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Is the Dr. Oz app good for weight loss?

Maggie Hudspeth, RDN

Client: “I think I am going to try the Too-Good-To-Be-True, It-Totally-Works, Do-Not-Doubt-It diet.”
Me: “OK, what sparked your interest with that?”
Client: “Well I saw it on the Dr. Oz show…..”

Say no more. The second I hear that “O” name, I know this conversation is heading down a very twisty-turvy, unrealistic, unsustainable path. While the Dr. Oz Show has been around for years, you will find most health care professionals continue to speculate the credibility of his segments. Just like social media, Dr. Oz jumps from one fad diet to the next. Hyping up his audience about the next diet that will “change their life”. Then the next week, it’s onto the next one. Then it’s onto a juice cleanse. Then it’s onto detoxing your liver. Then it’s onto fasting. I think you get the picture.

The highs and lows of diets, workout programs and weight loss products is very exhausting and confusing to the public. The use of trigger words like ‘fast’, ‘easy’, and ‘long-lasting’ make every diet plan seem promising and effective. When it comes down to it, the inconsistency of jumping from one fad plan to the next is what prevents people from sustainable weight loss and a healthy lifestyle. Most plans are about what you can and cannot eat. Anyone can follow a list of foods to eat; but when the diet is “over”, they resort back to old habits. Most likely resulting in gaining back what was lost, and then some. Many diet structures do not address sustainable weight loss, similar to Oz’s app.

Dr. Oz App: The Details

Once again, another promising looking weight loss app. The Dr. Oz app has many interactive features to utilize when trying to lose weight. The key word there being trying. While the app serves as a great resource, there is actually no guidance or personalizing for a weight loss journey. The app is a technological reflection of the Dr. Oz Show – with episodes, clips and never ending diet plans.

The main feature on the app is “the feed”. There are daily topics to dive into each day that come in the forms of episodes, video clips, articles, slideshows, quizzes and recipes. That’s a lot of content to keep up with day to day! Not to mention, there is no flow or structure to the topics. They spring from whichever guest or segments are debuting that week on the show.

While the content of the app can be a great motivator, there is no guidance when it comes to using the app for a weight loss journey. The health plans offered seem to be personalized for each person’s needs. Yet there is no one on the other end collecting information, constructing action plans and guiding you through the process. There is no engaging or support from the app. It is on the customer to keep up with their activities and work on their own goals each week, versus having a support team help keep them focused. Relying on yourself for motivation and focus is very important in this process, but it’s also one of the reason customers turn to resources for help. Getting started is the hardest part, and without proper guidance and support, life starts to get in the way and the motivation begins to diminish.

It is difficult to help people endure a weight loss journey without really addressing weight loss. Seems obvious, right? While the Dr. Oz app is chalk full of interesting information around health and wellness, it never truly addresses weight loss. It seems as though it is up to the app users to sort through the never ending content and piece together a plan for themselves. While the app does offer “personalized” plans, it does seem to be a one-size-fits-all type of structure. How can every single app user participate in the same plan, when everyone has totally different needs?

Wonderful World of Oz vs. The Noomiverse

When it comes to weight loss, the journey is never easy. The scale jumps up and down, motivation sky rockets and plummets, focus rises and falls; it’s a roller coaster from all angles. Which is what makes the Noom app so different from all others. Anyone can read articles and log their food, but it takes the human interaction of support, motivation and guidance to make the new lifestyle stick. Noom not only delivers on helping app users lose weight, but it goes beyond the weight loss period and into developing life long, sustainable habits.

Goal Setting: Celebrate the milestones

Having a one-on-one coach, as well as a group setting, provides encouragement and direction for dropping weight and building healthier routines. The coaching staff is there to help guide app users in developing weekly action plans to bring them one step closer to achieving their goals. Breaking down goal setting into weekly segments increases the chances of success. How many times have you begun any sort of wellness journey, whether it’s weight loss, trying a new eating pattern or participating in a new workout regimen, and have given up within weeks, or even days? The way the Noom program is built is by taking the overall, big picture goal, and dividing it up into smaller goals. Each milestone you conquer brings you one step closer to that larger goal.

Accountability: Don’t go through it alone

With the guidance from the coaches throughout the program comes accountability. Like I said before, anyone can read an app or log their meals. But it takes putting those words into actions, that make the journey and program worth your while! How hard is it to keep up with motivation and hold yourself accountable? Some days it is pretty easy, other days it is nearly impossible. Not only are app users able to rely on their two coaches for support, but also the fellow Noomers in their groups. The group is the place where there is daily interaction, all day, every day. The coach provides content throughout the week to help engage everyone and start conversations. But it’s the other members that take motivation, support and accountability to an entirely new level.

Curriculum: Keep it simple, keep it real

On top of the support from coaches and fellow Noomers, the curriculum is structured to provide a sequence of content that flows with your journey. The curriculum begins by going over the basics of dietary habits, the psychology behind your choices, and how emotions play a role in food. Then, dives into more topics like finding ways to incorporate more physical activity in your day and so. much. more. The Noom curriculum is science-based research that aligns with your goals each week, versus showing you the next latest and greatest, celebrity-endorsed, fad diet, that will only confuse you more. The content is broken down each week to allow you to create goals and develop practices not only for weight loss, but for a lifetime of healthy habits.

Bottom Line: Live your life

It’s time to stop drastically changing your eating habits week to week just because a new diet has surfaced, and start living a purposeful, healthy life! When a plan talks about cutting out a certain food group, how sustainable is that? Does it sound fun to cut out fruit, or dairy, or anything and everything starchy? Then don’t do it! Live your life! Don’t let social media, the news, celebrities, or even talk show hosts, influence your dietary habits and nutritional needs. Everyone is different and there will never be a magical one-size-fits-all “program”. Take the basics of nutrition education and apply it to your everyday life. Here at Noom, nothing is off limits. That is how you live life.

Author: Maggie Hudspeth, RDN