Comparing Weight Loss Programs? Ask These 5 Crucial Questions

by | May 20, 2019

Author: Cecilia Snyder, MS, RD

Weight loss programs are a hot topic. Everyone seems to have their own opinion about which program works best, how long you should stick with a program before deciding that it’s not working for you, or if you should even try a weight loss program to begin with. These arguments can get heated at times, but I think there’s one thing we can all agree on… there’s no shortage of different weight loss programs out there to choose from.

On one hand, this abundance of different programs is a good thing. Since there isn’t one magic bullet diet that works for everybody, it’s nice to be able to scan the options and choose a program that makes the most sense for your own lifestyle and preferences. On the other hand, because there are so many different programs to choose from, it’s not always easy to narrow it down and figure out exactly which weight loss program has the potential to work best for you.

If you’ve ever found yourself in a similar situation, then you’ve come to the right blog post. We’ve identified 5 key questions that you can ask yourself the next time you are considering a weight loss program. Once you’ve answered each of these questions, it should be easy to determine whether or not the weight loss program in question is right for you.

1. Is this program evidence-based and supported by science?

Science… the systematic knowledge of the physical or material world gained through observation or experimentation. That’s the definition of science according to Dictionary.com anyway. Otherwise known as the facts, the evidence, and the cold hard truth about how the world (and our bodies) work, science is the foundation upon which modern health and nutrition are based. If your weight loss program isn’t evidence-based and supported by credible research, then there’s no real way of knowing whether or not that program is truly capable of following through with the claims that it makes. Plus, choosing a program that’s been researched and tested likely means a program’s safety and effectiveness were evaluated in the process.

2. Does this program provide practical tools and suggestions?

Weight loss has a notorious reputation for being incredibly difficult. But in reality, if you’re using the right kinds of tools and suggestions, weight loss is something that shouldn’t always feel like such a struggle. Sure, some days will be harder than others, and I don’t mean to make it sound like weight loss is always just a walk in the park. But a good weight loss program should feel realistic and fit naturally into your current schedule and routines. Basically, it should feel doable without having to beat yourself up in the process. If you’re looking over a weight loss plan and asking yourself questions like “How will I ever make enough time to follow this plan?” or thinking to yourself “Wow, this sounds pretty intense!” then chances are that it won’t take long before that program begins to feel impractical and overwhelming.  

3. Are the changes this program is asking me to make sustainable?

This is a big one. And honestly, this is a factor that most weight loss programs themselves seem to often overlook. Maybe it’s because they want you to rely on their program forever, or maybe it’s because they’ve failed to consider the importance of behavior change when it comes to losing weight, but either way… if the changes that a weight loss program is asking you to make don’t feel like things you could do forever, then why do them at all? Not many people set out to lose weight assuming that they will gain all of that weight back again at the end of their weight loss program. But unless you choose a weight loss program that focuses on sustainable lifestyle changes rather than a quick-fix diet approach, then that will likely end up being the case.

4. Does this program take a well-rounded approach to weight loss?

Is it just me, or does it seem like many of the weight loss programs on the market these days tend to focus one one thing in particular? Usually that one thing is diet, but sometimes it’s physical activity as well. Now don’t get me wrong, nutrition and physical activity are major components of health, and they are critical when it comes to weight loss, but they certainly aren’t the only components worth considering. Instead, look for a program that views health comprehensively. One that understands that without also addressing health factors like sleep, stress, and psychology (the way that our thoughts become our actions), it’s unlikely that you’ll feel prepared to maintain your weight loss progress no matter what is thrown your way.  

5. Will I be on this journey alone, or will I be supported along the way?

Remember earlier when I said that weight loss shouldn’t be so hard, but that it isn’t always a walk in the park either? Well, with any weight loss program you choose, you’ll probably need to be reminded of this along the way. There will be days when your motivation is wavering. And there will be days when it feels like you’ll never be able to reach your weight loss goals. But that’s simply not true. And sometimes all you need is someone to remind you of that. So before you start a program… ask yourself this, “Who is going to be there by my side when the going gets tough?” If the answer is noone, then you might want to rethink the value of that program.

How does Noom stack up?

So how many weight loss plans actually receive a “yes” on all 5 of these questions? Well, I know of at least one program that fits the bill! Have you heard about Noom? If not, I’ll tell you a little bit more about it…  

Noom is the virtual healthcare app that has taken the weight loss industry by storm. Rather than focusing on restrictive diets and extreme exercise routines, Noom reframes the way that it’s program participants view weight loss. Noom empowers people to make small but powerful and long-lasting behavior changes to stop dieting and lose weight for good.  

Let’s take a look at where Noom falls with each of the 5 questions we covered earlier:

1. Is Noom evidence-based and supported by science? YES

Not only was Noom recognized by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as the first fully mobile diabetes prevention program, but Noom’s usefulness was also evaluated over the course of a 65-week pilot study. What did that study find out? Well, the results are in and it was determined that the Noom app has the power to produce transformative weight loss

2. Does Noom provide practical tools and suggestions? YES

When you sign up for Noom, you won’t be short on the tools or materials you need to monitor your progress and stay on track with your weight loss goals. Each person that subscribes to the Noom app will receive full access to Noom’s food database for meal logging, a recipe database, the app’s built-in pedometer, a 52-week curriculum that uses a combination of nutrition and psychology to encourage long-lasting behavior change, and more! And the best part is, you can make use of these tools from the comfort of your very own phone, at your own pace, and on your own time.

3. Are the changes that Noom is asking me to make sustainable? YES

If I could choose just one thing to emphasize about the Noom program, it would be this. Noom isn’t about eliminating foods from your diet or forcing yourself to learn to love exercise when in all reality you hate it. Noom won’t require you to eat only a certain number of meals each day or lose 10 pounds in the first week of the program. But what Noom will do is guide you towards making long-lasting behavior changes, teach you how to make room in your diet for all foods, and help you identify the keystone health habits that work best for you in the long fun. By doing so, you can expect to lose weight at a sustainable rate of 1 to 2 pounds per week with Noom.

4. Does Noom take a well-rounded approach to weight loss? YES

Noom uses a combination of psychology and behavior change to encourage weight loss. Throughout the Noom course, you’ll learn a ton about nutrition, but you’ll also learn about the importance of physical activity, regular sleep, stress management, and how your thoughts eventually become your habits and behaviors. But the best part is, you won’t only learn how these habits impact your weight, but you’ll also learn how to make realistic changes around those habits as your work towards your weight loss goals.

5. Will I be on this journey alone, or will Noom support me along the way? YES

At Noom, one thing is for certain–we won’t ever leave you hanging on your weight loss journey. Each person that subscribes to Noom will be assigned two of their very own personal health coaches to provide feedback and support. Your goal specialist will help you craft your big picture goals, and they’ll work together with you each week on a SMART goal of your choice. Plus, they’ll be by your side the entire way to celebrate your successes and help pick you up when you’re feeling down. Your group coach will lead you and your peer group mates through a series of discussions related to your weight loss journey.

With Noom, the answer is pretty clear. So if you’re convinced, come on over and get started on your own weight loss journey today.