I Tried Noom for Two Weeks. You’ll Never Guess What Happened Next.

Now that I’ve provided you with your daily dose of click bait, let’s move on. But one of the first things that happened was, I shit you not, I gained two pounds.

And, can I go ahead and say I’m feeling plenty of disdain and disbelief about the fact that I’m writing a blog post about weight loss? Life is definitely like a box of chocolates, this is where I am this week. Hashtag insert shoulder shrug emoji here.

I don’t know if everybody sees the incessant Facebook ads for Noom, or if they’re more specifically pointed to middle aged ladies who blog and repeatedly mention they’ve got 20 plus pounds (let’s just go with 20, ummmmmKAY??) to lose; but after months of them yelling at me about how fat I’d gotten (ok, they maybe weren’t exactly yelling, and their messaging may have been a bit more nuanced, but whatevs), I finally clicked on the link after the first of the year. My intent was simply to go to their website and learn a little more. Which you can’t really do, because they direct you to a questionnaire about your goals and whatnot, which resulted in them telling me, “of course you can lose 30 pounds by April!!!,” and then offering me a free two week trial.

I have, essentially, zero experience with dieting. When my kids were little and I was trying to figure out what being a stay at home mom was going to look like for me, our family joined the YMCA. More days than not, I took advantage of the available two hours of childcare. Not because I was terribly enthused about working out, but because the thought of being able to take an uninterrupted shower in the locker room while someone kept my kids from sticking a fork into an electrical socket was HIGHLY motivating. But, I worked out too, usually in the form of slogging out six miles on the treadmill or participating in a group cycle class. Through the Y, Chris and I spent one spring/summer in a triathlon club (I did exactly one triathlon and, I shit you not, was the LAST person out of the water for the swim portion), and then a run club. For a handful of years, fitness became social for us. We were a fit family, and I was certain we always would be. I had zero fear of the screeching halt that would come to my exercise and metabolism when I hit my late 30’s and early 40’s. I didn’t pay attention to what I ate, because I didn’t need to. There was plenty of uncertainty in our lives during those years, but by God, I had health and fitness figured out to an absolutely annoying degree. I hereby apologize for incessantly inundating you with status updates about marathon training and the joys of running. Cue the Indigo Girls: Every five years or so I look back on my life and I have a good laugh.

Anyhoo. Back to Noom. What harm could a two week trial do, right? They sucked me in, I gave it a go. Not because I really anticipated I’d lose 30 pounds in 16 weeks (because framing it like that made it feel impossible for me), but because somewhere they wrote something to the effect of ‘participants typically lose 1-2 pounds per week.’ Something about that statement seemed manageable, doable, sustainable. I’d tried signing up for marathons and half marathons to get myself back on track. I’d tried the Whole 30. I’d tried simply eating and drinking like a reasonable human being on my own, and had simply ended up getting heavier.

Within the two week trial, I rode a weight loss roller coaster. I quickly dropped nearly three pounds, then managed to be four pounds heavier than my starting weight, but ended up 2.2 pounds down from where I started. I’m not sure why I’m telling you that, because I don’t think the weight loss (or gain) numbers had anything to do with me deciding to go ahead and continue the program. The ever-present, super pessimistic punk sitting on my shoulder was loudly telling me there was no point. I can’t tell you why, but I decided to stay on anyway. There was likely some desperation involved, as I was damn near as heavy as I was when ready to expel the babes from my uterus. Certainly heavier than I’d ever been in a non-pregnant state.

I’m currently half way through the 16 week program. It consists of food tracking, weekly check-ins with a coach via text, a support group of sorts, eating lots of low calorie dense foods (think fruits, vegetables, and other foods intended for rabbits) and limiting high calorie dense food (think pizza, steak, enchiladas, tacos, and other foods that make life worth living), and about 10 minutes a day worth of reading- mostly psychology type stuff relating to mindful eating, dealing with stress, handling set-backs, learning to eat healthy in the real world, et cetera, et cetera.

From the half way point, here’s what I can tell you: I’ve lost 10 pounds in eight weeks, some of them repeatedly. That is to say, the roller coaster ride has continued. My initial reaction to having some gains to go with the losses has repeatedly been defeatist, but I’ve managed to keep going, and the overall trend is what I’d hoped it would be. The daily readings have provided some much needed perspective when I’ve struggled. It provides for some grace when I screw up, and uses terminology like ‘limit,’ instead of ‘exclude.’ These are definite bonuses for me.

Of course, complete and total head case that I am, I keep beating myself up for having needed to spend money for a program to tell me things I already knew. And I keep thinking it’s only a matter of time until I go back to being completely sedentary and eating like an idiot (I’m going to be south of the Mason-Dixon line for two weeks in March and can taste the fried chicken already); because, that’s just how I do.

And yet, I can’t help but feel a twinge of optimism. I’m no longer filled with dread on days when I have to put on jeans. It’s easier to zip my coat. I kind of sort of enjoy going to the basement to ride the exercise bike again. I guess, if nothing else, I suppose it will be interesting to revisit this post in eight weeks.