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Noom is a weight loss and nutrition support app that is designed to act as an all-in-one support to lose body fat by improving lifestyle behaviours such as diet and exercise.
We’ve seen it promoted across social media channels and seen that they have pretty strong user testimonials – so we thought we’d put the app to the test and sign ourselves up to a full membership.
Find out exactly how I got on with the app and whether or not it worked for me in my Noom review which I wrote over a series of weeks whilst using the app.
About This Noom Review – The Beginning
Before I get in to the full Noom review, it’s important to set the context. I’m a 41 year old male who works out 3-4 times per week. I already have a decent understanding of what a balanced nutritional plan looks like but I do sometimes struggle to keep my nutrition in check.
I stand at 6ft tall (182cm) and weigh just shy of 81kg – ideally I’d prefer that to be closer to 76kg and could do with dropping a few percentage points of body fat – nothing major, but some improvement is needed.
I don’t do any dedicated cardio exercise other than brisk walking and playing badminton once per week (sometimes once per fortnight) and I tend to focus on upper body strength based workouts at the gym.
I bought myself a 4 month plan to Noom to kick things off – and throughout this Noom review I will try and document exactly how the program works, what you can expect and if indeed it helped me reach my health and fitness goals.
Noom – How It Works
Noom is available across the globe, but so far as I know, the UK version of Noom is pretty similar to others – perhaps just with language differences.
The first time you head to the Noom website, you are greeted by a quiz. This is fairly in-depth and I imagine there are two reasons for this. The first being to gather as much data about you as possible to allow the Noom algorithm to start you on the right path, and the second being to get you feeling invested in the platform – the idea being, the more time you spend on the site, the more likely you are to sign up.
This is clever, and to be honest, the second reason I gave there could just be me being very cynical. As you progress through the questions, it does genuinely feel as if you are being guided and educated on what is likely most important for you.
In total, expect to spend somewhere between 10 and 15 minutes on the quiz before being greeted by the option to sign up. You can either opt for the 4 month plan at this stage or just go for the 14 day trial for £1.
If you are unsure whether Noom is right for you then I’d suggest you go for the £1 14 day trial as this will give you plenty of time to determine if the program is likely to work for you – and it’s relatively low risk at just £1.
Noom is not a diet. It is an app based program that is designed to educate you on nutrition but also address behaviours or triggers that can lead you to taking less positive behaviours that contribute to weight gain.
The Noom App – UK Version
Once you have signed up, you get full access to the Noom app. As mentioned, Noom is actually available in lots of countries across the world, so the UK version of the Noom app may look a little different if you are in Spain for example – but the basic premise should be the same.
It uses conditional logic to give you the information it thinks you need on a daily basis. So although the information is preset, it is personalised to your specific needs and your specific goals. This is important and is something that sets Noom apart from other plans.
The fact that Noom works from an app is also important – as it is highly convenient. You are expected to check in at least once each day but you can control how much time you commit to the process.
The average is 11 minutes and so I opted for that, but if you want less you can go less or if you have more time and want to learn faster then you can opt for longer session times.
When you consider how much time most people spend on their mobile phones in any given day, 11 minutes is easy to fit in and is going to be way more impactful for you than just swiping through TikTok.
These initial sessions are largely educational and are designed to give you tips on how best to manage your hunger through the day and make smarter choices when it comes to things like snacking or types of exercise to do and when.
Again, depending on what information you give it and how you perform in the mini recap quizzes, this will determine what information you get on a day by day basis.
The entire system is very interactive and the delivery of information is good. Whether you learn through visual or aural delivery – you should be good with Noom. Of course, you can also learn practically and you will be expected to check-in and log information about your meals, workouts and things such as water intake.
The logging is not strictly necessary if you use other apps such as MyFitnessPal for this, and the logging is not as intuitive as MyFitnessPal but it is important if you’ve never done it before.
The information that is delivered through the app is nothing particularly new, but it is delivered well and it is top tier information in terms of quality and accuracy.
When you think about how much awful and misleading information is available online when it comes to weight loss or nutrition, just having access to one high quality source for everything fast becomes very valuable.
It is also delivered in a concise way so those 11 minutes per day are supercharged with top quality information that could take you hours to get through on platforms such as YouTube.
When it comes to your nutrition, the first thing that Noom does is to try and educate you on sensible or clever food swaps, however there are no food types that are completely off the cards with the Noom plan.
Instead, you are governed by a daily calorie target and if your goal is weight loss then your daily calorie intake will be a slight deficit.
This is the basics of weight loss. In order to lose weight you need to consume less energy than you expend.
As mentioned previously, there is nothing groundbreaking about the methodology – but what is refreshing with Noom is that they don’t try to dress up weight loss as something complex or difficult.
They keep things simple which helps us as users to be successful in our weight loss efforts.
Essentially, you will be given a daily calorie target to stick to which will be made up of a certain percentage of macronutrients that will again be dependent on your goals.
For those looking to build or retain muscle, the protein levels will be higher – for those who are highly active, the carb levels might be higher and for those who are just looking to lose weight then carbs, protein and fats will be fairly balanced.
Of course, you will be given tips on how to stay under or at your daily calorie goal and ideas such as swapping an afternoon biscuit for a portion of grapes are ideal – as the thinking behind the swap is explained and essentially leads to greater satiation due to the water content.
Again – nothing revolutionary but good common sense advice that you can easily follow.
Mindset is one of the hardest things when it comes to nutrition – in particular if you fall off the wagon, it is easy to then stay off rather than get back on and follow the plan.
Noom really helped me in particular in this regard as I quickly realised that I didn’t have to completely limit certain foods from my diet, and if I did have a blowout I could see the impact but could easily claw that back within a few days.
The tracking will also be eye opening for anyone who hasn’t done it before. My advice here is to be strict with the tracking and log absolutely everything. Things such as cooking oils, sauces and dressings all soon add up and this is why many people think that their ‘diet’ is not working – tracking these allows you to see the difference it makes to your daily calorie intake.
Now of course, you could do all of the tracking without Noom – and for free – using an app such as MyFitnessPal. If you decide not to use Noom and your nutrition is important then I would definitely suggest you try a week at least of tracking your food and drink intake.
However, when you combine it with Noom, you get the motivation from the coaches and the information from the program to really support your daily nutrition so that you are not constantly feeling hungry and are also getting rewarded for your efforts.
Tracking Progress With Noom
Noom use the phrase – ‘progress over perfection’ – and this really does encapsulate what Noom is all about. It’s not about living an ultra-clean, unsustainable life and then giving up.
It’s about making the app and Noom program fit your life and about taking small steps to improve your current level of health and fitness.
We’ve probably all been on programs in the past that have been all or nothing – and then you end up giving up because, well, it’s just too damn hard.
That’s not what you are getting with Noom.
Rather, you are encouraged to improve day by day, and make progress over time. One bad day won’t throw you completely off course and the app is designed to keep you from self-destruction just because you’ve had one night out and finished it off with a kebab at 1am.
As mentioned, the app is used to track your food intake but it can also be used to track your steps and general energy expenditure.
I would encourage you to make use of this as it keeps everything in one place and will give the app the data it needs to know exactly what progress to expect.
The key here is honesty. The only thing I would suggest you are strict about when it comes to Noom is with your food – make sure you log absolutely everything you consume – that means meals, snacks, drinks (especially alcoholic drinks), oils, sauces and marinades – absolutely everything.
If you can do the same with your steps then you will be halfway there to making progress as the app does a brilliant job of motivating you.
Noom syncs with almost every step counting app you can think of and all the big step counters including FitBit, iHealth, Garmin, Misfit, Withings, Polar and Runkeeper to name just a few are there – and it works with both Android and iOS.
My Experience With Noom
At the time of writing I am 13 weeks in to using Noom. I wouldn’t say I’ve loved every second of it, but I have enjoyed the process on the whole.
There are days where you just can’t be bothered to check the app and I found that happened to me more around the 8-9 week mark, but for the whole I have really enjoyed the process and will continue to use it for another month or two at least.
The big question is – did it help me to lose weight without losing too much muscle?
And the answer is yes – I did lose weight and I’m pretty sure my body fat reduced by around 3% too. I have so far moved the needle on the scales from 79.9kg to 77.5kg – that’s more than two whole bags of sugar lighter than I was at the beginning.
Not only that, I look and feel so much better. I have more energy, I sleep better and I’ve not really changed much in terms of my exercise regime.
The thing I focus most on now when it comes to my exercise is how much I move on a daily basis. I always push to hit my step count and I make small changes to make that happen.
For example, instead of parking right outside the entrance to the gym, I park in the second car park which gives me a 60 second walk instead of a 10 second walk.
As I work from home I walk upstairs to use the bathroom instead of using the downstairs bathroom. These little changes and the switches I’ve made to my snacking have combined to have a significant impact on my overall health.
Could I have done this without Noom? Perhaps. But I don’t think I would have known why I was doing the things I was doing and the habits might not have formed quite so easily. Or it would have been easy to establish more negative habits or I would have found it harder to break the existing negative habits I had developed.
The whole system really is around mindset and habits – and when you couple that with the education you get from Noom then you are on to a winner.
If you engage with Noom and even just follow two thirds of what it suggests then I think you will have success with it. If you are starting from a point of knowing very little or from a position of wanting to lose perhaps more weight than I was then I think Noom will have an even more profound impact on you.
Additional Noom Benefits
Noom is designed to give you all of the tools you need to be successful in your weight loss journey. This of course starts with nutrition – but this is a scary place to begin for many people, especially those who say they can’t cook or who have no interest in it. Family and work commitments also come in to play here. Don’t worry, Noom has you covered.
You get access to Noom recipes that are tailored to your specific needs. These are all macro friendly and calculated to keep you feeling full, but within your calorie target. Many of the recipes were also incredibly delicious.
You can even access services to help with meal prep through the app itself – at an additional cost of course.
You also get access to personal health coaches. This is great for accountability and additional support if you feel you need it. I did use this a few times to check it out and the system worked well and was pretty responsive – although there are limitations.
The coaching is all conducted through a messenger service built in to the app. There is quite a wealth of studies that support virtual and face-to-face coaching as a marker for success when sticking to a diet or training plan.
So the fact that you get this included with Noom is a real plus and if you are the sort of person who needs those target setting and accountability check-ins then I would strongly urge you to make more use of this than I did.
The Bad Bits
On the whole, I had a very positive experience using Noom. But like anything, there are some areas to highlight that were not so great.
The first point I would make is that the content delivery (although works flawlessly) can sometimes feel a little patronising. Perhaps it’s because my level of knowledge is above the average, but I felt particularly the first week or two was a little boring at times. The quizzes help with this though and you quickly move to the appropriate level.
The food tracking for me was not as intuitive as I’m used to with MyFitnessPal – if only they could sync MyFitnessPal to Noom then they would have an absolute killer UI – it’s not horrendous, it’s just not what I’m used to using.
All of that being said, if you can dedicate 10-15 minutes per day to have a really positive impact on your health and fitness then Noom offers enough to make this possible.
Health and nutrition programs are ultimately judged on the results they make it possible to achieve. My results were impressive, and more so than any other program I have used before. Much more so than when I try and just track my own food and set my own fitness goals.
So on that basis, I would wholeheartedly recommend Noom.
However, it does also depend on your existing level of knowledge, where you are already at and what your goals are.
For those looking to build muscle, it can work, but it probably won’t be as effective as for someone who is looking to shed body fat. If you are the sort of person who needs accountability but you don’t want to do it publicly, then Noom is likely going to work wonders.
If you have bad habits and want some help to form batter habits – then again Noom is going to work well.
If you hate spending time on your phone, then it may not be for you – but if you are happy to swap 10 minutes per day from swiping through social media to actively improve your health and fitness levels by engaging with the Noom app then this is probably the right tool for you.
I’d certainly recommend at least trying the 14 day trial for £1 – after that, you will know whether the program is for you or not and you can then decide whether to commit.