February 9, 2022

I used a “Diet App”—& this is What Happened. {Partner}

This article is written in partnership with Noom—they’re dedicated to making healthy living easier for us all, and we’re honored to work with them. ~ ed.

I’m Noomin’ it.

That’s right. I used a “diet app.” And, it’s now time to eat some humble pie for putting quotes around those letters.

I’ve thumbed my nose at such a tool. I can do this weight drop thing. Done it before and knew I would again. (Say hello to my ego.) Plus, “needing” to have more screen time was not high on my list. (And hello to my excuses.)

The mindfulness aspect of the app and its non-diet approach to diving deeper had me intrigued.

Perhaps, this tool would be the one to help carve away my seasonal, homegrown muffin top mindfully—and prevent unintentional overgrowth in the future.

Your best version of “you” is right this way. Try Noom today >>

Similar to this post (pictured below) from Noom, I’ve set great intentions to stay on top of my health each year and have done fairly well; however, I wondered a few months ago, could I go down this path and merge them into one mindful shift for good this time?

Mindfulness was the focus of why I chose to say yes to trying Noom—and it showed up instantly as they “quizzed me.”

Here is what I wrote when I began:

There it was, my first clue to what was going on—and proof that there was going to be support for me in the weeks ahead.

Straight away, the app showed up as a simple tool to track myself…and I tracked myself not wanting to track.

When we sign up for these things, being ready for change is key. Or so I thought. Sometimes we struggle fitting the mold to fully take on what we had thought we could. And of course, life can and will rock us right off of the proverbial wagon, causing us to quit—which I almost did a few times.

Release yourself from salad prison & enter a whole new world of mindful eating >>

Turning on my notifications from the get-go set me up for a better chance of sticking to the program. With them turned on, the app was like a seat belt for when I was falling off track. A banner popped up on my phone’s screen reminding me to log my progress. The notes were written sweetly—or sassily with perhaps a hint of a knowing smile.

“You’re meals aren’t going to log themselves (insert crazy, silly emoji face).”

“You’re on a roll! This will be your 8th meal logged in a row!”

Their cheerful tone drew me back to the app time and time again.

Logging is not my thing in general, which is not specific to Noom or otherwise. I prefer an experience, creative license, and space from scorecards throughout my day. This time though, I was willing to try on their suggestions as best as I could and see where they took me.

Throughout the past two months, I did come up with my own rhythm. I noticed when I was noting everything specifically in the midst of my day, I got stressed and distracted by it. So, I added my meals in bulk when I had downtime with my phone—usually after one (or more) of their reminders. I began to enjoy slowing down to register my meals, exercise, and more. I took the time to answer direct messages and gentle reminders from my one on one coach, read the group chats and absorb the content from the daily lessons while raising my awareness of my own words versus my actual actions.

And that worked for me. My notes and the loaded little lessons stuck with me as I made my next choices.

And when it didn’t, the app swept in with the best advice:

I loved this mindful reminder. We are human and we will get off track—and we may always choose to breathe, let it go, and remember the big picture. I tell that to others all the time; it was time to start saying it more often to myself.

Noom also predicted the honeymoon stage I was in and when it would change.

“Let’s figure out just how motivated you’re feeling today. Based on where you started, we’d guess that you’re still in the honeymoon stage (we are too). Don’t let our feelings sway you—we want you to take a moment to reflect on how you’re feeling and decide for yourself.

What phase of the motivation model are you in right now?”

The app provided a pause throughout my journey with advice on how to navigate exactly where I was.

The greatest takeaway from the app for me began toward the beginning when I learned about and began identifying my Keystone habits. Ones like Befriending Breakfast and Eating Regularly were two I knew I needed to embrace.

Befriend your breakfast and say yes to cake more often—with Noom >>

Yet the habit that stuck out the most surprised me.

Keystone habit #7: eat mindfully.

When I’m with others, out to eat, or planning to entertain, I make mindful decisions all the time. Practicing slowing down, setting intentions, and savoring the moments is so important to me. However, why was I not doing this for myself every day?

A quiz revealed that answer quickly as it asked me where I ate my meal that day—that day and the day before and perhaps the day before that, um, I ate lunch at my desk distracted with to-dos. Their suggestions, which I use elsewhere in my life, were not ones applied when I was by myself.

Here are three of Noom’s Mindful Eating habits:

1. Making eating an occasion

Instead of mindlessly munching food before running out the door, eating at my desk, or even in the car while waiting in a carpool line, I challenged myself to do what I honestly love to do anyway for others: make meals worthy.

I began by simply setting the table, lighting a candle or two, and spinning some tunes. This preparation of sitting down, pausing to celebrate the moment, and offering gratitude did not take long by myself and served as a mindful moment of stress-free comfort.

2. Slowing down

The Noom lesson shared:

When you think and chew, you engage your senses. 

This helps you… 

>> Enjoy your food: When you savor every bite of that cake, you satisfy a craving and are less likely to want cake again tomorrow. (Or chips or calzone or whatever your “thing” is.)

>> Register your fullness: It takes a while to know you’re full—up to twenty minutes. So if you slow down, you’ll eat less…because your body will want to eat less.

>> Stop when you’re satisfied: Ever notice that the last bite isn’t as enjoyable as the first? By focusing on every bite, you’ll stop eating the instant you’re no longer enjoying your food, and leave the table feeling satisfied.”

Which all became true—with practice.

3. Using meditation:

I practice daily meditation and appreciated the suggestion to incorporate it into my Noom experience. Pausing to quiet my mind and center myself before I ate allowed all of the above to flourish.

My journey with Noom so far has been a success.

Your journey to a healthier, more mindful relationship with food starts with Noom >>

Despite my hesitations at first, I found in the app a mindful, daily support system. The lessons I needed most have stuck with me. The app gave me insight into where I need to practice letting go. (Goodbye, Miss Ego.) My clothes feel like my own again and I’ve continued creating small special occasions when I’m eating alone. (Goodbye, Miss Excuses.)

I feel lighter and all the wiser overall.

So, I’ll eat that humble pie.

And you know what? It tastes pretty damn delicious.

“When you prepare a meal with artful awareness, it’s delicious and healthy. You have put your mindfulness, love, and care into the meal, then people will be eating your love.” ~ Thich Nhat Hanh

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