Diet programs that require you to cut out entire food groups always make me cringe. Unless the program encourages you to stop eating processed foods or too much dairy, they really shouldn’t be asking you to do that. After all, the number on the scale isn’t the definitive sign that a person is healthy or unhealthy.
Instead, the focus should be on consuming whole foods and moving your body in a way that feels comfortable. When we heard about Noom, an app that uses psychology to help make healthier eating choices, we were intrigued. At first glance, Noom is a program that doesn’t make you cut out important food groups or deprive yourself when you’re hungry. So you’re probably wondering, does it work, and can you lose weight?
Ahead, we drop the 411 on all things Noom.
What is Noom?
Noom is an app-based weight-loss program that aims to help you make smart food choices by using psychology. The whole goal of Noom is not to deprive you of foods or make you feel guilty or ashamed for eating specific foods — like many other programs do — but instead, help account holders make balanced food choices, taking interest in the long-term behavioral changes instead.
The actual program is color-coded: Green indicating best foods to eat, red is the worst, and yellow is somewhere in between. In green, you’ll see vegetables, fruits, and whole grains. In yellow, you’ll see beans and lean meat, and in red category you’ll see processed foods, red meat, and all calorie-dense items. Like other nutrition apps, Noom will require you to log your food and exercise in the app.
The app doesn’t shun you away from pizza or pasta and make you only eat salad. Instead, Noom suggests which percentage of your daily caloric intake should come from the red, yellow, and green categories. And of course, the program wouldn’t be complete without coaches. Noom coaches review your food and exercise logs to help you stay on track to complete your goals.
Sounds promising, but is Noom safe?
In comparison to juice cleanses and detoxes that have minimal to no carbohydrates, Noom is safe. Noom claims users can expect to lose 1 to 2 pounds each week while using the plan. However, before starting a new diet, you should contact your doctor or physician to make sure it’s the right thing for you. After all, nutrition is not a one-size-fits-all thing, and there could be a number of reasons as to why something would work and not work for someone.
How do I get Noom?
Download the Noom app on any phone carrier. After downloading, it will prompt you to a questionnaire, where you will share your goals, height, weight, ideal weight, age, and lifestyle habits (what you eat and how often), health risks, and the environment you live in (rural, suburbs, or urban).
Then they go deeper. It will ask if you’ve had any life events that lead to weight gain over the past few years (Hi, COVID), how long it’s been since you were at your ideal weight, and if you’ve tried other weight loss programs in the past year. If you have, it will ask for a detailed reason as to why you think it wasn’t successful. Additionally, it will ask if your weight has ever affected your ability to socialize or be with friends and loved ones.
Lastly, it will round out the questionnaire with your current fitness regimen and nutrition habits—asking you to choose to focus your plan on nutrition, building good habits, physical activity, or something else. Here is where they will ask about food allergies, motivation, snack cravings, triggers, your daily schedule, whether you belong to a gym or work out at home. You can even set a goal. For instance, if you want to feel healthier, run a half marathon, etc. After this, a personalized curated plan will then be set up for you. The only catch, you only get to see the plan after you’ve paid the $59 monthly fee.
Pros vs. Cons
Many users enjoy Noom because it takes out the guesswork from healthy eating. Absolutely no foods are off limits, and if users see they eat more red foods, the app will suggest smaller portions instead of cutting it out entirely. And then, there’s the accountability that it brings from Noom health coaches and other users. It also helps promote healthy weight loss, and acknowledges the easiness of falling into yo-yo dieting.
We will say though that Noom coaches aren’t always registered dietitians. Meaning, not all coaches have the necessary training to advise people on diet and nutrition. Another thing people might be uncomfortable with is the steep monthly fee. If it’s too much of a financial commitment for you, consider their free 14-day free trial before signing up as a monthly user.
If you need help in the kitchen with weight loss, try this KitchenAid scale.
Photo via Noom