IN A SEA OF DIETS LIKE keto, paleo and intermittent fasting, Noom is a small fish. Or maybe, it’s not really a fish – er, fad diet – at all. As Noom CEO and co-founder Saeju Jeong says, “It’s not a diet – it’s a unique behavior change course that uses psychology and small goals to change your habits so you can lose weight and keep it off for good.” To date, Noom’s weight-loss programs have reached more than 47 million users across the globe since it launched in 2011. Here’s what you should know if you’re considering following this program.
What Is Noom?
Noom is a mobile platform-based wellness program that includes personal coaching and group support in order to help you create better lifelong habits and, as a result, live a healthier life. Although food and exercise are a big part of this plan, its founders say it’s just as much about how to make sustainable lifestyle changes as it is about how to eat and exercise. One key goal of Noom is to help you overcome emotional and psychological barriers that may prevent you from leading a healthy lifestyle.
There are two programs available on Noom: a healthy weight program and diabetes management program. If your goal is weight loss, you’ll be given a daily calorie budget and use a color-coded Noom database and tracking technology to help you stay within your limit. You won’t be making any radical changes or making any foods off-limits, though, and shouldn’t expect to lose more than one to two pounds a week, which complies with the National Institute of Health’s guidelines for safe weight loss. “Our goal is to destigmatize weight loss as something that’s restrictive (or ‘impossible’ for some), and provide a slow and steady pathway built on the acquisition of sustainable skills,” Jeong says.
If you choose the diabetes management program, you’ll focus more on choosing and tracking foods based on their carbohydrate content. The program is fully recognized by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as a diabetes prevention program, meaning it provides evidence-based Type 2 diabetes prevention in communities across the United States and has demonstrated effectiveness by meeting all the recognition program’s “performance criteria.”
How Can I Start Following Noom?
When you visit the Noom website, you’ll be asked a series of questions about your weight-loss goals, gender, age, height and current weight. You’ll also answer questions about your eating style and exercise habits. Noom also asks if you have diabetes so it can direct you to the appropriate program. Once you get through the questionnaire, you can begin a free 14-day trial and then continue for a cost of $49.50 per month.
During your first week on Noom, you’ll connect with a “goal specialist” trained in cognitive behavior therapy, a research-backed type of therapy that usually involves changing thinking and behavior patterns through techniques like motivational interviewing. “Coaches spend time addressing mindfulness as it relates to eating, physical activity and general health,” Jeong says. You’ll also be paired with a group coach and peer support group with whom to review and discuss curriculum topics including dealing with food pushers, identifying different types of triggers and forming new healthy habits.
Right away, your goal specialist will help you identify your “big picture,” which includes your “super goal” and “ultimate why.” This big picture, plus your life circumstances, is used to create a personalized action plan that will guide the one-on-one work done with your coach. You’ll also receive a simple overview of your daily calorie budget, and can purchase an additional individual nutrition plan created by Noom’s nutrition team if you want.