I’ve been seeing ads for Noom all over social media for quite a while now. They claim to be a new way to lose weight that can help you keep the weight off for life.
First of all, their commercials are chock full of diet advice that is as old as the hills and has no research to back it as actually creating sustained weight loss. (“Eat grapes instead of raisins, drink wine instead of beer, drink a glass of water if you’re hungry, blah blah blah) a lot of the program seems to be based on the old “eat watery, fibery, bulky food so you’ll feel fuller” advice that doesn’t work because your body is a sophisticated piece of machinery and not a lawnmower. 1987 called and it wants its shitty diet advice back.
Moreover, how can they claim to be brand new, while also claiming that they can help you keep weight off for life? That claim would have to be backed by some serious long-term research in order to be credible. I asked them for the research – I asked in e-mail, through their website contact, and on social media – including one memorable thread that had 758 comments, to which they replied directly to 757. Guess whose comment did not receive a response?
Spoiler Alert – they could not help me find that information because it doesn’t exist, but we’ll get to that in a minute.
I asked folks on social media to share their experiences and they were truly terrible. Especially for people who chose the option “get fit for good” (rather than “lose weight for good”) because they believed it to be a wellness program, only to be given extremely low-calorie diets, and eating disorder triggers from food moralization to being asked to literally pledge to weigh themselves every single day.
I decided to try their sign up process for myself. The first thing I found was that whether I clicked “Get Fit For Good” or “Lose Weight For Good” I was sent to the exact same process. Pretty disingenuous if you ask me, and another example of companies co-opting anti-diet language to sell diets.
As I went through the demographic questions, I was sad to see that this “modern” weight loss company only gave gender options for “Male” and “Female” completely erasing the existence of non-binary people.
I gave my starting height and weight as 5’3, 300 pounds. I gave my goal weight as 75 pounds as a test – hoping against hope that it would send up a red flag and recommend some kind of counseling. Instead, I got a page that said “You entered 75lb(s) for your ideal weight. This is your goal weight, not the amount of weight you’d like to lose. Would you like to edit your response?” I hit “confirm” and Noom moved me on through its process with no problem.
They showed me a slide that claimed that a study showed that 78% of users in 2016 had “sustained” weight loss over 9 months. It included a graph showing Noom performing better than “restrictive diet” though of course they never give any indication what “restrictive diet” means (and considering some of the people I heard from were given “plans” from Noom that included only 1,000 calories a day I can’t imagine what they would define as “restrictive.”)
There is also the fact that the research shows most people can sustain weight loss for 9 months, but the vast majority gain it back (many gaining back more than they lost) over the next 2-5 years. I would imagine the reason that they are still touting less than 80% of people managing to lose weight for 9 months in 2016 (rather than, say having followed people until now,) is that all those people are having the exact same experience of every other dieter – losing weight short term and gaining it back long-term.
Try this. Work really hard for the next 9 months, then slack off until 2024. Then ask your job if they will give you a promotion based on those 9 months that you actually worked. Let me know how it goes.
But here is the blue ribbon loser question:
“Women in their 40’s who want to reach an ideal weight between 65 lbs and 85 lbs need a slightly different strategy depending on their current lifestyle. Which best describes you?”
I can best be described as slipping into a rage coma Noom, thanks for asking. Newsflash Noom: women in their 40’s who want to reach an ideal weight between 65 lbs and 85 lbs need a VERY different strategy than a weight loss diet!
Of course I didn’t sign up (the last thing I’m going to do is give them money,) and I thought it was done. Then, a few days later I received an e-mail, reminding me that:
From the information you provided, we’ve put together a custom course that will help you reach your goal weight of 75 lbs by June.
You read that right, Noom has put together a plan that will “help” me to lose 225 pounds in (checks calendar) 4 months. Yes, this definitely sounds legitimate and safe.
As far as I can tell, there’s literally nothing new about Noom, it’s the same useless-at-best, dangerous-at-worst shit, different name. Here’s the story in pictures:
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