I recently stumbled across an article that was promoting CBT as the key to weight loss/healthy eating and you guys, I got SO excited!
FINALLY! I thought. The power of CBT for changing behaviors rather than the current out-dated and ineffective paradigm we've been used to is beginning to break through to main stream media a little bit!
Then I noticed it was basically an advertisement for the Noom app -- but I was still super excited. I needed to know more because holy cow, if this is a cheap & easy option for introducing the power of cognitive behavioral coaching to the masses, I want to start recommending it to people!
I've often had people ask me about different programs, apps and diets over the years and I'm not someone who automatically just craps on everything else because I think I'm the only one who has all the answers.
I always thoroughly investigate everything because if someone out there has found a better way, that I don't know about yet, you damn sure bet I want to know about it! That's how I ultimately created cognitive eating, because I kept searching for answers when I saw a very broken system. Anyway, I digress, back to Noom.
So here's what I found: it's an app that's supposedly based on CBT to help teach you to make long term behavioral changes -- which is exactly what we need!
I say supposedly only because I haven't actually tried the app so I don't know just how much they actually teach or rely on CBT principles.
Using CBT to teach us to make long term behavioral changes, understand WHY we make the choices we make, that we have the power to change our brains and can learn to actually want to make different choices is exactly what the world needs.
But is Noom really the answer to do that? I'm afraid not. From what I can tell, it's a diet app. It emphasizes good and bad food choices, labels food (with colors) and has food rules to follow related to those things.
If you've read anything I've ever written you'll know I'm not a fan of labeling food in any way or relying on things outside ourselves to "solve our weight problem". Any time there are rules or labels surrounding food choices, and an emphasis/focus on weight loss as the goal, it risks feelings of shame which perpetuates less than stellar choices and diet mindsets. Bottom line: It may have some pros but definitely has a lot of cons that make it little more than just another diet app (disgusted as wellness), I'm afraid.
There are many elements I'm not a huge fan of, from what I've seen. The food labeling and focus on weight to name a few. The weight centric model is broken and outdated no matter how you brand it and in that way, it sort of feels a little like just using CBT to rebrand diet culture -- which I do not like, not even one little bit.
I also don't like there isn't (at least I haven't seen, I may be wrong) much focus on the importance of mindfulness and teaching you to build a loving, trusting connection with your own body so that you can learn to eventually just eat whatever you want without any rules or even thinking about food.
That's a hugely important element that, from what I can tell, Noom really misses the mark on.
I've also seen reviews from people complaining that the responses they got from their coaches didn't feel personalized, that they often felt more like auto-responses or a robot, even though Noom claims that you get your own personal coach.
But guys, at the time of this writing, they have something like 45 million subscribers -- imagine how many coaches they would need to employ to personally coach that many people every week?! Of course they have to be relying on a good deal of automation and AI. There's no way to give completely personal coaches to tens of millions of people every single week. So be aware that much of the "coaching" you receive is not likely to be an actual person.
If you do try it but don't have long term success with it, please don't blame CBT and the power of cognitive behavioral coaching or cognitive eating based on that one app.
There are still waaay too many diet culture flaws built into this app that are unrelated to the basic principles of CBT.
There are too many diet culture hold overs and from what I've read, it's poor on execution in many ways for it to be something I'm still excited about after having spent some time investigating it.