Lifestyle

Noom can help you stay healthy during the holidays—here's how

It's not always about losing weight.

A woman on her phone in front of a Christmas tree Credit: martin-dm / Getty Images

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Got big plans for the holidays? Mine are shaping up to be kind of weird. For the first time in my life, I won’t be spending Christmas with my family—instead, I’ll be snuggled up at home, eating cookies and watching Gremlins, and finding new ways to be festive. Knowing this holiday season is going to break with tradition has prompted me to think more carefully about what I want it to look like. I’m not about to switch off the holiday movies or put aside my care package full of cookies (my mom sent me those for a reason!), but I am trying to enter the season with some mindfulness about my mental and physical health. That’s where a wellness app like Noom can come in.

Noom is best known as an app for weight loss—and when we tested it, we found that it really works. That’s not the app’s only purpose, though. Noom’s program centers health in a number of ways, many of which have nothing to do with weight. Personally, I know I’m setting myself up for a losing battle if I insist on spending December trying to gain a pound of muscle—but what I can do is plan ahead, think about my health as a whole, and make choices I feel good about. If this is also your approach to the holidays, Noom’s got you.

1. Use it to make sure you’re sticking with your intentions

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Sticking with a diet or giving yourself a break, the most important thing is to make intentional choices you feel good about.

One of the biggest things that sets Noom apart from competing programs is that it doesn’t ask its users to make massive short term changes that they can’t sustain, eventually leading to backsliding. Instead, it promotes habitual adjustments, encouraging users to change their lifestyles in smaller, but more sustainable ways. This makes it less likely you’ll burn out, and more likely that you’ll be able to maintain good habits in challenging circumstances.

This approach lets you commit to new achievable goals without making yourself miserable. It can be discouraging to give yourself a super strict plan (No sugar! No carbs! The same number of calories every day or else!) and then fail to stick to it. Personally, I struggle with an all-or-nothing mentality—if I give myself strict rules and then wind up breaking them, I’m prone to throwing up my hands and forgetting about my goals entirely. I'd much rather shrug my shoulders, forgive myself, and keep on trying.

By being flexible and realistic, Noom makes it a lot easier to approach the holidays mindfully. Stick to your original plan, or cut yourself plenty of slack (that’s certainly what I plan to do)—when you anticipate and accept variations in diet and exercise, it’s less likely you’ll get discouraged and give up on your plan down the road.

2. Use it to make sure you’re getting the nutrients you need

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We all deserve to enjoy great food that also leaves us feeling good.

I hate to admit it, but when I get busy, eating regular, nutritious meals is usually the first thing I let slide. I’m totally susceptible to grabbing whatever’s close and convenient, and if I’m not careful, I can wind up spending a whole day munching on nothing but rice cakes and potato chips. If I’m not actively thinking about getting the nutrition I need, it can be easy for me to miss my body telling me that it’s time for something more substantial. This gets way worse during the holidays when I can basically eat sugar all day every day for a week. It’s totally possible to eat so much sugar and carbs that you feel bad, but full.

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If you also struggle to keep up with your body’s cues, no worries—Noom can do it for you. By reminding you to log your meals, it also essentially reminds you to eat them. That’s great for those of us who can absolutely spend the holidays living off sugar cookies and candy canes. It’s perfectly natural for your eating patterns to change sometimes—but it’s probably for the best if you remember to eat some protein along with that gingerbread. Being mindful of your nutrition will help you stay alert, happy, and patient. All the ingredients, basically, for a happy holiday.

3. Use it to keep you moving

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Credit: YakobchukOlena / Getty Images

Yoga and calisthenics are great ways to get moving without leaving your cozy house.

I love kicking back over the holidays. I love eating, and watching movies, and feeling no particular obligation to exert myself—but that definitely has a point of diminishing returns, both for my enjoyment and my health. After days of lazing around on the couch, I find myself getting cranky, sleeping poorly, and generally not enjoying my time off. The solution is so simple, but it can be tough to self-motivate once you’ve gotten into the groove of hardcore chilling.

That’s when it’s nice to have some external motivation. Noom can nudge you to stay active, and help make some exercise part of the plan from the get-go. This year, I plan to start every day of my vacation with some yoga and to get outside as long as the temperature stays above freezing. I’m willing to bet that if I’d done the same thing in the past, I would have avoided a lot of crabby days succumbing to cabin fever.

4. Use it as part of a holistic approach to health

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There's a lot more to staying healthy than just diet.

Noom isn’t just about diet tracking—after all, a healthy lifestyle isn’t all about diet. You can also use it to track other metrics, like blood sugar, heart rate, and blood pressure. If any of these metrics are concerns for you, or if you’re just interested, this is a great place to start keeping an eye on them. Noom even offers a special Diabetes Prevention Program with a greater emphasis on diabetes risk factors, warning signs, and prevention.

For those of us who suspect our blood pressure spikes in December, it could even be an opportunity to start reexamining our relationship to holiday anxiety, and thinking about ways to make the season less stressful. Our bodies have so many ways of giving us information, but it’s up to us to listen.

5. Use it to keep up with your fitness goals, if you have any

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Credit: ViewApart / Getty Images

If it's important to you to stick with your fitness goals, the holidays shouldn't get in the way.

I’m all about being flexible and staying kind to yourself, but sometimes the way to be kind to yourself is by sticking to your goals. It’s no secret that the holidays can throw a major wrench in fitness plans, and it can be really frustrating when you’re suddenly bombarded with pressure to abandon your fitness routine.

My family definitely shows love through food, and I know we’re not the only ones. The truth is that sometimes, sticking to your diet or excusing yourself to complete a workout can feel like rocking the boat. It’s far easier to do this when you have an external program, like Noom, reminding you that you made a plan for a reason. You can absolutely take a day, week, or month off of your diet plan or workout routine—but you don’t have to. Only you can decide what’s best for you emotionally, mentally, and physically. If your answer to that question involves pursuing a specific goal, Noom can help keep you on target.

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