Anyone who reads our blog knows that we like examining diets. We’re not big fans of diets as a general rule. We think the best long-term results come from healthy eating and slow changes. Diet plans with strict rules often set you up for failure or regaining weight once you’re done. But, we think it’s good to know what’s out there. Like the Mediterranean diet, some things are more like lifestyles that aren’t crash diets and shouldn’t be written off because they are healthy and sustainable. We never dismiss diets out of hand.
Our friends know about our jobs and ask us for information all the time. So, this week a friend asked someone on the social media team and asked what they knew about Noom. We’ve written about Noom in the past. Noom is an app-based diet that assigns you a coach who checks in with you every couple of days about your goals. You’re given reading and quizzes on nutrition, fitness and health that are tailored to your goals. You also log your food.
Our team member said all that and asked why her friend was interested. Her friend said that she had recently started doing it. Excited, our team member asked for her experience, wanting to share a more personal review of the diet for people to learn about it. From the conversation, it sounds like it’s a mixed bag.
One of Noom’s big selling points is that it gives you a personal coach. Her friend liked that her coach was specifically assigned to her, so she constantly spoke to the same person. When she had a question, she said her coach got back to her within 24 to 48 hours during the workweek. There’s no live chat, which she said she generally liked because she didn’t feel pressured. But she was disappointed that she couldn’t get “talked off the ledge” when she wanted a snack. Noom is quite expensive, for the price it costs, we would have expected a faster result than 24 to 48 hours.
Noom has you set weekly and long-term goals about your behavior rather than pounds to help you reach your health and weight goals. Her big goal was adding a serving of fruit or vegetables to every meal. She hadn’t accomplished that yet, but she had been eating healthier than before, which is excellent! She said that the reading and quizzes had been educational and made her feel like she connected to her goals more than in diets she tried before.
What she didn’t like is the food logging component of Noom. She wasn’t turned off by calorie counting. But the food tracker itself wasn’t easy to navigate, according to her. While they were together, it took her ten minutes to put in the meal they had just eaten. She repeatedly searched for food items that weren’t on the list and ended up adding things that were similar to them in frustration.
Our team member didn’t like the disappointment her friend showed in herself. The app set a calorie limit for her. She hadn’t hit the goal once since starting Noom. The app was telling her she was overeating even though she’d been trying hard. That made her feel like she was failing. She had exceeded what an app was telling her to eat, and she was beating herself up about it. Our team member asked if she was eating healthier; her friend said yes. Our team member asked if she was thinking more about making healthy choices; again, her friend said yes. She asked if her friend was eating more fruits and veggies; her friend said she was eating way more greens than she had been.
Our team member said, “There you go: that’s a big success. Your goal is to eat a fruit or vegetable at every meal, and you are well on your way. That’s great.”
By the end of the conversation, her friend felt better, but it leaves us with a bad taste in our mouths. It sounded like the education part was working well. Her friend was making better choices and engaging with her health more. The coaching seemed to be reinforcing what she was learning. But, the fact that a food tracker was difficult to work and made her feel like she was letting herself down isn’t okay.
A program that makes you feel like you aren’t making progress when you clearly are may be tough to stick with. Of course, this is just one person’s experience. Everyone’s journey to health is different. But, for our team, this is a significant strike against Noom. In our original review of Noom, we were comparing it to WW (previously Weight Watchers). While we didn’t draw any firm conclusions then, we think we would lean a bit more toward WW now.