Is the Noom Weight-Loss App Really THAT Good?
Of course, it’s no surprise that weight-loss apps are popular and can be a good way to track calories consumed and calories burned. Some also have a fitness component that provides workouts and training tips. Some have recipes and menu recommendations. But the one thing that most of the apps seemed to be missing was the psychological aspect of weight-loss—motivation, encouragement, goal-setting, and accountability, for instance.
And then along came Noom.
What is Noom?
Although it has been around for almost a decade, Noom didn’t burst onto the marketplace until last year and was one of the top-trending diets of 2018 based on Google search trends.
Part of what makes Noom attractive is that it offers personalized expert advice to keep you focused and on track to meet your health and fitness goals.
There are two different platforms available on Noom—one for weight-loss and one for diabetes management. There also is an offshoot to the weight-loss platform—NooMoms—specifically geared to clients who are new mothers.
Regardless of the platform you choose, the cost is the same. The regular monthly fee is $59 but there are discounted options that range from two months to eight months. Although the annual plan was listed at $750, it appeared to be on sale for $199.
More for your money?
Noom offers the same kinds of things other apps do—food logging and exercise logging for weight loss and blood glucose and blood pressure monitoring for diabetes management.
Noom categorizes food by calorie density instead of simply counting calories. Calorie density is the measurement of a food’s average calories for its weight. Developers have color-coded foods to make it easier to keep track of the calorie densities of foods you are eating. “Green” foods have low-calorie densities, “yellow” foods have medium densities and “red” foods have high densities. Noom also utilizes a bar code scanner so you can determine calorie densities of packaged items while you shop.
Noom keeps track of exercise and workouts that users log in and also monitors step counts. Step count goals increase or decrease based on your current step count levels.
Your weight-loss goal is automatically calculated using recommendations from the National Diabetes Prevention Plan, which translates into 7% less than your current weight. Noom recommends that you weigh in at least once per week.
The biggest difference with Noom is that subscribers have access to a coaching team that includes a group coach and a goal specialist as well as a support group. Coaching team members have backgrounds in various disciplines including social work, psychology, exercise physiology, and nutrition/dietetics, personal coaching and health training. All goal specialists have completed Noom’s Core Lifestyle Coach Training, which is recognized by the International Consortium for Health & Wellness Coaching. Group coaches also have undergone the Centers for Disease Control’s Diabetes Prevention Program Lifestyle Coach training.
Is the personalized approach the way to go?
Although some self-motivated individuals may be successful with a regular app that just counts calories consumed and calories burned, others may benefit from the extra coaching and goal-setting aspects of Noom.
Motivation and accountability are two factors of successful, long-term weight loss and the additional personalized features Noom provides could make a difference for certain individuals.
A study published in the journal Obesity Research & Clinical Practice seems to support the claim that Noom helps users stick to their weight-loss plan at least in the short-term. The study, “Adherence as a predictor of weight loss in a commonly used smartphone application,” tracked 7,633 overweight male and female Noom users and found that after three months, they lost an average of 1.92 BMI points and that for every 10% increase in adherence to the Noom principles, there was an even greater decrease—2.59—in BMI points.
In another study that analyzed the data of more than 35,000 Noom users between October 2012 and April 2014, researchers concluded that 77.9% decreased their body weight while using the app. Median use was 267 days. They also found that those users who logged in their dinner calorie density consumption were the most successful and those who input their weight more regularly decreased the potential of the yo-yo dieting effect. The study, “Successful weight reduction and maintenance by using a smartphone application in those with overweight and obesity,” was published in the November 2017 issue of Science Reports.
Proceed with caution?
Despite its popularity and positive research and reviews, as with anything, buyer beware. There are 475 complaints regarding Noom on the Better Business Bureau website. The bulk of them have to do with billing and subscription issues but there have been complaints about a lack of responses and input from coaches as well as the speed and ease of rectifying problems through customer service, to name a few.
Given that Noom had 45 million active users in June 2018, 500 complaints is a relatively small percentage but as with any app-based service, there are bound to be glitches and technological issues.
If you are considering joining Noom, before purchasing a subscription, you might want to look into a free trial period to make sure it is the right way for you to reach your health and fitness goals.
Visit the Noom website (https://www.noom.com/#/) for more detailed information about the app and programs. Read through the frequently asked questions in the support section to get a sense of what issues might arise when using the app and how they can be rectified.
For instance, according to the website, if you have issues with your coaching team, you can request a change in coaches to better fit your needs and goals.
Noom purports to make the experience of using the app “relevant to who you are, your goals, and your interactions.” They claim their personalized approach “makes a balanced, healthy life attainable and fun.” This personalized approach is what makes Noom stand out in the crowd of hundreds and hundreds of weight-loss apps.
If you make the financial and time commitment on your end to become a Noomer, make sure you are taking advantage of everything the app and program provide. Even if it means changing Noom coaches and keeping track of billing cycles.
- Noom Ranks as Top Trending Diet in 2018, According to Google - Year in Search, website, Dec 12, 2018 ,
- Adherence as a predictor of weight loss in a commonly used smartphone application, website, Apr 01, 2017 ,
- Successful weight reduction and maintenance by using a smartphone application in those with overweight and obesity, website, Nov 01, 2017 ,
- The key to weight loss might be right in the palm of your hand, website, Jun 01, 2018 ,