Diet culture has always been popular amongst society. And it always will be, even with the advancement of technology.
Dieting using apps is even more popular today. While there are many diet apps you can choose from, two of the most popular are Weight Watchers (WW) and Noom.
Both Noom and WW offer a free two-week trial, so I decided to try both of these services to see which service was the best for me.
This article is not sponsored by Weight Watchers nor Noom. Every thought and feeling I have about these services are my own opinions.
To see an overview of each service, its features, pros, cons, my personal experience, and more, keep reading.
- 1 What is Noom?
- 2 How does Noom work?
- 3 What is Weight Watchers (WW)?
- 4 How does WW work?
- 5 Final Thoughts
- Smart gear to help you measure your belly and body fat
- Best Smart Tape measures for your health and fitness goals
What is Noom?
Noom is a newer weight management service. In fact, Noom promotes itself as an anti-diet lifestyle app. And unlike WW, Noom is online only with a digital diet subscription app.
Since then, it has gotten more popular and more well-known. You’ve probably even seen one of their ads on TV.
Noom is most known for taking a psychological, cognitive-behavioral approach to food and your relationship with food. This science-based approach to health and fitness makes the app a unique diet experience.
Noom teaches you self-efficacy, builds new healthier habits, and considers your lifestyle and psychological needs. Consequently, it’s flexible rather than rigid!
While most diet/health apps focus primarily on tracking information, Noom does things a little differently. Noom is more like a health and wellness course rather than a diet plan.
How does Noom work?
So when you download the Noom app, the first thing you do is fill out a questionnaire that asks you about your health information and goals. This questionnaire helps Noom determine the focus of your course.
After doing that, you’ll sign up for Noom. I got a two-week free trial because I used a referral code from a podcast I listen to frequently. You can do this too.
When you sign up, Noom asks you how you heard of them, and you can select from tv ads, podcast partners, Youtube partners, etc.
Once you do this, you’ll start your Noom course. The goal of the course is to make you a Noom Expert, but there are other levels you need to reach first, like Novice, Apprentice, and Scholar.
- The Novice level learns the basics of Noom and the psychological elements that affect weight loss.
- The Apprentice level helps you become more aware of the new habits you’re developing and increases your motivation.
- The Scholar level sees progress beyond the scale, like having more energy, confidence, and better sleep.
- The Expert level has their lifestyle habits remodeled and redefined their relationship with their food/health/self.
You get a certain amount of tasks each day, and you can set how much time you want to dedicate to the course each day. You can choose either 5-8 minutes, 9-12 minutes, or 13-16 minutes.
Noom’s quizzes test your knowledge throughout the course
When you get to the end of a lesson and are ready to level up, you need to get a score of at least 70% to move on. But don’t worry! The quizzes are not difficult to do, and you can re-take them if needed.
Once you start your course, aka Noom 101, you start with goal setting and lifestyle planning.
Throughout the course, you’ll set a wide variety of goals like your big picture, water intake, step count, a motivation plan, and more.
Since Noom does focus a lot on wellness in general, you’ll also have opportunities to try out different mental health exercises like meditating, deep breathing, and more.
The complete course is estimated to take about 16 weeks to complete.
But it could take you longer than that also depends on your schedule and how dedicated you are to it.
Noom offers you a supportive team
Along with the course, you also have access to your Noom Expert team, which includes your Noom Guide and 1:1 or group coach.
Now, Noom’s ads make it seem like the Noom Guide is a real-life person on the other side of the message, but honestly, I think it was an AI. I hardly ever interacted with this “person” in my two weeks trying out Noom.
Along with the course, you also need to track your food, activity, and weight daily.
When you sign up for a membership with Noom, you receive the following:
- Customized course
- Expert team (your Noom Guide, 1:1, or group coach)
- Food/weight/activity logging system
Tips from the Noom Course
And if your numbers fluctuate, don’t get discouraged. Noom tells you not to worry if the scale fluctuates–it’s normal at the beginning of the program! Plus, weighing yourself every day helps you overcome any scale anxiety you may have!
When it comes to picking food to eat, Noom says you should eat food items with the lowest caloric density. They break different foods down into three groups: green, yellow, and red.
- Green foods have low caloric density and high concentrations of nutrients, like vegetables and whole grains.
- Yellow foods have mid-level caloric density and a medium amount of nutrients, like lean meats and starches.
- Red foods have the highest caloric density and least amount of nutrients, like red meats and deserts.
The whole point of the color system is to use it as a portion guide for your meals. Noom recommends that you eat 30% green foods, 45% yellow foods, and 25% red foods each day.
When you use the food tracker in the Noom app, it tells you what color the food is when you log it.
Now, let’s get to it, the question everyone wants to know the answer to how much does Noom cost?
According to the Noom website, a monthly subscription costs $66.35. But you can get discounted rates if you purchase a multiple-month or annual subscription.
An annual subscription costs $199. There is also promo code offers from a variety of Noom partners.
When I canceled my free trial, I received emails from Noom that contained an 80% coupon code for their annual subscription.
Noom is a well-regarded and praised app, and it is easy to see why!
Pro #1: The program is structured well
If you are looking for a diet plan with structure and guidance, Noom by far is the best option. The Noom course is very organized, and it teaches you something new every day.
Instead of just being a typical food tracking app, Noom feels more like a virtual class you attend each day. If you don’t enjoy the class-like structure, then you might not see this as a positive.
Pro #2: Integrates wellness and mindfulness
Noom’s whole selling point is that it combines psychology with dieting, and this truly makes them a unique health app.
While Noom shares a lot of information about dieting, you also get to learn so much more. Like about the habits you have and why you have them.
Noom has many wellness and mindfulness tasks available in its course. It makes using the app not as stressful, especially compared to other health apps out there.
Pro #3: Focuses on long-term results
We all know that while losing weight fast feels great at first. But it isn’t sustainable. While some apps focus on losing weight quickly, that’s not how Noom works.
Noom’s primary purpose is to teach you how to make a lifestyle change rather than a quick fix to lose a couple of pounds. By doing this, you are more likely to keep the pounds off and live a healthier life.
Pro #4: Flexibility
One thing I truly appreciated about Noom was that the app was flexible. It never felt like anything I wanted to eat was off the table at all. And as a picky eater, I appreciate that!
Noom encourages and promotes a balanced way of life, from the food you eat to making sure you are doing well mentally.
Pro #5: The app is user-friendly
The Noom app is one of the best apps out there. Everything is easily located and found in one place.
You don’t need to go to several different websites or emails to get all the information you need. The app is easy to use and super convenient!
While there are many pros to Noom, there are also some cons.
Con #1: Expensive
While Noom is a great app to use, it’s hard to justify the cost of the service. For most users, Noom ends up costing around $50 a month.
Even with the various coupon codes and monthly discounts, the price turns away many prospective users.
Since the price is so high, many users take advantage of the free trial that Noom offers. It’s not likely you can finish the course during that time. At least you can still learn a lot of good information.
Plus, once you finish the course, there’s no need to spend more than $50 a month on the food log and weight trackers. There are so many free calorie counting apps currently available!
Con #2: Canceling is a hassle
In general, most subscription services are a pain to cancel. And Noom is not any different. Noom makes you jump through hoops to cancel the service. And their cancelation policy isn’t the best.
Since Noom is a reoccurring monthly subscription service, it’s automatically billed to your credit card. And yes, this can happen even during your free trial period.
If you do not cancel Noom within 24 hours of the end date of your free trial, you are most likely going to be charged for the next month.
Luckily, you can cancel the service early and still access the app until your trial ends or until the next billing cycle.
If you need more help on how to cancel your Noom subscription, we have a guide you can check out here.
Con #3: Time commitment
Now, the one disadvantage of Noom’s course is that it requires more of your time than other diet and health apps.
If you do not have extra time to complete the course, you may not like Noom.
Plus, Noom encourages you to weigh in and report everything you eat daily. This concept can be a daunting task for users who are not used to this experience.
Granted, Noom doesn’t want its users to be stressed while using their service. So you can adjust the level of how much time you want to commit to the course daily.
If it gets too overwhelming for you, it’s okay to make the adjustments that work best for you!
Con #4: Coaches do not live up to expectations
One of the big selling points of Noom is its coaching service. The “coach” assigned to you at the beginning of the course does not do much. It seems more like an AI rather than an actual human being.
When you get halfway through with the Noom 101 course, that’s when you take your quiz to see If you would benefit from group or one on one coaching.
But what they don’t tell you is that you do not get full access to the “coaches” until you get to the 2 weeks of your course, which is a disappointment.
How Noom Worked for Me
My personal experience with Noom was very positive. As someone who has used many different weight-loss apps and services, Noom is by far the most positive experience.
When using Noom, I never felt like I was starving myself, nor did I ever feel limited in what I could and could not eat. I tracked my food daily, and having my Apple Watch connected to track my activity earned me some extra calories each day!
I enjoyed working on the course. In two weeks, I made it to the Apprentice Level. I found the course super enjoyable and not very time-consuming.
However, there were days when I didn’t want to do a lesson at all. But Noom never punished me for it.
I also liked that you had the option to read or listen to the lesson. I opted for the audio, and it just felt like I was listening to a health and wellness podcast.
I found Noom’s content to be very motivating. Sure, their messages tended to be a little cliche at times. But I never felt bad or guilty while using the app.
When I used Noom, my mindset was super positive and hopeful, which I think helped me. I was able to lose 3 pounds while on Noom!
If Noom was more affordable, I think I would have continued to use it, especially to finish the course in general!
I did contemplate using the 80% a year subscription coupon code Noom emailed me. But alas, I decided not to continue.
Now that we know all about Noom let’s move on to Weight Watchers, aka WW.
What is Weight Watchers (WW)?
Weight Watchers has been around for a while, and it started back in 1963. But in 2018, Weight Watchers decided to rebrand as WW, which is what they primarily go by now.
WW is a unique diet service since they offer multiple program options. WW offers in-person meetings (now referred to as workshops) and their online digital service. And they offer two different digital plan options: Digital and Digital 360.
- The in-person program also includes access to the Digital plan.
- The Digital plan gives you standard access to the WW app.
- The Digital 360 plan gives you the Digital plan plus additional access to diverse content from their coaches.
How does WW work?
While there are many different ways to participate in the WW program, one thing remains the same: how the diet plan works. Rather than traditional calorie counting, WW utilizes a point system, which they call Smartpoints.
Every food item is assigned a point value, and you get a daily amount of points you can use.
You also have a point bank of extra points you can use each week if you go over your daily total. But luckily, there are zero point foods in the WW system!
But how does WW come up with a number for each food?
WW gets their Smartpoint numbers from the number of calories, saturated fat, sugars, and protein the food has. However, the amount of protein subtracts from the points rather than adds like the fats and sugars.
So when you sign up for WW, you fill out a questionnaire with your personal information and dietary preferences. After that, you select a team, either Green, Blue, or Purple.
But what do these teams even mean? Well, your Smartpoint total and your zero food point list are decided based on which team you choose.
- The Green team (my assigned team) gives you more daily Smartpoints and fewer zero-calorie food options.
- The Blue team gets an equal amount of daily Smartpoints and zero-point foods options.
- The Purple team gets fewer Smartpoints and more zero-point food options.
So once you get your team assignment, the real work begins.
First, you set a goal (or two) for the week. There are also weekly check-ins, where you weigh in and re-evaluate your goals.
In addition to Smartpoints, there are also Fitpoints, where you can earn points based on your daily activity and exercise. You can sync your favorite smartwatch to the app to make sure you earn Fitpoints.
From my experience, the Fitpoints didn’t do anything. But you can convert those into Smartpoints.
Weight Watchers (WW) Digital Features
Since there are two different digital plans for WW, each plan has a different set of features.
The Digital plan includes access to:
- WW program plan
- WW recipe library
- On-demand workouts
- Member-only community
- 24/7 Coach chat
- Weekly progress reports and check-ins
Now, the Digital 360 plan has everything that is already included in the Digital plan, plus these bonuses:
- Access to the Digital 360 coaches’ content
- Live and on-demand wellness experiences (like cooking demos and guided meditations)
- Social media like news feed in the app and ability to follow other users and coaches
Weight Watchers (WW) Cost
Now, let’s get to it, the question everyone wants to know the answer: how much does Weight Watchers cost?
According to the WW website, the standard monthly fee for WW’s Digital plan is $21.95, and the standard monthly fee for the Digital 360 is $29.95. There is also a $20 starter fee.
WW also offers value payment plans, where you can get a discounted rate when you buy your plan for multiple months. Doing this helps you avoid the starter fee.
Pros of Weight Watchers (WW)
I have always had a lot of personal thoughts and feelings about WW in general. But I can see why many use it and do see there are some pros to the program.
Pro #1: Community aspect
The community that WW has built over the years is truly remarkable. And the way they integrate it into their app is great.
When using the groups and news feed features WW app, it felt like I was using a social media website. To be able to see other people on their health journey and connect with others helped with motivation.
Pro #2: Variety of resources available
While the WW app itself isn’t the greatest, WW does offer a great variety of resources available to its users. From email newsletters to blog posts, there is a lot of material you can absorb.
One of the best resources WW offers is its library of recipes. On the app, you can search for recipes based on food items you have in your kitchen! If you can’t figure out what you should eat, the WW app definitely can help!
WW also offers Zoom classes with walkthroughs on how to best use the WW app, and their coaches give out their tips for success!
Pro #3: The program is adaptable
Compared to other diet plans, the WW plan is rather adaptable. With the three different team options you can pick from, you can see which method best fits your needs!
Once you select a team, you’re not stuck with it. If one team doesn’t work for you, you can always switch to another.
Pro #4: Rewards system
A new addition to the WW program is their Wellness Wins point system. In the WW app, users can earn points when they track all their meals, earn fitness points, track their sleep, and complete their weekly weigh-ins.
You can redeem points for various items, like WW gear, gift cards, discounts, and more. Unfortunately, I did not earn enough points during my trial to redeem anything. But for daily long-term users, this could be a big perk!
Weight Watchers (WW) Cons
While there are many pros to WW, there are a lot of cons and red flags.
Con #1: Inconsistent app experience
When using the WW app, I came across a lot of issues with the app. First of all, the app is not very user-friendly. There’s no tutorial or walkthrough on how to use it. The Zoom courses were helpful, but those only occur every so often.
Plus, not everything you want or need is in the app. If you want more information about the program, you have to go to the WW website or blog or check their emails to figure out where to start.
Also, one major red flag to me was that their food database was NOT ACCURATE whatsoever! On multiple occasions, for the food items I scanned into the app to track, the numbers in the WW system did not match the product’s label, which was super frustrating.
Con #2: No structure in the program
If you’re someone who needs guidance when it comes to dieting, then WW is not for you. Some users find the freedom in the WW program to be a pro, but I found it not helpful.
Trying to maneuver the app and the program itself was very difficult. It can be hard to tell if you are on track or doing well. There was no guidance in the app on how many points you should spend on each meal. Granted, the fewer points you use each day, the better.
If WW included an outline or a list of best practices in the app for newcomers, it would be a lot easier for users to adjust.
Con #3: Smartpoints are complicated and unfair
While some people enjoy the simplicity of assigning points to their meals, others may find it challenging and annoying. The Smartpoint system is overly complicated for no reason at all.
You need a WW calculator just to figure out what you can eat.
The Smartpoint system adds the total of calories, saturated fats, and sugars together. Then points are subtracted based on the amount of protein it has.
The point system isn’t even uniform! It all depends on which team you are on, which can be unfair. Zero-point food items for the blue team might cost 2 points for someone on the green team.
Plus, some foods are overly penalized by the Smartpoint system. While this is meant to deter users from indulging in those foods, it can lead to an unhealthy relationship with those food items.
Con #4: Promotes toxic diet culture
Speaking of an unhealthy relationship with food, let’s talk about the toxicity that is diet culture. Diet culture is a set of beliefs that values thinness and appearances above health and well-being.
While WW has attempted to rebrand and incorporate more wellness, that’s not the case. WW doesn’t focus on healthy lifestyle changes. Its main goal is to promote weight loss and values thinness rather than a balanced lifestyle.
This antiquated program works can lead to an unhealthy relationship and obsession with food. This can lead to users developing eating disorders, anxiety, depression, and other conditions.
Plus, when you first sign up for the WW app, you are required to confirm that you are currently not suffering from an active diagnosis of an eating disorder like anorexia or bulimia. If that’s not a red flag, I don’t know what is.
Con #5: Not sustainable
The way that the WW designed its program is not sustainable. Let’s say you joined for a reasonable amount of time and lost a good amount of weight. Once you come off the program, chances are you are going to gain that weight back.
Sure, you can take what you learned from the program and do it yourself, but realistically, how long will that last?
How Weight Watchers Worked for Me
Quick answer for you, it didn’t.
This time was not my first experience with Weight Watchers, but it is most certainly my last. While on WW, I did not lose any weight at all.
I found that the program did not work best for my lifestyle. I primarily eat a plant-based diet, and I consider myself to be somewhat healthy.
But while on the WW program, I found myself constantly hungry even when I had already used up all my points for the day. The foods I enjoyed eating the most felt taboo.
In my honest opinion, it felt like the WW program benefits users who eat light meats like chicken or turkey rather than a person who adheres to a plant-based diet.
This constant struggle left me unmotivated. I did not want to participate in the program WW selected for me.
Both Noom and Weight Watchers have their pros and cons. Some users may enjoy WW more than Noom and vice versa. Everyone has their personal preference.
I know a few people who succeeded with the WW app, but that was not the case in my recent WW trial experience.
For me, I thought Noom was by far the superior app with its focus on healthy habits. Instead of promoting toxic diet culture, Noom helps its users change practices and make significant lifestyle changes.
Ultimately, WW is a dieting app, while Noom is a lifestyle app that encourages healthy eating behaviors instead of the restrictive dieting of WW.
If you want to sign up for a dieting app, the most important thing is to consider what works best for you and your lifestyle.
Have you tried either of these apps? Or have you tried something different? Let us know in the comments what has worked best for you.