Updated: Sep 1, 2020
Full disclosure: I previously worked for Noom, and I had first-hand experience supporting the product. I have also had access to the program to personal use since I started. I left in December of 2019 to explore a new career, but I wanted to take the time to talk about my experience using the program from a consumer standpoint. The following is purely my opinion and not sponsored by Noom in any way.
Like many people out there, I was unhappy with my weight and body image. I had never really used anything like a weight loss app, the gym, or diets besides a quick flirtation with the keto diet before realizing it wasn't sustainable in the long-term for me. Luckily, I was given the opportunity to try out Noom when I was hired and it has absolutely changed my perspective on health and wellness (which I used to roll my eyes at and think how I could never do it myself, let alone pay to get healthier).
I started using Noom in December of 2018 at the weight of 160 lbs and the goal of 130 lbs. The lowest I reached over the course of a year and a half is about 135 lbs., mostly due to my laziness at times and falling off the old beaten road. I have since gained some weight back, but again, that's on me and my recent lack of dedication to sticking to the program. It happens to all of us! Finding your Ultimate Why will help you figure out exactly how to motivate yourself to change your life to be healthier in the long-run.
The program is only downloadable to an Apple or Android smartphone at this time, as it is supposed to be accessible on the go. Although you can hypothetically put it on a tablet, I would not recommend it due to its inability to count steps with the internal pedometer as well as a few other features potentially not working. It cannot be used on a desktop or computer at this time, so keep that in mind if you do not have a working smartphone. Now, onto the fun stuff!
What is Noom?
Noom is an app focused on health and wellness in the long-term, while emphasizing on weight loss. There is a wonderful curriculum with daily articles to read using tips based on psychology, mindful eating, and examining your relationship with food and how you eat. You'll really dig deep to find out what's driving you to become healthier and how to motivate yourself. You receive access to a Coaching team that consists of your Goal Specialist and Group Coach for accountability and support. There are ways to track your steps and exercise goals, while overall encouraging better habits that lead to a healthier lifestyle -- tackling numerous barriers that you may be experiencing in your personal wellness journey.
I would argue that the curriculum and articles are one of the main selling points of the Noom experience. Although the articles may not be helpful for everyone as sometimes they may seem like common sense, I really enjoyed having something to concretely read and learn every day while I'm trying to change my eating habits. Here is a glimpse of what it looks like:
There are prominent themes of CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy) within the curriculum and it works on reinforcing new habits as well as existing ones that are good for you. I personally loved the concept of psychology alongside understanding how I eat. I was able to apply the knowledge I had learned actively and refer back to articles with the bookmark feature, instead of having to scroll back through previous weeks to find one article I found extra valuable.
There are also activities in some of the articles, such as small quizzes and share with your group suggestions to start a dialogue. The articles are written in a fun and bubbly style that is fitting for the current generation of technology, but again -- it may not be for everyone and that is something work considering during your trial.
The app asks you to weigh in daily. Now, this is not necessary and some people may not like it. I totally get that. For me, it's very helpful to see my progress and have data to back up my journey. The curriculum also emphasizes that progress is not linear and it's going to go all over the place. It'll go up and it'll go down. That is completely, 100% normal. My graph looks crazy, in my opinion. Here, take a look:
You can see all the ups and downs and how I've gradually gone up again, and how I'm now working to trend back down. Consistency and the ability to push on while not beating yourself up over the upward trend is important, and understanding that it and plateaus will absolutely happen -- but don't worry, this is normal and you got this!
Logging Your Meals
Another one of Noom's core features is food logging. There is an ever-updating food database and there's a team that works incredibly hard to bring more and more to it. You search for the food in the database and log it, with the possibility of it being labeled as Breakfast, Morning Snack, Lunch, Afternoon Snack, Dinner, and Evening Snack. Each food is broken down based on calorie density and labeled as a green, yellow, or red food. This traffic light method helps you understand what foods you can eat and what an ideal proportion is to your daily intake of calories. Red is not inherently bad and the curriculum will cover this. With Noom, moderation is key.
There is a budget bar for your calories at the top of the main home screen of the app. Based on your ideal weight and how fast you want to lose weight (can be changed in the Settings if you change your mind at what pace you'd like to go), the allotted calories will change.
You can earn more calories back with the amount of steps you take and exercise that you log into the app. There is a daily goal for steps that will increase upon hitting it or decrease if you miss the goal. Logged exercise will earn you half the amount of calories you burned back to your budget. This is to prevent the mindset of "I exercised, so that means I can eat more and go over my budget." That's a one step forward and two steps back mentality that will 100% work against you in the long run.
You can also set Meal Reminders that will send you Notifications on your phone not to forget to log your meal. These can be changed in the Settings of the app. Now, let's check out what the Noom home screen looks like (calorie budget bar shown below):
Keep in mind that my home screen has no articles at this time, as I'm done with the main curriculum. The main curriculum has enough content for a little over a year from what I recall, but there's always new content being developed and revised. Much love to the curriculum team!
Your Coaching Team
Speaking of Goal Specialists, let's talk about the coaching team! When you first start Noom, you're assigned to a Goal Specialist who is your personal and 1:1 coach. Goal Specialists, like the name implies, help you set goals. This happens on a weekly basis where your Goal Specialist will check in once a week to see how your goal for last week went, so you can reflect on it and figure out your goal for the next week (whether it's the same or not). Keep in mind that your Goal Specialist is not there to tell you what to do by any means -- they support you and help you navigate as if they're in the passenger seat and you're in the driver's seat on your wellness journey. Here's what the messaging system looks like:
This is the Messages part of the Noom app. As you can see, I started the program back in December of 2018. Concierge Eva will first greet you when you sign up and connect you with your Goal Specialist. My Goal Specialist throughout my whole journey was Olivia and I was since transferred to Lavonah, which is why she's at the top. Olivia's message history with me is still available to review if I'd like to reflect. Transfers can happen if the Goal Specialist moves to a different position or leaves the company, among other reasons. Keep in mind that you can also request to change your Goal Specialist for reasons such as personality differences, if you would prefer a coach of a different gender, and other reasonable accommodations. To do so, you can message Noom Support with your request here.
I personally found that the Goal Specialist feature was helpful throughout a majority of my journey, but towards the end I started falling off and not responding to Olivia's messages (something else you can choose to opt out of if it's not for you). She would ask what goal I'd like to work on for the week, I would respond with what I wanted to do (such as walking every day for 30 minutes), and she would confirm that sounded like a great goal and potentially provide some other insight about it. The next week she would ask how it went and I'd update her. This was a great time for reflecting on what went poorly or well, what I might want to change if staying with this goal, or choosing a new goal. Ultimately, I was the one deciding exactly what I wanted to do and in control of my actions while my Goal Specialist supported me throughout it.
The other part of your coaching team is your Group Coach and Group. You'll be assigned to both starting around the Week Three mark, provided that all of the activities and articles from the first two weeks have been completed. Your Group Coach facilitates a healthy conversation for you and your peers, where you can discuss and share how your journey is progressing. There are often prompts in your curriculum from various articles to share, but of course don't feel pressured to if you don't want to! Your Group is effectively here to support you and so you can have others for accountability, inspiration, and help each other. Here's a peek of what your Group looks like:
Normally, the names of your group mates and Group Coach would show on the left next to each message, but I cropped them out for privacy's sake. You can make your own posts, people can "like" them, and you can comment on others' posts. Group Coaches will typically make daily posts throughout the week, but like Goal Specialists, have the weekend off since they're people too (and yes, they are very real and NOT robots).
Sometimes I like scrolling through the group to get motivation, as seeing other people work on themselves helps to inspire me. I'll admit that I didn't really contribute to the group or comment that much, and again -- you don't have to! It's not necessary and somethings work for people, where it won't for others. It's a really nice feature in conjunction with the Goal Specialist so you have the peer accountability and other support when you're not working on weekly goals with your Goal Specialist.
Some other things to keep in mind about the group feature: you cannot message your Group Coach privately, only your Goal Specialist. You may also be removed from your Group for inactivity if you don't check the feed at least once every two or so weeks -- but not to worry if this happens, just let Support or your Goal Specialist know and they can add you back! You can also request to change your Group, but requests to be put in the same group with your friends or others you know are not permitted for a multitude of reasons. Lastly, groups may merge from time to time if groups start getting smaller and there's not as much conversation going on.
Syncing with Fitness Trackers
Since I have an iPhone and an Apple Watch, I use the Apple Health app as my Steps Data Source. If you select Connect additional devices, you will find a numerous selection of other trackers you can choose. If you require any further assistance with connecting devices or troubleshooting, the Noom Support team will be able to help you out!
Pricing for Premium Plans
So with all of that said, let's discuss subscription plans and the pricing for Noom. There are three different ways you can subscribe: through Noom's website and through the Noom app on iOS devices.
In my opinion, subscribing on the website is the best option to get the best price for a longer-term plan if you decide to commit. With all of these plans, you receive a 14-day paid trial starting at $1 the last that I knew, but this may have changed. Here are the available plans from the Noom website:
As you can see, you can get the annual plan for $199/year at this time. This effectively makes the cost of Noom about $16.58/month. Please keep in mind that all of the costs shown here are lump sums and auto-renewing unless you request that the latter be turned off. The lump sum cost cannot be billed monthly unless you enroll in a monthly plan.
If you'd like to make it even less expensive, you can use my referral link to get a 14-day trial for free and receive 20% off of your subscription. When you click on this referral link, you'll be brought to the Noom website and you'll go through the questionnaire about your current lifestyle, goals, starting weight, ideal weight, and you will be recommended a plan length based on this. Unfortunately, there's no easy way to select which plan length the last I checked when using the referral link, so saying your starting weight is 250 lbs and you want to get to 120 lbs (even if not the correct numbers) will recommend you the longer length plan. If it doesn't recommend the one you want, you can go back and enter new numbers until your ideal plan is suggested. Once you confirm your purchase, you can change your starting weight and goal weight to the correct numbers in the Noom app and only affect the plan choice.
I will be the first to admit that this can be a little frustrating and confusing to figure out, especially with the referral link thrown into the mix. However, you can always contact the Noom Support Team for further assistance to get signed up with the referral link if you didn't for some reason.
After downloading the Noom app and wanting to enroll in a monthly program through the Apple App Store, the cost was $44.99/month the last I checked. The App Store offers one trial per Apple account, so if you have one trial through the App Store, change your mind and go to re-enroll through the app itself, you will not be given another trial and charged immediately. Overall, I would highly recommend purchasing the program to receive a 14-day trial for sure through Noom's website and use the referral link for the free trial and 20% off whichever plan is recommended to you based on the questionnaire.
Important: read your receipt and your billing date, the amount you'll be charged, and all of that other fun stuff. Noom has received a lot of hate for "sudden" billing and I always found it perfectly transparent if you read what you're signing up for, so please make sure to do so. If you'd like to cancel your plan at any time, you can message the word "cancel" to your Goal Specialist!
Okay, so we've covered all of the premium features of Noom and the pricing for it -- this was a lot of information and hope you're still with me after this huge info dump! I actively used Noom from December of 2018 until probably around early 2020. Don't get me wrong -- I still use Noom daily for food logging, daily weigh-ins, and keeping track of my exercise to this day. However, I'm not really using the coaching or curriculum features. I could rewind again if I wanted to, but I'm at the point where I feel equipped with the knowledge and tools I need in the long-run, and that's amazing! Noom as a program is intended to educate users in this regard for a lifetime of health and wellness, rather than just a few months or even a year. I'm at the point where I could be done with the premium features and just use the free features, so there is an end to your subscription whenever you feel ready.
I also think it's important to mention that Noom is not offered to pregnant users, users who have an eating disorder, or minors who are under 18. If you have one of the two and have signed up, you can let your Goal Specialist or Noom Support know and they can cancel your subscription and offer a pro-rated refund. This information didn't quite fit into anywhere else in this article, but I still wanted to bring it up. Also, keep in mind that it's been almost a year since I have been using the premium features in full and all of this is subject to change.
So, over the last almost two years, I have effectively lost about 20 lbs and 25 lbs at my "low" score (something I like to call it instead of high score) for weight. This is on the slow side of things, since I sometimes lost my motivation and would eat more red foods than I should've or significantly went over my calorie budget. While this happens on occasion, don't let it be an excuse that stands in your way. If you put in the effort, this program can work for you but again, it's not for everyone. I personally think it's worth a shot though, especially with everyone being at home and probably more sedentary than they'd like with COVID-19 ravaging the world. I'm very happy with my success with the program and being down 20 lbs feels incredible, even though I still have 20 more to go!
Thank you for taking the time to read and keep on Noomin'!