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This Psychology-Powered Platform Helps People Lose Weight — and Keep It Off

By Aly Walansky
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March 8, 2022
Noom

There comes a time for many of us when we really want to embark on a healthier lifestyle, but don’t know how to get started. With so many methods and plans out there relying on deprivation, it’s hard to find an answer that makes us feel better about ourselves from the inside out — and also gets powerful, visible results.

Noom has taken things in a new direction by making its central focus not diet or weight loss, but psychology. This digital health platform teaches people to make healthier choices by helping them learn how to change their behavior.

This is all done by involving coaching and a series of personal health and wellness goals. Everyone’s goals are different, but they can include gaining more energy, controlling weight, or even feeling less stressed (who couldn’t use that right now?). And here’s the deal: Noom gets serious results. In fact, they are the first platform that has been recognized by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) as a certified diabetes prevention program. How amazing is that?

The foundation of change

Change begins within, and Noom’s goal is to help people live healthier, more fulfilling lives through changing their behavior. People who are at a weight they feel good about, whatever that goal is for them, are also healthier inside and out. Being at the right weight can help you avoid everything from stress-related illnesses to diabetes. But weight control is just part of a larger picture.

A lot is said about living or eating mindfully, but all too often it’s hard to understand exactly what that means. Being mindful involves literally changing how you think, and the behavior associated with that — and that’s the difference between a so-called “diet” and making lifelong healthy changes. It’s very easy for a traditional diet plan to say “don’t eat carbs” or “avoid sugar.”

What’s harder — and actually works — is to engage in the psychology of making that happen. Noom doesn’t tell people what to not eat. Instead, it helps people change their behaviors and habits in a way that will lead to meeting, then maintaining goals.

Noom accomplishes this by helping us learn more about our foods and ourselves: They use a database that explains how nutrient-dense different types of foods are, and employ nutritionists and health coaches to provide support every step of the way. We can learn the best ways to eat for our own goals rather than fearing fat or carbs — and engaging in self-loathing every time we enjoy them. That element of education and guidance can go a long way toward results when a lot of other platforms out there are more about engaging in fear and deprivation.

The psychology behind it

Being healthy looks different for everyone — and everyone has their own reasons why they gravitate towards unhealthy patterns and behaviors. Noom approaches this challenge by utilizing techniques used in cognitive behavioral therapy. As with anything else we try to change about our habits and routine, it all comes down to learning, even more than doing. Once we learn why we do what we do, and learn how to make better choices, our behaviors will change, and the results will come. This isn’t just about what number you may see on the scale or watch your jeans size change. It’s about staying on track to achieve goals, and staying on that track even after those goals are achieved.

Noom quiz

How it works

When you first download Noom, you’ll take a quick, five-minute quiz that will help create a profile of your goals and health situation. Those quizzes will be used in connecting you with a coach, who will then be available to you for support and to answer questions, but also supply you with much-appreciated tips and guidance in the journey to making mindful changes.

All this behavioral change happens by beginning with an understanding of where we are and what we’re doing. That’s why the platform includes food and exercise trackers, as well as coaches who are happy to be there with you every step along the way — although there’s no pressure to use them. There’s also a group chat which is almost like a group therapy session, where you share what you’re feeling and experiencing with other people who are going through the same journey. Sometimes when we try to live a healthier life, we are held back by friends and family who may act in a way that derail us from our goals, but having a supportive group to turn to can make all the difference.

Read next: Feeling Anxious? Try the 5 Senses Exercise

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