How Noom Stacks Up vs. Weight Watchers (WW) – 2020 Update
The Noom Weight Loss Coach, simply referred to as Noom is a relative newcomer in the weight loss program arena. Noom popularity has been on the rise for quite a while, and it doesn’t seem like it’s going down anytime soon.
We would be comparing this new weight loss program, Noom with another popular weight loss program – Weight Watchers. We also have a few alternatives to both programs that have proven effective.
Both weight loss programs are quite similar in some ways. However, they share a different approach to helping you lose weight, all of which we would be discussing today. We’ll also go over the Modern Fit system in our comparison.
The Weight Watchers System
The Weight Watchers system has evolved over the years from simple beginnings to being a household brand name. It rebranded itself last 2018 and is now known as WW to appeal to a younger demographic to redefine the program as more than just about losing weight. WW revolves around creating a balanced diet, eating in moderation, and living a healthy lifestyle. Unlike other weight loss programs, WW allows you to eat any kind of food you want. There’s no restriction to what you can plan your meals around, hence no deprivation of any sort.
WW uses a points system to track your food intake as every food on the weight watchers list has an assigned number of points, depending on its calorie count and its nutritional content – saturated fat, sugar, and protein.
WW allows you to plan and create your meal around the points given to you, which is based on your height, weight, age, and gender.
If you’re looking for a quick fix, then WW isn’t for you as it takes a slow and steady approach to weight loss. WW is designed to help you lose weight by keeping track of points, making healthy food choices, increased physical activity, and making the necessary lifestyle changes.
When it comes to teaching dieters how to make smart choices — consistently and for the long haul — WW is one of the excellent programs out there, similar to the Modern Fit Club. The program (and its app) can help you identify and choose foods that promote weight loss. Based on a user’s weight and weight loss goals, WW provides a daily points range within which they’ll manage their food intake. Healthier foods have zero or lower points, and unhealthy foods have higher points. For example, an apple has a zero point value while the Big Mac has a point value of 18. The WW points system ensures that users will limit their intake of unhealthy foods and make nutritious food choices to stay within their daily points limit.
The WW App allows a user to track their weight loss progress and eating habits by logging whatever they eat, the exercise performed, etc. A user can also get support from others on meal planning, workout suggestions, and other fitness- and health-related topics.
Pros: Encourages weight losers to make healthy choices; allows users to track their exercises, weight, and so on; helps with meal planning; encourages portion control; gives social support (optional); expert coaching (optional).
Cons: Not free; costs a minimum of $3.84 per week; synchronization and connection options to other fitness apps is limited.
Weight Watchers User Reviews
Noom Weight Loss Coach System
The Noom Weight Loss Coach System is often touted as the “New Weight Watchers for the Millennials” due to its similarities shared with WW. Noom is a program that revolves around meal planning, fitness tracking, and motivational life coaching.
Noom takes a slightly different approach to weight loss, which is more similar to the Modern Fit Club Weight Loss Program as they focus more on the psychology behind losing weight. While WW’s strategy is geared toward better management of calorie intake, Noom, on the other hand, is designed not only to promote healthy eating choices, but to also modify behaviors by addressing the psychological elements that influence eating habits, fitness, and overall health.
While WW operates on a points system for its food tracking function, Noom has a simpler color-coded system – foods are categorized as green (healthiest), yellow (moderately healthy), or red (unhealthy) depending on their nutritional value. As with WW, there are zero food restrictions on Noom; a member is given a customized meal plan that is built around the three-color food classification and the bulk of which is made up of green foods.
The Noom’s interface (app) is intuitive and quite simple: on a daily basis, you’re presented with a list of tasks for you to complete. These tasks start with logging your meals, current weight, and exercise hours. You also get new information on nutrition and fitness, which you’re prompted to read, and often quizzed about later.
As a member of Noom, you’re connected with a personal coach and added to a group where you can exchange ideas, share your successes and failures, and get your questions answered.
Your personal coach actively checks up on you and guides you in setting “SMART” (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time-oriented) goals. Such goals could be as simple as ensuring that you take your breakfast daily and/or perform your exercises 5 times weekly.
According to a 2016 study involving 35,921 participants (published in the journal Scientific Reports) which looked at the effectiveness of Noom, about 76% of women and 84% of men lost weight while using the app. Approx. 23% of the participants experienced more than 10% weight loss on a Noom program.
Noom (app) also comes in a free version that helps set up a plan for you based on your weight loss goals and current weight. The free plan is based on caloric intake.
Keeping track of your activity, such as food intake and exercise, is done manually. With the premium version ($59 per month) – which is a bit high compared to other programs with similar features such as the Modern Fit Club – a user has a personal coach to help speed their weight loss progress.
You also receive a full learning course on losing wealth in a healthy manner, adopting healthy behaviors, and preventing health issues.
Pros: Food diary to track your meal consumption; calorie counting; weight and exercises tracking; accountability from a personal coach (premium version).
Cons: Age-related behaviors have been known to cause a strain between coach and member; membership is a bit costly, at $59 a month.
We compared Noom to a Modern Fit Program, and we’ve found that Modern Fit to be cheaper, more effective and realistic when it comes to lifestyle and sustaining the program. Get a free consultation here.
NOOM COACH VERSUS WEIGHT WATCHERS
Here’s a closer look at how Noom and WW differ from each other.
Focus on Healthy Mindset
WW is more oriented toward a structured eating and exercise plan based on calorie and activity tracking. Noom supplements its food and activity tracking function with a psychological approach that trains users to look at food, fitness, and health differently. Noom coach is similar to the Modern Fit Club in this aspect.
By focusing on what drives your actions and choices, Noom encourages you to make a long-term commitment to your weight loss goals and maintain them once achieved. Some of the psychological aspects that Noom’s educational strategy helps their members understand include barriers to weight loss, goal setting, social and emotional settings, storm eating, food binging triggers, and so on.
While WW’s points system is not highly restrictive and can even be considered flexible, to a certain extent, it still relies on fixed, albeit adaptable, structure outside of which weight losers may not be able to sustain their weight loss or maintain a healthy weight. At the end of the day, its formulated points-based approach does not bring about lasting healthy behaviors through effective self-evaluation and learning.
Noom’s philosophy, on the other hand, is less formulaic and is more motivational and holistic. Its food and activity tracking functions are supported by behavioral psychology concepts and techniques to affect real and lasting changes through education and skills learning, so that a member is able to commit to a healthier lifestyle even after leaving the Noom program.
WW offers several plans, all of which require weekly payments and a minimum of one month subscription.
- Digital Plan, $3.07 per week or about $12 to $15 a month. Subscribers get access to the app and website where they are provided tools for food logging, fitness tracking, fitness guides, recipes, digital coaching, and a social platform.
- Workshop + Digital Plan, $6.92 per week, or about $28 to $35 a month. Subscribers enjoy all the perks of the Digital Plan plus in-person workshops, or coaching sessions, with other members in the same locale.
- Personal Coaching + Digital Plan, $12.69 per week, or about $50 to $64 a month. Includes all the perks of the Digital Plan plus a one-on-one coaching session with a WW coach via phone.
Noom offers only one Basic Plan for its Healthy Weight Program, at $25 per month and a minimum 6-month subscription period. However, you are given a 2-week introductory period during which you can decide if you’d wish to subscribe to the full 6 months. This means you’ll have to pay $150 up front when you sign up.
You cannot get your remaining balance should you decide to cancel your subscription at any time during this initial 6-month period. This is, perhaps, part of their strategy of keeping members committed to their health and fitness goals. You have to remember that the plan automatically renews every 6 months, so you need to cancel your subscription, should you wish to, before this renewal happens.
You can opt to upgrade the Basic Plan with your choice of add-ons, such as customized meal plans or workout plans, which cost between $80 and $100 for the whole 6-month period.
Additionally, Noom also offers a Diabetes Management Program, which has been recognized by the CDC as a safe and effective diet plan for diabetics.
As mentioned above, WW uses a points system, called SmartPoints, wherein every food is assigned a points value and you are given a daily SmartPoints budget based on lifestyle, goals, eating habits, activity level, etc. The highlight of the SmartPoints system is its list of zero-point foods – the healthiest food options that are practically freebies because you can eat as much of these as you want without going over your daily points limit. You will log every food item that is not a zero-point food item and the app will keep a running count of your points for that day.
The goal is to stay within your daily SmartPoints budget in order to lose weight. You are assigned one of three SmartPoints plans:
- Purple plan. This offers more than 300 zero-point foods and the lowest daily SmartPoints budget. This plan encourages you to consume more zero point foods, and you will only be doing minimum food tracking with the least number of points to work with daily.
- Blue plan. This offers more than 200 zero-point foods and a mid-range daily SmartPoints budget. The plan provides a balance of flexibility and structure.
- Green plan. This offers over 100 zero-point foods and the highest daily SmartPoints budget. With more points to work with, you have more food options available to you but you’ll also be doing more food tracking
Noom assigns colors, instead of points, to foods based on their caloric density and overall nutritional value. Noom does not assign a fixed color-coded plan; rather, it encourages you to fill most of your plate with the healthiest foods and keep to a minimum the moderately healthy and unhealthiest foods, according to their color classification.
You will use Noom’s vast database to log every food you eat to see which color category it belongs to:
- Green foods are foods with the lowest calorie density and highest nutritional content, such as fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. These foods should make up the bulk of your daily diet.
- Yellow foods are still healthy but have a higher calorie density; these include chicken, eggs, avocados, lean meats, etc. These foods should be eaten in moderation.
- Red foods have the highest calorie density and consumption should be kept to a minimum, in amount and frequency. These foods include processed food items, pastries, sugary beverages, etc.
WW also awards you with FitPoints which you can add to your daily SmartPoints budget. You earn FitPoints by working out. The more you work out, the more extra food points you get. Adding your FitPoints to your SmartPoints budget is optional, however; you can use this feature to set a weekly FitPoint goal and keep track of your physical activity level.
Noom encourages you to engage in daily exercise, which you will also log daily. Noom can be synced with a fitness tracker, such as FitBit, or another health data app, such as Google Fit or Apple Health, so you can integrate all your fitness metrics and have more accurate fitness tracking results. When you sync Noom with other fitness tracking tools, the app will set a daily step goal for you, beginning at 2,000 steps per day. The number increases over time, and if you miss your daily goal, it regresses. You can also get an upgrade and receive a custom workout plan.
Noom vs WW – Final Thoughts
WW remains a popular weight-loss program because of its simple points system. It’s easy enough to follow and a lot of people enjoy the certain level of freedom they can still get when it comes to food options. For an added cost, you can also take advantage of weekly check-ins or one-on-one sessions with a WW coach.
However, there have been complaints about being locked into a WW subscription. Those who wish to cancel after paying must pay a cancellation fee.
Noom’s strategy of educating members and affecting lasting healthy behaviors makes it a more sustainable program, compared to WW. Noom’s coaching services are not only focused on physical fitness, but also deals with the psychological elements of fitness and health.
Many have had an issue with customer service, however, with some saying it’s “nonexistent”. The trial price is also quite steep and so are the paid programs.
The beauty of Modern Fit is that it is tailored to each person. Meal plans come with complete recipes and grocery lists, and the plans can be updated depending on your schedule. Modern Fit also gives tailored workout plans to help supercharge weight loss and get you to your goals. Your coach is available for you to ask questions and receive expert advice, and will keep you accountable.
What Diet Should You Go For?
Both Noom and Weight Watchers are excellent diet programs. The diet you should opt for should be based on your weight loss goals and preferences. Are you looking for a long or short term weight loss? How does the diet fit into your lifestyle? Do you find reading interesting?
If you’re looking for something that’s more fitting to your lifestyle you may also consider the Modern Fit program. It’s realistic and comes with a tailored meal plan.