My Secret Weapon Against the Thoughts That Sabotage My Diet

Sarah Badani
My Secret Weapon Against the Thoughts That Sabotage My Diet
Whether it’s your New Year’s resolution, the fear and dread of seeing an old friend at an upcoming event, or a comment from a well-intended person that hit just the right spot (you know the ones from aunts, grandmothers, exes, or friends - or ex-friends), you’ve come to the decision that it’s finally time to lose weight.

I was 25 pounds overweight when I decided it was time to take control. I was ready, I was psyched, and I was going to get in shape. I started out with intermittent fasting. That was easy because, with my schedule, I didn't have time to think about food much before lunchtime anyways. That helped me lose the first few pounds, and it gave me the encouragement I needed to keep going.

Next, I started to hit the gym. I was crunching weights, pumping cardio, and pushing myself hard. That also proved pretty effective for another couple of pounds. I was going strong and seeing results for about eight weeks. And then the holidays came.

Hitting Rock Bottom

It wasn't a pretty sight, and let's just say, I was back to square one (is there a square minus one?), but still determined. I got back up and started again. And again. And again. This went on for about five years. A yo-yo of being strict, losing weight, falling off the wagon, and putting all the weight back on.

Hitting rock bottom

And then at the end of those five years, I fell, and I fell hard. I was so depressed, my willpower completely depleted, and I saw no hope of ever regaining any sort of figure that I could be proud of. I quit working out, and in terms of nutrition, my diet consisted of Ben & Jerry’s for breakfast, Dunkin’ Donuts for lunch, and a hearty helping of whatever crap I wanted for dinner. It was a sad sight.

Noom, A Radically Different Approach to Weight-Loss

If there's a fad diet out there, I've probably tried it. From the raw food diet to the lunar diet, the cabbage soup diet, and my personal favorite, the cookie diet. Spoiler: none of them worked for very long. So, when I stumbled upon Noom, I decided to try it as a last-ditch effort without any real expectations, which is why I was so surprised at how it all turned out.

Learn a new skill with Noom each week

What really intrigued me about Noom was how different the whole program looked and felt. Everything I’d tried until then was about restrictions, deprivation, restraint. And that sucks. But Noom took a wildly different approach. From the very first interaction, the whole experience was more positive, upbeat, and motivating. Like I said, I was intrigued.

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Getting Psyched About Weight-Loss in a Whole New Way

“The toughest battle you will face on your weight loss journey is the battle with your own mind.” - Noom

Then Noom started talking, and boy did I start listening. The ideas that were being presented were novel and interesting, like a light bulb going off in my digestive tract (ouch?). The scientifically-backed program was tackling all of the wrong messages I was sending myself while I dieted. And it was then I realized: I was sabotaging my own success. With facts, numbers, and a generous helping of humor to help the cold, hard facts go down, Noom was opening my eyes to the realities I was living with. And it was fascinating.

By feeding myself these incorrect, destructive messages, I was undermining all of the efforts I had put into losing weight and getting fit. So, no matter how many times I tried, no matter how good I was about sticking to my diet, inevitably, I failed because I was setting myself up for failure.

Noom behavior chain

Noom points out some BS thinking patterns we fall into that undermine our efforts. Things like justification (I worked out this morning, so I can have a devil’s food cake for lunch), delusional thinking (just one scoop of ice cream won’t do anything), or exaggerated thinking (I ate a potato chip, my diet is totally ruined!) all do wonders for destroying our best efforts. But the magic of it all is that when we start to pay attention to these self-sabotaging ideas, we can get ahead of them, and stop ourselves from making bad decisions that we’ll regret later.

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Get Out of My Head! ... But Really Don’t

Probably the best part of using Noom was how it got in my head. But not in a bad way. Let me explain. Noom's approach to weight-loss is digging deep into the psychological factors that cause us to make poor eating and living decisions. After all, if you ask someone point-blank to make a choice:

a. Door one will lead to life, happiness, and health.

b. Door two will lead to pain, suffering, depression, and death.

Is it any doubt which door they would pick? Yet somehow, between the sugar-coating on the donut and the sizzling oil of the french fries, things get distorted. Noom analyzes the psychology behind why we would make such a bad decision (Door number two). And the amazing thing is that when you understand the why’s, often it can change your response (i.e., help you choose Door number one more easily).

Deprivation is demotivating

Basically, it boils down to something called thought distortions. Those justifications, delusional thinking patterns, and tendencies to exaggerate are some thought distortions that Noom helped me challenge and break down. But there were more mental obstructions that were blocking my way to success. I needed to Noom it out some more.

Clearing Away Those Mental Blocks

I started to recognize some thought distortions that were pushing me to make the wrong choices when it came to healthy eating. For example, when I went out with friends, I had the choice to order a chicken salad or a hamburger. Because I didn't want anyone thinking I was a loser, I chose the burger (because who orders chicken salad?!).

But that was my thought distortion at work. How did I know what my friends would think of me if I ordered a salad? Maybe they would think:

  • Way to go! Wish I had that kind of self-control.
  • Hmm, I do like chicken.
  • I wish the guy at table number three would stop slurping his soup!

The point is, I made a bad choice based on my thought distortion. Once I discovered I was doing this, it was a lot easier to catch myself and make better choices. Noom is top-notch at pinpointing and dissolving self-sabotaging thought distortions, emancipating you from your food struggle chains.

No Judgements

Another aspect that I appreciated about Noom was how positive and encouraging the whole program was. For one thing, you get upbeat sticky notes with motivational phrases on them periodically. Sayings like "The difference between try and triumph is a little "umph" and "Every moment is a fresh beginning" may seem a little soppy at first. But the boost of positivity really helps you keep going when you're down or discouraged.

For another thing, Noom has a personal health coach that touches base with you constantly, so you are always getting feedback about what’s working and what needs tweaking. Noom personalizes your weight-loss program, a must for any real, lasting results. You get assigned a weight-loss coach who works directly with you via chat, gives you motivation, answers your questions, checks up on you, and helps you tweak your program to fit your changing needs. This personalization is another reason Noom is such a success.

Noom's personalized progress

And most of all, I loved how non-judgemental Noom is. Since it's a mobile app, there's nobody looking down their noses at you from a lofty pedestal of chiseled abs and bulging pecs. It's just you and your weight-loss journey. And since Noom is all about positive motivation, there's just no room for judgment.

The Time Is Now

One of the first lessons in Noom is believing in yourself and your ability to lose weight. After five years of yo-yoing, I can safely say I was not a believer. Noom systematically took me through my self-doubts, helped me set up an initial, small, attainable goal, and showed me that weight-loss (the real deal) was possible, even for me.

Noom helped me do what no other program, diet, or fitness app could. It started from the inside and worked its way out, destroying the negative thought patterns that were undermining my success. It's been a real game-changer, and I am so grateful to have found it. And the best part, my secret weapon fits right in my pocket and comes with me wherever I go. Be gone vile, sabotaging thoughts! My health is here to stay.

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Sarah Badani
Sarah Badani has extensive research and review experience in the finance industry. With a degree in psychology and education, she brings a level of depth and understanding to her writing along with her own flavor to spice up each topic in a unique and inviting way.

The information on this site is based on research, but should not be treated as medical advice. Before beginning any new diet plan, we recommend consulting with a physician or other professional healthcare provider. Results may vary based on various health factors, individual weight loss plans and adherence to the meal plan.