational tools to raise awareness around aspects such as portion sizes and calorie intake. Many of us are unaware of the calorie content or fat content of our meals, but by tracking our food intake we can educate ourselves on a more long-term basis about good eating habits. Food tracking can also support with weight-loss goals as tracking food intake tends to make the individual more aware of their daily consumption. This makes it easier to see if too much, or alternatively too little, food is being consumed on a daily basis.”
So, what does a nutritionist like Alice really think about a lifestyle programme like Noom?
“Lifestyle programmes, particularly online programmes such as Noom, make health and nutrition support more accessible to a wider range of people. Barriers such as finances and geography become reduced and many will feel more comfortable with the anonymity.”
She adds: “There is always the risk that the advice provided to the individual may not be correct for them and may cause more harm in the long-term. My advice would be to consult either your GP or a Registered Nutritionist or Dietitian to discuss it before you begin.”
Still want to know more about Noom? We did the digging, so you don’t have to.
What is the coaching like?
Through Noom, you’ll be connected with two health coaches: a goal specialist (who helps you set targets for the week ahead) and a group coach (who answers your ongoing questions within a chatroom of other ‘Noomers’).
A goal specialist helps you to set SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timebound) goals for the week like: “I’d like to drink six glasses of water a day” and reviews them with you afterwards to see how you got on.
In group coaching, you’ll get the chance to join group discussions and engage with other users. A daily discussion is led by the group coach, often based on any challenges you might be having like: “I can’t stop eating crisps”. You’ll be assigned to a group after the first 15 days.
How much does it cost?
Anyone can download the Noom app for a two-week trial. While the trial is not free, in the past users have been asked to choose how much they pay for it. After that, you’ll be charged automatically based on whether you want to pay monthly, or pay for a block upfront, which makes things cheaper.
What will I learn?
You’ll start with a goal survey to determine how much weight you want to lose and at what speed. Then, the app will ask questions to understand how you currently approach food and weight loss versus where you want to get to.
Within the app there are daily articles on everything from mindful eating, along with recipes and exercise tips that help users build the strategy to break old habits and create new ones. After the first 16 weeks, more content is available to focus more on weight maintenance to help you sustain your health targets.
How does the app track progress?
Within the app, there are food and exercise logs to help your stay on course with your goals.
The food log works on a traffic light system where calorie density is calculated for certain foods, indicating what levels you should intake every day to stay on target. By logging your exercise and fitness every day, your calorie calculation is adjusted. There’s also a function to log your weight loss and link up your app with your Apple Watch or Fitbit for more accurate readings.