The Noom app claims to use psychology and principles of motivation and adherence to help you lose weight. In this Noom review, we’ll tell you all about the app, the services it offers, the subscription model, and everything in between! All you need to do is to sit back and relax, while we guide you through our review.
So without further ado, let’s get started!
Key Takeaways & Highlights of Noom Review
Install the app if:
- You’re looking to create a better relationship with food;
- You’re OK with psychology heavy content;
- You don’t mind a structured course that requires you to complete lessons before you can unlock any more information.
Don’t install the app if:
- You’re looking for general fitness advice;
- You want more variety and not just weight loss related information;
- You already have healthy eating patterns;
- You’re looking for cheaper options.
Noom is a holistic weight loss app which uses psychology to create a customized plan for the user. It was founded in 2008 by Artem Petakov and Saeju Jeong. The app has been downloaded more than 10 million times and has an average rating of 4.7 on the App Store, and 4.4 on Play Store.
The app is free to download, but none of its services are free. Once the user has finished the intake questionnaire, they are asked to sign up for a paid trial to unlock their plan.
In this section of our Noom review, we’ll first look at what the app claims to do.
In essence, Noom is an app which creates healthy food habits that are sustainable long term. Noom’s plans are lengthy, and the longer duration with regular practice makes it easier to create lifelong habits.
The app provides motivation and guidance, and on signing up, you’ll be paired with a personal coach, a personalized health plan, and 24/7 support!
Noom’s approach is deeply rooted in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), a modality that has been widely used by psychologists to create lasting changes.
Noom doesn’t believe in quick fixes or fad diets. They are known for providing motivational quotes and encouragement to the user through the day to reinforce positive changes. They use a lot of quizzes, graphics, and other interactive aids to approach the topic in a lighthearted way. They will also send you articles to read in your spare time.
Your customized plan is formed in the following ways:
- By identifying food triggers
- By recognizing food habits and how they are related to behavior change
- By providing information and asking probing questions routinely
Therefore, their plans are not set in stone. They will evolve over time as your responses evolve. This makes Noom highly customizable.
In this section of our Noom review, we’ll walk you through the entire process of installing the app till you receive your customized plan. This review is based on version 9.46.3 on android.
Once the app has been installed, the user is asked to create a profile. They can use different ways such as email/Facebook/Google or by entering a Unique Program ID which is provided by their doctor, insurance company, or an employee health portal.
The first few steps are standard, and you’ll be asked to enter your personal details such as name, age, sex, current weight, and goal weight. You’ll then be asked to choose a program intensity – easy, average, or intense.
The intake questionnaire focuses on three sections:
- Demographic profile
- Habits & behaviors
- Activity and nutrition
Let’s go through each of these sections and see the kind of questions you might be asked.
- Demographic profile: The app will ask you how much help you need on your weight loss journey, the kinds of food you currently eat and how they make you feel, and how often you eat. The next questions are focused on any existing health conditions that you may have. Please note: Noom makes it clear that the app is not intended to be used by individuals suffering from eating disorders, or extreme food related issues.
- Habits & behaviors: these involve usual questions such as any recent lifestyle changes, history with weight loss attempts, and the impact of weight on your social life.
- Activity and nutrition: The app will ask about your highest priority and the reason behind it. Other details required are possible dietary restrictions or food allergies, and current dietary habits. You’ll be asked to enter your familiarity with CBT, if motivation is an issue, current state of mind and biggest fears about losing weight.
The app asks a lot of questions about eating habits, including cravings and what triggers them.
After every section, Noom creates a weight loss graph for you, with a possible time frame. However, depending on your answers in the next section, the app might add or reduce the duration. It should be noted that the questionnaire is extremely detailed and long drawn, and the user has no way of knowing if the app is right for them. It’s a lot of mental investment without knowing if it’s worth it.
Once the final time frame has been generated, the user is asked to choose a 14-day trial price which ranges from £1 – £14.41.
Core Features of Noom
Noom is an information heavy app, and there’s no doubting that. There’s a lot to take in, but you don’t have to do it alone! We put on our reading glasses and did all the studying so you can make an informed decision by simply reading our Noom review.
Let us look at the main concepts that Noom’s philosophy is based on!
Noom’s color system
According to Noom, the calorie density of a particular food is more important than the calories itself. A particular food can be high in calories and still not make you feel full. Or it can have lesser calorie content but can keep you full for longer. Calorie density is the concept that Noom’s plans are based on. To make things easier, the app categorizes food as the following: green, yellow, and red.
- Green foods are the least calorie dense and contain the highest concentration of healthy nutrients. They can be consumed in bulk, and are mostly found in fruits, veggies, and whole grains.
- Yellow foods contain less healthy nutrients and more calories than green foods. These should be eaten in moderation and are found in low fat dairy, lean meats, and legumes.
- Red foods contain the highest calorie density or the lowest amount of healthy nutrients. Examples include red meat and desserts, cheese They fill you up with a lot of calories but don’t leave you feeling full.
There are no good or bad foods according to Noom. You don’t have to give up on your favorite foods to benefit from their plans.
A healthy diet using Noom’s color system
Noom suggests the following distribution in your diet, which would look something like this:
- Green – 30%
- Yellow – 45%
- Red – 25%
It’s important to note that the app doesn’t ask you to eliminate red or yellow foods altogether. Instead, the majority of the distribution is given to yellow and green foods, which makes eating healthy a lot easier. The app also mentions that the color system should not be taken literally but used in context. So, while you can eat green foods in larger quantities, you need to be careful about how much red foods you eat. You can, however, continue eating it in moderation.
A healthy diet for most of us would contain mostly yellow foods, and by giving the maximum weightage to yellow, Noom indeed promotes a diet plan that is feasible for most.
The color system can be used in different ways: to make better food choices in the present, analyze earlier choices, and put a plan in motion for the future.
Moreover, when you log a food using Noom, the app will automatically let you know what category it falls under. So, it takes the guesswork out of the picture when you’re just starting to use this feature.
Calorie budget & coins
Remember the lengthy questionnaire you filled up initially? Noom uses that information to formulate a calorie budget for you. By using a set of nifty equations, the app calculates:
- Your current daily calorie burn
- Using the calorie burn and keeping in mind your weight goal, Noom creates a calorie deficit which is usually about 500 calories less than your current intake
- This budget is then customized. For women the minimum budget is 1200 calories and for men it is 1400 calories.
What Noom calls a calorie budget is a very standard concept in weight loss – weight loss happens when there’s a calorie deficit (within healthy ranges of course!)
Noom coins are currency you receive when you finish all your required tasks in a day, that is, all the lessons, logging meals, and tracking water intake.
Now that we’ve covered what the core concepts are, let’s look at the structure of your plan.
There are four stages in a Noom plan:
- Novice – beginners with a basic understanding of psychology
- Apprentice– the stage where the users start to understand Noom’s philosophy and starts applying it in their lives
- Scholar – this is an intermediate stage where changes begin to show, and
- Expert – a ‘Noomer’ who fully understands food psychology and is in control of their food choices.
The plan consists of 10 mini courses, each ending with a quiz. You’re required to work on the lessons everyday for 10 mins. It takes a total of 16 weeks to get to the elite status, which can obviously change based on the efforts put in by the user.
This section will have you design Your Big Picture by finding the answers to the following –
- Your Super Goal: this is where you set a goal and reason for using Noom
- Your Ultimate Why: this is the driving force that makes you show up everyday
- How your life will be different: As the name suggests, you’ll be encouraged to create a mental picture of how Noom can transform your life.
Noom understands that motivation isn’t constant. Instead of holding the user to impossible standards, Noom says roadblocks are to be expected.
A motivation SOS plan has three parts – the warning sign, the danger zone, and the reaction. The user is asked to recognize warning signs and contact their coaches for help. If you set up the SOS plan with your email or phone number, your coach will reach out to you.
You can use this feature to log food, water, and steps daily and earn Noom Coins.
Noom has a huge collection of recipes which are grouped in categories like breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks.
Subscription & Paid Plans
In this section of our Noom review, let’s look at what the payment plans are.
Noom doesn’t offer free trials. However, they might have occasional promotional offers where you’ll be given a free trial. Noom will give you a price point based on the plan it recommends to you, so you must go through the questionnaire to get yours!
When we initially signed up, we received a 2-month plan priced at £59 post trial.
However, when we used the promotional offer to finish our subscription, we were put on a 6-month plan priced at £159! Our answers were the same, so it’s difficult to say what changed! Of course, the longer you stay subscribed, the more you pay!
There are various upgrades throughout; if you wish to include a custom exercise and meal plan to your membership, you can do so by paying an additional $36.75.
Noom vs. Other Apps: is it better than the alternatives?
In this section of our Noom review, we’ll compare it with a few other apps in the market – Sworkit, Asana Rebel, and Headspace.
Sworkit is mostly a workout-based app with over 500 bodyweight routines available in its library. They are like Noom both in their subscription model (both are expensive) and the amount of customization that is provided to the user. Both also put their users with a 1-on-1 coach to help them stay fit.
Asana Rebel is another app that is mostly focused on workouts with some nutritional advice as well. They provide a lot of lifestyle content and elaborate tracking logs like Noom.
Headspace focuses on stress management and breathing. They provide educational content in stress reduction as well as meditations and sleep. They create long term results, just like Noom does.
Final Review of Noom and Summary
In this section of our Noom review, we’ll wrap up our thoughts and give you a final snapshot of what you can expect from the app.
- Noom is purely a weight loss app. Their demographic is clear and doesn’t offer too many distractions for the user
- Daily reminders to stay on track
- The app teaches you to recognize your food triggers and use CBT skills to stick to a diet plan
- They don’t focus on fad diets and encourage eating in moderation
- Access to a personal coach and 24/7 support
- The user is encouraged to become an expert in their food habits and make right decisions on their own
- The questionnaire is very time consuming, and the user is expected to provide a lot of personal details upfront without trying out the app
- There is no free trial and plans are expensive
- You need to make an upfront payment for your plan. There is no monthly subscription
- The minimum allowance of 1200 calories for women and 1400 calories for men can be very low in some cases
- The user is expected to weigh themselves every day, which can increase obsessions with their weight
If your primary concern is with weight loss and creating long term change, and you’re willing to pay upfront for an expensive plan, then Noom might be worth a try.
To download the app, follow the links below: