It wasn’t so long ago that Weight Watchers was considered the holy grail of diets. In fact, it was pretty much the only diet. While it’s now considered kind of passe compared to trendy diets like keto or counting macros, the concept of Weight Watchers is actually refreshingly simple. There’s no complicated meal plans, no cutting out entire food groups. You can eat pretty much anything, as long as it fits within your allocated amounts of points.
In a time where many of us are becoming frustrated with overly restrictive diets, there’s certainly space for one that takes things back to basics. Enter, the Noom, which is being called ‘Weight Watchers for millennials.’ You may have seen an ad for the diet on your Facebook feed—but what does it actually entail? Here’s what you need to know.
Noom is actually more like an anti-diet, in that it encourages moderation and flexibility. It begins with you filling out a questionnaire about your weight, goals and past experiences with dieting. Then, a qualified dietitian creates a 16-week personalised eating and exercise plan for you. You’ll then use your app to track your fitness and food intake. Your food choices are coded green, yellow or red to help guide you, but you can eat all three colours.
One thing that sets Noom apart is how interactive it is. You’re paired with a health coach you’ll check in with regularly to help keep you accountable, and they also have a supportive community you can chat to in real time. There’s also quizzes and reminders to help you overcome some of the common psychological hurdles that can sabotage a healthy lifestyle.
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On the Noom website, you can put in your current weight and goal weight and it tells you how long it would take to reach it by using their plan. I was impressed by the fact that it takes into account lifestyle factors, like how well you eat already, any health issues and whether you live in the city or country to determine realistically how long it take you to lose the weight. As a 159cm woman who weighs 56 kilos with a goal weight of 52 and already exercises/eats somewhat well, the website told me it would take me until March—which seems realistic to me.
But does Noom actually live up to its promises? According to a study published in Scientific Reports, 77.9% of 35,921 participants lost weight while using the app. Not bad! However, this study wasn’t peer-reviewed and it’s important to remember that we don’t know what those people were eating and whether they were exercising before they starting using Noom.
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While we don’t like to promote dieting, Noom is probably as good as you’re going to get. It’s realistic, encourages balanced eating and has a strong focus on education. Weight loss expert Dr Sue Decotiis agrees. “The education elements of the app, such as reducing and understanding calories and carbohydrate intake, increasing physical activity, and gaining nutritional knowledge is imperative,” she told Women’s Health.
However, the app will set you back $49 USD per month, which is a lot more exxy than some other diets out there. You can check Noom out here. As always, make sure you check with your doc before starting any new diet.