By Guest Blogger Wendy Bartlett

I have done it.  I have lost weight and kept it off for 8 months. How?  I used the app called Noom.  You may have seen it on Facebook or heard about it on NPR.  I saw it on Facebook, and on December 31, 2018, I was on my way home from spending Christmas with my family, and I thought why not?  Maybe it will be different this time – can’t hurt to try!  Why did this tool work for me whereas the other diets I have tried in the past haven’t?  I have a few ideas why I feel like this program worked for me, and then you can decide if it will work for you.

First, I found it funny.  In the app, each day you read small articles about weight loss – the struggles, the highs, the lows, the reality of weight loss, the science of weight loss, the things that affect weight loss, and the psychology of weight loss.  The tone of the articles is upbeat, realistic, empathetic, and yes, funny.  I could relate to the articles – I saw my own weight loss/gain journey in the readings.  A few of my favorite quotes/sayings – “‘I absolutely love to log my food’, said no one ever!”  They coin phrases like scanxiety (scale anxiety) and MoaWLKET (Mother of all Weight Loss Killing Environment Triggers).   I found myself looking forward to sitting down and reading the insights for each day.

Second, it is research based.  I admit it – I am a nerd.  I am a teacher, and I love to learn.  I work diligently to make sure my teaching is backed by research.  Noom is a weight loss program backed by research.  In the articles, they share research on the psychology of weight loss, cravings, and triggers.  They use the research to give you #Pyschtricks to help you change your eating behaviors and deal with food cravings.  I also loved that they use quizzes to track your understanding and learning. As you work through the information for the day,  they give you a quiz to ensure that you are understanding what you are reading.  Luckily – there’s no grade on the quizzes, but it is a research based learning strategy that I use in my classroom.  The quizzes help you to stop and think – did I understand what I just read?  I was disappointed when I didn’t get a 100%, so I would go back and reread.  What can I say – I am truly a #noomnerd! (another one of their fun phrases).

Thirdly, you get to eat what you want.  Your eating is tracked through their food tracking tool.  The food you eat is categorized by Green – low calorie; high density foods (vegetables and fruits), Yellow – food to eat in moderation, and Red – high calorie; low density foods (carbs, nuts, sugary foods).  You can eat what you want staying within the limits of each category of food.  As you enter what you eat, the tracker counts your calories and puts the food into the categories for you.  Based on the speed you want to lose weight you are given a daily calorie target.   Another component of the app is logging your exercise.  Unlike my fitness pal, you do not bank all of your exercise calories against your daily calorie goal – you get HALF the calories back.  So when you exercise you have more calories in your “bank,” but not an excessive amount.  I ate between 1500 – 1800 calories a day.   Food planning is another large component of the program.  By planning, I could bank some calories if I knew I was going to a party, and I would want to have dessert or a drink.

Other helpful components of the program were my coach, the activity tracker, and the weight tracker.  You are assigned a coach to help you make SMART goals – Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time – Based.  I was addicted to Diet Coke.  I knew it was a bad habit, and I had tried to kick the habit several times.  With my coach, we worked together to create the SMART goal that I could have Diet Coke on Tuesday, Thursdays, and Saturdays.  It worked, and I still adhere to that goal today (for the most part!).  I have always exercised.  I was running ½ marathons, but my BMI still had me labeled as obese.  The exercise tracker was a great source of motivation, because when I exercised I could eat more calories!  Finally the weight tracker – research shows that people who weigh themselves every day keep the weight off.  Noom doesn’t focus on the number as much as the trends.   It also discusses the fact that weight loss has slips and slides – plateaus and valleys.   Sometimes motivation is high, sometimes motivation is low.  I have logged my weight every day since Jan1, 2019 – my own streak with myself.  The graph allows me to see times of stress, lack of sleep, vacations (too much ice cream this summer!), or hormonal moments over my journey.

The cost is around $40 a month, but they offer a New Years deal so keep an eye out!

So, NOOM worked for me.  It may work for you – I dare say I found it to be “easy” and “fun.”  It has truly been a life changing experience. If you’ve tried Noom, I’d love to hear how it worked for you!

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