s the world finally starts to open up again, there’s a lot of talk about feeling pressured to “reveal” the new post-lockdown you. Yes, we’re finally going to start socialising again and seeing people outside of our household. And yes, it’s only normal to feel apprehensive about that, particularly if you feel like your body has changed a little in lockdown due to all the extra time we’ve all spent at home. But that doesn’t mean it’s time to sign up to every crash diet under the sun.
If you feel like you might have leaned a bit too heavily on sweet treats during lockdown, or let go of healthy habits you’d spent years perfecting, fear not. Lockdown was tough on all of us. There’s no need to make it tougher by putting yourself through restrictive health and fitness routines that leave you feeling miserable. In fact, there are many ways to re-learn those healthy habits you once held dear without having to feel like you’re having to restrict yourself at all.
Enter Noom, a psychology-based weight loss program that doesn’t subscribe to the ephemeral cycle of dangerous fad diets that come and go every year. Rooted in proven psychological principles including Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Noom empowers users to take control of their health by creating better habits that will result in lasting, sustainable changes. Created by a team of psychologists, Noom’s program will equip you with all of the scientific advice you need to meet your goals in a way that suits you and will result in lasting changes. Plus, it’s currently offering a two-week trial for just £1.
To find out more about how Noom could help you find a healthier balance, we spoke to Noom’s chief of psychology, Stephanie Hunter, M.Ed in Nutrition Education, CHES®, NBC-HWC and Coach Project Coordinator at Noom.
1. What are some of the signs that you might not have the healthiest relationship to food?
Like any other relationship, our relationship with food can become complicated and full of emotions, behavior chains, and coping mechanisms. Below are some signs that your relationship with food may be raising some red flags:
- You label foods as “good” or “bad”
- You feel guilty or ashamed about eating certain foods
- You try to track every single calorie you eat
- You’ve created rules around when and how to eat
- You fight or ignore your body’s hunger cues
- You constantly think about food
- You cut out entire food groups or macronutrients (like carbs or fat)
- You feel uncomfortable eating in social situations
- You’re very strict about portion control
- You think in terms of being “on” or “off” a diet
2. How can you start to form healthy habits around food?
Everyone experiences hunger in different ways. You might feel hungry in ways that are different from other people, so it’s helpful to understand your personalized signs of feeling hungry. At a loss at how to do this? At Noom, our coaches can help you identify these cues and form a plan on how to tackle them to help you reach your goals!
Being hungry doesn’t always mean having a growling stomach. It can also look like:
- Having a headache
- Feeling light-headed
- Feeling low-energy, tired, or sleepy
- Feeling grumpy or angry
- Feeling weak or shaky
- Once you know your hunger cues, honor them!
- Nourishing your body when it feels hungry helps you to regulate your appetite and manage your food intake
When we label foods as “good” or “bad,” it makes us want more of the foods we’ve deemed “off-limits.” When all foods are welcome in our eating habits, we’re less likely to focus on how much we want the “bad” foods and can create more of a balance across all the types of food we want to eat.
3. What are the psychological benefits of logging your meals?
Meal logging brings mindful awareness to food choices, habits, and opportunities for change. When you start to gain a better understanding of your eating habits, you can confidently make informed decisions about what you want to change and what goals you want to set in this area. Meal logging also helps you answer the “why” behind your food choices. By identifying these behavior chains, you can begin to analyze why you eat certain foods at particular times and determine if you’re eating in response to hunger, stress, emotions, or other situations.
4. Why might someone want to improve their relationship with food?
The purpose of having a healthy relationship with food is to have more positive experiences with food. Positive experiences with food help us to feel joyful, satiated, and comfortable. On the flip side, negative experiences with food can make us feel stressed, guilty, ashamed, or embarrassed.
Your relationship with food includes not only what you eat, but also how you think, feel, and interact with the selections that you are consuming. Improving your relationship with food supports your overall health and wellbeing.
Eating is often a social activity for people. Having a poor relationship with food can negatively impact social connections because people can start to fear eating out or eating around other people. Building a healthier relationship with food can therefore help you better connect with friends, family, coworkers, and other people who we normally eat with.
5. How can weight gain and weight loss affect our mental health?
Our weight often plays a big role in our sense of self-identity. When we’ve grown to understand our bodies at a particular size or shape, it can be jarring when our bodies change dramatically (such as when we gain or lose weight). That change in our sense of self can create a lot of emotion and meaning for us, which impacts our mental health.
There is a societal stigma that weight loss is always “good” and that weight gain is always “bad.” The impact of this societal stigma can affect our mental health by influencing our sense of self-worth, even though the reality is that everybody is different and each person’s health, confidence, and self-esteem responds to weight gain or loss in unique ways.
The ways that our friends and family interact with us when we gain or lose weight also has an effect on our confidence and self-esteem, which affects our mental wellbeing.
6. How does Noom support people wanting to have a healthier mindset with food?
Noom is not a diet – it’s a program that’s designed to be customized to each individual person’s needs to build healthier habits for good. The heart of Noom’s approach is helping people build the psychological skills they need to create and sustain long-lasting behavior change.
Noom combines education, coaching, and self-discovery to guide each person through understanding their behavior chains, triggers, and mindset around different areas in their life.
Another benefit of Noom’s program is that no food is “off limits”, and Noomers can choose to eat in ways that personally resonate with them. Paired with accountability groups and personalized coaches, Noom is there to support you with any goal you may want to achieve.
Noom is offering a 14-day trial of the service for just £1 which you can sign up to here. Terms and Conditions Apply*.
*Offer only available to UK new customers only. 14 Day trial will auto renew to a paid membership if not cancelled before the end of the 14 day trial period. For full terms and conditions please visit https://web.noom.com/terms-and-conditions-of-use. Promoter: Noom