Noom App Review
With so many great fitness apps available to help with both strength and cardio training, it can be easy to overlook the old adage that “abs are made in the kitchen.” While free apps like Freeletics provide a combination of exercise and nutrition guidance, for those who want added motivation and instruction when it comes to getting nutrition balanced and controlled, the Noom app could be the tool you’ve been looking for.
Launched in 2008 by co-founders Saeju Jeong and Artem Petakov, Noom got its inspiration through a fitness app they launched called CardioTrainer. Using their combined backgrounds in Google engineering and entrepreneurship, the duo used consumer feedback to get Noom up and running. Fast forward to present day, Noom is a two-time honoree of the Inc. 5000 ranking with a $4 billion valuation. (Fun fact- The name may sound mysterious, but it’s just “moon” spelled backward).
Put simply, Noom is a weight loss program that applies cognitive behavioral therapy to help users adapt and adhere to a lower-calorie diet. The company states their primary goal to “combine technology with human empathy to empower personal change,” and they have the research to back up their results. For example, Nature and British Medical Journal validates that 64% of Noom customers achieved a body weight loss of five percent or higher along with a greatly reduced risk of diabetes. Less than a decade after their launch, they even received full recognition by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. These accolades represent a product that stands out in the crowd, prompting us to take a deeper look at what it entails and who it could be a good fit for.
What You Need To Know
- You get what you pay for, and Noom isn’t a free app. While the 14-day trial period lets you get a feel for what to expect, you do need a credit card to sign up, and the monthly cost is $59.99.
- Using its behavioral approach, Noom works to effectively “trick” the body into weight loss through the development of positive nutritional habits.
- Foods in Noom’s database are color-coded based on calorie density.
- The program is designed to last 16 weeks, but you can continue as long as needed.
- Daily nutrition and health articles as well as quizzes are provided and encouraged to take advantage of to aid in the lifestyle change needed for success.
Getting Started — What Equipment Do You Need?
You don’t need much in terms of hardware to get started with Noom aside from a smartphone and a credit card. What’s more important are the intangible tools including an email address and a true desire for change. Getting started is pretty standard. Once you download the app from your iOS or Android device, you’ll take a personality quiz. Answer these questions honestly and accurately as your responses are used to personalize your program, identify the most effective support group, and understand your goals and how to best achieve them.
Once you’re signed up, Noom gets to work helping in three primary ways:
- Tracking weight
- Monitoring nutritional intake
- Connecting with others who have similar challenges and goals
Unlike the many fad diets out there that require extreme measures to lose weight, Noom employs logical philosophy that improves adherence through an interactive diary and a toolbelt filled with useful tactics you’ll learn to put to proper use through consistent use of the app. One of my favorite aspects was its very user-friendly platform. After you set everything up, it doesn’t take a whole lot of effort to figure out what to do. On a daily basis, you’ll be assigned a handful of tasks to complete. These include:
- Daily weigh-ins
- Logging nutritional intake
- Reading a couple articles related to your goals
- Taking short quizzes to test your knowledge
- Other activities geared toward improving your mental ability to tackle your nutritional challenges for the long-term
It can be helpful to have a computer if you’re like me and prefer to read articles on a larger screen, or you could opt to print them out, so a printer could be handy. Noom has invested in a solid team of contributors who write in a creative way that leads you to think about food, your weight, and fitness in a new way. So, don’t simply check the boxes without reading the articles. They go a long way in reframing your thinking and make up a big part of the overall Noom experience and success rate.
While you do have to manually enter the various foods and beverages you consume throughout the day, Noom has a very extensive archive of products. All you have to do is scan the barcode and enter your serving size. You can also search specific food items, add your favorites, compare nutrition information labels, and receive custom feedback on your choices. While there are many apps out there offering basic features in food tracking, Noom goes a step further in the provision of:
- Registered professionals who manage the database
- The most comprehensive database in the world with more than 3.7 million options and hundreds more added daily
- Personalized feedback
With that being said, I found it best to accompany the invaluable Noom food tracking archive with a digital food scale to help track my intake as accurately as possible. Another helpful piece of equipment is a reliable scale for accurate weigh-ins. So, to sum it up, optimize your Noom experience armed with:
- Smartphone and a credit card to get started
- Computer or printer if you don’t want to complete assigned readings on your mobile device
- Reliable scale for weigh-ins
- Digital food scale
What to Expect From Your Noom Nutrition Plan
Noom understands the concept of color recognition. From primary school, we’re taught green means go, red means stop, and yellow indicates caution. They use this system to make it simple to identify foods based on calorie count. Here’s how it works:
- Green indicates low-calorie foods like fruits and veggies, non-fat dairy, and whole grains.
- Yellow indicates food that isn’t bad but should be eaten in moderation. This could include items like lean proteins, healthy fats, and legumes.
- Red indicates a food item that should be limited. You don’t have to eliminate it completely from your diet, but these items constitute a large percentage of your daily calorie allowance without providing the satiety you might expect. For example, a large apple contains around 100 calories, but so do 30 M&Ms. Considering a serving of M&Ms is about 32 pieces, it’s easy to see how you can overindulge in red food items.
I found the color system to be easy to follow, and the bar chart that goes along with it provides a great visual to help you quickly gauge where you’re at on consumption during any given day. Best of all, even if you do indulge in something in the red zone, the chart makes it a lot easier to ensure you stay within your daily caloric allowance.
Over time, you’ll start to recognize foods that push your daily limits, leaving you feeling hungry later. Rather than worrying about counting every calorie and scouring nutrition labels that can be hard to understand, the simplicity of the color coding system makes it simple to quickly recognize calorie-dense foods and moderate them effectively. Some of the variables considered in your customized eating plan include:
- The rate at which you want to lose weight
- Current lifestyle and activity level
- Frequency of meals
- Personal things going on in life that impact food choices like stress or relationship changes
- Your emotions
Tracking Your Food With Noom
Noom has a very extensive database that contains nearly four million food options to choose from. In the event you do come across something that’s not yet listed, Noom values consumer feedback, and you can share the missing item to possibly become added along with hundreds of others that are built into the app every day. A few features you want to make sure you take advantage of to optimize your program include:
- Food tracking through searching the database or scanning barcodes
- Exercise tracking
- Keeping track of water intake
- Tracking important biological data like blood pressure, heart rate, and blood sugar
Something notable about the Noom platform is that it doesn’t offer a quick fix like many fad diets out there. We’ve all heard claims like, “lose 50 pounds in your first six months or your money back!” Noom, on the other hand, focuses on helping their customers develop lifelong habits that will contribute to healthy eating as a lifestyle, not restrictive dieting unlikely to stick for the long run.
Working With Your Noom Health Coach
The Noom health coach is one of the perks a lot of the competition can’t say they offer. You’re provided unlimited access to a personal coach as well as peer support from people specifically chosen based on their similar goals. Your health coach is there for everything from day-to-day issues and discussions about challenges to keep your journey exciting to in-depth conversations to help you connect the things you’re learning in your daily assignments with real-life situations. While your coach is available during normal business hours, you’re covered anytime during the day or night with the 24/7 chat option. Although you won’t be working with your assigned coach who’s familiar with your goals, history, and preferences, you’ll still be connected with a qualified professional who can provide a fresh perspective.
Noom Weight Loss Plan Types
As a nutrition app focused on a psychological-based approach, Noom doesn’t try to fit weight loss and the development of healthful eating habits into a box. Together with your nutrition coach, you tailor a custom plan to meet your needs and best assure adherence for a lifetime. While features like color coding and tracking foods consumed will be incorporated into all plans, there are some areas of focus a coach may choose to lead you based on your feedback, and, since you’re in regular contact, your plan is fluid and will change as your situation changes. Let’s take a look at just a few common areas you and your coach may choose to highlight.
Internalizing Differences in Processed vs. Nutrient-Dense Foods
In the convenience-first world we live in, we’re surrounded by processed foods that give us a quick fix to satisfy cravings. The trouble is, these foods are typically ridden with added sugars and salts, trans-fats, and tricky language meant to throw you off track. One of the main features of the Noom weight loss plan is continual reiteration of how processed and nutrient-dense foods differ and how you can learn to identify each with ease. Just a few benefits of knowing the difference include:
- A healthy digestive tract filled with probiotics that can aid in weight loss and maintain good digestion
- Better assurance proper protein intake is maintained, leading to muscle gain and a feeling of satiety that staves off cravings for the wrong foods throughout the day
- Higher levels of energy and the release of hormones that keep you feeling positive
- Proper nutrient balance that helps keep your circadian rhythm regular, which, in turn, prevents midnight snacking that leads to the intake of hundreds of unnecessary calories
Getting Water Intake Under Control
Many people don’t realize they sometimes eat when their body is actually in need of hydration. Considering our bodies are around 60% water, keeping these levels maintained is critical. On average, around seven percent of daily calories come from sweetened beverages when all you really need is some calorie-free water. In a 2,000 calorie diet, this cuts out 140 easy calories.
Adding More Steps
It’s easy to put the blame for missed workouts on a busy schedule, and sometimes it’s justified. Your coach may help you explore easy ways to add steps throughout your day to crank up the calorie burn. To fuel this activity, they’ll help you explore foods you can incorporate into your diet to ensure you can literally go that extra mile. Considering 10,000 steps per day can burn as many as 500 calories, this is a great way to establish a caloric deficit to reach your weight loss goals without having to take time out for a structured workout.
If you’re willing to make the extra investment, Noom offers helpful add-on products like custom meal plans and workout routines. For an additional cost, you can tap into invaluable feedback to take your weight loss to a whole new level. For example, have you ever felt like you just can’t lose weight even though you’re doing everything you’re supposed to? Noom’s DNA kit develops a 16-gene profile that can reveal secrets contributing to your struggle like metabolism and other genetic factors.
Noom Fitness App
Noom is primarily focused on helping people change their attitude toward their relationship with food to establish lifelong healthful eating habits. Unlike exercise apps like Adidas Runtastic that help you stick with regular cardio and strength training, Noom does make efforts to hold you accountable to an exercise routine. Just a few features you can take advantage of using Noom to track and optimize your physical activity include:
- Pedometer to track steps
- Ability to log exercise
- Discussion with your coach to analyze the effectiveness of your exercise program
- Access to useful, current health and wellness information
If adherence to an exercise plan is something you feel you need more help with, it could be worth the supplementary download of an app focused on fitness. For example, the Freeletics app connects you with a 50+ million member community and provides regular email updates with personalized health information. You could also check out the Fitbod app that helps you take your strength training to new levels.
Our Experience With the Noom App
Noom is a fresh new approach in human nutrition. The color-coding technique can be less stressful to navigate than systems that require detailed calorie counting and tracking. The combination of consistent articles and quizzes that progressively transform the way you think about food along with one-on-one guidance from a credentialed nutrition coach is effective in long-term behavior management.
One of the most unique aspects of the Noom plan was that no foods are considered off-limits. Rather, the three-tiered coding system helps users understand the difference between calories and caloric density. Armed with the knowledge of how to identify foods that make you fuller faster with less calories and ways to incorporate the occasional snack without going overboard, long-term adherence is much more attainable.
When you make a true effort to work through the program including all of your reading assignments and quizzes, a lifestyle shift naturally occurs. I appreciate that Noom goes beyond the typical high-maintenance food requirements and helps you balance out different areas of your life that make a difference like exercise, stress management, and proper sleep.
If you’re looking for a quick fix, you won’t get it with Noom. As the old saying goes, good things come to those who wait. The slow-and-steady approach and change in mindset produce long-term results for a lifetime of weight loss success.
Is Noom right for you? It’s definitely worth considering if you’ve struggled in the past to find a program capable of offering sustainable results. Considering its endorsement for diabetes management, a feat not many programs accomplish, just about anyone can stand to benefit from Noom’s approach. It’s worth mentioning that, if your goal is to gain weight, Noom isn’t the best fit. As an app that’s focused on weight loss, the initial questionnaire that gets your program started is focused on setting a goal for losing pounds, not gaining them. In your case, I’d recommend taking a look at the Fitbod app that helps you learn to use strength training to transform your body. However, if you want to lose weight once and for all in a way that’s best for your overall health, Noom is a fantastic option.
Is the Noom App Worth It?
If you’re trying to lose weight for the long-term and willing to put in the effort to change the way you look at food, Noom is an excellent program. Yes, it does cost money, but you get what you pay for. While there are plenty of free nutrition tracking apps out there, you typically don’t get to take advantage of one-on-one guidance from a skilled nutrition coach prepared to guide you through tough situations. Best of all, the two-week trial period gives you an idea of how it works before you’re charged. If you’re not a fan of diets that forbid your favorite snacks and require you to attend boring meetings and diligently track every calorie you consume, you’ll appreciate the structure. Noom is focused on the principles of cognitive behavior therapy, so it targets negative patterns of thinking that create bad eating habits. With a better understanding of your own mind, positive and lasting changes can begin to emerge.
It’s worth noting that, if you have or are at risk of developing an eating disorder, you should consult with your physician before trying Noom or any other nutrition plan. While Noom is designed to help you develop a healthy relationship with food, the unique psychological components associated with eating disorders can disrupt your progress.
Overall, Noom is a nutrition app with plenty of science to back it up. Does it cost money? Sure, but most things in life that carry value do, and I’d certainly say there’s value in your long-term health and wellness. Considering some of the impressive research regarding self-adherence with the Noom method and the fact it helps reshape your mind with science and careful innovation, I’d say the $59.99 price tag is a pretty good deal.