What Is Noom?

By Derek Lakin
HighYa Staff Published on: Dec 8, 2017

Designed by a team of health coaches, nutritionists, licensed medical doctors, and clinical exercise specialists, Noom’s customized, clinically proven,16-week courses promise to help you stop dieting and reach your long-term weight loss and health goals.

The company knows that sticking to a plan is hard, which is why their proprietary behavior change programs were developed by world-class experts in psychology and motivation to help you maintain your drive and experience meaningful, lasting results. In fact, after working with more than 45 million individuals over the past 10 years, Noom tells us that:

  • 84 percent of users complete their program
  • 64 percent lose five percent or more of their body weight
  • 60 percent maintain this weight loss for one year or more
  • 83 percent of diabetics control their glucose, with a 73 percent overall reduction in the risk of diabetes

To start living a healthier life, you just need to sign up for an account and set your goals, complete targeted activities with your professional health coach and personal goal specialist, and track your progress along the way.

If you sign up for a Noom membership, will you find their system easy to use? Even then, can you really expect it to deliver meaningful—and perhaps more importantly, lasting—weight loss? These are only a couple of core questions we’ll help you answer here.

The Basics of Weight Loss

While it’s reported that the old calories in, calories out adage is an overly simplistic way of looking at weight loss and gain, it still plays a primary role in the process. How?

In a nutshell, if you consume more calories than you expend through daily living and recurring exercise, this excess will be stored by your body in the form of fat, inside specialized cells called adipocytes. If this surplus continues for long enough, it can lead to weight gain.

On the flip side, if you consume fewer calories than your body expends on a regular basis, you'll lose weight. According to the Centers for Disease Control, consuming 500 fewer calories than your body uses each day we result in about one to two pounds lost per week.

With these basics in mind, how does Noom help you create a calorie deficit, as well as stick with it over the long term?

Taking a Closer Look at How Noom Works

1. The Initial Sign-Up

If you’re interested in signing up for a Noom account, you’ll visit their website and start by entering how much weight you want to lose, your height and current weight, age range, and gender.

Then, you’ll indicate how healthy your current lifestyle is (needs work, have some healthy habits, mostly eat well and stay active), and whether or not you’re at risk for conditions like heart disease or stroke, high blood pressure, diabetes, osteoarthritis, kidney disease, and so forth.

Next, what do you think is your biggest challenge when making healthy choices (time, temptations, support, don’t know where to begin, etc.)? Which situations are most likely to trigger unhealthy habits (stress, social events, unwanted emotions, eating out, etc.)?

What’s the best way the course can help (balance all your responsibilities and make healthy choices, find a long-term solution, learn how to navigate your environment, etc.)?

Based on these answers, Noom will create a unique plan to help you reach your weight loss goals. However, you’ll still need to choose a membership term (more soon), indicate which aspect you want to focus on first (nutrition, physical activity, building good habits, etc.), and any physical limitations, dietary restrictions, or food allergies you might have.

Finally, confirm that you’re able to dedicate at least 10 minutes each day to Noom and reaching your goals, and you’ll receive access to:

  • A full customized plan that can help you learn about bad habits and how to beat them.
  • Unlimited access to a health professional that can provide “psychological strategies that give you the confidence to easily avoid temptations”
  • 24/7 personal and group support for when things get tricky
  • Award-winning app available for iPhone and Android devices

We’ll talk more about this app in just a moment, but let’s first discuss the programs you’ll have access to after completing the membership sign-up process.

2. Noom’s Programs

Noom currently offers two 16-week programs: Healthy Weight and Diabetes Prevention. Both use lifestyle intervention techniques to empower participants to reach their goals by maintaining “healthy eating patterns and physical activity habits, and foster[ing] the skills they need to navigate their social environment and overcome barriers.”

The Healthy Weight program also addresses other aspects of wellbeing, such as sleep and stress management, while the Diabetes Prevention program specifically focuses on helping users lose seven percent of their body weight.

Each Noom course is broken down into three stages:

  1. Foundations – Here, you’ll take a look at what your course has in store, learn some healthy living basics, and cover topics like nutrition, physical activity, sleep, and stress, and how each of these lifestyle factors influences your health and wellbeing.

  2. Practice Your Skills – Next, you’ll take this information and apply it to your lifestyle using tools and practical skills that can help you overcome your barriers, handle triggers, change the way you think, and build new habits. These include practicing eating in social situations, shopping for healthy foods, increasing your activity levels, managing your stress, and maintaining mindfulness.

  3. Master Your Habits – Finally, you’ll further expand your knowledge by learning strategies to stay motivated and overcome plateaus, master the skills you’ve practiced, and create plans for long-term success.

Both programs also include structured curriculum delivered via daily content, such as 1-3 articles about weight loss, nutrition, physical activity, and so forth; 0-2 interactive challenges to develop healthy habits, along with “dynamic weekend content relevant to a users' demographics, interests, and behaviors.” They also both involve:

  • Weekly weight logging
  • Daily food logging (including feedback about food choices) and exercise logging
  • Calorie budget and tracking
  • Tracking steps with a pedometer
  • Virtual groups
  • Messaging with coaching team

Let’s find out exactly how you’ll go about this.

3. Bringing It All Together: The Noom Coach App

After completing the membership sign-up process on Noom’s website, they’ll send you a text message with an activation link, allowing you to download their app. This will act as your central hub, where you’ll log food/meals/calories, exercise, blood glucose, blood pressure, and weight.

Noom App Exercise Log & Weight GraphNoom’s app allows users to track different types of exercise (left) and time spent exercising (middle), as well as a reference a weight graph.

Noom App Meal Log & RecipesNoom members can also track meals and snacks, browse healthy recipes, and view nutrition information in advance.

The mobile app will also sync with and gather data from hundreds of devices (Fitbit, Garmin Connect, Jawbone UP, Polar, Runkeeper, etc.), even across multiple devices and users.

Using in-app messaging and group discussions, this is where you’ll keep in touch with your coach (one to two times per week, on average) and goal specialist (can provide personalized support based on your needs and goals, the food and exercise you log, the articles you read, etc.) as well.

Noom App Coach MessagingNoom’s multi-functional mobile app is where members will message and interact with their Health Coach and Goal Specialist for customized support. Credit: Noom, Inc.

Together, Noom indicates they’ll help you create a path forward and provide the support and encouragement you need to succeed.

The company tells us that all data submitted through the website and app (e.g., logged meals, weigh-ins, exercises, etc.) is securely protected using TLS encryption.

How Much Does Noom Cost?

All new Noom members are eligible for a free 14-day trial. However, you’ll need to choose one of the following options during signup:

  • Monthly: $59/mo
  • 2-Month Plan: $49.50/mo
  • 4-Month Plan: $32.25/mo

Once your trial has ended, you’ll immediately roll to your chosen plan and pay the associated fee, which will automatically renew until you cancel.

During checkout, we also had the ability to add a customized workout plan ($49), meal plan ($79), or both for $79. If you choose any of these options, your card will be billed immediately, while you’ll still have 14 days before being charged for the program itself.

Noom’s FAQ emphasizes that after the free trial ends, any related charges are non-refundable. If you cancel mid-term, you’ll still have access to the app—including your Goal Specialist, group, and course—until the end of the billing cycle.

Customer service can be reached at (800) 910-7375, programsupport@noom.com, or via their site’s contact form.

What Can We Learn From Noom Customer Reviews?

On TrustPilot, 24 customers had given Noom an average rating of two stars. Of the positive reviews, common compliments referenced ease of use, effective weight loss, useful information, and friendly coaches that helped maintain motivation.

On the other hand, frequent complaints revolved around less-than-stellar customer support experiences (specifically, difficulty canceling memberships), and dissatisfaction with course material. In several of these instances, a company representative responded in an effort to come to a resolution.

Writing for Food and Nutrition Magazine, Marisa Moore, MBA, RDN, LD felt that Noom provided a lot of benefits (the ability to easily log information, set reminders, keep calories in view, and integrate with services like HealthKit and GoogleFit), although because calories are always in view, she felt it might not be ideal for “those seeking a non-diet approach to healthy living.”

In the end, she concluded that, “Noom is a good starter app for logging meals and tracking activity. However, without an active (paid) coaching course, the app offers limited value beyond tracking the numbers.”

Between iTunes and Google Play, nearly 170,000 customers provided their feedback about the Noom app, collectively giving it an overall average rating of about four stars. Most seemed to appreciate its usefulness, tracking, and motivational support from coaches, although complaints typically referenced bugginess, customer support issues, and limited feedback from coaches.

From a company perspective, Noom, Inc. is based out of NY, NY and has been in business since 2014. They held a B- rating with the Better Business Bureau, based on more than 50 closed complaints, as of 12/7/17. No details were available.

Noom was co-founded by President Artem Petakov and CEO Saeju Jeong. Previously, Artem worked as co-founder and CTO of WorkSmart Labs and a software engineer/tech lead for Google, while Saeju worked as a steering committee member for the Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning of South Korea, as well as a networking administrator for L.C. Tek, Inc.

Are There Other Lifestyle-Intervention Weight Loss Courses & Apps Like Noom?

Before answering this question, it will serve us well to quickly take a look at Noom’s underlying approach.

Lifestyle Intervention & Weight Loss

In the Medscape article we linked to in the ‘Programs’ section earlier, Dr. David Katz, director of the Yale University Prevention Research Center and president of the American College of Lifestyle Medicine, was quoted as saying:

“A very short list of lifestyle practices has a more massive influence on our medical destinies than anything else in all of medicine. There's almost nothing in all of medicine that has the vast, consistent, and diverse evidence base.”

As such, despite its fancy-sounding name, the central goal of lifestyle interventions is to help individuals learn and implement healthy practices that can reduce instances of chronic disease—and all of this in a way that no pill could ever hope.

The article goes on to cite several clinical studies indicating a correlation between lifestyle interventions and effective weight loss. But like most other weight loss programs, they emphasize that there are still high dropout rates, which is why there are so many different methods of shedding pounds.

Noom vs. MyFitnessPal, Lose It!, Omada, Rise, 8fit, & LifeSum

If you’re looking for an iOS or Android app that combines all the same features as Noom (personalized lifestyle- and- habit-based plans, dedicated coaching/goal support, food/calorie/exercise tracking, group messaging, etc.), there aren’t a whole lot of options. Here were some of the most popular at the time of our research:

Company Membership Price Unique Features
Noom $32.25-$59/mo, depending on length Lifestyle intervention-based, personalized plans, dedicated coaches/support, group messaging, connect to fitness trackers
MyFitnessPal Free (calorie counter only) Automatically calculates calories based on food and weight—calorie counter only
Lose It! Basic: $0; Premium: $3.33/mo Personalized weight plan, daily calorie budget, food (including the ability to scan barcodes and take pictures) and exercise tracking, connects to fitness trackers, guidance and support from community
Omada $120/mo Behavior change program focused on weight and chronic disease reduction, includes smart scale for tracking, food tracking via pictures or quick descriptions, track steps w/phone, health coaching and feedback, personal challenges and support
Rise Subscription plans as low as $20/week or $60/month; In-app private coaching purchases listed between $14.99 and $89.99 Personalized plans and coaching (including challenges), meal tracking via photos, accountability-based, integrate steps and exercise
8fit $25 every 3 months/ $60 annually Customized programs and meal plans, exercise focused on high-intensity workouts (5-15 min sessions), in-app shopping lists, coaching
LifeSum As low as $2.62/mo Nutrition advice, personalized diets, healthy recipes, habit tracking, different diet plans (low carb, keto, high protein, etc.) available, feedback and support

Of these, Omada and Rise seemed to be the closest to Noom, although Omada was priced meaningfully higher, while (at about $60/mo) Rise was on the upper end of Noom’s spectrum.

How can you decide whether or not these (or other) programs are your best option, and whether or not their price will deliver a solid level of value? We’ll address this point as we wrap things up.

Our Final Thoughts About Noom

According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, choosing a safe and successful weight loss program starts with talking to a healthcare professional. If necessary, be sure to write down important questions in advance, and be open and honest about your struggles and goals. A few they recommend:

  • What is a healthy weight or BMI for me?
  • Will losing weight improve my general health, as well as specific health problems I have?
  • Could any of my medical conditions or medications be causing weight gain or making it harder for me to lose weight?
  • Are there any types or amounts of physical activity I should not do because of my health?
  • What dietary approaches do you recommend I try or avoid?

If your doctor gives you the green light, the article notes that effective weight loss programs should combine behavioral treatment, ongoing feedback and support, slow and steady (i.e., realistic) weight loss goals, and a plan for keeping it off over the long-term—all of which seem to be present with Noom.

When it comes down to it, though, every weight loss journey is intensely personal. But if Noom doesn’t meet your needs or preferences (motivational or otherwise), the company provides new customers with the ability to try their service for free for 14 days, so you might not have much more to lose than a bit of your time.

See Also: 7 Tips to Avoid Holiday Weight Gain

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98 Consumer Reviews for Noom

Average Consumer Rating: 2.0
Rating Snapshot:
5 star: 15 4 star: 7 3 star: 4 2 star: 11 1 star:  61
Bottom Line: 23% would recommend it to a friend
Showing 1-11 of 98
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  • 3 out 3 people found this review helpful

    Noom - do not buy or try!

    • Charleston, IL,
    • Nov 19, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    I canceled this Noom lame app within 3 days of having the trial period and they charged me $99 anyhow. I email several times and got no response. You can't talk to anyone, there is no phone number to call. You have to wait for an email response. The app is not user-friendly.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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  • 1 out 2 people found this review helpful

    Love this app

    • Tampa, FL,
    • Nov 19, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    I love this app. I have lost 12lbs and I'm just starting in week 5. My group coach I'm not crazy about, but my private coach and I chat all the time. My private coach is a man, not a robot or the girl in the picture. I will continue to use the app and have signed up several friends and family. I feel better, look better, and have discovered some of the terrible eating habits that I never realized were impacting my weight so much. I didn't sign up for any of the extras, just the regular Noom app. I paid $149 for the months, and I sent my code to friends and family with got a discount down to $104 for the three months. I read everything before signing up, and it was clearly explained on how this app works and functions.

    Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this to a friend

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  • 2 out 2 people found this review helpful

    "Customized" is really "Cookie-Cutter"

    • Kent, WA,
    • Nov 18, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    When it comes to weight loss, any plan will work if you will. I decided to try the free trial based on the advertised custom plan. Text messages were bland and uninspiring. I guess I should have expected that.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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  • 4 out 4 people found this review helpful

    Not what I wanted

    • Florida,
    • Nov 17, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    I think the Noom folks probably have the best intentions, and I don't want to bash them for their efforts, but this program did not work for me. I am a 60-year-old woman who had a hysterectomy and gained 10 pounds in a year. I had hoped Noom would help me shed that weight and more. I stayed on the prescribed calorie intake for 6 weeks - I did more steps than required too - zero weight loss. I didn't like being part of the group chat - that did nothing for me. And I don't have time to sit and read all the info that was required daily. I know 90% of that stuff.

    My doctor asked me to stop the program because the calorie level was far too low. He switched me over to more of a Keto diet, and I have finally achieved the weight loss. No diet plan works for everyone, but I would think long and hard before I would suggest a friend try the Noom approach.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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  • 6 out 6 people found this review helpful

    Do not join!

    • United Kingdom,
    • Nov 16, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    DO NOT JOIN!

    The free 14-day trial period is ok; lots of useful articles and contact from your coach.

    Diet and exercise plan are clearly generic and have no personalization at all. I told them I don’t have much time and was given plans that involve hours of exercise and meal prep and cooking. Plus it is American, so not good for food shopping outside the US.

    Despite this, I stuck with it. I was charged for the full membership and it immediately went downhill. I was added to a group without permission, and that clearly becomes the focus with the coach backing off and the articles then just repeat themselves.

    They have refused a refund only two weeks into the full plan despite not delivering what they promised.

    Utter rip-off. Absolutely furious.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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  • 5 out 6 people found this review helpful

    Beware!

    • San Diego, CA,
    • Nov 14, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    I signed up for a "trial" of Noon because I am serious about weight loss - I am prediabetic and must lose weight and cut down on carbs or I will get diabetes soon. I signed up for the $1 trial. Then I ended up signing on with an in-person dietician and did not use the Noom app whatsoever. Then I noticed a $129 charge on my credit card. I realized that I had forgotten to cancel Noon within the 14-day trial period. I then canceled with Noon and tried to dispute the charge with my credit card company, to no avail.

    In my opinion, it should be illegal to convert a trial to a costly "service" (I received no service) without asking the card holder's permission or at least informing them. Although I am generally an ultra-responsible person, this has happened to me a few times with other companies, such as when they auto-renew a subscription I don't want after a year, and I have almost always received a refund after calling them. With Noon, there is no way to call them, and they will not deviate from their "no refunds" policy. Not an ethical business, in my view. Why do they need to steal people's money when the "customers" have received no services from them?

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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  • 4 out 6 people found this review helpful

    Noom is great

    • Florida,
    • Nov 13, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    I have just completed 8 weeks of a 16-week program and have lost over 20 lbs. I have learned to make much better food and life choices. Noom is an educational curriculum, not a diet. You learn so much about food choices and how they impact your health. The weight loss is just a positive byproduct of learning. So this is a positive post for all the negative ones.

    If you stick with Noom, learn, and you will change your life.

    Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this to a friend

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  • 6 out 6 people found this review helpful

    Noom - scam - poor service

    • Pennsylvania,
    • Nov 13, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    I signed up for the trial period but could not download the app on my phone. I tried to cancel during the trial and was told I have to cancel through the phone app. I told them I could not download the app and was told that is the only way to cancel. I've sent several more emails asking for help and messaged on Facebook and no answer.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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  • 1 out 2 people found this review helpful

    Total scam and TERRIBLE non existent customer service

    • Ontario, Canada,
    • Nov 13, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    This is a complete scam. Customer service doesn’t exist. Won’t return emails after being provided contact from the "coach." Shame on this company.

    Do not join!

    One star is too much, should be a negative rating.

    Terrible.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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  • 4 out 7 people found this review helpful

    I see the reviews, I'm cancelling my trial this way...

    • Tampa, FL,
    • Nov 10, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    I used PayPal to pay, so I went into my PayPal account (on the computer, not the phone) and selected the latest purchase from Noom (they charged me $1.00). There is a button towards the bottom right of the payment info that says "Report a Problem." It brought me to another page in PayPal that allowed me to select Subscription "Manage." There I was able to cancel any more payments from being drafted. Like canceling a subscription. So PayPal shouldn't allow any more payments to be deducted.

    I also used the chat bubble to cancel with my coach (I was assigned a coach once I finished the 1st or 2nd-day activities in the app). No response yet, but in all fairness, I just wrote to them 10 minutes ago. It's a shame. I really like them.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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  • 10 out 11 people found this review helpful

    Tell you one price and charge another!

    • California,
    • Nov 8, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    I came across this ad on Facebook and thought ok, let's give it a try, for a $1 trial, why not. It advertised $24 per month. So I read everything I could find on the website and didn't see anything crazy, decided why not...I gotta do something, so I signed up. Well, I couldn't get the app to work right, I had to keep uninstalling and reinstalling it...so that was super annoying, but whatever, right. Then we had a family emergency, and this kind of fell to the wayside. Then I see a charge for $149 hit my account!

    I immediately open my bank app to see who this charge is from and it's NOOM. Well, $149 is NOT $24, there has to be some mistake for sure, right? So I once again fight with the app to open so I can message the "personal trainer" (robot) who tells me I'll get an email response in 3-4 business days. Well, not cool, so I ask for a phone number. No response, at all...

    A few later I get an email that says sorry no refunds, but you can use the app for the six months that you have elected to pay for even though you have canceled. I didn't elect to pay $149 for something that I haven't even had time to set up yet! So, I respond with this to the email, and I'm once again ignored and still have no customer service phone number to call and speak to a real person to work this out. There is a huge difference between $149 and $24, and if the payments all have to be made up front, that should be clearly written. It is obvious by my account that I have not utilized anything, so it is not like I am trying to use what I want and then return it and scam them. This is not good business. I wish I had been warned before trying this!

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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