Years ago, I gave up trying to lose weight. Nothing seemed to work, and each time I'd lose then gain back what I lost and then some.
I had my thyroid checked and asked my doctor to up my meds, since my numbers were creeping up. They were still in the normal zone, but my thyroid medication hadn't been adjusted in a few years. I thought I might lose a pound or two that way, but wasn't really surprised when I didn't.
I also thought I might lose a pound or two with all of the walking I was doing, but that hadn't happened, so I resigned myself to being fit/fat. I certainly don't look like I'm fit enough to do a 5k and 10k each month, but, by God, I get out there and do them. I feel so much better since I started walking.
I had been seeing the ads for noom for a long time, but mostly blew them off. I mean, I've tried diet after diet and end up heavier than I was before. Then someone very near and dear to my heart signed up, so I followed suit the next day.
I'm not going to lie, the first few days were hard. They call it psychology. I call it a mind fuck. It's actually cognitive behavior therapy, and it seems to be working.
Food is separated into three different categories: green, yellow, and red based on caloric density. Now, I've counted calories before - who on a diet hasn't? But I've never really given any thought to caloric density. Using one of their examples, I can choose to eat 60 calories in fresh grapes, or 60 calories in raisins. The calories are the same, but because the raisins are more calorically dense, it takes more to feel full than 60 calories of grapes. You end up eating far more raisins than grapes to get the same feeling of satiety, which means you end up ingesting a ton more calories.
Each day, there are tasks to complete in the noom app, in addition to logging every bite of food. I've done food journaling before, and hated it. I never thought that would change. Now, though, it's become something of a game to see how many greens I can eat compared to yellows and reds. Like I said, nothing is off-limits, but red category foods are ones that should be eaten with care. The bulk of the my daily calories should be greens and yellows, with a few reds. Reds are important: they're things like dried fruits, nuts, milk/cheese, but should not be the majority of the day's calories. I sometimes fail spectacularly at that.
Poor Nebalee had to listen to me whine about two days in about how calorie-restrictive noom was. It's not really that restrictive, I just had to learn to use my calorie budget wisely. In every other diet I've ever been on, especially the calorie-restrictive ones, there were foods that were forbidden. Part of the mind fuck is that I couldn't wrap my head around the fact that nothing was forbidden. I thought I'd have to give up my daily Coke and never have it again. But since I can have it if I want it, it was easy for me to stop drinking it altogether. Coke is a big ole red item and eats up most of my red calorie budget, so once I realized that, it was gone. Saturday was a "reward yourself" day, so I drank the last Coke in the fridge. I hadn't had a Coke in nine days, so I thought it would be a great reward. I loved every damn drop, but Sunday felt a craving for sugar that was hard to beat back. I'm blaming my reward Coke for that. It is comforting, though, that I can have one any time I want, that it's not off-limits.
Food journaling is only one of the daily tasks required. There are short articles to read, goals to set, and quizzes to take. It takes approximately ten minutes out of my day to complete all of the tasks in the app. Considering the amount of time I spend scrolling through FB, I was sure I could cut ten minutes from there to spend on the noom app.
Also, each person is assigned a goal coach that checks in with them once a week. The one task that I absolutely dreaded and almost refused to do is the daily weigh-in. Fuck, I hate the scale. I cannot express how much I did not want to step on the scale, much less every day. Luckily, Jay and I left for vacation the day after I signed up for noom, and I refused to pack the scale with us. I let my goal coach know that I wouldn't be doing my daily weigh-ins while we were on our road trip.
After the first couple of days on noom, I started to get the hang of it. Jay and I had made a goal to walk at least 1.5 miles every day while we were on the road. After all, we were headed to three different National Parks, at least there would be some beautiful places to walk. There were a couple of long driving days that we didn't quite make our 1.5 miles, but we made up for it on other days. In seven days, we walked a total of 15.87 miles, an average of 2.26 miles/day.
I began to look forward to stepping on the scale when we got home: I'd started to get a handle on my calorie budget and we'd been walking a lot. Part of me was scared, what if I stepped on the scale and nothing happened? My doc had adjusted my thyroid meds and it resulted in zero weight loss. I'd started walking pretty religiously, including virtual races each month, and that resulted in zero weight loss. I had made peace with the fact that I was going to be fit/fat. But now? I finally had hope that the scale was going to move.
In the less than two weeks I've been on noom, I'm down 9.2 pounds. I don't expect it to continue at that rate; I believe my plan has me on track to lose seven pounds a month until March, which will take me to my goal weight. They even warn you that the scale is going to be variable. Some days I'll be down, some days I'll be up. Them acknowledging that right up front, and reassuring me that it's perfectly normal, has done a lot to ease my diet and scale anxiety. Despite the scale moving in the right direction, my clothes aren't yet fitting differently, but that will come with time. (**That time came today, Monday, when I weighed in. According to the scale, I'm up a pound. Knowing that it's a normal fluctuation is helpful, but I won't lie, it's still kind of disheartening.)
Two weeks in, I know this is going to work, so then my next big question is: can I maintain it? Noom isn't a diet that you pay to be on for the rest of your life; it's training you to work within your calorie budget. I hope that in the next six months I'm able to absorb all of their "psychology" so I don't end up gaining back every pound.
Speaking of cost, one of the things that kept me from signing up in the first place is that there's no set fee scale for the program. It felt like looking at a menu with no prices listed - I just knew I wouldn't be able to afford it. It turns out, for me, it's less than a gym membership. The hard part, if you're on a budget, is that you have to pay for your entire program upfront, rather than monthly. I paid about $145 for my six month program, which works out to be about $24/month.