Let’s Rory Gilmore this, and look at Noom’s pros and cons.
Pro: Counting calories worked (for me), and Noom’s system was really good.
Turns out, calculating how many calories the foods I choose to consume contain prevents me from over-over indulging, reduces my portion size and makes me question whether or not I really need a bowl of ice cream after dinner.
Counting calories helped me lose weight — even if I didn’t stay within the cheetah-fast weight loss of 1,200 calories a day. (They also have rabbit-fast and tortoise-fast, which is a misnomer.)
I’ve tried to “food journal” in the past. Pen and paper, habit trackers, Fitbit — all were pretty terrible because I had to look up how many calories were in a thing and write it down or enter it in. Even Fitbit’s food tracker didn’t have basic stuff (when I tried it, to be fair). For example, Fitbit knows how many calories are in a McDonald’s Big Mac. I don’t need to know that because I’m not going to eat a McDonald’s Big Mac. Hork. I was eating homemade tomato soup with four main ingredients.
Prior to Noom, to count calories, I had to do math.
Noom made it SO easy to put together custom dishes, calculate calories and enter meals. They did all the math.
The only thing I had to Google was how many calories were in an “IPA beer” because no way was it as high as they said.
I was right.
Con: Counting calories is still a time-consuming effort no matter how easy Noom made it.
Noom promised I could spend 10 minutes a day using the app and lose weight — not counting the time needed to meal plan, prep, cook homemade meals and work out.
Here’s the thing.
I don’t have 10 minutes a day. Don’t believe me? Right now, I chose to write this blog — I know — instead of showering.
And, y’all, I smell.
My workday is billable. Eight hours of which I account for every minute.
My hometime is hectic. Sixteen hours where I account for every minute of whatever my toddler’s trying to destroy/trying to jump off/trying to eat. Hometime, of course, includes cleaning, cooking, living, wifing and (not)eight hours of sleep. Throw in the 15 minutes I spend “getting ready” for my day, and I couldn’t spare 10 minutes to learn a lesson and track my meals in Noom.
I mean, I did, but by Week 7, I was OVER it.
Pro: No food was off-limits. I could eat anything I wanted.
As long as I didn’t exceed my calorie goal, I was golden.
Let’s be honest, I was rarely golden. Often bronzed.
Noom encouraged me to eat Green foods — fresh fruits and vegetables and other non-calorie-dense foods — but it didn’t ask me to stop eating foods it classified as Yellow and Red. The system was easy to understand and work within.
Plus, it does all the math for you.
Con: Some foods were surprisingly considered Yellow or Red.
Chia seeds are stupid healthy. Harvard says so. They’re the richest plant source of omega-3 fatty acids — those are the good ones — and a complete protein. Plus, when you mix them in a smoothie, it makes the smoothie creamier and thicker without adding dairy.
This is a win-win for me.
Except, chia seeds are a Red food. TF, right? Upon further examination, all nuts and seeds are considered red foods because they’re calorie-dense. (Calorie dense foods pack a lot of calories in a little package, so you feel less full after eating them.) My Red food ratio was always over because I put two tablespoons of chia seeds in my morning smoothie.
It definitely wasn’t because of that “IPA beer”…
Pro: Noom focused on food but didn’t forget about all the other s*** that helps with weight loss.
Exercise. Hormones. Sleep. Science.
Counting calories and making better food choices are the foundation of the Noom weight loss app. After laying that foundation, Noom introduced a slew of other building blocks to help with weight loss.
Calories in = weight gain. Calories out = weight loss. It’s all about the ratios, and Noom added half the calories you lost in a workout to your total daily calorie intake.
The app has an entire week on the hormones working when you’re hungry, digesting and storing or burning calories — and why. (Hands down, my favorite week. What do I remember from high school biology? “The mitochondrion is the powerhouse of the cell.”)
They also covered sleep, but I’m a mom, so hahahahahahahahahahaha.
Con: I can’t remember all this s***.
I used up all of my study potential in college, and then I killed a number of brain cells — specifically memory cells — in the process of creating and birthing a life.
I’m dumb now.
Ask me what Noom said about sleep.
Pro: Coaches and support groups work for some people…
Having a coach and support team might help you change your lifestyle and lose weight. I’m sure there’s research on this — not that I could find it. A Google search turned up several results on how to become or find a weight loss coach. Not quite what I was after.
Weight Watchers works for some people, so it’s a whole thing. I don’t know.
Con: …but not for me.
Motivational support groups and high-energy health instructors are… not my thing. Thinking positive thoughts does not make me more positive. Writing down the people and things I’m grateful for doesn’t improve my mood. I’m still grateful for them, but that concept just doesn’t work for me.
I think it’s called visualization, and I’m going to need a fiction book to make that work.
Plus, at the end of a long day, there’s still dinner to make and a toddler to entertain and laundry to (not)do. I would ignore notifications from my Goal Specialist for daaaaaays. I cleared out notifications from the group every time I saw one.
It was just another minute in a day I didn’t have.
If you like counting calories, tracking your every pound and talking to strangers on the internet, Noom will totally work for you. Granting you don’t also have a health issue being monitored by a medical professional. I’m not a medical professional. Don’t listen to me.
Caveat: You have to follow the rules at least a little bit.
I “followed” the rules for seven weeks and lost almost six pounds. My starting weight was 146.4. My final weight was 140.8.
Did I meet my ultimate goal? (Be pain-free, for those who don’t remember.) No, I did not.
But that’s another novel.