At this time of year people think about the new year and changes they may want to make. A popular area of focus is diet and weight loss and the New Year is a busy time for the weight loss and exercise industries.
Many people may consider subscribing to Noom, so I’m going to share my experiences from my subscription from the past 20 months or so with you.
In the past few months there have been changes to the way Noom engages with and supports their Noomers (clients). I have had a lot of positive experiences with Noom, but the recent changes have been unsettling and many Noomers are unhappy with the changes and say they are unlikely to renew their subscriptions. I feel the same way. However, I want to present a fair review rather than producing something that would be more of a rant. This way, I hope I provide enough information so that people considering a Noom subscription have a fair idea of what they’re signing up for, and can make an informed decision.
These are all my own opinions and are not endorsed or sponsored by Noom in any way.
What are the positives of Noom
There are many aspects to Noom that make it a strong proposition if you’re considering changing your habits around eating or exercise. The catalyst for me starting with Noom in the spring of 2021 was to increase my energy levels and become fitter. Across a 3 month period I lost a total of 44lbs and achieved what I set out to do. I then realised I could achieve so much more, hence why I’m still with Noom.
Noom is based on psychology
The first difference I noticed with Noom is they will not give you a diet to follow but guide you to make healthier choices, but the focus of the programme is psychology – NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming) in particular. When you sign up to Noom you work your way through a course. In theory this should take 16 weeks, but I found that too intensive and had to slow down. You are not actually under pressure to work to a pace set by anyone other than yourself.
As I said, the programme is built around psychology. You learn about your motivations, understand your habits, learn how to break them and set new ones. It all sounds so easy, but its probably the most challenging thing too. The focus of Noom is to help guide you to make lifestyle changes, changes that will be sustainable – so returning to psychology – developing routines and habits, changing your way of thinking so that you make better, healthier choices in life – what you eat, how and when you exercise. It really is a holistic lifestyle approach building a healthier life rather than simply focusing on following an eating plan or the number on the scale. There is also an emphasis on making choices that are going to be sustainable for you and that you can live with forever.
You can work at your own pace
As I highlighted above, you set your own pace. You decide how quickly or slowly you want to work and if you decide you want to spend longer focusing on embedding habits etc, no-one is going to tell you to do it quicker. Changing mindset, and establishing new habits and routines takes time. With Noom you are assigned a Goal Coach/Specialist Coach who works with you to set goals weekly which you work towards. Initially I found that setting goals every week wasn’t working for me – my habits etc weren’t being established and I’d forget the previous habit when I moved onto the next. I spoke with my coach and now we take things more slowly.
It may be taking me a lot longer than I expected to achieve my goals but I am working at a pace that is comfortable for me. That is realistic and where I can achieve my goals. With Noom there is no pressure to move more quickly or to achieve more than I am. You are in the driving seat with total control.
You have group support to help you
We use an App to access the Noom features – you track your activities, you log your food and your weight etc all through the app. As well as the tools on the app, we also have a support network through the group system offered by Noom. This changed recently and they now use a system called “Circles”. They’re subject/topic specific groups and Noomers can opt into any of the groups they are interested in. (I joined a group for Teachers, one for people with sleep problems and a couple of others. It would be my advice not to sign up to too many groups until you find your feet as they can be overwhelming at first.
Becoming part of the right group, and engaging with them, can be very rewarding and can be an invaluable support network for Noomers. It can also help with accountability.
One of the disadvantages of the previous group system seems to have been that it could be hit or miss whether the group you were assigned to was effective. This new system of circles should be better as you will be joining active groups, and you can see how active the groups are.
You will have a personal, specialist coach assigned
The final part of the Noom package is the coach you work with individually. I’ve had a few coaches in my time with Noom – some have been brilliant, some not so much. I would say that they are great to provide a bit of a nudge and for you to bounce ideas around. Equally if there’s something you are struggling with, you can talk to your coach or post a message with your team.
The one thing I would say is that although the coaches communicate via a chat system, the responses are not instant – Noom would say that its more like email communications. Generally I’ll post a message, knowing that it’ll be 24-48 hours before they respond. But from experience, I would also say that if its urgent, my coach will respond more quickly. However, I would probably post in my group chat if I really needed support quickly or urgently.
From my experiences, I would suggest that once you’ve established what you want/need from Noom and the relationship with your coach, you should tell them. When I have done this, it has been more productive and my feeling is this is one of the major strengths of working with Noom; that you have this level of individual ongoing support. It is beneficial to have this impartial support and a voice to question your thinking when appropriate.
What are the negatives of using Noom
While there are a lot of benefits to going with Noom, there are some drawbacks too which should be considered too.
There’s not a plan to follow
If you are the type of person that needs a structure or wants someone to tell you what to do, this might not be the answer for you. However, I believe that the Noom approach would be more effective in the long term, but you would have to set your own goals and make all the decisions, setting your own direction.
Changes in the way support is given
As I mentioned above, Noom made some changes recently. New Noomers won’t actually know about the way things were previously, but the changes introduced have upset many current Noomers. The current system is the Circles described above, but previously we were assigned to a specific group – and I’ve been Nooming with some of those people for the whole time I’ve been with Noom. We had a dedicated group coach who guided and supported us. She was in our group, responding to our posts and posting challenges and questions for us to consider and share our responses. For my group, we had been with the same group coach our whole time with Noom (for some that was over 2 years) until she was removed a couple of months ago (see below). I’ve seen posted on Facebook that some groups didn’t work well, not much communication, just the posts from their coach, so maybe the circles would work for them. However, my group was really active and we developed supportive relationships with each other. Many of us have now set up our own group on Circles too so we can continue to support and help each other.
For various reasons the Circles are proving more difficult for us. Maybe its the fact its a change and we’re adjusting, but we don’t have the same community that came with the smaller groups and it takes time to read through the chat in various groups of people we don’t know. At the moment, there are also many people all joining Circles at the same time, so lots of people all feeling lost and overwhelmed together. Its very unsettling.
Make changes without consideration for their clients
I appreciate that businesses need to be effective, and for the private sector, they need to make money. I’m assuming some of the actions I’ve been seeing are because of the current financial situation, but the way Noom have handled some HR issues (being an HR lecturer this got my attention) and the lack of communication with the Noomers (their clients) has been pretty bad. A few months ago a lot of coaches (group coaches and specialist coaches) were made redundant – I believe between 200-300 coaches were let go. I along with many other Noomers logged in to find that both my group and special coaches had left – the notice indicated that new coaches would be appointed in a few days. There was no indication from the coaches that they were leaving which is what would normally happen – I later discovered that they had been made redundant, with immediate termination, so they didn’t get a chance to say goodbye to their coachees.
My feeling is also that Noom provide a service based on psychology. Coaching relationships are built on trust, and for Noom to rip appart these relationships without consideration to their clients is unprofessional. I appreciate there are business reasons for their actions, but Noom needs to consider their clients more; treat us with respect and communicate better with us when they remove the support mechanisms they say are part of the contract we entered into with them.
Overall, I’ve had a very good experience with Noom and while the weight loss isn’t as great as I would have liked, that wasn’t my primary objective or my big picture goal. Due to the psychology associated with Noom, I am well on track to achieving that big picture goal, so I do think it has been successful for me. However, I am unhappy about the current changes that Noom have made and will be carefully considering my subscription in March when its due for renewal. If I decide to renew my subscription come March, one of the determining factors will be the ongoing relationship with the specialist coach.
There is still some support to guide Noomers through the psychology, and I do think its an effective approach to weight loss and developing a different mindset to the thinking and beliefs that shape our behaviours. Without Noom I would not have realised I can live a different life, that I can have the life I desired but thought was outwith my reach – so despite my recent frustrations, I do still believe Noom have a good idea with the focus on psychology. Even if I do cancel my subscription when its due for renewal, I will continue to apply the lessons I’ve learned during my time with Noom.
I’d love to hear of the experiences of others with Noom, and would be happy to answer any questions people considering Noom might have. Please use the comments section to post comments, ideas, thoughts and questions. And use subscribe option to sign up for blog post notifications.