Awww man! This season of my life is reminiscent of my single days when I had to break up with a really nice guy because the magic just wasn’t there any longer. Know what I mean? The guy in this “distorted” scenario is WW. See, for almost 15 years, I’ve done some form of Weight Watchers. I’ve done the meetings, I’ve tried online and I’ve experienced the online program with a coach. I must say, each time I had some degree of success – at least when I was able to stay focused. However, now being over 40 (actually, now 50…and no, I’m never changing my domain name), the problem isn’t “knowing” how to lose weight- it’s keeping it off. That’s why I wanted to explore Noom for people over 40 like me – just to see what’s up.
UPDATE: I returned to WW. While Noom was a terrific change of pace, I plateaued. Without any community support and a “sleepy” coach, I just went back to the tried and true WW.
Oh well. It is what it is.
Noom is a weight-loss app that helps you lose weight by changing the way you think.
Ever heard of the yo-yo dieter? Well, that’s been me! I go up and I go down and I swing from one program to another. My past weight-loss resume (as if that is a “thing”) includes, the South Beach Diet, the Atkins Diet, the Keto Diet, and of course, my always “good old faithful” dietary booty call, Weight Watchers (or WW). Yes, I called WW my “booty call” because even though I don’t give it the respect it deserves, I always turn to it to sorta “date it.” Yet, I never take it home to meet mom and dad. Ok. I’m being creepy. Let’s keep this thing moving before I totally digress in my analogy and get myself in trouble.
To be clear, I don’t hate WW…really I don’t.
Truthfully, WW has served me INCREDIBLY well in the past. Of all the weight-loss plans/lifestyles I’ve EVER tried, I’ve felt the best on the WW program. It was super simple to follow and the best part is I saw results! I couldn’t keep it off, but, I always got it off. That was my history, anyway.
However, since this new “season” of weirdness, my most recent WW experience has been quite different. It’s as though I’ve been stuck – I mean incredibly stuck.
Hold on! My eating habits are what I’m referring to, not my weight. That “ain’t been” stuck at all! Child, I wish! The reality is my weight has SOARED! Yeah! major weight gain is what I’m dealing with right now. I’d say I’ve put on 15 pounds since the closures.
The stress of social justice and the worries associated with this global illness – has all conspired to re-acquaint me with my most dysfunctional relationship – the one I have with food.
Comfort-eating is baaaad….and oh sooo gooood!
Using food as a source of comfort or to ease anxiety is one of the most unhealthy relationships we could have with it.
Food is supposed to nourish, not soothe.
When I eat to feel better, I’m just “gaming” the system so to speak. I’m gratifying my brain by “eating high-fat or high-sugar foods”, but it’s short-lived satisfaction which is why it becomes a habit. I keep trying to make stuff I eat boost my spirits, and when it does, I do it again – or at least that’s what I think I do.
Whatever it is I’m doing, it’s a circle of madness…
It’s a stupid cycle for sure. But, I did find some good tips in a short article by the Harvard Medical School. It’s called “Struggling with emotional eating? Learn to control the cycle by recognizing causes and triggers.” Lots of good ideas in there, but I like the one that advises me to “distract myself” when I’m tempted to eat to pacify or in my feelings. I’ve found distraction to be a good tool from time to time.
Back to my point: emotional eating is anything but helpful. Above all, emotional/comfort eating – especially for people of my age range will result in nothing more than piling on pounds – pounds we don’t want or need! Not to mention pounds that will be harder for us to take off over time.
Those pounds can cause so much trouble for us middle-agers. The National Institute of Health website features a depressing laundry list of all the issues obesity can cause.
None will surprise you, but check it out when you get a chance. In short, here are some problems they say excess weight may produce:
type 2 diabetes
high blood pressure
heart disease and strokes
certain types of cancer
fatty liver disease
Actually, one did surprise me.
Remember when I said none of the conditions will surprise you? Well, one certainly astounded the heck out of me. It was Osteoarthritis!
Did you know being overweight puts you at risk of this? I certainly didn’t.
The article I’m referencing this time is aptly titled “Health Risks of Being Overweight“, and it says the extra pounds can put increased strain on our joints causing long-term damage! Who knew???? I certainly didn’t.
Man, this list totally re-defines my desire to lose weight from cosmetic (i.e. looking good in clothes) to truly preserving my health.
Which may have been linked to my “yo-yo” problem all along. Could the reason I continued to fall off my healthy lifestyle be because my “why” was faulty and entirely too “surface”? I think so.
I’m a quirk…but, I’m born that way!
In all fairness, WW emphasized the “why” approach too. Still, it never really “clicked” for me. I find I’m the type of personality that needs a cognitive “click” to comply with just about anything. It’s the True Color’s Green in me. In fact, that’s why I’m excited about Noom…it’s a different approach.
Speaking of my temperament, all things “new” excite me! Maybe that’s why I love Vegas so much. Anyway, I like fresh horizons to conquer – fresh horizons with lots of lights and noise! Yayuh!
For real, though, there is something about the “new and the fascinating” elements of life that float my boat and generate tons of kindergartner-like enthusiasm. Beginning Noom definitely scratches that “itch” for me. Hence, I’m excited.
What I like about Noom so far for people over 40…
One thing I will say is they are getting in my head, Man. I must say, I don’t mind either. I peeped the website and it says Noom’s mission is to “help people everywhere lead healthier lives through behavior change.”
See it? It overtly states their process includes helping me change my ACTUAL behavior. I like that.
I also find it to be an intelligent approach to weight-loss.
The biggest fundamental shift with Noom is doing the daily exercises or courses. No way around it – you got to do ’em to learn how to work the program and your life, for that matter. It’s really a big deal. Approach the daily exercises as if you’re taking an online class or something similar.
In addition to getting new insights, you’ll chuckle too. Their humorous approach makes learning fun and easy to digest…at at least for me.
Speaking of “digesting”…
They also pace you through the modules so you can’t overload yourself. What happens is after I’ve done so much reading, it will say something like “No more articles for today!” Wish I had that sort of intervention in other parts of my life!
As an illustration, their session on food, and caloric density was fire (as the youngins’ say)!
I learned calorie density matters and why. For one thing, Noom taught me food with more water fills me up quicker than food without. The other day, the “Noom” modules actually influenced me to buy grapes versus raisins.
Other plans I’ve tried focused on counting (and that’s ok), forbidding (never ok), and controlling me one way or another. Until now, nothing satisfied my “nerd” sensibilities to understand why I do what I do and how I can change it.
Let’s talk about Day 1 on Noom (which was like 3 days ago).
Day one on Noom, I found myself curled up on the sofa doing my mental exercises, looking away to gaze up at the ceiling to process, and then saying “hmmmmm.”
I learned something – not so much about the program – but, about myself on the very first day!
That’s what this program does. Noom takes steps to educate you, but also explain why you might be doing some of the things you do. One of the tips that really resonated was about the different triggers that make you eat when you’re not hungry. Wow! It hit home so well that night I didn’t eat as much during the midnight hours.
Super cool! Since I’ve been a night eater for years and could never seem to get it under control.
Argh. It’s so vexing. Something really crazy happens after 11 o’clock. It might be subconscious because for years, no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t curb my night eating.
For example, during the day I can easily say “no” to that bag of chips. However, once I’m asleep and literally semi-conscious, something weird changes. I’m less aware (i.e. half asleep) and I end up eating the chips and a whole lot more. It is the most frustrating part of my life.
Anyway, it was the course about habits that really helped me most with the late-night snacking. Here’s what I did: last night, I ate some rather boring air-popped popcorn and told myself “I can control this night eating thing.” Strangely, I didn’t eat at all. Even if I woke up in the night, I didn’t head to the kitchen. WOW! That’s genuine progress for me.
Commitment is everything on Noom for people over 40!
Noom is all about regular, consistent involvement. In fact, when I signed up, they used that exact word. Plus, they made me answer a whole lot of questions about myself. I was almost tempted to quit answering the assessment inquiries, but the “commit” word was already in my head. Smart, Noom people.
For Noom to work, you must plan to complete your daily mental and educational exercises. You can’t move forward until you finish the previous day and I like that. It’s like baby bumper rails to keep you moving forward. I’ve been known to circumvent just about every system – including figuring out how to make sure my tweets get read. I digress.
Grace…lots of grace.
Another part of this plan I like is they go pretty easy on you. While Noom holds you accountable, they remind you to be kind and forgiving to yourself as well.
When it comes to my weight, I’m wickedly hard on myself. Are you that way too? Yeah. Trust me, that doesn’t work. All it does is make you frustrated and then you’ll keep eating. Ugh. Remember, my “cycle” reference earlier?
Side note: just a minute ago, my mom stopped by. We had a nice visit. However, on her way out the door, she remarked I was getting fat. Which is odd because I’ve actually lost a little. It’s no wonder I’m hard on myself. The messages we receive shape us and the most complicated relationship a woman often has is with her mother. Have you ever dealt with any critical voices from anyone? If so, ignore it and ignore them. Focus on the good and don’t internalize other people’s issues.
Having said that, Noom encourages you to forgive yourself for all of your past failures and embrace the fact that you will make mistakes again in the future. What? Yes! It emphasizes you’re not perfect and that has nothing to do with your success. Love it and needed it!
What surprised me MOST about day 1…
So, as I write this, today is day number 3 for me. The first night was cool.
I read the articles, marked them “complete” and kept things moving – slightly excited about this new journey. Then day #2 came and I had to weigh in.
What the what???
Like a hundred million people all over the world, I HATE the scale. It’s evil and needs to be exercised with holy water! Hey “exercised” I made a funny!
Even so, the scale is the equivalent of Satan spawn in my mind. I utterly detest it!
Seriously, I dreaded hopping on that scale that day. I was shocked to see my weight had skyrocketed to a whopping 206 pounds. I’m 5’5 and that’s a no good scenario.
How I gained all this over-40 weight in the first place.
Ultimately, I blame the weight gain on all the time at home, but I also blame not tracking in WW because I was just “over it” all. I was wearied of the process. Again, which is why I needed a re-boot of a sort.
So, I logged my weight and Noom gave me a mental “high five” for doing it. I was still like “whateverrrr.”
Then I realized Noom encourages you to weigh daily!
I mean every. single. day.
After seeing that big ole number on my scale, I was like “how in the world will I put myself through this every day???”
The funny thing is the Noom courses on day two (takes about 10 minutes) helped me forgive myself and want to be healthier. It’s almost like they helped me reconcile my anxiety about the scale and be confident that I can change it.
Again…these Noom people may be on to something!
Maybe that’s what they’re up to with all the weighing?
The app even says expect “fluctuations” from day-to-day which equals never freak out over the number you see. Super helpful, right?
I think they want you to weigh daily so you’re not imprisoned or tormented by a number on a scale. I don’t know. In essence, I felt “helped” and free from the scale anguish.
Hold up, don’t ya have to weigh on WW?
Oh yes. Weighing one’s self is part of WW too, and I was just as freaked out with my weigh-ins as I am now. Like many WW members, I dreaded the weekly weigh-in days and I wasn’t alone. To be clear, WW never wanted that for us. That way of thinking isn’t part of the program – just a by-product.
It’s not their fault. I know this because WW uses a term called non-scale victories to encourage members to focus on life successes that have nothing to do with that pesky scale.
A non-scale victory (or NSV) for me would be fitting in a dress I couldn’t fit before or saying no to a decadent dessert. #winning
Time will tell how seeing the scale every day of my life works for me. As of now, so far so good.
Noom has a psychological approach to weight-loss.
I’m telling you, the Noom people really want to get in your head and I think it’s a good idea.
One of my lessons, I think day two, was about managing my thoughts. In Noom, they want you to believe you can reach your goal.
In one course or mental exercise, they said to repeat [out loud] the following statement: “my success is not about perfection.”
Sure, the first few times I said it allowed, it felt hokey, but by the eighth time, I had tears in my eyes. Really! The activity prompted me to reflect on how hard I work to be perfect in various areas of my life. Yeah, that was a moment.
Anyhoo, after that exercise, I felt equipped to handle the negative thoughts about food that usually trip me up.
Now, when I do get a negative thought, I quickly remind myself I believe I can lose weight. The funny thing is I actually believe it now.
I’m digging the cognitive steps Noom introduces so I can really realize my aspirations.
Random: have you listened to my new
podcast for my consulting business?
Take listen…press play.
I really think I love it!
It may sound corny, but I feel good after doing the daily modules.
To be honest, at first, I felt like “what is this stupid crap?”
However, there is something to be said about taking a moment to focus on you and being 100% mindful at that moment.
It’s very self-actualizing and I don’t think I would have make that time for myself prior to Noom.
WW and Noom
I still love Weight Watchers, and yes, they had the same concept built into the program. Noom has one huge distinction though. With WW, these elements, as I mentioned, were incorporated into the program. But, with Noom they ARE the program. Plainly stated – and repeated – unless you do the classes, stop, pause, and think – you won’t succeed on Noom. It’s as much about the inside as it is about the outside.
Yeah, I’m over 40… way over and my “why” is abundantly clear!
Food choices are incredibly important to me. It was important before when I started this blog, but now, I am now 50. Being 50 means my body is changing and responding to food in a totally different way than it did before.
Yeah, with clear signs of menopause emerging, I’m shedding the skin of my youth and becoming an entirely different person. I like her, but I need to treat her differently.
No, I’m not schizophrenic. I’m just embracing a new version of myself. While she’s sassy, cute, confident, and sassy (yeah, I said that one twice), she’s also distinctly middle-age. Empty calories are her kryptonite – at least the empty ones are – and could usher in all sorts of illnesses and struggles like the ones I outlined earlier.
Noom’s food categorization system makes eating astonishingly simple. It’s all a matter of color – that is Green, Yellow, and Red. Here’s how it all shakes out:
- Green foods represent foods I can enjoy freely and often. You know the kind of food- I’m talking about fruits vegetables and the like. They are the least “calorie-dense.”
- Yellow foods aren’t necessarily bad for you but they are not full of water and will likely lead to weight gain. They have more calories and are not terribly nutritious. You should have only so many of these in a day.
- Red foods are the higher calorie foods and should be enjoyed less frequently. I was a little mad when I discovered my beloved bacon was in this category. *sigh*
Before I wrap this blog post up, let’s talk about how deeply Noom is in my pocket.
I’m on the trial plan with Noom which means I’m giving it a try (duh).
They’ve set up a very interesting structure. On Noom, you can try the plan for free. I know that’s not a new concept. But, they also give you an option to begin with varying levels of investment. I opted to pay $18 mainly because I tend to mentally value things I pay money to enjoy.
I can’t remember if that’s what I’m gonna pay monthly or what the deal is. I’ll get back with you on that one. Feel free to holler in the comments if you’d like to know for sure.
After comparing notes with my cousin, a long time Noomer, I must say the cost is not much different from what I was paying for the online WW coaching plan.
So, I’m good.
Middle-age is about YOU…and taking care of yourself.
This is “my time”, anyhow.
By “my time”, I mean I’m cheering for myself during this life season. With that, I will do whatever it takes to help me succeed. I’m betting on me and so are my coins (i.e. my money).
Aside from the financial options, my favorite part of Noom is I don’t feel like I can ‘fail’.
It’s just a matter of viewing my food choices for what they are.
You know, I deserve to live the next half of my life just as vivaciously as I did my first half! Eating better and taking care of the “skin I’m in” will help ensure that happens. Taking care of yourself will help it happen for you too!
It’s important to say, I’m not comparing these two programs – Noom and WW.
I LOVE WW and always will. It’s a good, solid program that renders measurable results. So will Noom, I think.
Again, I just needed a change in order to re-charge my over 40 weight loss process, that’s all.
Equally as important is my need to understand my “why’s” and I’m not talking so much about why I want to lose weight. I’m talking about why I gain it in the first place and how I can deal with those habits better in the future.
My final analysis of Noom for people over 40 like me.
I’m liking it …today. We’ll see how it fares for me in the long stretch.
So, what do you think? Have you tried WW? Have ya tried Noom?
|Monitor food colors||Count points|
|Minimal sugar/processed food||Minimal sugar/processed food|
|Online Community (distant)||Connect – up close and personal|
|Online Coaching||Online Coaching – with the subscription|
|Cost – TBA||Cost – $54.95|