Getting started with the Noom diet plan involves answering questions no diet plan has ever asked me before.
1. Take a quiz for a customized plan.
The first step in the program is a 10-minute online quiz that asks typical questions about your height, weight, gender, age and why you want to lose weight. It also asks how active you are, how often you eat and whether you’re at risk for certain health issues like diabetes, heart disease and depression.
Then questions like, “Have any life events led to weight gain in the last few years?” and, “Why are you uncertain about hitting your weight loss goals?” pop up to assess habits and behaviors.
2. Pay, then download the app to your smartphone and create a log-in.
Once you’ve decided to join the program and paid the fee, you must download the Noom app. It’s currently only available on IOS (12.4 or later) and Android (version 6 or later) smartphones. You can use it on iPad and Android tablets, but the functionality will be limited because tablets don’t typically come with motion sensors (Noom has a step counter). After you’ve installed the app, you’ll be asked to sign in using the email address you used to join the program.
3. Meet your coaches, commit to lessons and get your calorie budget.
Noom asks you to complete 10 mini-lessons in psychology and behavioral change in 16 weeks. You decide immediately if you want to spend a minimum of five minutes to a maximum of 16 minutes a day on the lessons. About two days in, you’ll be connected with a goal coach who will personally reach out about twice a week to check in, ask about your progress and send motivational messages.
A few more days into the program, you’ll be assigned a group coach and a peer group. The group coach moderates the peer group chat, posts weight loss tips and sometimes responds to individual posts. Both the goal coach and the group coach are trained in all things Noom and hold either a bachelor’s or associate’s degree, plus 2,000 hours of wellness experience.
Your calorie restrictions are based your information. For some obese and pre-diabetic people, Noom might recommend its diabetes prevention program—the first mobile health program to be recognized by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) for delivering an evidence-based type 2 diabetes prevention program.
Your personalized plan assigns a daily calorie budget (the minimum calories you need to function each day) and requires you to record your meals and physical activity daily. You also decide if you want to commit two to 10 minutes a day to read short articles on positive thinking, mindful eating and stress relief.
On top of all of this, Noom has a step counter, so as long as your phone is on you all day, you’ll know just how many total steps you took. The app encourages you to log daily blood pressure readings, blood glucose levels and water intake.
The Noom plan is designed to last 16 weeks, but you’re encouraged to buy up to twelve months at a time for weight loss and maintenance. To meet my goal of a 12-pound weight loss, my calorie budget was 1,250 calories a day for 16 weeks. When I logged my foods, the app let me know how many calories I had left in each food category (see below) for the day. There was no admonishment when I went over my calorie budget, only encouraging messages to continue the plan and lessons to help me examine what triggered my bad food day (or week).