In March this year, I weighed the heaviest I’d ever been. At 87kg I was facing going up a size yet again in my jeans and was hiding more and more behind loose-fitting clothes. I didn’t feel good in myself and as a result, found myself more than ever turning to food and alcohol to feel better. It was a destructive cycle and one I’m all too familiar with.
I’d been at this point nearly exactly 24 months prior and whilst sat in a post-Christmas food coma I impulsively purchased the Emily Skye Fit programmes. I really enjoyed the structure that the Emily Skype programmes had and for their duration, I broke my destructive cycle and saw amazing changes in my body. But then they ended. In March 2017 I was back to my own devices, I tried doing the programmes again but they’d lost their novelty and slowly but surely over the course of the next 12 months I slipped back into old habits and back into my destructive cycle.
So just over a year later in May of 2018, I was sat once again hating the skin I was in and the way I’d let things slip when a new fitness ad popped up on my Instagram feed. Noom.
Noom seemed different and was promising to be the last diet programme I’d ever need. In the 16 week programme, it promised to teach me how to lose weight and then how to keep it off sustainably, I’d have my own goal specialist and a group coach to help keep me motivated and all my diet tools would be concealed in a nice handy app that I needn’t spend more than 10 minutes on day. The lure of four months structure and the promise of changing my life was enough for me and I handed over £99 for the four-month programme, justifying it to myself as being essentially less than £1 a day. (NB – Nooms pricing and programme durations appear to have changed.)
So what is Noom? What do you get? Did it work? Let’s get into the nitty-gritty.
What is Noom and what do you get
Noom is an app designed to help you lose weight. The App itself is free and comes with its own inbuilt pedometer, food-tracker and has ways to record your exercise, weight, blood pressure and blood glucose. The free version even connects to fitness trackers such as Google Fit and Fitbit. To access the full capabilities of Noom such as the group coaching, the goal specialist and to read the daily articles that teach you about maintaining healthy weight loss, you will need to purchase one of their programmes. (Note – I didn’t realise there was a free version of Noom when I signed up for my programme… clever, clever marketing…)
Did it work?
The short answer to that question is yes. Throughout my four month programme, I lost 9.4kg, that’s just shy of 1.5 stone. I dropped almost two dress sizes and fit into clothes that have been sat in my wardrobe for years. Although I lost inches from my waist the weight loss was most noticeable in my arms, thighs, bum, boobs and face. Basically, my whole body slimmed. And what’s more, I didn’t really feel like I was dieting. I wasn’t told what to eat or when to exercise I was just encouraged to try and eat more green foods (green foods in the Noom food-tracker have a lower caloric density) and to eat less red foods (high caloric density) and to up my activity by aiming for as many steps as possible a day with additional exercise encouraged. Each day I’d wake up to a set of new tasks which were very satisfying to tick off, these were often an article to read, a quiz to take or something simple like weighing in.
It’s not immediately obvious from comparing the progress photos from Noom to the one above but I actually weigh less here by 3kg though that’s no surprise, as the Emily Skye programme was based on weight training and muscle weighs more than fat.
Parts of Noom I LOVED!
The Noom food-tracker was by far one of the best ones I’ve ever used and I really enjoyed the way they colour coded foods as red, amber or green based on their caloric density. It was made clear that no food was off limits and instead you were just encouraged to limit portions of the amber and red foods. I found this way of eating really satisfying and easy to follow and it clearly showed me where I was over-eating, or drinking (alcohol I see you).
I also really enjoyed the daily tasks, articles and quizzes. They never took more than ten minutes out of your day but it kept you connected with the App and reminded you daily about the journey you were on. Throughout the programme I learnt about different ways of eating, mindfulness, the impact of stress on your eating habits, how to increase exercise and so much more. The articles were really informative without being boring and even as someone who has done a lot of reading around healthy living I found I picked up a few tips.
Another feature of Noom I loved was the in-app pedometer. I had no idea my phone could track my steps and somehow it does it all within the Noom App. By seeing my steps each day I found myself trying to beat them and as such found myself almost subconsciously increasing my daily activity levels.
Another great thing about Noom is how user-friendly it was. The app has a great feel about it, I love the way you record your weight and how easy it is to see progress on the weight graph. It is all so simple and well thought out and blows many other diet apps out the water with its UX.
Is there anything I didn’t like?
I found that the goal specialist and the group coaching part of the App weren’t for me (which is frustrating as I’m pretty sure that’s about two-thirds of what I paid for). With Noom based in the US, my goal specialist would message me at odd times and I often wouldn’t get a notification to alert me of their message meaning we quite often missed each other by a few days. The purpose of the goal specialist is to help you decide what you could work on for the next week by asking you leading questions (or just stating the obvious) and I didn’t really find this function very helpful.
The group aspect of the App is perfect for those who like a sense of community but I found my group pretty stale and the same three of us were the only people contributing, it was a good place to have a moan or to share difficult situations but I could easily have done without it.
Do I regret paying for Noom now I know that there’s a free version which contained nearly all the features I loved? No, I don’t, because at the end of the day I’m sat here now nearly 2 months after the programme with the weight still off and I really did enjoy the structure of the educational side of the programme. I’m pretty sure that without that 4-month structure I wouldn’t have lost the weight.
What I would like to see from Noom in the future is a graduates programme to help us ease back into life without that daily structure. So far I’ve managed to stay on track myself but it is harder when you don’t have a little source of motivation in your pocket.
Have you tried Noom? How did you get on?