Last week, in a desperate bid to gain some control over my out of control eating habits, I decided to try the Noom app. I’d gotten some sort of email for a 14 day free trial and a massive discount off a yearly subscription, so I figured why not?
TL;DR: This app could be useful for those who really need a lot of direct support and benefit from daily tips and tricks and other psychological motivation. However, for those who already have a good grasp on the basics, it’s kind of annoying, especially if you are already using something like MyFitnessPal.
One of the benefits of Noom is it offers a personal coach. The problem that I had with this (and in looking around, I see I’m not the only one), I honestly couldn’t tell if my coach was a real person or simply a bot. To be fair, I didn’t interact much, and she didn’t contact me all that much in the week or so that I tried the app, but when she did it was very scripted.
One of the other benefits is that you are supposed to get group support as well. The coach is, after your trial, supposed to be a weekly check-in, but your group is supposed to be your all-the-time support. Too bad they don’t give you access to it during your trial, so there is no way to tell, beforehand, how it works in practice (or if it too, resembles bot support). This right here was the number 1 reason why I ended my trial, by the way. If you want me to check out something, you have to actually give me access, otherwise… bye-bye! I might have stayed if I’d gotten a good group, but I wasn’t willing to pay for the app only to find out my group sucked (there are no refunds once you’ve paid).
The app also offers food logging, which is something that I think everyone who is trying to lose weight should do. The problem with Noom, however, is that their food database is pretty abysmal. I was constantly having to add things, which was a pain in the ass. Honestly, it would work in their favor if they could just find a way to sync the app with MFP, since MFP already has a much larger food database and makes it much easier to log foods (and create recipes and meals, etc…)
Ultimately, I had an issue with the price as well. First, it’s not clear on their website exactly what the price is. I mean, there are prices listed if you dig through the FAQ, but those are completely different from what I was given and, after I quit my trial, I was given another offer with a way different and much lower price as well. Which leads me to think that there are many different people paying vastly different prices for the same app, some of whom are being seriously taken advantage of. The price I was given wasn’t horrible, but I’m not sure the app was worth that price either, especially since a lot of the features weren’t really all that useful to me. It certainly wasn’t worth paying simply for access to the group support, since there are plenty of places one can go online for free to talk with others who are on their own weight loss journey.
It also tracks steps (which I had synced to my Misfit tracker), though I think you could also use your phone as a tracker as well. I didn’t try that, so I don’t know how that works exactly.
Along with all that you also get daily healthy lifestyle/dieting tips, and other motivational info, that can definitely be of use to many people. This was one of the good things about the app, but also one of the things that I didn’t really need, because a lot of it was stuff that I was already aware of , so again, not worth paying to get access to it. So, similar to my Hungryroot experience, it’s not that Noom doesn’t have potential usefulness, it just wasn’t something that worked out for me. But if you are curious, it may still be worth trying if you think it will help you on your journey.
If you want, you can also check out the 14-day plan that they sent me, to give you a better idea of what you’ll get, since the website is not very forthcoming with the info.
QUICK UPDATE: I did eventually get a paid membership for a time and the group function isn’t bad, but I was out of sync with the rest of my group—which ultimately was a deal-breaker (and I still never did figure out if my coach was a bot or not). Like, they typically try to group people who started around the same time, so that prompts and tasks are similar, but I was slightly ahead of everyone else in my group, so I’d get a topic or thing to post about, but most of the time, the topic hadn’t even been created yet. So if I actually wanted to talk to anyone else in the group about it, I’d have to wait a week (or more) for everyone else to catch up. So again, it’s a good feature in theory, but just didn’t work for me.