You've heard it a hundred times: Anything that sounds too good to be true when it comes to weight loss probably is. But when every weight-loss program out there promises undeniable results, how do you know which ones are legit and which ones are just marketing spin?
The key is looking at people's real-life experiences, which is why we asked LIVESTRONG.com readers across the United States to share the weight-loss approach that worked for them.
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One standout? Noom, the psychology-based weight-loss program that emphasizes adjusting habits to help people lose weight and keep it off. Keep reading to hear what three LIVESTRONG.com readers had to say about how this weight-loss approach fit into their lifestyles.
Michele Giannini | Clinton Township, New Jersey
Working long hours in an office environment for over 20 years and having two children, my weight had crept up. I would get inspired and do cleanses or extreme diets that severely restricted one food group. I would lose weight, but always gain it back (and then some) when not adhering to the strict guidelines.
I also enjoyed workouts such as CrossFit or other high-intensity workouts. I'd get really into a program and inevitably get injured. I had a high-stress job and life in general, and I noticed a year or two ago that even my workouts made me feel more stressed. I would get stronger and more fit, but generally not lose weight. Nothing ever felt right long-term. Nothing seemed sustainable.
In February, I saw an ad online for a free trial for Noom. I loved it right off the bat and signed up for a membership. I set my goal at 135 pounds, which was about 22 pounds from where I started. Once I reached that goal, I set another five-pound goal. In total, I've lost about 28 pounds, and my lifetime goal is to maintain within five pounds of my current weight.
The major difference for me was the psychology behind Noom. The articles I'd read daily and the quizzes and self-assessments taught me so much. My thoughts completely changed regarding food and exercise. I learned why I ate the things I ate, and when, and how much. And because I am more concerned with movement over exercise, I'm enjoying walks and other gentler exercises that alleviate my stress rather than add to it. I feel so strong and healthy and I've never received so many compliments. The impact has truly been immeasurable, and I love how I'm now able to inspire others.
Nolan Carlson | West Fargo, North Dakota
I've tried a number of different diets, but ultimately they've resulted in short-term progress. I was looking for an app-based program so I always had it with me, and when I saw the commercial for Noom I thought I'd give it a try. I've been using it for about two months now, and I've lost 10 pounds.
Noom is different from other diets I've tried because it uses a plan based on caloric density. It doesn't eliminate foods from your diet, but instead educates you on why certain choices are more beneficial for you than others. Noom also gets into the psychology and physiology of dieting and cravings — why your body signals you to eat at certain times, and why you feel urges to binge or grab something salty or sweet. Every day has reading lessons to help you make smarter choices, and you have the opportunity to share with a personal coach or a group.
Some of my favorite things about the Noom program are the daily weigh-ins, logging my food and the fact that I can still eat a wide variety of foods without starving myself or being on a non-sustainable diet.
The program works, but it still requires discipline. That's the key to any diet. Any diet is only as good as the person willing to follow it. Much of my lack of progress is a result of me ignoring the lessons Noom has shared.
Loretta Flynn | Warrenton, Virginia
I've been trying to lose 10 pounds all my life, with limited success. I was looking at weight-loss programs on the internet when COVID-19 first hit in March, and when Noom popped up, it said that they were giving free memberships because they didn't want anyone who was struggling to not have a resource that could help them. Since many people didn't have an income at that time, I thought that was really big of them to do. So I signed up and paid the fee as a donation.
I lost six pounds in my first six weeks of using Noom, and I love it because the sense of humor in the daily readings makes them educational but also entertaining, so you look forward to them. I also love that it doesn't dictate any particular foods. All foods are allowed, they just educate you on which ones are going to be more filling for you, and which ones are going to help you stay on your goal path better. Plus, every once in a while they'll send you a message that says, "You've been working hard, why don't you have a treat today?" Which is really nice, instead of saying, "Cookies are bad, don't eat them."
In fact, it doesn't label any foods as "good" or "bad," which was a huge breakthrough for me. I love potato chips, and Noom would say, "Potato chips are potato chips. They are neither good nor bad. Potato chips have a lot of sodium. Do you want to intake a lot of sodium today?" You can answer that question however you want, without feeling guilty for eating a "bad" food. It takes the emotion out of it.
Overall, Noom is different from other diets I've tried because it's not so much a diet as a journey to understand your eating patterns and how to break them. It challenges you to question why you crave the things you crave, which is important because for sustainable weight loss you need to change your eating habits, and that starts with understating your motivations. If you can identify, "I'm eating this because I'm stressed," the next time you're stressed you might make a different decision about food. Or you might not. But at least you have the information. Noom helped me understand my relationship with food better than any other method I've tried.