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  #1   ^
Old Sun, Dec-15-19, 05:43
WereBear's Avatar
WereBear WereBear is offline
Posts: 12,252
 
Plan: Epi-Paleo/IF
Stats: 220/123/150 Female 67
BF:
Progress: 139%
Location: USA
Default My review of the NOOM app

This seems to be the hottest new thing in weight loss, even though it's the same tedious advice we've all tried and given up on, countless times.

But since it's so hot right now, and I work with some of its fans , I will share what I know.

health coach in your phone

It is perfect for people who say, "It never worked before because I GAVE UP ON IT. With someone nagging me that I'm paying money for, it will be different!"

Which is true, as far as it goes I always white-knuckled my way through losing 10-15 pounds, but when the weight loss stopped, so did I. So I can understand the temptation to think that I just didn't hang in there long enough.

And it's true that when I was exercising for 1.5 hours every day, and kept my fat grams under 25, I had a years-long stretch of weight stabilizing at a size twelve. Which was better than the steady creep that kept happening.

But I got sick, had to stop the ceaseless exercising, and that horse ran away. Even when I tried to duplicate it, I would get sick again. Looking back, I think that horse was trying to tell me something I certainly never got on it again.

calorie density

Remember Susan Powter, who had a silver blond punk cut, a workout-worthy figure in a unitard, and was a low fat/exercise guru? She'd do infomercials with stunning before & after photos, yelling that we could have a pat of butter OR EIGHT BAKED POTATOES.

Well, they put in her in an app.

It's a tracker which starts by asking all kinds of questions. This is supposed to "customize" your experience. How much weight you want to lose, how active you are, etc. From the different ages and sizes of the ladies doing it, I question this concept, since they all seem to get exactly the same advice.

It's a food tracker, and it uses a traffic system of red (limit) yellow (in our old friend moderation) or green (low fat so IT IS GREAT.)

Quote:
Green foods are considered very healthy and nutritious for you like fruits and vegetables and whole grains. 30% of your daily intake should be in this category, but more is always welcome. Yellow foods are comprised of lean meats, low-fat dairy, and starchy carbs and should be taken in moderation. 45% of your daily intake should be in the yellow food category. Red foods tend to be the highest calorie foods and most do not have much nutritional value. There are a few exceptions to this rule though from the nutritional value aspect. 25% of your daily intake should be from the red food category.

Green, yellow, and red


My bold

Here's some green foods:

whole wheat bread
quinoa
whole grain pasta
rolled oats
brown rice
non-fat yogurt
greek yogurt (non-fat)
non-fat cottage cheese
skim milk

Oh, yeah, takes me back. To size 16

Here's some red foods:

bacon
80% beef
fried chicken
salami
chicken wings

You can see low carb is OFTHEDEVIL

Pritikin/calorie density

Nathan Pritikin was a super-low-fat guru who committed suicide when his diet did not prevent recurrence of his cancer. As we say today, "very bad for the brand." He had literally staked his life on something that probably contributed to his poor state of mental and physical health, from what we know now.

But vampires never get staked in health circles, because here it is again. This is the source of the ladies sighing in the breakroom and planning their "100 calorie dinners" because they have run up against the NOOM wall. From the NOOM site:

Quote:
Did you know that cutting 100 calories per day could help you lose over 10 lbs a year?

We’ve put together 100 simple swaps that save at least 100 calories a pop!

Breakfast Breakthroughs
Make an omelet with 1 egg and 2 egg whites instead of 3 whole eggs.
Choose a whole grain english muffin instead of a bagel.
Spread 2 tbsp. sugar-free jam on an english muffin instead of 1 tsbp. butter.
Replace ˝ cup of granola with ˝ cup of oatmeal cooked in water.


And so forth. Raise your hands if you tried this, along with the doll-sized plates and eating a whole box of Snackwells. Yes, I know, everyone.

But... this is a health coach too!

exercise that behind off

OF course you have to exercise. It connects to FitBit and the like so it's all in one app. Then it shows you "calories burned." This increases your calorie ration. Maybe you can have TWO hundred calories for dinner!

We all know how that one goes.

ask questions!

The app likes to pretend there's a real life health coach ready to chat, but it's really more like ELIZA.

Quote:
ELIZA is a natural language conversation program described by Joseph Weizenbaum in January 1966. It features the dialog between a human user and a computer program representing a mock Rogerian psychotherapist.

Talk to Eliza the therapist


I can tell these ladies are not aware of the program, because that's the kind of health coaching they get. We're around two months in, and they are starting to complain that they are getting the same advice over and over.

Because there is nothing new under this sun. What can it say?

bottom line

They are paying $35 a month for this, plus the near-mandatory gym membership, and buying all sorts of kitchen helpers and the like. I've seen them make a meal of grapes and toast since this is "legal." They're two steps away from living on celery by the end of the day. And yes, some of them have lost some weight, up to 20 pounds in some cases.

Been there, couldn't sustain that.

If it works for them, great. I just don't think it will. Let's face it, if you have a weight problem in American, it's because you are carb-sensitive. People who effortlessly stay slim ARE SLIM. And they are the ones who chirp about taking a walk at lunch and skipping desert "some of the time."

If you are committing to the NOOM app you have a weight "problem." I know. And this heart-breaking reliance on "will power" is DOOMED to failure.

Maybe they should call it DOOM.
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  #2   ^
Old Sun, Dec-15-19, 06:07
Kristine's Avatar
Kristine Kristine is offline
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Plan: Primal
Stats: 171/155/155 Female 5'7"
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Location: Southern Ontario, Canada
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by WereBear
Maybe they should call it DOOM.


Quote:
Remember Susan Powter, who had a silver blond punk cut, a workout-worthy figure in a unitard, and was a low fat/exercise guru?
Yup. And I remember her saying that if you don't eat fat, you can not put fat on your body. I was a young teen, and even with my grade-school understanding of science and physiology, I KNEW there was no way this was true.

Also, she was an alcoholic and her fat-free diet was basically vodka.
Quote:
Originally Posted by DOOM
Did you know that cutting 100 calories per day could help you lose over 10 lbs a year?
I cringe every time I see this. CALORIES ARE NOT DOLLAR BILLS. If I put $10 a month under my mattress every month for a year, I will have $120. CALORIES DON'T WORK THAT WAY. Your body does not tabulate calories. Jeez Louise.

The perpetual downward spiral of "everything in moderation" just floors me. "It didn't work the first 3940358 times I tried it, but maybe this time will be different."
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  #3   ^
Old Sun, Dec-15-19, 06:13
cotonpal's Avatar
cotonpal cotonpal is online now
Posts: 4,630
 
Plan: very low carb real food
Stats: 245/128/135 Female 62
BF:
Progress: 106%
Location: Vermont
Default

Packaging the same old same old in an app doesn’t change the content. It’s still the same old same old.
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  #4   ^
Old Sun, Dec-15-19, 08:18
bkloots's Avatar
bkloots bkloots is online now
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Plan: Atkins/LCHF/Keto
Stats: 195/161/150 Female 63in
BF:
Progress: 76%
Location: Kansas City, MO
Default

Of course, we all "get" this. People are looking for a way, and for some people, paying for advice helps their motivation. Think Weight Watchers, one of the all-time success stories of "pay to play" in the weight management game.

See my Journal today for my most recent success story. All for free!

Quote:
her fat-free diet was basically vodka.
Well, I loved Susan Powter when I used to do her video workouts. She was NUTS, but her enthusiasm pulled me through. I didn't pay any attention to her dietary recommendations, and only passing attention to her personal life, which was clearly a mess. I suppose people who become influential "gurus" in diet, exercise, religion, financial management, and other fields are those with inner demons.

Pritikin had his. Atkins had his. The horrifying Ancel Keys certainly had his.

Know thyself. And choose accordingly.
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  #5   ^
Old Sun, Dec-15-19, 09:33
Bob-a-rama's Avatar
Bob-a-rama Bob-a-rama is offline
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Posts: 1,390
 
Plan: Keto (Atkins Induction)
Stats: 230/179/185 Male 5' 11"
BF:
Progress: 113%
Location: Florida
Default

And NOOM probably records every personal detail and sells it to anyone with the cash. Including spammers and identity thieves.

I don't know this for sure, but I know you have to be very, very careful with your apps.

Bob
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  #6   ^
Old Sun, Dec-15-19, 09:54
GRB5111's Avatar
GRB5111 GRB5111 is offline
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Plan: Ketogenic (LCHFKD)
Stats: 227/186/185 Male 6' 0"
BF:
Progress: 98%
Location: Herndon, VA
Default

App is completely useless for me, as it represents that antithesis of my lifestyle approach. Founded on myths that have been refuted by RCTs and personal experience, it will "train" people incorrectly.

Coupled with recording personal experiences and information to the "cloud," yes, Bob, you have reason to be suspicious, this social media-based software should bring out the skeptical nature in everyone who has had success with an alternative, low carb approach. But hey, someone needs to make a living . . .
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  #7   ^
Old Sun, Dec-15-19, 11:35
teaser's Avatar
teaser teaser is offline
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Plan: mostly milkfat
Stats: 190/152.4/154 Male 67inches
BF:
Progress: 104%
Location: Ontario
Default

The concept is fine, if it gives the right advice. At the same time--after pocket calculators, and then smart phones, who can do math in their head anymore? What are we doing to subtler, organic mechanisms of self control/monitoring etc. if we hand over this as well? I'm not too concerned that people will find my personal data all that interesting. It's been a hassle getting where I am--but it involved noticing some stuff that I'm not sure I'd have noticed if I'd handed the task to somebody else, or to some hand held device.

I don't think we can really come to any conclusions about Pritikin and cancer--any more than saying that low carb makes low carb doctors like Atkins die from physical head trauma. I have no reason to believe that a bit of butter on his potato would have saved Pritikin--maybe he would have enjoyed life a little more.

The big problem with calorie restriction as I see it--by definition, you start out eating less than appetite. Calorie "requirement"--defined by maintenance calories, not appetite--goes down as you lose weight. Appetite does not go down. Maintenance itself becomes calorie restriction. Coaches tell people, oh, you're not losing weight? Turns out you have to eat even less. Appetite still hasn't gone down. Address this with your app. Maybe a future app actually will--say, hey, when my people eat peanut butter, they seem to need more food, or notice cheese doesn't work for this or that person. Again I worry about machine intelligence replacing the other sort, maybe I worry too much.
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  #8   ^
Old Sun, Dec-15-19, 12:06
WereBear's Avatar
WereBear WereBear is offline
Posts: 12,252
 
Plan: Epi-Paleo/IF
Stats: 220/123/150 Female 67
BF:
Progress: 139%
Location: USA
Default

My Point about Nathan Pritikin is that he made health claims his own experience did not support.
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  #9   ^
Old Sun, Dec-15-19, 12:45
bkloots's Avatar
bkloots bkloots is online now
Posts: 9,552
 
Plan: Atkins/LCHF/Keto
Stats: 195/161/150 Female 63in
BF:
Progress: 76%
Location: Kansas City, MO
Default

Quote:
Calorie "requirement"--defined by maintenance calories, not appetite--goes down as you lose weight.
This has always been one of my quarrels with Weight Watchers. It's punitive. The more your weight drops, the less you get to eat, in the calorie-counting universe.

As for Pritikin: we had a beloved pastor at our church who embarked on Pritikin, supposedly as protection for his heart. He became quite gaunt and gray. In a couple of years he succumbed...to a heart attack. Or stroke. I can't remember. I've never said a word to anyone, especially his family, about this. But...I have dire suspicions to this day.

Me? I've counted one thing or another all my life, and I'm done with it. Calories, fat grams, exercise minutes, even carbs. "Experts" will tell you that it's not healthy to eliminate whole categories of food (starches, dairy, fruits and juices, etc.--but not fat. It's fine to eliminate fat!) But it sure is easy if you decide to go that way.

Carry on.

P. S. I hadn't actually thought about the APP Hazard. Thanks for the heads-up.
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  #10   ^
Old Sun, Dec-15-19, 13:40
Bonnie OFS Bonnie OFS is offline
Senior Member
Posts: 2,422
 
Plan: Dr. Bernstein
Stats: 188/150/135 Female 5 ft 4 inches
BF:
Progress: 72%
Location: NE WA
Default

Quote:
Make an omelet with 1 egg and 2 egg whites instead of 3 whole eggs.


What a waste of 2 perfectly good egg yolks! My very satisfying breakfast is 1 egg (sometimes 2) & a good-sized serving of a vegetable, cooked in a LOT of butter. And of course black coffee. Lunch is similar but more (minus the coffee). Supper is similar but less, with herb tea.

No exercise at the moment - too busy.

But I'm losing weight & feel great, my blood sugar is good, too - so why would I ever want to change?
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  #11   ^
Old Sun, Dec-15-19, 15:05
Calianna's Avatar
Calianna Calianna is offline
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Posts: 1,307
 
Plan: Atkins-ish (hypoglycemia)
Stats: 000/000/000 Female 63
BF:
Progress: 50%
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Quote:
It's a tracker which starts by asking all kinds of questions. This is supposed to "customize" your experience. How much weight you want to lose, how active you are, etc. From the different ages and sizes of the ladies doing it, I question this concept, since they all seem to get exactly the same advice.




Someone on another LC forum had asked about the app a few months ago - the reason this other person asked about it was because she wondered if it would be LC/paleo/keto friendly. I hadn't heard of it, so I googled NOOM, and the website claimed you could choose your plan, and yet the very first question it asked was how much weight did I want to lose. What on earth does how much weight I want to lose have to do with what plan I choose? Because hey - it was claiming I could actually choose the plan I wanted to follow. I can understand questions about physical limitations, activity level, and of course questions about what you currently eat, and how you feel on that food (tired, hungry every 2 hours, hangry, etc), or even what your preferred foods are. So then I searched for the app on my phone, and the little preview screens it provided made it very clear that it would be purely a calories in/calories out diet.



Not long after that, I read a short review of the app, which was written by a nutritionist, which made me very skeptical of her opinion, but read on... She said that everyone seemed to be put on ridiculously low calorie diets - even the nutritionist who wrote the review said that the calorie level she was given was not only unsustainable, it was far too low in a lot of nutrients.



There were also complaints from users that what was supposedly real time advice sounded like it was a robot just spitting out the exact same advice over and over. And of course it would scold you, if you dared eat anything from the red category, or didn't exercise enough.



Quote:
Originally Posted by teaser
~snip~

The big problem with calorie restriction as I see it--by definition, you start out eating less than appetite. Calorie "requirement"--defined by maintenance calories, not appetite--goes down as you lose weight. Appetite does not go down. Maintenance itself becomes calorie restriction. Coaches tell people, oh, you're not losing weight? Turns out you have to eat even less. Appetite still hasn't gone down. Address this with your app. Maybe a future app actually will--say, hey, when my people eat peanut butter, they seem to need more food, or notice cheese doesn't work for this or that person. Again I worry about machine intelligence replacing the other sort, maybe I worry too much.



This reminds me entirely too much of a doctor visited back in the late 80's. Of course I was overweight, and the doctor wanted me to go on a diet - a calorie counting diet of course, because low fat was well ensconced in the diet world by that time.



She had a weight/height/calorie need chart on the wall. I could see the maintenance calorie needs for what would be a normal weight for my height - and I could see the calorie maintenance needs for my current weight. She wanted me to start by restricting myself to the calorie needs for normal weight for my height. Seeing all the calorie needs for different weights on that chart, I asked if it wouldn't make more sense to start out closer to the calorie needs for my current weight, and as I lost weight, cut calories a little at a time, so that I would end up at the calorie needs for a normal weight for my height when I reached that weight.



She said absolutely NOT, that the ONLY way to do it was to start at the goal weight calories, that I wouldn't even lose weight if I cut calories slowly... which of course made no sense to me, because if it was a calories in/calories out game, then any calorie reduction at all should have resulted in weight loss.



I knew I wouldn't be able to do it her way, so I did not comply.


Not to mention that this was not my first rodeo, so I already knew that as I lost weight, my body would become more efficient at conserving energy, so I'd need to keep reducing calories even more as I lost weight. Considering how much I needed to lose, and the fact that she wanted me to start the diet at 1200 calories, if I lasted long enough to reached goal, I would have probably had to cut down every few months, ending up at about 400 calories - assuming I could stick to continually reducing the already paltry 1200 cals long enough to lose all that weight.



Ridiculous. And people are still falling for it: Noom, weight watchers, slim fast, Jenny Craig - doesn't matter what the name is, it's all the exact same diet.
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  #12   ^
Old Sun, Dec-15-19, 19:11
Dodger's Avatar
Dodger Dodger is online now
Posts: 8,463
 
Plan: Paleoish/Keto
Stats: 225/170/175 Male 71.5 inches
BF:18%
Progress: 110%
Location: Longmont, Colorado
Default

The calorie in/calorie out, low-fat eating diets keep coming back. People use them to lose some pounds and then hunger does them in and the weight comes back on.
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  #13   ^
Old Sun, Dec-15-19, 19:23
Bonnie OFS Bonnie OFS is offline
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Posts: 2,422
 
Plan: Dr. Bernstein
Stats: 188/150/135 Female 5 ft 4 inches
BF:
Progress: 72%
Location: NE WA
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dodger
The calorie in/calorie out, low-fat eating diets keep coming back. People use them to lose some pounds and then hunger does them in and the weight comes back on.


Some years ago an acquaintance got involved in Zumba. At the same time she was on some sort of weight loss program. She did lose weight & really looked good. She tried to get me into it but I didn't have the money or energy. About the time the Zumba classes went away I found low carb. So as I've been gradually losing weight & getting healthier, she's been gaining back all that she lost - plus some. And I've done it without much exercise or spending money - except for Dr. Bernstein's book.
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  #14   ^
Old Sun, Dec-15-19, 19:49
Ms Arielle's Avatar
Ms Arielle Ms Arielle is offline
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Plan: atkins
Stats: 255/214/153 Female 5'8"
BF:
Progress: 40%
Location: Massachusetts
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Bonnie ,well done. From all my reading exercise is not tthe key to weight loss, rather food choices. Exercise however has its health benefits, separate from diet.

Kudos to you.
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  #15   ^
Old Mon, Dec-16-19, 04:13
WereBear's Avatar
WereBear WereBear is offline
Posts: 12,252
 
Plan: Epi-Paleo/IF
Stats: 220/123/150 Female 67
BF:
Progress: 139%
Location: USA
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bonnie OFS
Some years ago an acquaintance got involved in Zumba. At the same time she was on some sort of weight loss program. She did lose weight & really looked good. She tried to get me into it but I didn't have the money or energy. About the time the Zumba classes went away I found low carb. So as I've been gradually losing weight & getting healthier, she's been gaining back all that she lost - plus some. And I've done it without much exercise or spending money - except for Dr. Bernstein's book.


That's the trap of the calorie/exercise tactics: they require this much effort all the time. I was constantly choosing high carb foods for the most "filling" for my calorie dollar, but it only made me hungrier. As teaser notes, this just lowers the calories.

Recipe for mental illness; constant deprivation and frustration.
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