Noom after Bariatric Surgery?

Steph Wagner

December 31, 2021

Noom after Bariatric Surgery?

noom weight loss program after bariatric surgery blog

Popular weight loss subscription program Noom, what post-ops should consider

 

A dietitians thoughts on starting a new eating program

In all things, it helps to do research and see if it aligns with your goals. What are the risks and benefits for starting a new program?

For one, it does matter to find a program that feels like the best fit for you. Starting anything new takes time and money. It can be defeating to spend time and money but feel like the program wasn’t the fit for you in the end.

Atkins, Whole30, Plant Based…these plans take time to learn, understand, find recipes, shop for, etc. You want to feel a certain amount of excitement and confidence before the undertaking.

Often times ‘getting back on track’ can be more simple than starting a new program. Purging the pantry, writing a meal plan and getting back to drinking enough water can do the trick.

What most are looking for in starting a new program is the excitement factor. Doing it with someone else or finding a group or a teacher or something that helps you feel in the groove.

 

 

What is Noom?

You’ve likely heard or seen advertisings for Noom, a weight loss program focused on the psychology side of eating.

As we move into the New Year, I have received marking for their program in every way possible including mailers and emails.

The program focuses on the psychology side of eating habits.

Is it a good fit for bariatric surgery patients?

Noom could be a good fit, and it may not be.

Here are the things I notice about Noom to be mindful of.

 

 

Things to be mindful of about Noom

In my research I went through the Noom trial period. The onboarding questions take quite a bit of time. In my opinion, they like to give an experience that the program is very tailored to you. (This is biased, forgive me, but I have doubts the program is as tailored as it makes you feel.)

Aside from a lot of questions on the front end, there are two key items I would speak to before someone signed up.

Focusing on the Psychology of Eating

The marketing information for Noom uses a lot of language about psychology. It states the program is designed by psychologists and that “we help you break the cycle of unhealthy habits with our psychological approach.”

There is certainly value in addressing the mind and there are very real neurotransmitters being fired when eating. My concern here is that there is quite a bit of biology going on with food, hunger, energy and so forth. The mind does play a huge part, but it is all so intertwined. My concern is focusing on the mind alone might lend someone to being really hard on themselves if they put all the responsibility for their weight loss success on their ability to master their head.

For example, if someone has been eating a higher amount of starchy foods (breads, pasta, rice) and battling nighttime hunger, they might think they are dealing with mental hunger at night, “I just ate so I must be bored.” Maybe they do end up snacking and are really hard on themself for doing so.

There is likely truth to the habit of eating at night. Our brains are also hard wired to patterns so if snacking is in the routine of the night, it does take breaking that pattern in the brain to break that habit.

However, there are also hunger hormones and blood sugars in the mix as well. It’s not just in the head because biology is much more complex than that. So yes, it is great to focus on the psychology of it all but WHAT you are eating still matters greatly in order to address the mental hunger.

And what Noom has you eat is my next point.

 

 

The Foods Encouraged on Noom

Noom doesn’t tell you very specifically what to eat, but it does go through some food education information and then quizzes that I didn’t entirely agree with.

Specifically, they encouraged eating foods with a high water content to fill you up. Grapes were a preferred food over lean meats because of the water content.

This example is one I would argue in reverse. Grapes are made of fructose (natural occurring sugar in fruit) and would digest and absorb more quickly leaving you hungry sooner. A lean protein source would fill you up and keep you full longer.

They use colors such as green foods, yellow foods, etc. This is an area I would have a post-op ignore if they signed up for Noom.

Stick with the post-op focused eating plan of lean proteins and veggies, limited fruit and even more limited starchy foods and sweets.

 

 

Chats and Coaching on Noom

Once again, I recognize my bias here because we have group chats and live coaching here on Bariatric Food Coach but I wanted to mention this feature on Noom.

The group will assign you to a coach and you can also chose to be in a group. The coaches don’t have a credential necessarily so something to keep in mind. They might be someone who has lost weight themselves, but not necessarily a psychologist or dietitian.

I didn’t join a group because I didn’t want to be dishonest that I was doing more research. My friend does use Noom and lost some weight with the program. She was happy with the help it provided for her but she admitted she didn’t participate in the group and didn’t engage with the coach much.

 

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In Summary

To wrap it all up, if you are considering joining Noom and you are a post-op patient you certainly can. If you feel like it’s something you want to try and see if it can help you, try it! Anything that might be a benefit to your health is always worth checking out.

The things to keep in mind is that their food recommendations don’t line up with a post-op that needs to focus on protein first.

The focus on psychology can be very helpful, but there is very real biology at play that means it’s not always just mental. We can’t separate focusing on just the mind when it comes to hunger. We also can’t focus just on food and not the mind!

Finally, save some time when you do go through the sign up process. It takes quite a bit of time especially on the front end.

 

 

Don’t forget! If you are looking for group chats, live coaching and other more nutrition coaching and resources more specific to bariatric surgery, Premier Access Membership to Bariatric Food Coach offers all those things!

Members can email me anytime with their questions. If you are a member and have more questions about this post, click here! 

Find Out More About Membership

 

 

 

Website Bio for Steph Wagner dietitian on Bariatric Food Coach

8 thoughts on “Noom after Bariatric Surgery?”

  1. Hi Steph, I did the trial for 24 hrs. ha ha! While it did have positives like believing in self, I need recipes and engaging or looking at others such as Facebook as well as seeing you consistently. Maybe I did not give it enough of a chance but it limits you to 1200 cal and I don’t like being limited. Noom says 10$ trial but as you are paying for that, you are encouraged to pay more for extras and then if you don’t cancel, it’s an automatic charge of about 136$.

  2. Hi, Steph! I did Noom twice before my surgery. I lost some weight, but the coaching is why I joined. What I quickly discovered was that the “coaching” is very scripted. If I asked a direct question of my “coach,” I usually got a response that was clearly a formula stock answer that rarely answered my question specifically. I did participate in the groups, but they were very much the same: scripted dialogue that was virtually identical both times I did the program. If post-ops want REAL coaching, they are much better off staying with you!

  3. I needed something to get a start on weight loss last March. Couldn’t quite get a handle on the part of me that motivated me. Joined Noom for 14 day trial and six month membership. I enjoyed the program for motivation, coaching was not very personal, foods were contradictory to post-op protein first, but it worked! I have lost 50 pounds that I thought I would never get off again. I am 18 years out from gastric bypass. Just had a gastric revision done over 4 years of gastrointestinal difficulties, and couldn’t eat and keep food down. I needed a program that was motivating, allowed me to choose snacking, a wide variety of food, and Noom fit the bill for me. Don’t place all your eggs in Noom though; Steph is great for recipes, keeping focus, and answering questions. Love to put the two of them together- gives a full package. Group support is better in Bariatric Support Group because we understand each other’s journey of weight loss.

  4. I tried Noom last year. I loved that it got me thinking about why I eat what I do… why I choose what I do, but it definitely didn’t fit with the bariatric lifestyle for me. It gave me too much latitude on eating what I love (fruits and carbs), and was able to still stay within the plan. That being said, I was able to get a refund very easily by sending an email and explaining the situation.

  5. This is fantastic!! Thank you so much for sharing all sides of the coin Debby! And I am so excited for you to feel better with both the weight loss and the revision.

  6. I wondered this myself. I think their marketing team is wanting to make things feel very catered but the truth is, it’s really hard to cater something to someone so specifically in an app/online format. This is why we go to providers for their focused time in our charts!

  7. Thank you Mary for your feedback on your experience! Those are tricky things for sure, giving you calorie recommendations and sneaking in extra fees. Good things to pay attention to!

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