Noom is a popular health and wellness app that aims to create long-term results through habit and behaviour change. But is Noom any good? Does it actually work? And more importantly, is it safe?! We downloaded and used the Noom app, researched the brand and in today’s review we will be weighing up the pros and cons to help you decide if Noom is the right app for you. Let’s dive in.
Noom was created in 2008 by two engineers with the goal of helping people lose weight sustainably through improving one’s decision making. The app brings a personalised approach to weight loss, with each user having an assigned coach that checks in with you regularly.
Noom markets themselves as a ‘diet free’ approach to weight loss. Stating that their method is more about lifestyle and psychological change, rather than strict diets.
Noom tries to teach you the psychology and physiology behind weight loss. They teach you the ‘why’, rather than just the ‘what’.
As a fitness coach, there were some aspects of Noom that were extremely beneficial. However, I do believe that there are some big limitations also.
Today, I’ll be giving a fitness coach’s honest perspective of Noom, by trying out the app myself.
Our Experience With Noom
When you first visit the Noom website, you are guided through a series of onboarding questions.
These start off with a series of questions about your demographics, such as your age, gender and reasons for weight loss.
Next, Noom moves on to a series of questions about your habits and behaviours, such as what weight loss programs you have tried previously and areas of fitness/health you’d like to focus on.
Finally, Noom asks a series of questions about your activity and nutrition, such as your priorities for weight loss, as well as any additional goals you might have.
The sign up process took me about 30 minutes to complete.
Once you’ve filled out all of your details and questions, you’ll be guided to download the Noom app on your phone. Noom is very different to other fitness apps I have used, which primarily focus on tracking calories.
Noom is almost built like a course. You have prescribed daily lessons that you work your way through. Before you get started, noom will ask you to commit to a certain amount of time to spend on the app each day.
At the bottom of the front page, you’ll find the tracking section, where you can track what you eat for the day, as well as your exercise and weight.
How Noom Works
Throughout the Noom experience, you are constantly educated about the psychology and physiology of weight loss. Noom places a large emphasis on learning, hence the ‘course’ format.
They not only teach you what you need to do, but more so on why it’s important. This means that when you are met with moments of temptation, you are more likely to stick to making good decisions as you are aware of what’s happening in your brain.
For instance, Noom teaches you about triggers e.g. smelling a nice food at a restaurant. And how you can go about dealing with these triggers. In combination with psychological education, Noom places a large emphasis on calorie density.
They label foods as ‘green’, ‘yellow’ and ‘red’. Calorie density essentially means that they emphasise eating foods that have low calories for the amount of weight/water content in them.
|Green (~30% of daily calories)||Low Calorie Density||Healthy dairy, hearty veggies, fruits and wholegrains.|
|Yellow (~45% of daily calories)||Medium Calorie Density||Lean protein, better dairy, healthy fats, grains and legumes.|
|Red (~25% of daily calories)||High Calorie Density||Processed meat, oils and condiments, sugar, guilty pleasures.|
The mechanism by which Noom has you lose weight is through limiting the number of calories you eat throughout the day. By eating less calorie dense foods, you’ll be more satiated for longer and won’t eat as much.
In my case, my recommended calories for the day was 1400. This was extremely low for me, which is a little concerning. Noom calculates your recommended calories for the day based on the weight you’re hoping to achieve, in conjunction with your current weight.
They do not account for your body composition, such as how much fat and/or muscle you have. If I was to eat 1400 calories a day, this would be extremely unhealthy and I would feel terrible.
What We Like About Noom
Focus on Psychological Change
It’s very true that most diets cause people to yo-yo – regaining or even exceeding their previous weight when they return to their typical eating habits.
Noom combats this.
They understand that in order for weight loss to be permanent, there needs to be a shift in one’s mindset and understanding. Even as a fitness coach who knows a lot about weight loss.
I too learnt a lot about what my triggers are and how I can go about changing these.
Noom gives you a personalised plan based on dozens of different factors.
For instance, they didnt just ask me about my current weight and exercise habits. They also asked me about my deeper self, such as my motivators, insecurities and triggers.
As a result, the plan you are given is far more personalised than other fitness and weight loss apps.
Perhaps the most beneficial part of Noom is that you get access to your very own coach. They will send you regular messages of motivation and encouragement.
And if you have any questions, they answer within 24 hours. When it comes to weight loss, being held accountable to someone when you’re doing something challenging makes all the difference.
Sign Up Process Is Time Consuming
From my experience as a trainer, one of the biggest issues with signing up for new services is convenience and time efficiency.
I have many clients who have procrastinated signing up to a new service because it simply took too long to sign up and get started.
For me, the sign up process took around 30 minutes. For some people who just want to get going, they may give up before they’ve even started.
Inaccurate Estimation of Calories
Upon doing thorough research myself as well as scouring the internet from other sources. Noom severely estimates ones’ daily calories.
As I mentioned previously, 1400 calories for a 27 year old male who lifts weights 5 times a week and weights 95kg is very inaccurate.
If you are hoping to use Noom, I would look up a calorie calculator on the internet and go with what it says instead. Rather than going with what Noom has to say.
Poor Science to Back Up Their Claims
Noom prides themselves on saying that their program helps you to keep the weight off long term. In fact, it’s one of their most prominent marketing tactics.
They reference studies in which participants, after completing Noom, kept the weight off for up to 9 months post program. The issue with this time frame is that almost any weight loss program achieves the same thing. Most people regain their weight after 12 months.
Thus, it would be interesting to see how Noom’s success stories fair at the 12 month mark instead.
Noom: The Bottom Line
Noom is a great weight loss option if you’re hoping to learn more about the psychology and physiology of weight loss, get lasting results as well as having a level of accountability.
However, we advise you to be careful about the suggested number of calories that Noom gives and look at adapting this upon starting.
How Much Is A Noom Subscription?
A Noom subscription costs up to $59 per month on a 4-month plan.
What Do You Get With A Noom Subscription?
With a Noom subscription, you’ll get access to their weight loss app, as well as access to a coach to keep you accountable. Your coach typically will respond within 24-48 hours of reaching out to them.
Are Noom Coaches real?
Yes, Noom coaches are certainly real and will give you personalised advice and feedback. Keep in mind though, that they are working with a lot of clients and some of their responses may be automated if you ask a common question.
How Do I Cancel Noom Subscription?
- Go to settings.
- Click your profile at the top of the screen.
- Click Subscriptions
- Click Noom
- Click Cancel Subscription/Free Trial
- Go to the Play Store.
- Click your profile at the top right corner of the screen.
- Click ‘Manage your Google account’.
- Click Payments and subscriptions.
- Click Noom
- Follow the prompts.