Talking about weight and body image isn’t easy for anyone. My body image struggles are not the same as your struggles, just as your struggles may not be the same as those of you sister, your best friend, etc.. Conversations about weight and body image are very personal, every woman has a weight/size/level of fitness where she is happiest and most comfortable.
Being in my late-30s now, I see weight and size differently than I did in my 20s or early 30s. I no longer care what number is on the tag in my jeans. If they fit and they look good, that’s all that matters. I don’t want to diet all the time, but I do want to eat more vegetables and healthy foods because my body deserves them. And I no longer shape my expectations for my body based on what society thinks women should look like.
But that doesn’t mean that I’m happy with my body all the time.
In the run up to my wedding last year, I knew that I wanted to use that motivation to go back to the gym. I was very clear with my trainer that I did not care what I weighed on my wedding day. There was no pound or size goal at the end of the rainbow. I wanted to feel good about my body based on the work I was putting in to take care of it.
I put on my wedding dress weighing the same 140lbs that I weighed three months before, but I was significantly stronger and more toned. I felt genuinely good about my body for the first time in five years.
Then, COVID happened.
With no gym to go to and increasing food delivery bills, the body I had worked so hard for went away in a hurry. And I felt awful about it.
I bought a Peloton, but motivation and time are fleeting. I went back to the gym as soon as it opened, but the hunger just isn’t there. And frankly, tacos are delicious, and exactly what I want when my job, my marriage, my mental health, and my home are all upended right now.
So when I saw a commercial for Noom, I figured why the hell not. Clearly part of the problem is in my head, maybe Noom can help me tame that part.
Like a lot of people, I often make unconscious choices about food and exercise. I don’t often think about what I’m eating in terms of calories or nutrition. And I have never been good about exercising as a regular practice.
Noom makes software to help change that. Their app contains a calorie and weight tracker, step counter and exercise log, but it is much more than that. Every day, the app gives you five-minutes of simple exercises that educate you about nutrition, the psychology behind food choices, and decision-making around exercise.
The first thing you do with Noom is set a weight loss goal. It can be as big or as small as you want to make it. You can try to do it with speed or at an easier pace. The app coaches you through the process so you choose a goal that is reasonable and achievable.
The first two weeks, logging daily calories sucked. It felt like reporting to a hall monitor. But that subsided. As I learned how many calories were in a lot of my favorite meals, I figured out how to budget the calories I was allotted each day better.
Noom also has an interesting tracker that rates foods as red, yellow and green. (You can see the chart here.) No foods are off limits, but you learn how to balance the different kinds of food better.
Think about eating raisins vs. grapes. Neither is bad for you, but you can eat a lot of grapes and consume fewer calories than you would with a small serving of raisins. And once you start thinking about food swaps that way, and shopping in a way that prepares for those swaps, eating habits change quickly.
I will tell you that there are days when I hate the Noom education slides. Where I’m just like skim, swipe, skim, swipe, yay, we’re done. And there are even weeks where I don’t do them at all. Not one. And it’s fine, you can go back to them later.
I kept excellent track of my calories and exercise for two months, then, as work got busier, I stopped. For two weeks, just full stop. But then I started up again, and it was no big deal. I didn’t feel any shame in quitting. I certainly didn’t need to hide from an app or ask for its forgiveness. I just started again.
As for results, I had great results during the time I was diligent about using the app. I lost five pounds, and I kept it off. My results went up for a while when our kitchen was ripped out and I lost the ability to cook. But we’re back to eating at home, I’m back to Noom, and this week, I’ve lost two pounds.
But the difference between my weight loss with Noom and not on Noom is the way I think about it. I don’t feel guilty. I don’t feel pressured. I don’t feel like I’m failing if I quit for a minute.
I also think more about what I’m eating in a way that feels healthy and positive, not in a if-you-eat-that-pizza-after-you-ate-tacos-for-lunch-you-are-an-ogre kind of way. I am choosing healthier food and I am learning to stop eating when I’m full. And that has made a big difference for my occasionally toxic relationship with food (Hello, fellow eaters of your feelings, welcome!).
Noom is not cheap. An annual plan is just over $200. Mostly plans run $59+. I bought the annual plan because I felt like even if I didn’t stick with it, I was losing a static amount of money and not doing that thing where you forget to cancel month-after-month until you’ve spent $150 unwittingly. But if you’ve tried everything else, this might be a good option for you.
Did I have radical, life changing results? No. Will my body look like J.Los by next summer? No. But do I feel better about the choices I’m making, and am I happy with my modest, but lasting, results. Yes, yes I am.
If you want to start Noom, I would recommend starting now and not after the holidays. Having that foundation of positive thinking going into the eating and sitting season will help you keep any holiday weight gain at bay or minimal. Because once you think about food a little differently and have a way to hold yourself accountable, it does get a little easier. The program still won’t work if you don’t do it (though you don’t have to be militant about it), but it does work.
Have you tried Noom? Leave your thoughts in the comments.