Noom 14-Day Trial

An ode to BABR…

Your biceps are flabby.
Your belly rolls are, too.
Abs are made in the kitchen.
Arms are made in the weight room.

One of my Be Pain Free tactics is to lose weight. Why? Less weight > less pressure on my spine > less pain. Super simple. I also want to build a stronger core to protect my spine. (Don’t worry. I’ll always have the rolls. I had a baby. Let’s be serious.)

Of course, you’d think I’d have a 6-pack by now walking around all day with my abdominals flexed in attempt to move pain-free from one position to LITERALLY EVERY OTHER POSITION.

But, no.

I suck at losing weight. I’m much better at eating whatever I want. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ I figure a little help won’t hurt, so I signed up for a 14-day trial of Noom.

Noom is a wellness program (read: weight loss program) designed to help users live healthfully by changing habits (read: losing weight). I’m a tad pessimistic about the “wellness” claims — if that wasn’t obvious. I was annoyed to discover the personalized meal planning and workout parts of the program were add-ons and cost extra.

Necessary parts of the wellness program don’t come with it.

Seems weird for something that costs $50/month.

I also purchased the workout because they were having a Black Friday sale that made it pretty inexpensive. It’s a PDF. That was disappointing.

Noom is not a diet. It doesn’t tell people what they can and cannot eat — or provide a personalized meal plan unless you pay more — but the structure of the program is built around food and users’ psychological triggers to food. #NoomNerdsLovePsychology

They use a lot of hashtags…



Noom uses a three-color system to categorize food to help users make better decisions about what they choose to eat.

  • Red foods are non-so-great-for-you foods, such as red meat (delicious), doughnuts (heaven) and ice cream (my favorite).
  • Yellow foods are ok-for-you-in-moderation foods, such as lean meats, eggs and avocados.
  • Green foods are best-for-you food, such as leafy greens (not Romaine), broth-based soups and brown rice.

Green foods also have low caloric density, which means you can eat fewer calories of these foods and still feel full. Foods with high caloric density, such as almonds, have a lot of calories packed into a smaller space.

Almonds aren’t bad for you, but that trick to eat a handful of almonds when you feel the hanger probably doesn’t work because almonds won’t fill you up.

I’m behind this. Eating a handful of almonds is horrible.

The goal is to eat a well-rounded diet of each of these types of foods: 30 percent green, 45 percent yellow and 25 percent red.


How do you figure out if you get your ratios right? You log your food. Yes, Noom requires you to log everything you eat.

So if you hate food journals, Noom is not for you.

They makes it pretty simple, thought. Logging food is as easy as searching for it in their database. If it’s not there, you can add it. The library also has generic food items like “chicken strips,” “rose wine” and “tomato soup.” While you might not be getting the most exact recording, it’s better than not recording.

Here’s what a typical Noom day looks like:

  • Wake up, weigh in. You have to weigh yourself every day.
  • Eat breakfast, log breakfast.
  • Learn a thing. Noom walks users through a habit-changing tactic or food lesson every day.
  • Eat lunch, log lunch.
  • Get your steps in. Noom will be a pedometer through your phone, but it also connects to Fitbit. Handy (and way more accurate)!
  • Do more. You can add exercise, blood pressure and glucose levels through the app.
  • Eat dinner, log dinner.
  • End the day with a quick quiz about what you’ve learned, and then get ready for the next day.


Pretty easy. (Yes, that’s how much I weigh.)

Throughout the week, a Goal Specialist will help users create and meet the SMART goals for their programs. My Ultimate Goal is to Be Pain Free. Surprise, surprise. Noom also asks for an Ultimate Why. Mine is to play with son without pain.

You’ve never not been able to lift your toddler when he wants to snuggle and feel bad about it until chronic back pain.

Henry-November 2018_39

My Goal Specialist is very energetic, and I almost can’t take her seriously.

Other Noom things:

  • Noom piece-meals information to you because they don’t want to overwhelm you, according to them. I asked my Goal Specialist a bunch of question over the weekend that were answered the very next day in the “lesson.” Oops.
  • It has a recipe library with the green-yellow-red ratios prepared for you. Make the food to the instructions, get your ratio.
  • You can also add custom dishes to the library, which I’ve been wanting in a meal planning app. It’s time-consuming, but it works. (It also looks like you ate one calorie of vegetable stock.)
  • You can save daily tips and tricks to your personal library. Say I wanted to be able to refer to something multiple times, but I didn’t want to go hunting for it through the week, I can add it to my library.
  • Supposedly, there’s some sort of Group you get to be a part of to challenge each other and provide support — like Weight Watchers, I guess — but I haven’t seen it yet.

I completed my first week with Noom, and I nearly don’t hate it. Daily weigh-ins don’t bother me. Logging food is a pain, sure. The Goal Specialist is fine. I didn’t lose any weight, and my ratios were red-heavy.

It’s just… wine is a red food. And that makes me very sad.

I promised myself to try harder my second week. They say it right at the start that they can’t make you eat right or work out. Your job.

The closest thing to Noom I’ve ever tried is having a Beachbody coach, which was all sorts of annoying.

So, why Noom?

I saw an ad for it on Instagram, which is also why I own a pair of dress-pant yoga pants.

I will report back on this program… unless I cancel it.


Whole30: Practice Week


I ran out of time in the morning, which happens fairly often, so I ate a blueberry Rx bar for breakfast… and I was starving two hours later. (I had another one after lunch because I was fading fast at 2 p.m.) Thankfully, I had a busy morning and four or seven cups of coffee to keep me going.

I inhaled a leftover pork chop and handful of sweet potatoes from Sunday night, which reheated super well. Then, I devoured a side salad that more resembled the size of a full dinner salad of arugula, Romaine, chopped walnuts and cherries, which I pitted sans cherry pitter.

buy a cherry pitter for gods sake

My fingernails are still pink.

cherry walnut salad

This salad was so good, I made it again for dinner alongside some chicken thighs that I had to dip in stone-ground mustard because turmeric is not a strong spice, in case you didn’t know.

Monday: Whole30 Compliant


I woke up early enough to make breakfast Tuesday, but it was too early to eat. I need breakfast, but I don’t need it before the sun comes up.

…so I ate a blueberry Rx bar.

I sense a pattern.

I also drank a Bolthouse Farms B Balanced Sweet Green Smoothie, which I’m pretty sure is Whole30-compliant, but I can’t be completely sure. It has no added sugar.

B Balanced Sweet Green Smoothie

It even says so.

Whole30 does prefer you eat your calories over drinking your calories, but I was tired and not hungry enough to make and eat eggs at 7 a.m.

Lunch was leftovers again. Those pork chops are definitely staying on the menu; they taste good and keep so well.

For dinner, I planned a family favorite: Roast Sausage with Potatoes, Peppers and Onions. It’s a sheet-pan meal that takes little to no preparation, and it’s tasty, especially with a side of spicy ranch.

I can eat potatoes, peppers and onions. I cannot eat the mild Italian sausage I use. Why? I have no idea what’s in it, but I’m positive it’s not compliant.

It’s too delicious.

I made the meal as usual, with the non-compliant mild Italian sausage. For my husband. For myself? I sliced up leftover chicken-apple sausage we’d eaten Saturday night, reheated it in a frying pan, and then fried an egg in the sausage… juice? Fat? I dunno. You pick whichever one sounds less weird.

Roast Peppers Potatoes and Onions Whole30ed

Pretty tasty, and the runny egg yolk made a substitute for the spicy ranch. I say “a substitute” because it wasn’t a better option… just an option.

I’d pick spicy ranch every day.

Tuesday: Whole30 Compliant (probably)


Pattern Identified: Blueberry Rx bar — and four cups of coffee — for breakfast (and afternoon snacks).

I’m nothing if not predictable.

I also forgot to prepare lunch before leaving for work, which is equally predictable, so I had to wing it. Previously, winging it involved a microwaved black bean burger, whole avocado and two servings of cottage cheese. (I really like cottage cheese.)

Whole30 winging it is a packet of tuna and an avocado.

Tuna and Avocado Cat Food

Yes. Cat food.


Crackers, pita, tortillas, any bread… might have made this more edible. And, oh my, have I wanted some gluten.

Thankfully, my husband made a delicious dinner we devoured in minutes. Venison steak and a mixed greens salad with cucumbers, strawberries and sliced almonds. It was perfect… except for one small thing.

My husband cooks steak in butter.

Real butter.

And I ate it.

I also ate a pound of strawberries, I’m sure. Suuuuuggaaaaaarrrrrrrr.

Wednesday: Not Compliant (but compliant enough for me)


Another morning, another blueberry Rx bar, and another Bolthouse B Balanced Sweet Green Smoothie.

These things are seriously good, but I miss my organic toaster pastries and Bolthouse B Strong Coffee Protein Smoothie, which has dairy and soy and whey (probably).

Lunch was leftover salad from Wednesday night…

…and a packet of tuna and a whole avocado. Turns out, lemon-garlic salad dressing puts a good mask on the cat food-ness.

Now, for dinner — and a situation I was sure I’d run into: long day, exhausting toddler, too tired to cook and clean. What’s the solution?

Take out.

I stopped by Jimmy John’s to get my husband a sandwich, and I refrained. I can’t eat any of that food. So what was I going to do? Improvise. Next door is Chipotle, which is full of non-compliant food. I did my best: salad, no rice, no beans, meat, salsa, quac, no cheese, no chips, no Mr. Pibb.

The sink mess visible top of frame is major reason I couldn’t bring myself to cook when I got home. I did chop some home(not my home)grown tomatoes to go on top. Made a nice meal and maybe my sixth or seventh salad of the week.

I’m only Whole30-ing for a practice week. How am I going to improvise when I’m the one home all day with a fussy toddler? Ugh.

For dessert, I ate another pound of strawberries because I’m starving, and I really like strawberries.

Thursday: Close Enough


I almost made it. SIGH.

Friday began the same as every day this week: a blueberry Rx bar and a gallon of coffee. I worked through lunch, munched an apple at my desk and speed-cleaned my house before getting the toddler.

It was a long week. I was hungry. There was a leftover sandwich from Jimmy John’s in the fridge, and I wanted a beer.

angry orchard hard cider rose

At least it’s gluten free! (The sandwich wasn’t.)

Friday: Practice Week Ended (early)

I feel pretty good about the effort I put in this week. While I did not enjoy the benefits of reduced inflammation, which is the goal of this little diet experiment, I did discover one not-so-small benefit.

I lost five pounds.

If I lost five pounds in four and half days, how many pounds would I lose in a full 30 days?

What was the cause of my weight loss? Maybe because I didn’t eat ice cream, drink Dr. Pepper or eat after 7 p.m. all week. (I didn’t have a rule for not eating after 7 p.m., but there wasn’t food to have after dinner… except the occasional pound of strawberries… so I didn’t eat.)

More likely, it was a reduction in calories. Salad has fewer calories than French fries, and I ate a LOT of salad.

Monday starts a new week of Whole30 meals before date day at the beer fest with my husband. Maybe I’ll lose another five pounds (not likely), but it’d be nice to keep those five off for good.

Whole30 Practice Week: Calling It a Success

Whole30: (Practice) Day #1 (Again)

So I made it a day and a half…


I am not surprised and only a little disappointed. On vacation, not fully prepared for running out of eggs, mindlessly eating toddler leftovers, mindless eating other food, trying to start a thing ON A THURSDAY.

No one starts things on Thursdays.

I did not fail without learning a few lessons.

  • Moving forward, we buy two dozen eggs a week.
  • Lettuce doesn’t wilt as quickly if you store it properly and can therefore be used to make a quick salad whenever you need a quick salad, so I bought these things. Take that wilty lettuce.
  • Berries last longer if you store them properly, too.
  • I now know what the inside of a rotten sweet potato looks like. FYI, it looks just fine on the outside.
  • I’m keeping packets of Whole30-compliant tuna nearby at all times.
  • QuikTrip iced tea, unsweetened, is probably not Whole30-compliant BUT WHO WOULD KNOW THAT?! IT’S TEA. Luckily, my favorite beverage is Whole30-approved because I’m not doing anything without coffee.

Also, don’t leave the house. The world is not compliant.

I found safe sausage, mustard, salad dressing, tuna and vegetable broth during my grocery run today.

Finding compliant dressing was actually easy BECAUSE IT’S LABELED. Hallelujah.

whole30-compliant salad dressing

Guess what I didn’t find.


It’s nuts and seeds and sometimes dried fruit.

I get added sugar in dried fruit, but what do pumpkin seeds need with dextrose? Why do all the bulk options at Dillon’s have to have soy beans mixed in? I just want some nuts and seeds mixed together and maybe a coconut flake, gah.

It’s probably for the best I didn’t find a bag of compliant trail mix — or try to make my own. The sausage, tuna and broth I bought were at least $1 more expensive than their non-compliant counterparts. Only one vegetable broth on the shelf didn’t have some form of sugar in it. (Did you know there was sugar in broth? Yeah, me either.) The only available sausage I found was nearly $3 more expensive. Who knows how much sugar-free, slightly salted, pre-mixed nuts and seeds and maybe a coconut flake are.

Less ingredients, more money. I will never understand processed food.

Whole30 Skillet Pork Chops with Sweet Potatoes and Coleslaw

We tried another Whole30 Fast & Easy cookbook recipe last night, and it wasn’t bad. My husband wasn’t fond of the almond-flour coating on the pork, which — yes — would have had a better texture if we’d used day-old crusty breadcrumbs. But breadcrumbs have the gluten, and the gluten is not OK on Whole30.

Never in my adult life have I cooked sweet potatoes in a skillet, and I might never go back to the oven. They’re so yummy from the skillet — cooked and delicious without getting hard or chewy, which occasionally happens in the oven because… I don’t know, ovens are hard.

I made the slaw on the side simple by buying a bag of coleslaw mix, dumping it in a bowl with dressing and mayo… and ignoring the other ingredients I was supposed to add. I’m not toasting or buying toasted pine nuts. We already know how expensive sausage is.

And my husband’s mayonnaise recipe is already compliant. No added sugar. No wine. No whatever else gets added to store-bought mayonnaise. Pro-tip, homemade is way better.

Whole30 Skillet Pork Chops with Sweet Potatoes and Coleslaw

If I make this one again, I’ll duplicate the recipe with a breadcrumb dredge for my husband. Non-Whole30 recipes can be adjusted for Whole30 compliance, and Whole30 recipes can be adjusted for people who want to eat bread — and I honestly have no idea why I didn’t think of that before just now.

Probably something to do with the buckets.

Today is (Practice) Day #1 (Again). Wish me luck.

Whole30: (Practice) Day #1

I earned the sugar hangover I woke up with Thursday morning, after enjoying a Dr. Pepper and a Dove chocolate bar the night before my first attempt at eating practicing a Whole30 diet.

Poor planning and purchasing the wrong bacon — I always get that brand, it’s local — meant I was left with eggs for breakfast, which I didn’t want, so I dipped into the Whole30-compliant blueberry Rx bars.

blueberry rx bar whole30 compliant

Those bars are supposed to be emergency food.

I also ate a handful of strawberries hoping to ease myself out of the late-night, sugar-soda coma.

Lunch went better.

Whole30 frowns on snacks. I snack constantly, so I felt a hole in my stomach the size of a mid-morning granola bar by lunchtime. But I waited until noon for lunch — go me! — when I MESSED UP ALREADY OMG.

What happened was…

I was scrambling eggs and cutting up mandarin oranges — yes, from a can, it’s fine — for my son for lunch at the same time. I got an itty-bitty, insignificant, barely-there piece of mandarin orange pulp on my finger and… slurp! … straight licked it off like it wasn’t previously swimming in “light syrup.”


I didn’t realize what I had done until I was serving a little pile of oranges to my kid, who gobbled them up guilt-free.

I made the same mistake later testing my son’s Gerber snack sticks, too. These things lose their crunch after being opened, and I wanted to make sure they hadn’t turned into styrofoam before feeding them to him because it could become lodged in his little toddler throat.

They were fine. Want to know how I know?

I took a bite of one… and then immediately spit it out in the sink and rinsed my mouth of the rice flour-based puff.

Even after that snack disaster, I ate my Whole30-compliant lunch — two eggs fried in ghee with salt and pepper alongside an arugula and walnut salad with made-it-myself lemon vinaigrette. Tasty! (Would have been tastier with parmesan, just saying.)

Fried Eggs in Ghee Whole30

Now, I don’t know if my nearly-nothing-to-it consumption of added-sugar mandarin orange pulp and the rice flour soaked into my tongue counts as breaking the Whole30, but I do know that I’m practicing. 

So it doesn’t matter… yet.

whole30 recipe greek style meatball salad

I pulled a recipe out of the Whole30 Fast & Easy cookbook for dinner: Greek Style Meatball Salad. Turned out pretty yummy despite my adjustments.


The recipe calls for an avocado, flax milk dressing. Unfortunately, my last avocado from last weekend’s grocery haul didn’t fair well and could not be consumed. I planned to substitute compliant coconut milk for the flax milk because I have no idea what flax milk is or where to find it in my grocery store. Alas! No avocado, no dressing.

I also planned to substitute sun-dried tomatoes for the roasted red peppers the recipe called for because I also could not find those. And there’s just no way I’m roasting my own red peppers. I have a toddler.

whole30 greek style meatball salad

It was good enough!

Whole30 Food Fiasco

I feel like this will be common enough to make a feature of it. Here’s Avocado Baked Eggs from Barf Town. No part of this was tasty. Eggs were overcooked. Warm avocado tastes like old avocado. Egg white bubbles are the least appetizing thing I’ve ever looked at.


Whole30 avocado baked eggs with coffee


Whole30: Preparation

whole30 means no ice cream ben and jerrys half baked

I’ve been feeling lousy lately. Back pain, upset stomach, general malaise… acne. Postpartum, I was a mess of hormonally driven health problems on top of edema, so I was a sad tree trunk trying to take care of a newborn. Breastfeeding, while the. single. most. difficult chore of motherhood, improved my health and mood.

I was a SUPERHERO. Not only was I producing life-giving nutrients for my infant son, but I also had clear skin, perfect digestion, and I could eat whatever I wanted — and not gain weight.

Super (ice cream). Hero (Pop-Tarts). Shae (carbs carbs carbs).

ben and jerrys half baked

Do I need to mention my sudden and desperate urge to drink Dr. Pepper after a lifetime of never liking Dr. Pepper? Thanks, pregnancy.

I stopped breastfeeding my son the moment he had enough teeth to cause real damage. Thirteen months. I thought, I have my body back. No more pumping. No more middle-of-the-night comfort boob. I could drink again (I couldn’t).

The downside? All my fun health perks disappeared.

Physical therapy helps my back pain. At the end of the day, though, the pain is pretty intense. On top of back pain, I’ve started to feel… awful…. after eating, specifically at the end of the day. Right around 7 p.m. And acne made a comeback to my face. Who knew it’d want to relive high school, and then get worse. Weeee!

So, back pain, upset stomach, general malaise… acne.

My physical therapist sent me to my primary care physician because my back pain wasn’t improving. My primary care physician conducted a dozen blood tests looking for the cause of my inflammation and found nothing. My OB commiserated with my pain, upset stomach and general malaise — said the acne was normal.


But they all asked me the same question, “Well, what are you eating?”


If you know me, you know I enjoy eating whatever I want whether or not I gain weight. Eating is my second favorite. Right behind sleeping. Food is fuel, sure. It’s also a delight.

But I looked at what I was eating.

Ice cream (back pain). Pop-Tarts (upset stomach). Carbs carbs carbs (general malaise).

And the Dr. Pepper…

My solution, of course, is simple. Change what I’m eating, but which thing — ice cream, Pop-Tarts or miscellaneous carbohydrates — causes my symptoms. How am I to know?

Oh, yeah, they made a diet for that.


If you know me, you know I hate dieting. In all my years of desired physical fitness — I don’t have this desire anymore; I only desire more sleep — but, in fitness endeavors, food was almost never part of the equation.

title boxing

So, fitness wasn’t always successful, but I was OK with that.

What diet am I talking about? The dietiest diet of them all… Whole30.

Whole30 requires what I consider an extreme elimination diet for 30 days. No ice cream (what). No Pop-Tarts (shut up). No good carbs (pasta, bread, pancakes, happiness). The actual rules make sense: no dairy, no added sugar, no grains and so on and so forth. Fruit, vegetables, nuts (not peanuts), seeds and meat-based protein — all OK.

While tragic, cutting some of my favorite foods out of my diet doesn’t scare me. The planning, preparation and follow through on all of the other foods are terrifying.

I meal plan well. I meal prep just OK. I don’t meal follow-through for crap.

Work, plus life, plus toddler… plus more toddler (same toddler, just more)… plus dinner… plus clean-up? No, I don’t want to do that. I get through about three days of good food, and then it’s two days of crap, and then another day of good food, and then scavenging the kitchen for food because it’s gone bad or we’ve eaten it or it’s weird to eat together.

Whole30 requires all of that. So much of that. Without excuse.

I planned my Whole30 for Aug. 2-31. However, because my mombrain separates its life into different buckets — work, life, toddler, more toddler, taking care of itself, etc. — I also planned a Date Day right in the middle of it with my husband at a favorite event complete with off-limits food truck food and beer.

Guess what you can’t have during Whole30?

viven wine dive wichita kansas



I love beer.

I bought the Whole30 cookbook and the beer tickets like, the same day because life and taking care of myself are not the same bucket.

They’re different buckets.

Here’s my new plan:

Cut my off-limits foods one-by-one. No more Dr. Pepper, ice cream or Pop-Tarts.

Reduce pasta intake and try not eat all the rice with all the soy sauce (because soy is also against the rules).

Then, practice.

I need to practice Whole30. I have mombrain and limited meal follow-through and UberEats. I’m set up for failure.

Plus, I really want to go to the beer event, drink the beer, eat the off-limits food truck food and enjoy Date Day.

iron childhead fest 2017

I will practice Whole30 for 15 days starting Aug. 2. During my practice, I will test some of the recipes from the Whole30 cookbook and find at least seven, solid, cookable-by-Shae recipes for family dinner during my actual Whole30, which is yet to be scheduled.

Because Date Day at the beerfest is happening.