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.

Big Changes, Get Fit!

At the beginning of the year, I tried to figure out what I wanted to focus on, areas I wanted to improve. One of the things starkly missing from the list was big moves about my health. I mean, sure, I’m doing Meat Free Mondays this month. But nothing about my endo or my weight.

However, as the first week of the year got underway, I decided I wanted to see if I could get a little more active. What if I could workout even only once a week? It’s not much, not a huge commitment. Plus, I’ve got the schedule currently. So I mentioned this sometime last week to my former roommate. We decided we’d hit the rec center together once a week. I’d been interested in going for a while, but, you know, anxiety.

Our first week went great! Half an hour on the bikes, then we walked a mile to cool down. While bikes are my comfort zone, I don’t want to restrict her to just what I want to do. So I might actually get to learn how the other cardio equipment works. Or even the weights and stuff — aka the things that kind of scare me because I have no knowledge of how to do it properly.

This weekend, since we had 50-60° weather, I asked my mom to guide me on some of the local trails. We walked for an hour; our round trip totaling a little over 2.5 miles. She explained the different paths and were they go. We talked a lot about random life stuff, as well as how the city’s been changing (for the better) since I was a kid. My mom loves, and prefers, riding her bike, so I’m glad she took the day off from her ride to take a walk with me.

And today, even though I still have my fitness date coming up with my friend, I decided I’d hit the gym again — all by myself. Does it feel weird being a 32-year-old woman who can’t do things alone? Yeah, a little. But again, anxiety and I’m coming to terms with it. I did another half hour on the bike (over 5 miles), and then walked for another 45 minutes. I lost track of how many laps, but based off my average pace (02:20 per quarter mile), I think I made about 5 miles. I wasn’t sure I’d be able to do anything at all today. I woke up with endo pain. But I let myself rest a bit, then pushed through what was left. Hopefully that doesn’t kick me in the ass later, but currently I feel good! No worse, at least.

Along with all this exercise and activity, I’ve also switched up my diet. You know about the meat free days, but I also started doing meal replacements. As much as younger me is totally making fun of me for this… I started using the SlimFast shakes. They’re actually super tasty. At least the royale chocolate one I got. You’re supposed to replace your breakfast and lunch with the shakes. Somedays I do both meals, but during the week I still often eat a “normal” lunch. I still try to make sure it’s on the lower calorie side. Breakfast has always been a sort of tricky meal for me — it’s easy to get lazy about it — but these definitely help. It’s also cut down on my grocery bill, too.

I’d been using MyFitnessPal to track everything. I’m not that great with tracking, though. I get tired of recording things and feeling like some number (calories) are controlling my life. So, after wanting one for a while, I bit the bullet and bought a FitBit! I went with the Charge 2, even though the Alta was my first pick. I just really wanted the added heart rate monitoring (and I found an awesome deal on eBay). I thought if I could see how my heartbeat changes throughout the day, maybe I could identify stress triggers. One surprise? Reading for class stresses me out. I was reading Marx the other day and my heart rate stayed above 100 the whole time. So that’s something I need to work on.

But with the FitBit app I’m not just monitoring my heart and my steps, I’m also tracking my water and food! It took a little to adjust to their system, but I think I’m in a good rhythm with it now. The hardest thing is accepting that as a grad student with endometriosis, I will not be all that active. My goal is 5000 steps, and I’ve only hit it twice in the 5 days I’ve had it. Most of my day I’m at a desk or reading somewhere or in class. However, I’m not going to let that stop me.

Which is awesome. Because in the, essentially one week since I made all these changes, I’ve lost 6 lbs! My FitBit says 5, but I rounded my weight down one to make it end in 5. (It’s better than what I’d been doing on MFP, which is rounding down at least 5 lbs pretty much every time.) I’ve got a ways to go in my actual weight-loss wishes, but I am over the moon just that it even started at all. Between my endo and the medicine I have to take to function with it, weight loss has been an absolute struggle. It felt impossible. And now? I’m down 6 lbs. And it’s just the start. I know it’ll taper off a bit as I get going — that whole thing that happens when you start developing muscle — but again, it’s a start.

I keep laughing to myself that I’m getting fit so that I can fight in the resistance, and, well, it’s not completely untrue.