Two weeks with Noom, the “millennial” diet.

I’ll be the first to admit, I really dislike Noom’s advertising as the “millennial” diet. The only reason they’re doing this is because they’re attempting to set themselves apart from programs like Weight Watchers.

Anyway. Chances are, you may have seen advertisements for the new diet program, Noom. They had popped up constantly on Pinterest for me. My weight loss had been kind of stagnate for a while, and wanted to try something else to kind of shake things up and see if it would make a difference.

Noom is an app-based program — everything is done through your phone and there really is no web access other than when you first sign up. Honestly, being app-based is the only thing that makes this remotely “millennial.” Though I haven’t been on Weight Watchers since Oprah bought into it, Noom is apparently pretty similar but with online groups rather than in-person meetings.

Noom offers a 2-week free trial, and during that time you’ve got a Goal Coach who is supposed to help you stay on track for your big goals as well as focus on weekly goals. Honestly? I didn’t really talk to my Goal Coach much.

The app is easy to use, and they definitely highlight how it really only takes a commitment of 10 minutes a day to get through their program. While that’s true for their content, it will take more than just 10 minutes if you actually want to lose weight. So what do those 10 minutes of content consist of? Mostly quizzes and their “psychology” tricks and tips. Noom definitely focuses on examining how you think about food and dieting. A lot of this was just stuff I already knew, and sometimes the tone of their writing seemed… They over use “nerd” for loving facts or anything remotely relating to science. For the most part, I really just skim through these sections.

The real core to Noom is the food tracking, just like any other diet plan. According to Noom, no food is off limits. However, they do code food into Green, Yellow, and Red categories. Everything is focused on caloric density. At this point, this is the main factor in my decision to stay with this plan past my 2-week trial. (That and an 80% off discount I received for my four month plan.)

I’ll admit I kind of hated this tracking for the first four days or so. Especially because so much of what I eat ended up in the red. Tracking every. single. thing. also sometimes feels more like punishment than working towards a healthier me… But I stuck it out and honestly it’s not that bad right now. And honestly, I give myself more grace than the app assumes. If I go over? I’m ok. I don’t think I’ve ruined my progress or anything. Eating under 1200 calories each day doesn’t really seem like a great long-term plan anyway. (Despite the app thinking I’m fragile and will distress over any indulgent foods.)

Now that I’m passed the 2-week trial, I’ve been placed in a group of other “Noomers” where we can post messages and encourage each other. We’ve got a Group Coach, too, but they’re really just a community manager. (At this point, none of the Noom coaches really have more than a few months training program it seems.) My first concern with getting into a group was that if this really is a “millennial” diet, I was going to be surrounded by young twenty somethings whom I really had nothing in common with. The members of my group, however, are across the spectrum of women (so far I haven’t seen anyone identify as male or NB in our group). I don’t know if I’ll really connect with any of these women, and I don’t know how active I’ll be in this group. While I do want to lose weight, my goal is to be more active and to start having a life beyond my couch and desk.

The TL;DR?

Pros:

  • The app is pretty easy to navigate. All of your daily tasks are right there on the home screen.
  • It syncs with whatever pedometer you use. It even will take my weight from my Fitbit app if I log it there first. No fitness band? It’ll use your phone as a pedometer.
  • For those who don’t care about step goals, like me, you can “do more” and log your daily exercise. (Which adds in more calories you can eat if you’d like.)
  • Helps you re-think how you’re eating (and also what and when). You can even set reminders for meal tracking if you’d like. As someone who could use more veggies in their diet and less carbs, this is actually helping.
  • Accountability — I’ve got it set up where if I don’t log my weight for 3 days in a row, it’ll send me a text to check in on me. When I get further into this program, I will probably turn this off.

Cons:

  • The cost. The four month program is $240. And while they do offer discounts (and FYI — any of the Noom links you use on this post will give you 20% off), it’s not the cheapest for what it is.
  • Daily weigh-ins. They seem to think that the more you do it, the easier it’ll get… but for some people this can be a terrible experience, setting off their anxiety.
  • Personally, I don’t really find a benefit to any of the coaches. They’re young, not professionally trained (more than just a few months for a certificate), and there more to just check in rather than actually coach or help you with legitimate things. Definitely would not be an appropriate source for anyone with medical issues.
  • Meal tracking isn’t logged into one nice section. If I want to see what I ate the other day or how I did for a whole week, I have to look at each individual day.
  • That accountability feature? If I want to turn it off, I have to go alllllllllll the way back to the second or third day in my program to find the specific part that covers this. It’s not just in the settings.
  • Quizzes. There’s no real grade for this, and yes, they’re using this to reinforce their lessons. I just roll my eyes at a lot of them.
  • This might not bother others, but they really focus all of this as though you have zero nutritional knowledge. So sometimes the lessons and quizzes just kind of feel like a waste of time. However, I do feel like they will be useful for those who don’t have that knowledge.

If I didn’t have the 80% off, would I use Noom? Eehhh. Probably not. I can track my calories through free apps or even with my Fitbit. Am I seeing progress? Slowly. My in-take survey seemed to think I could reach my goal by May. We’ll see.

My bottom line — do I recommend it? If it’s something you think you’d use, and you can get your way to a discount… then sure. If food tracking with a group is your thing, Noom might be a good fit for you.