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Noom Review: An Honest Assessment from 5 Different Perspectives

Kelly Wright
ByKelly WrightSep 23, 2021 | 0 comments

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When you think of weight loss and living a healthy lifestyle, what is the first thing that comes to mind? Is it getting outside more? Hitting the gym three times a week? Eating more fruits and veggies? How about behavioral psychology? Yeah, don’t worry, that’s not the first thing that comes to our mind either! But that’s exactly what Noom, a weight loss app, uses to try and help you reach your goals, with its psychology-based approach to change your eating habits for the better.

Skeptical? Well, so are we. We’ve read your comments and decided we needed to do a deep dive into the world of Noom. And we aren’t talking about a dive into a pool that has a ten-foot deep end. We are talking about a full-blown submarine dive to the Titanic sort of expedition. We want to know everything from Noom’s successes to their dirty little secrets. (Anyone else thinking about Rose and Jack sneaking off right now?)

We had 6 of our co-workers, all with different weight loss goals and health journeys, try out the app and asked them to check in with us after 30, 60, and 90 days. We wanted them to trial every aspect of the Noom app, from the recipes and food logs, to interacting with their coach and syncing Noom with their existing devices.

Beyond the details of what the Noom app is and how it works, we also wanted to get their thoughts on how they felt when using the app. Was it supportive? Did they achieve their goals? Or did it bring back past issues and highlight existing tendencies?

As we mentioned, we have read your comments. We know that Noom is controversial and has an array of both success and total flop stories. We know that it has brought back past demons for a few of you, while for others it’s changed your life for the better. We also know it’s not cheap, and asking you to sign up for something that has such a wide variety of experiences is just not fair.

After our reviews of Noom, we believe you will have a much better understanding on whether the weight loss app is right for you. We will be looking at and critiquing the good, the bad, the ugly (and pretty!) of everything Noom has to offer.

What Is Noom?

Noom is a digital health application that uses behavioral science to change the way you think about food, weight loss, and your overall health. They believe that using psychology to change a person’s behavior is the best way to achieve an outcome that will prevent them from falling back into their old, unhealthy routines. So, while weight loss is the most obvious goal for most Noom app users, it will also focus on your mental health, and having a more positive relationship with food in general.

The psychology approach behind the Noom app is called CBT, which stands for cognitive behavioral therapy. Basically, this therapy is a scientifically proven method driven to help people overcome unhealthy ways of thinking, breaking bad and unhelpful habits, and learning positive ways to cope with problems. The Noom app uses this therapeutic approach in their daily lesson plans to help users see a more positive outlook not just with food, but with life in general. A by-product of this is actually weight loss and a happier mental being.

Does CBT actually work? Well, Noom certainly thinks so! They employ a scientific advisory board made up of doctors and professors who together have written over 30 published peer reviews for Noom on the topic of both CBT and digital health applications. Honestly, the peer reviews are far more advanced than what I tend to prefer to read, but knowing they are there, and the research was not just thrown together haphazardly, is a reassurance that I appreciate it.

So, this all sounds great right? Well, just know that you have to dedicate time to this. The entire program revolves around the fact that when you make small, daily changes to your behavior, over time those changes will result in a big outcome. But it will not happen overnight.

Noom is also growing quickly and an accidental email send proved that they are also looking into tele-health appointments for certain users. Which isn’t really surprising, as they do have multiple psychologists and scientists on staff. With the health industry being worth trillions of dollars, this seems to be a natural step.

How Does Noom Work?

At its most basic level, the Noom app works off a very simple premise: they give their users the tools and insights they need to succeed through education and awareness. It’s basically the old fishing proverb: “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day, teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.” The Noom app is aiming to do just that by teaching its users which foods give them fuel, which foods will fill them up, and why they choose to eat the foods they do.

At a much more advanced level, Noom goes into quite a bit of behavioral psychology in order to put users’ goals within reach. One of the core features of the Noom app is the different lessons and daily tasks that it asks users to go through. The lessons try to intimately connect with people by teaching them that one’s food decisions are not by pure happenstance. They are made up by a very complicated web of individual past experiences, current situations, and future goals. By recognizing that everything from friendships and social interactions to sleep patterns and daily work schedules affect  health and overall weight, slowly but surely, those routines can be broken up to form new, healthier ones.

So, how does this all work exactly? Well, each day you are supposed to wake up, weigh yourself, log your meals, log your exercises, and go through your daily lesson plans. Over time, as you log more and more foods, you will start to become more familiar with which foods are good and which foods are bad. The lesson plans work in conjunction with your food choices, and are meant to help you change your behavior through small goals and successes. The app will send supportive messages through their own internal messaging service, or through texts on your phone if you choose that instead. There are differing opinions as to whether these messages are helpful and supportive or cheesy and annoying… but hey, to each their own!

While the Noom app does have its own pedometer, it also allows you to hook up your other fitness devices or apps in order to help keep track of your activity level. The current devices and apps it is compatible with are listed below:

  • Google Fit
  • Fitbit
  • Garmin Connect
  • iGlucose
  • iHealth
  • Misfit
  • Omron
  • Polar
  • Qardio
  • RunKeeper
  • Withings
  • Yoo

In addition to these, you will also have your own personal coach who you can message at any time (during the week at least!), and they can help guide you either through the app or with food and health questions. The app also has a support group with other Noom users going through the app that you can message and chat with. It’s a nice perk if you need a little extra support.

What Is the Noom Diet?

The Noom diet is a color-coded system that categorizes food according to their caloric density. While this may sound similar to counting calories, it’s actually very different and a much more well-rounded way to eat.

One of the biggest reasons people fail when trying a new diet is simply that they are just plain hungry. A lot of diets will have you eating a very specific number of calories in order to lose weight. Which on the surface makes sense, right? If you eat less calories than the amount you burn, you will lose weight. But these diets don’t take into account your satiety and fullness levels. Are you satisfied with your meal? Are you happy and and completely full? Because if not, we all know those Oreo cookies in the back of the pantry are going to be doing a little dance party and singing your name in a couple hours.

Noom will also give you a daily maximum of calories they want you to eat, however they aim to teach you which foods will help keep you within that allotment AND make you feel full. One of the examples Noom gives in the caloric density lesson is a comparison of grapes to raisins. Five raisins and five grapes have approximately the same amount of calories, however the grapes are going to fill you up much more because of the amount of water in them. This means the caloric density of the grapes is going to be much lower than the caloric density of the raisins. So, basically… skip the old, wrinkly guys and go for the young, juicy ones!

Here’s the good news with all of this: you actually get to eat a lot of food. It just has to be the right food. When using the Noom app, you will see the food divided into three colors: green, yellow, and red.

Unlike a traffic light, the red doesn’t necessarily mean stop. There are technically no off-limit foods in the Noom diet. The red just means that particular food has a high caloric density, and you need to seriously limit that intake. The visuals on the Noom app are also great for teaching you that, while yes, that piece of chocolate was ok to eat, it also just blew your entire red allotment. Sometimes we need to actually see things visualized in order to process it and make better decisions in the future.

The yellow foods are meant to be eaten in moderation. This category seems to confuse the most amount of people, myself included. Foods that I thought would be considered green were in fact, yellow. For example, my Chobani Lowfat Greek Yogurt drink is actually considered a yellow food. Meaning for the 140 calories I drank, it didn’t fill me up as much as it should or give me the best nutritional benefits.

The green foods basically mean “game on”! Find the foods you love that are also in the green zone and load up! These foods will keep you full, have a great nutritional value, and a low caloric density. Many of these are the usual suspects (fruit and veggies), but when you combine these with a few of the yellow foods, you actually can make some healthy and very satisfying meals.

Noom also comes with a handy recipe list that is color-coded, showing you exactly which recipes have which colors and how much of each. All of us can have those days where we are just too exhausted to think about much more than getting home and relaxing for a bit. If you have logged your foods throughout the day, the recipes will also show you which ones stay within your calorie allotment. Of course, you have to have those ingredients on hand, but it is a great way to really get you thinking about what to buy at the store in order to make those nights just a tiny bit easier!

Noom Reviews From 5 Different Perspectives

We know everyone is different and that not every single weight loss program is going to work for everyone out there. After all, if it was that easy, the health industry wouldn’t be worth billions of dollars! Losing weight and getting healthy is hard. But what is even harder is keeping that lifestyle change for the long haul. Noom promises results, so we wanted to see if they could deliver.

We had initially planned to have six reviewers try out the weight loss app and check in at 30 days, 60 days, and 90 days to see what their experience with Noom was like and give you honest, in-depth perspectives to help you decide if Noom is right for you. Our sixth reviewer had actually ended up pulling out because she was concerned that it was conjuring bad habits and tendencies (a notion that resonates for many users, including our own MSA community). This reviewer found that weighing herself daily had caused concern for triggering an eating disorder. As this is the last thing that any of us want, we have supported her decision to discontinue involvement in this review. And so there were five. Let’s meet them:

Noom Review From Salina

I will read pretty much any article about health and wellness, and this concept of caloric density was new and novel to me. It resonated with me. It changed my behavior overnight. I also find the habit around weighing myself daily to be a game changer. I feel like I am way less judgmental about it. I don’t need the annual surprise at the doctor’s office.

If I could improve one part of the experience so far, it would be a closer tie to how I’m working out with what I’m eating. What is the best thing to eat to refuel me for the type of workout that I’m doing?

Read Salina’s full review for a more in-depth impression about their experience. 

Noom Review From Jessica

I think my favorite thing so far with Noom is that they still have information that is new for me to learn. I thought I knew it all by now, given how long I have obsessed and negatively thought about myself and my weight, but I still am able to go through the courses and learn new things.

Noom asks a lot of questions during the sign-up process, and honestly, towards the end, it started to stress me out. At one point in the process, it gives you a timeline and an estimated amount of weight you could lose if you followed the plan. Noom told me it thought I could lose 70 pounds in 10 months. That seemed like an unrealistic timeline.

Read Jessica’s full review for a more in-depth impression about their experience. 

Noom Review From Geraldine

I’m not a fan of dieting or following strict calorie counting methods to lose weight. So, I was hoping Noom would provide alternatives to start losing weight without obsessing over everything I ate. For transparency, I’m currently at 133 pounds. While I know that’s within my healthy weight threshold, I know I felt better about my body (and myself) when I was 125 pounds, so that’s my goal. 

So far, there’s one element of the app that I’ve clearly enjoyed: their personal coach. When you start the journey, you’re assigned a personal coach, in my case Olivia, who is there to guide you like a weight-loss god fairy. She was there to answer any questions, concerns, and information I needed to know from the app, the journey, or really anything at all. 

Read Geraldine’s full review for a more in-depth impression about their experience. 

Noom Review From Kelly

I’ve come to realize that how you look on the outside is completely different from how you feel on the inside. That old saying, don’t judge a book by its cover, is so very, very true. And despite still being able to fit into my clothes from yesteryear, I actually felt pretty blah on the inside and not very comfortable in my own skin. I wanted that to change.

Overall, I’m still on the fence with the app. I’m finding it hard to really use it on a daily basis and I refuse to weigh myself every day like Noom suggests as I don’t want to develop bad habits. I try and log my food daily, but it can be hard when either the food doesn’t match up or I have so many ingredients in something that it takes too long to add. Many times, I have found myself giving up on that part.

Read Kelly’s full review for a more in-depth impression about their experience. 

Noom Review From Nancy

My first 30 days using Noom have been an overwhelmingly positive experience. The biggest value I get out of Noom is the calorie tracking, caloric density color breakdown, daily step counter, and weight tracking. I use the app nearly every day. At minimum, I record my weight after waking up and log my food nearly every day.

I also love that each Noom lesson comes in bite sized (1-4 minute) chunks because the format just makes them so accessible and easy to read. They’re usually quick articles on psychology (which I enjoy), or education on food, dieting, and general health (which are helpful), or celebratory motivational pieces (which are meh).

Read Nancy’s full review to read a more in-depth impression about their experience. 

Does Noom Work? Is Noom Worth It?

After only 30 days, it might be too soon to pass judgement on the Noom application and how it is affecting our health journeys. It seems as if a couple of us have been pretty happy after the initial 30 days, while others are still on the fence about whether this is right for them. We also seem to enjoy different parts of Noom and for entirely different reasons, which has been interesting to see how this all unfolds for everyone.

The Pros

These were the things we loved about our Noom experience:

  • Everyone agrees that the psychology-based lessons are a huge bonus and pretty much a game changer in the health and fitness app world. While we disagree about the tone of the lessons, some of us finding it funny and cute and others finding it cringe-worthy and full of “dad jokes”, we all thought they were one of the best areas of the entire application
  • The coach hasn’t been used frequently by all of us, but we all agree its a nice perk to have and great to be able to reach out when you have a question or on a down day when you need a little bit of extra encouragement.
  • It’s nice to know you have a community of other like-minded individuals who support your weight loss goals within the group community function.

The Cons

There were a few downsides that we experienced when trying Noom:

  • All of us had issues with logging our food. Either the option wasn’t there, the nutritional value didn’t match, or there were too many ingredients to list. On one occasion, the entire barcode was entered incorrectly and gave us an entirely different food option after scanning it. This area definitely needs to be tightened up and made more user friendly.
  • If you have an Apple watch, the two apps seem to link together pretty seamlessly. However, the Noom pedometer didn’t work for all of us. Mine is usually in my back pocket or in my purse unless I’m using it and those steps were definitely never counted.
  • A few of us requested the personalized workout and meal plan, yet none of us ever received it or even any additional information on it despite trying multiple times.

How Does Noom Compare To Other Digital Health Tools?

Noom Vs WW (Weight Watchers)

WW, fomerly known as Weight Watchers, has ventured into the psychology and behavioral based health application space, and now offers their own version. Both Noom and WW are similar in their approach, but with a few distinctions.

Online Assessment: Both have similar online assessments, although WW has a larger variety of answers.

Online Tools: Both have access to digital coaches, online community support, and recipes.

  • Noom has daily lessons and tasks that you need to read through that are supposed to help you change the way you think about food and healthy living.
  • WW has additional workout tools and a unique Whats In Your Fridge tool that finds recipes for you based on what’s already in your fridge.

Choosing What to Eat: Noom uses the Green, Yellow, and Red categories for foods while WW uses a point system.

  • Noom uses caloric density to determine which foods fall into which color coded category. The foods and categories will not change regardless of how much you want to use. Which is great for knowing what to eat once you stop using the app.
  • The WW app uses points and divides individuals into one of three groups: Green, Blue, Purple. Depending on which group you get placed in, determines what and how much you are allowed to eat. There are also zero point foods as well as fitness points when you work out.

Pricing:

  • Currently, the Noom app is $66.35 per month on an auto-recurring month-to-month subscription. If you pay in advance, the price drops significantly ($199 for the year).
  • WW has a tiered plan, the basic digital – $15.00, digital 360 – $20.00, unlimited workshops + digital – $25.80

Noom Vs MyFitnessPal

MyFitnessPal is, at its core, a calorie counter, however they also now offer a premium version that gives users more help and advice. If you are looking for something that is free and simple, then the basic version will serve you well. The difference between Noom and the premium version of MyFitnessPal is basically the lessons that Noom provides. Which to be fair, is pretty much a novelty when it comes to fitness applications.

Online Assessment: Noom has an in-depth assessment, while MyFitnessPal is very basic.

Online Tools: Both apps allow you to link up to other fitness applications and log your food and exercise. I actually found MyFitnessPal to have a larger variety in workouts than Noom did, which I was pleasantly surprised by.

MyFitnessPal will also offer up online workouts for those days that you just can’t make it to the gym, which is something I believe Noom is lacking in.

Noom wins in the education department, as no other app actually takes the time to teach you about the “why” behind your decisions.

MyFitnessPal is basically a calorie counter. The premium version will break down the food for you, however into the good and bad parts.

Pricing: I was actually given two different prices for MyFitnessPal, which I found quite aggravating. On my desktop version it told me was $49.99 for the year or a monthly cost of $9.99. On the mobile app, it wanted to charge me $79.99 for the year or $19.99 per month. So, this is definitely something I would want to look into before subscribing! Alternatively, the Noom app is $66.35 per month on an auto-recurring month-to-month subscription. If you pay in advance, the price drops significantly ($199 for the year).

How Much Does Noom Cost?

So, what is the full cost of Noom? Here is the breakdown of current prices that Noom costs per month. Please note, these are subject to change, and they will send out deals and offers periodically.

Monthly auto-renewing – $66.35

2 month auto-renewing – $99

3 month auto-renewing – $129

4 month auto-renewing – $139

5 month auto-renewing – $149

6 month auto-renewing – $159

7 month auto-renewing – $169

8 month auto-renewing – $179

Annual auto-renewing plan – $199

Phew! That seems like a bit of doozy for the options, but I suppose the more, the merrier?

In addition to these monthly prices, you also have the option to purchase an add-on for a personalized recipe and workout plan for $49. To be completely honest here, despite requesting this multiple times, no one in our review group was sent the personalized plan, so we do not have any first hand knowledge to give you on this. We are also hearing though that the Noom “personalized” plan is just a basic PDF print-out, so I guess we aren’t too upset by this. Probably best to skip this additional package for the time being, until they can really provide a great experience here.

The Verdict

Whether or not Noom works and is worth the price, is still up in the air. So far, we all agree that the lessons are one of the best parts, but we aren’t sure if that makes it worth the price on its own or not. Salina and Nancy have enjoyed Noom most overall and found it the most beneficial, while Kelly so far, could take it or leave it.

Noom is, at its core, a weight loss application that takes a different and novel approach to help people lose weight through the Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) lessons. If you are not interested in the psychology-based lessons, then you might want to look into other weight loss apps.

Our views and opinions may change however, as we dive more into the world of Noom, so stay tuned and check back here often as we will update this article monthly!

Noom is a weight loss app that uses psychology to change your eating habits for the better through a structured curriculum with education, interactive challenges, weekly weight logging, daily good logging, virtual support, and more. Their pricing starts at $66.35/month, but depending on your onboard... read more.
Kelly Wright
Kelly Wright
Kelly is a travel-loving mom to two very active little boys (3 if you count her husband!) and loves finding new products or subscriptions that will fit into their family's active lifestyle. When she is not planning their next trip or outdoor adventure, you can find her on the couch in comfy pants, drinking a glass of wine, and hunting down her next binge-worthy series.

Kelly Wright
Kelly Wright
Kelly is a travel-loving mom to two very active little boys (3 if you count her husband!) and loves finding new products or subscriptions that will fit into their family's active lifestyle. When she is not planning their next trip or outdoor adventure, you can find her on the couch in comfy pants, drinking a glass of wine, and hunting down her next binge-worthy series.
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Our reviewers research, test, and recommend the best subscriptions and products independently; click to learn more about our editorial guidelines. We may receive commissions on purchases made through links on our site.