Last Updated on March 8, 2023 by Sarah McCubbin
Inside this Review: I share why I joined Noom, what I learned after using it for several months and why I’m doing it again 2.5 years later. I will share with you my thoughts on the Noom App, the personal coaching and how this program has differed from Weight Watchers that I tried in the past. This is my honest review of my experience.
(Disclosure: This post does include affiliate links for which I may receive compensation if you make a purchase through the link.)
I’m Sarah, a mom of 9 kids. The years leading up to my “crisis moment” of needing to lose weight were full of stress. I kept that in check with a small but steady diet of sweets and snacks. At my heaviest, I weighed 203 lbs and lost 30 pounds to get down to 173.
Like I said, my husband and I have nine children (stress!). For 8 years we were foster parents (stress!) and during that time we adopted 3 children. Then at age 38, I found out I was pregnant with #9 while we were struggling with 2 very difficult teen foster placements (stress!). When our daughter was born, the foster placements had moved on. We stopped accepting foster placements and decided that it would be a good time to be done fostering to focus on our family unit.
This was a good move. However, trying to juggle an infant, 8 busy kids, working part time, running a homeschool organization and trying to homeschool our kids…well this was just a lot of STRESS!
As it turns out, I like to say YES to too many good things. And even good things can cause stress if they take too much time. I always tried to stay in control of the family situation…but that was an uphill battle and food was something I would turn to over and over. Can you relate? During those crazy years, I didn’t have time to really even focus on myself…or at least I thought I didn’t have time. I ran on coffee, chocolate and junk food as my default fuel of choice.
My life was stressful (I just didn’t realize that in many ways I was choosing to be stressed and could have made a different choice). In the midst of all that, I deserved to feel good some of the time…at least that was how I rationalized my choices to snack constantly.
Fast forward to 2020. It was a crazy year – right! It was stressful…we all got to stay home. I had a LOT of free time all of a sudden which had not happened since having children. And that is when I realized that now was the time to make a change. I mean really, if I wanted to lose weight, it was my choice and all the normal excuses I used just really didn’t work. I wasn’t busy…not like I had been before. I had time to make some changes.
By July of 2020, my weight had climbed to 203 pounds…my highest non-pregnancy weight ever. I decided to start intermittent fasting and lost a few pounds…but struggled to stay motivated. Earlier in 2020, I realized that if I could find just 10 minutes a day…I could change anything I needed to change in my life.
I had started exercising 10 minutes a day as well. But that didn’t really move the scale much. Still…I was feeling stronger and my motivation was growing. I knew, losing weight was possible if I continued to pursue this goal. So rather than call my attempt at intermittent fasting a “fail,” I decided it was just a step in my journey and I kept looking for options while I struggled along.
And like many of you probably, Noom started popping up in my Facebook feed…A LOT. As with many of those algorithms, it seems so coincidental that I kept seeing ads for this product. Maybe it was something worth looking into. I wondered if it could work for me. Like you, I had tons of questions that I started to research before I decided to sign up.
I just started Noom again in March 2023, so I’ll keep an updated timeline at the bottom of this post in case you want to see how it works this time! Be sure to follow me on Instagram where I’m going to track my progress every week! )
Table of Contents
What Exactly is Noom?
The simplest way to describe Noom is that it is an app that functions as a central checkpoint for recording food, exercise, and weight. In addition, it offers group coaching to provide accountability and encouragement. And lastly, it includes educational tools to help the user understand the underlying challenges that make losing weight difficult. It addresses physical/hormonal challenges as well as social and emotional factors that come into play. All of this is available in the app dashboard. Checking in every morning starts your day off in a way that jumpstarts success.
How Does the Noom Diet Work?
Unlike some diet plans, Noom is more of a lifestyle change rather than a “diet.” It seeks to help you make long-term adjustments in your relationship with food rather than simply restrict things from your diet. So when you sign up you:
- Download the app
- Enter your info and tell the system your current weight and how much you want to loose.
- Based on this info, it assigns you a daily calorie budget (mine was 1200).
Then every day you do the following:
- Open the app
- Enter your weight (first thing in the morning before eating/drinking)
- Read some short inspirational articles
- Enter what you eat into your food tracker
- You can enter your exercise. This increases your calorie budget. If you burn 100 calories, it adds 50 calories to your balance. Burn 200…it adds 100 calories. Basically you can eat half of the extra calories that you burn
- You can record blood sugar & blood pressure
- Look for recipes that meet Noom goals.
What Do You Eat on Noom?
As you can imagine, 1200 calories is a very restricted daily target. Essentially, that is 300 calories per meal plus an extra 300 per day for snacks/drinks etc. In Noom, foods are coded as RED (high calorie/sugar/fat)Limit Your Portion, Yellow Eat Moderate Portions, and Green: Great Choice…Enjoy abundantly.
The goal is to have your calories be 25% Red foods, 45% Yellow foods, and 30% Green foods.
As you enter foods into the app, it will code them as red/yellow/green, and you can see at a glance how well you are doing sticking to these ratios. I personally had a really difficult time sticking to these ratios, but I still lost weight. As I went along, I really paid attention more to how different foods made me feel rather than just whether they were Red/Yellow/Green. And slowly, my preferences did gravitate toward the green!
In my experience, planning is the key to success. As much as possible, I planned to eat the same breakfast every day of the week (oatmeal w/ an apple, cinnamon & salt) (approx 240 calories) and have a cup of coffee with 2 TB of half & half ( 60 calories).
I usually had leftovers for lunch or had a big salad.
For me, dinner was the challenge. With so many kids, we default to pasta and rice as “fillers” for many meals. The biggest habit I needed to make for dinner was finding a suitable substitute that I liked for these meals. So when we had spaghetti for dinner, I made spaghetti squash. Or when we did tacos for dinner, I put my toppings on a salad instead of on rice or a tortilla.
Snacks were also a challenge because I was not in the habit of planning snacks. I homeschool so I’m used to being home and just grabbing a snack whenever I want. It was actually so much easier to stick to my calorie budget on the days when I was running errands. So again, I found that planning was key. By having a handful of snacks that I knew the calorie count, it was easier for me to know what I could grab without thinking about it too much.
Can You Eat At Restaurants on Noom?
Yes! Absolutely you can eat at restaurants. However, I found that I enjoyed the experience much more if I planned ahead. Many chain restaurants have the calories for menu items easily available. By planning ahead, I didn’t feel the stress of trying to figure it out at the restaurant.
I enjoyed using Applebee’s Nutrition Calculator because you can pull up each menu item and see how it affects the calories if you leave certain things off. For example, I found that my Oriental Chicken salad became manageable if I had it with grilled chicken, left off the crunchy noodles, skipped the breadstick, and had the dressing on the side.
How Much Does Noom Cost?
When I signed up, it gave me an 8-month plan based on how much weight I wanted to lose. The price quoted was $180. However, if I skipped the 2-week trial, the price dropped to $150. I opted to skip the trial. I decided that if I was going to do this, I needed to be all in…no excuses. I was ready to take my life back and lose the weight.
Is Noom Really Worth It?
While this is something that each person decides on their own, here is my thought. Noom is worth the cost because of the way it removes the shame and condemnation from the struggle. Really, each of these little articles is a gem. When you learn that it’s not your fault that your body produces more hunger hormones if you lose weight…or exercise or whatever. You start to see that YOU aren’t the problem.
Our bodies are naturally programmed to store food and get hungry, and when we try to lose weight and eat less…it kicks up those hunger hormones even more. Yikes! For me though, I was able to learn how to give myself grace during the process. I was already on a journey to treat myself better and the messaging in the app reinforced that. You are not your weight. Trust me friend…it is simply a battle for you to overcome. And whether you weigh 120 pounds or 500 pounds…you are so much more than the number on a scale. Be kind to yourself.
Joining Noom was only one step on my journey to believing that good things were available to me. I had stopped dreaming big dreams and had simply settled for good enough. For me, using Noom was one of many action steps I took to say, “I am worth it,” “I like food but I love doing other things more,” and “I can eat interesting foods and be at a healthy weight.”
How Does Noom vary from Weight Watchers?
As I mentioned previously, Noom uses colors to categorize foods. It is a tool to encourage healthier choices. And it is also a tool to promote fullness…which is really important. After all, a cup of grapes (a green/healthy food) fills you up the same way a cup of pasta salad (red food) does…but the calories are much different. Red foods are calorically dense while green foods are not. At its core, Noom is essentially tracking calories, weight, and other measurable outcomes to show progress.
Weight Watchers shares a similar goal of helping people make lasting changes to their eating habits. Weight Watchers assigns point values to foods based on their calorie/fat/nutrient ratio. Years ago, I used Weight Watchers to lose quite a bit of weight. However, at this stage of my life, I wanted something more straightforward. I didn’t want the mental gymnastics of points. With Noom, even though foods are color-coded to encourage better choices, it is still essentially based on “calories in…calories out” as a core premise of weight loss. It was easy for me to glance at a recipe or label and know if it was a food I would eat.
One thing I do like about Weight Watchers is their list of “free foods” available in some of their programs. If it’s the end of the day and you are out of points…there is still something you can eat. I like that. Noom does not have that built into its program. However, it is a habit I have carried over when I was struggling along. If I was going to “go over” my calories, I would try to choose items that would be in the Noom “green” list or which would have been on the Weight Watchers “free” list.
Happy Endings are For Real!
I started my weight loss journey at 203 pounds in July 2020. Initially, I started by intermittent fasting and managed to lose 10 pounds by September 2020. But my motivation was dropping fast and I knew something was missing. After seeing Noom in my Facebook feed over the previous few months, I decided to jump in and try it! And by December of 2020, I was down to 173 pounds!! I had lost 30 pounds in less than 6 months which was not especially impressive…but it was huge for me. I had not weighed 173 pounds for 14 years! I had dropped from a size 16 to a size 12.
April 2021 Update
It is now April 2021 as I write this. At Christmas, I had so much going on that I stopped actively following the Noom program. BUT…the habits I had started were engrained in many ways. I was moving more, wearing a step counter to shoot for that 10000 step target every day. I was actively trying to add more vegetables to meals and still weighing myself.
Recently, I have gotten lazy about exercising regularly and weighing in every morning and I have gained back about 3 pounds since I stopped. But using a lot of the Noom tools, I am doing a quick “life assessment” and currently making the needed changes to get back with the program. This isn’t a failure…this is just another step in the journey. In the past, I would have spiraled into a steady weight gain but today I have to tools to regroup, adjust course and continue the positive momentum!
I’m so thankful that I decided to take the leap of faith and try Noom in September 2020. Today I am physically healthier and stronger than I was 7 months ago and I am mentally more resilient.
March 2023 Update:
On March 1, 2023, I decided that it was time to use Noom again. As a mom of busy kids, I’m terrible at juggling all of the things…homeschooling, kids in school, working from home AND eating healthy and exercise.
Besides gaining weight, I can tell that I’m feeling more sluggish, and achy. One of my core beliefs as a mom…is that I need to set the example in taking care of myself. I’m not going to shame myself for gaining weight, but I do feel better when I move more and weigh less.
So, I plan to post weekly updates on Instagram…as well as track my progress here. I am doing things differently this time around. I plan to do intermittent fasting and I will be using 6 Minute Body workouts because I used them in the past and they were manageable for me as a busy mom!
|March 1, 2023
|It’s a struggle getting motivated.
|March 8, 2023
|Finding a way to exercise on days my husband works.
If you think Noom would be a good choice for you, I encourage you to try it today. They offer a 2 week free trial which is the perfect way to try before you buy.