How I Lost 80 Pounds With Noom (Interview)
Hi! Tell us about yourself…why did you decide to start losing weight?
Like many other people on a weight loss journey, I’d struggled with my weight for most of my life. I was always a size or two bigger than my friends in school and I used eating and food to cope with anxiety well into adulthood. I woke up on January 1, 2020, at rock bottom and very much obese. I was the biggest I’d ever been, my mental health was the worst it’d ever been, and my self-image was absolutely destroyed. All of this motivated me to get started with Noom.
I was so convinced I wouldn’t and couldn’t lose weight that I put a reminder in my phone to cancel my subscription before the two-week trial ended! But, I stuck with it. The first three weeks were the hardest of my life. And then small things started to click. While the scale moved slowly at first, I was noticing an increase in energy, my clothes fitting better, I was sleeping better, and my mood was much better. That was all the motivation I needed to keep going!
What did you do for exercise when you started? Did you change it up throughout your journey?
I wasn’t very active before trying to lose weight, aside from dog walks. I started out doing yoga alongside mindful eating, as to not do anything strenuous. I graduated to longer walks, and now I get 11k steps per day every single day. On weekdays, my dog and I do 3.5-4.5 miles at 6:30 am. On weekends, we do 6+ miles each day.
Once I had lost a decent amount of weight (60-ish pounds), I decided to add in monthly challenges. I began with a plank and really surprised myself – I got up to 4 minutes! I did wall sits, abs, squats, and now I’m on push-ups. I like monthly challenges because they push me to bust through boundaries I’ve mentally set for myself and I feel amazing once I’m successful, even if I can’t do everything the challenge has laid out.
My advice: just keep going. Do the extra mile. Do another squat. Be active whenever and wherever you can. I do squats while folding laundry and brushing my teeth; I do multiple trips for bringing in groceries, etc. Get the movement in whenever you can. The more you move, the more you can move.
What did you do for nutrition when you started? Did you change it up throughout your journey?
I followed Noom to a T for the entirety. Their program is designed to help you make the right choices, as opposed to telling you what and how to eat. I transitioned (albeit slowly) to far more whole foods and far fewer processed foods.
While following Noom, I stuck to 1250-1350 calories per day; sometimes more depending on exercise or events/activities. I did weigh and measure my food in the beginning because, as it turns out, I was way over-estimating what a serving size should be!
I did not take any supplements and I always made sure to eat when I was hungry; I never starved myself! It was really difficult at first, but being mindful about everything I ate is what helped the most.
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How did you stay mentally strong when it was tough? Did you ever give up? How did you recover?
For the first three weeks, every single day was the hardest day ever. I thought about pizza every day and often still do. I felt restricted at first, but then realized I was only restricting myself.
I never gave up, not even once. I kept reminding myself how great it feels to be healthier and how that cookie might taste great now but it doesn’t contribute to my goals. Nothing makes lifestyle changes easier except keeping on, and that’s all you can do. Once you’re over the hump, it becomes second nature. You just have to make it over the hump.
I developed some mantras to help see me through:
- I’m stronger than any single moment
- This is helpful for cravings!
- Just do one more
- One more mile, squat, step, minute before eating, etc.
- If you don’t like the view, change the way you see things.
- It helps me remember that I’m in control of my life and can change what I need to be happy.
It’s also important to remember what you’re gaining as you’re losing. That’s the inspiration behind my IG handle; I’ve gained so much more than I could ever lose in weight. It’s imperative to take stock of what you’re gaining.
Did you use any sort of trackers/apps/scales to track your progress?
I use Noom for all food tracking along with their program. I don’t track my workouts except following monthly challenges.
When did you start to notice progress?
The scale was going down so it was obvious to me that I was losing weight. But the first time I really realized it was while trying on my clothes. Due to the pandemic, I was in stretchy clothes most of the time. The first time I put on a “real” shirt, I was blown away at how big it was.
There were lots of big moments and Non-Scale Victories I experienced. One, in particular, was when I was walking the dog and the wind blew my shirt up. It should have been mortifying, but it wasn’t! I couldn’t care less that my belly was exposed. It was then that I realized my progress not only physically but also mentally.
I also did some before and after photos of me in the same clothes. WOW – what a difference! I was swimming in jeans that used to be too tight. Truly incredible. I didn’t realize the difference until I compared myself to those same clothes.
Do you have any fitness “hacks” or “secrets” that helped you succeed?
Noom gave us a task for one day to only eat when hungry. It led me to not eating until 11:30 am; which is how I realized that my body does best when eating from 11:30 am – 9:30 pm. I didn’t set out to do any intermittent fasting, but this exercise helped me see what worked best. A/B test on yourself; it’s a great way to find what’s right, compared to what you think is right!
Another secret: only do exercise you enjoy. Hate running? Don’t do it. Love yoga? Do it more. Just remember that your body/needs/preferences can and will change, so go back and try the things you hate again now and then.
What are 3 pieces of tangible advice would you give to beginners who are looking to lose weight?
- Set non-negotiables: for me, it’s my step count. I get 11k steps per day no matter what. No matter the weather. No matter how I’m feeling. For other people, non-negotiables might be water intake, daily meditation, positive affirmations, anything that you can stick to routinely.
- Find healthier alternatives that you enjoy eating: you can’t swap cookies for kale. Explore new things to find out what excites you and experiment as much as you can. You’ll surprise yourself! And going for healthier alternatives doesn’t mean it has to taste like cardboard. Ultimately, if there’s no suitable swap for your favorite food, just have your favorite food (in moderation!).
- Find mindfulness everywhere: it takes time to master, but find mindfulness in your eating (down to each bite), your movement (down to each step), your relationships (down to each conversation), etc. The more aware you are, the more you can understand why you do things, why you crave things, and what comforts you. You can use that information to make lasting changes.
- **Stop everything you’re doing and take “before” photos if you haven’t already! It’s painful and it sucks, but do it. Do only underwear if you can. It’s SO worth it to be able to compare! Take progress photos every 4-6 weeks and you will see changes even without the scale moving.
Do you have any fitness books/podcasts/websites that you’d recommend and why?
I love Mark Hyman – his book “Food: What The Heck Should I Eat?” is fantastic, as is his Instagram. I also used Skinnytaste for most of my recipes.
Where can we find more about you?
My Instagram Profile: @whativegained
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