After a lifetime of yo-yo dieting, Eric decided he needed to do something differently. In November of 2018 he took the plunge and began his journey to lasting health with Noom. While he knew that he could lose the weight, he couldn’t have predicted that this time would be the last. While he’s lost over 105 lbs, the sense of confidence, freedom, and pure zest for life that Eric’s developed is what stands out most.
We reached out to Eric to learn a little bit more about his journey and find out how Noom helped set him free.
What brought you to Noom?
I have struggled with an unhealthy weight status since I was an 8 year old boy. I turned 47 recently. As a kid, my family didn’t have much; we were poor. We often ate high-calorie, high-sugar foods, and highly processed foods, and ate when we could — binging on large amounts of food when it was available, since there were other times when we were surviving off of the limited resources we could get from a food bank. This set a lifetime of bad eating habits in motion.
After years of weight loss followed by weight gain, I was at the highest weight I’d ever been at. I was successful professionally and now had the means to eat well and to exercise with a gym membership, yet I hadn’t successfully changed my habits.
I’m a psychologist. Noom saying “we are based on psychological science” tempted me. I told myself “Well, we’ll see. I’ll tell you if this is really scientific or not.” I started off that cynical. I started off thinking I already knew everything. I didn’t think that Noom was going to be different than any other fad diet I tried. But Noom promised a “lifestyle change” and I figured I had nothing to lose.
Had you tried to lose weight before joining Noom?
I have tried to lose weight countless times before. The most successful time was a low carb diet where I lost 60 pounds over about a year. I thought I’d never be able to do that again; it was so hard to maintain. I felt so weird, unbalanced, and unnatural on this strange diet. For instance, one of my friends still laughs over how I used to dunk tortilla chips in salsa and lick the salsa off while not eating the chip. As I said, it (and I) were weird. And of course, I gained back the 60 pounds I had lost, and gained another 20 pounds on top of that within a year. It didn’t work and it didn’t last because I changed very little about how I actually lived.
Noom has been a completely different experience. From the very first day with Noom, when you set “your big picture” goal, I had a sense I was making a deeper change than starting a diet. And, knowing what I know and do as a psychologist myself, I recognized the change strategies Noom was using on me and I was impressed by the application of psychological science in a digital health app format.
Noom was systematic. It gave me exactly what I needed next, and never too much, and it didn’t push me away as some programs have in the past. I never felt pressured and the Noom work never felt artificial.
Noom built resilience from day one for the inevitable tough moments that were going to come up, such as when you’re at a party and eat something that you wished you hadn’t. I never felt like a victim of obesity with Noom. I felt liberated and for the first time in 40 years, I found that I was controlling food instead of food controlling me. I was, and am still, so shocked by this turn around in my relationship with food. I never thought it was possible. Noom is remarkable to change something I thought was unchangeable.
How did you enjoy working with your Goal Specialist Julia?
The goal specialist assigned by Noom was such a critical component of the program. Julia was able to ask the right question, at the right time, to help motivate me. She showed an amazing amount of genuine compassion through our messages each week. She responded to my requests for information. She talked me through frustrations. She anticipated upcoming challenges and helped me to prepare for them. She didn’t allow me to make excuses, but also didn’t leave me feeling to blame. She never left me feeling helpless. She helped me keep tabs on my tendency to obsess about weight loss, and helped me to see the advantages of tracking other valuable progress besides the number on the scales. Losing weight is so rewarding, and my goal specialist pushed me at the right time to not stay too focused on that. So we focused on reducing body fat percentage, body measurements (I lost 22 inches in my waist!), and just how I looked, moved and felt. She was brilliant, really.
How did you enjoy Noom’s psychology-based curriculum?
The daily curriculum was so important to me. I’m a very busy professional and I still managed to read the Noom articles every day. The articles appealed to my need for knowledge. They helped me to understand my body, and were likely the key to changing my relationship with food. There were many “ tricks” I learned, based upon research, that helped me meet my goals every day. You have to do the curriculum, otherwise Noom is just another food tracking app!
What was the most valuable part of you customized course?
Truthfully, it’s really hard to pull it all apart. It all works together and I can’t imagine any one component being singularly impactful without the others. But I can say that staying focused on “your big picture” goal and weighing in every day was the starting point, and provided the foundation for the rest!
Tell us more about your progress!
I’ve lost 105 pounds and I’m very close to a medically healthy weight status and BMI. I’ve not been here since I was a little boy!
I have also experienced numerous non-physical transformations. I’m happier. I’m more confident — in life and in work. I’m making new friends. I’m more able to admit my mistakes. I’m more emotionally generous with others. And I’m more willing to consider other self-improvement goals beyond nutrition and exercise.
How has your life changed since starting Noom?
I’m active every day, and I’m having enormous fun in my activity and exercise! I live both a more structured and more spontaneous life. I eat for energy, but I also still very much eat for pleasure. I never restrict or go without, and I never feel hungry. My marriage is filled with more laughs and smiles and good times. It’s a whole new life.
Anything else you want to share?
I’m convinced that Noom is approaching weight loss exactly the way it should be done — as a supported lifestyle change that focuses on continuous improvement in your overall wellness behaviors related to nutrition, exercise, sleep, and stress management. You don’t need to be perfect because you will never be done improving. Your goals are aspirational and remain with you as persistent targets to improve upon, sustain, and escalate.
Noom did more than change my behavior, it changed my mindset. And in the process, we transformed my body, improved my health, and brought more balance and happiness into my world than I’ve ever had before.