Ok, so last time I wrote on the topic of weight I lost some followers, like ones I’d been properly chatting to on the insta-world and getting to know. Culled. Shunned. Ostracised from the body confidence gang for not being happy with my wobbly bits. I tried to justify myself with this post: https://theunyoungmum.com/2020/02/14/freedom-fridays-self-love/ and reading it back it’s still my main motivator in the perpetual battle with my weight.
I say battle. It’s been more like a tennis match. I have nowhere near the amount of weight I needed to lose ten years ago, or even three years ago post-partum but it’s like a back and forth game. Ingrained habits return, weight creeps up. Fear sets in that I’ll get back to that unhappy Karen of her 20’s/30’s. Try to be good, drops down. Lose mojo… game, set and match Kitkats.
It’s what makes YOU happy and how YOU feel but to me it’s also what is viewed as healthy. According to the NHS BMI calculator, my healthy weight range is between 56.7kg – 76.6kg. Since having Harry I have consistently tipped over in to the overweight category. I’m aware that it’s not excessively so but it’s overweight nonetheless. The ‘older mum’ factor is therefore a driver to being in the healthy bracket. I want to be a positive role model for Harry so that he too develops healthy habits.
I’ve dabbled in My Fitness Pal. I’ve done more than my fair share of exercise. But as they say, you can’t out-train a bad diet. Chuck COVID isolation in to the mix and that’s six months of nibbling and snacking with a side serving of sciatica to scupper the running.
So something has had to change. I know what I should be doing. I know all the theory. Create a calorie deficit: lose weight. Simple. I know the foods to avoid. I know I should be loading up on all the fruit and veg. I know I should indulge in regular exercise. So why have I found it so damn difficult to maintain a downward trajectory and remain staunchly in the overweight bracket?
I needed a boost. I needed accountability. Pre-COVID there wouldn’t have been chocolate treats and an array of ice cream in the freezer to taunt me and sing to me like sirens in my sleep. He of the hollow legs, the husband, cannot work from home without such delights it seems. I need to accept they are here to stay and deal with my lack of willpower.
So how was I going to change my mindset? Who was going to show me support and stroke my head and tell me it’s all going to be ok, just step away from the third Nobbly Bobbly. Almost like a healthy fairy, the internet read my mind and served me up adverts for Noom on every available portal.
So on a whim I signed myself up. I carried out their online survey, not 100% clear on what I was signing myself up for, chivvied along by the promise of lifelong behavioural change. So I wanted to share with you, 18 days in to my journey, my honest review of all things Noom!
How does Noom differ?
I’ve calorie counted. I’ve pointed. I’ve weighed in weekly. So what makes Noom different? It works on the brain. It offers up bite size training each and every day to deal with the psychology of healthy eating and fitness. From craving to motivation, satiety to slips – Noom offers guidance and learning based on science, psychology and sociology.
You’ll see all the usual features: the exercise tracking, the food tracking and most importantly the weight tracking but there’s the addition of an online coach, there to check in, challenge and offer support. In addition you’ll find an online group of fellow weight loss warriors to share the learning and pitfalls with.
Rather than talk you through the process I’ll share with you some of the key features that have stood out thus far. These are from my experience and growing understanding so my Noom vocabulary may not be 100% accurate.
Traffic light tracking.
I’ve always liked My Fitness Pal because you just stick your food in the tracker. There’s no converting to points. There’s no Hexes. Noom works on a similar model but has the addition of helpfully sorting your foods in to a colour system and educating you about their content.
They have a massive bank of products to select from and offer the barcode scanner feature that I like.
The red traffic light is not a no-go as nothing is off limits. It’s about retraining your brain to understand the foods that are calorie dense and need to be eaten in moderation.
It’s become a personal challenge to make swaps to keep it in the green, fuel my body effectively and of course within my budget. The calorie allowance works on the recommended daily amount for men and woman but I believe it takes in to account your own start points and where you want to get to.
My daily allowance on My Fitness Pal, which I of course just went with, was 600 calories more than my allotted amount on Noom. And I wonder why I was frustrated I wasn’t dropping the pounds!
This is my danger zone. This is where I become a little obsessive. And this is where the daily psychology is beginning to help.
As with other programmes, when you exercise, you accrue additional extras in your daily budget. Noom is no different. For calories burnt in exercise, you get half as many added on to your daily allowance.
I like the extras. I don’t always use them but I need to make sure that I’m not going hell for leather on the treadmill at 6am every day just to afford me a Starbucks.
Weigh in Wednesday, and Thursday, and Friday, and…
Joe Wicks tells people to get rid of the sad step. Scales can be another factor complicit in my obsessive exercise. I used to feel a bit guilty for jumping on them too often and guilty if I hadn’t done a 5km run before stripping off (it’s usual to take off your watch and hair band too right).
So imagine my shock when Noom expects you to jump on them daily. It’s helping me to realise that weight fluctuates. It’s helping me to accept that there won’t be massive daily losses. It’s helping me to keep in check.
It doesn’t suit everyone but it is helping me to change my mindset and develop a more positive relationship with what makes a healthier me – emphasising that scales are just one marker to recognise improved health and fitness. Noom makes me recognise, celebrate and share all my successes regularly.
Changing my mindset
And changing my mindset is what Noom is all about. I used to bang on in schools about the importance of meta-cognition. Teaching children to understand how they learn. How often did I apply it to my own life?
By breaking down thought processes and helping you to unpick the unhealthy chains of behaviour we so often bash and berate ourselves for, Noom helps you develop more self awareness.
I’m finding myself thinking about my actions and my thought processes more. It sounds hard work but I really feel there’s a wider self-development going on here. As a result, there’s less self-criticism and more positive action coming from my corner of Essex.
The coaching only really kicks in once you’re through the two week trial. I was introduced to my coach (based in the U.S.) and we have had some conversations. It’s reassuring to have a real live person to question you and tell you you’re doing great (or awesome in this case!)
There’s also a group coach who shares helpful articles and sets challenges to keep you focused and engaging with the other ‘Noomers’ in your group.
Again I’ve only been assigned a group this week but it’s been really refreshing to hear how others are getting on and have their support. Most of my group are UK based but we’ve all come to it with different start points and motivators.
What price do you put on health?
Here’s the thing that Noom don’t tell you till you’ve gone through the process of the survey have all but set you up. It’s my understanding that there are various plans and therefore various price points. It’s my experience that it’s not that cheap.
I misread it at first. After the two week trial, it was my belief that it would be costing me £79 for two weeks. And I was prepared to give it the month. That was how positive I felt.
It was only on second perusal week in that I realised this was the charge for two months. The plan is for four months. This I could swallow. I feel like I get an awful lot each day. The accountability is always there, be it tracking, weighing in, chatting to the group, responding to my coach. To me it seems a fair price to pay for changing my perceptions on food and health.
Results are in…
So c’mon then. Scores on the doors. What’s been the impact?
I am wearing pleather trousers.
My jeans are a bit saggy on my bum.
My skin is looking better.
I ate cherry tomatoes and actually enjoyed them.
I opted for sweet potatoes rather than oven chips… and enjoyed them.
This was the biggie – for the first time in four years I am within the healthy BMI range. This was my goal!
Oh, and I’ve lost 12.7lbs. Yep. Nearly a stone. 5.8 glorious kilograms.
* I am aware that’s a lot to lose very quickly but I have to say other than the issue with over-exercising (I am making tomorrow a rest day for sure and cutting back from hereon) I feel it has been achieved through planning, tracking and making healthier choices. I’ve not gone without. I’ve not gone hungry. I have reduced the kitkats significantly. *
My name is Karen, and I am a Noomer.
(This post is purely my opinion and not endorsed by Noom in anyway)
Have your had positive/negative experiences with different health programmes. Any questions about my experience I’m happy to answer.