Starting a new self-care regime during Covid is hard enough, but trying to do so during the holidays? Well, that’s next level. After a successful first two weeks, let’s just say things slipped. I have to keep reminding myself, this isn’t a diet, it’s a renewed commitment to my health and self-care. So will there be slips? Yes. Last post you read about a successful 2 lb loss, well, now I’m at my heaviest again, 2.5 lbs heavier than when I started. But between Christmas, New Year’s and hurting my ankle pretty badly (so no workouts), I have to still say, that’s not bad at all.

These last couple of weeks have been a deep dive into what, when and how I eat. I have to say, I wasn’t exactly fully committed to practicing what I read (see above re: holidays). The goal is to fill in your “Food Choice Map” to see how what, when and how intersect (think venn diagram). Truly, the strength of this program comes from gaining a deeper understanding of yourself so that you can make the best choices for your health. I love that it’s not prescriptive. There are really helpful suggestions, certainly, but they don’t tell you which ones to implement. You decide what works best for you.

For me, prep is key. When the work week starts and I’m scrambling to make sure everything is done, having lunch ready to go is a lifesaver. Another suggestion was to bundle good habits together, so I decided to both up my protein AND prep for the week at the same time.  I’ve noticed that I’m more likely to stick to my plan if it’s easy and quickly accessible. Sticking some peeled, hard-boiled eggs in a reusable bag (with water) in the fridge keeps them fresh and easy to grab as a salad topping, breakfast or quick lunch. 

Another suggestion that I’ve found to be immensely useful was to have a broth-based soup with your meal. Adding that to my rotation has been wonderful, as it’s an easy way to get your veggies (especially if you’re like me and really don’t love munching on carrot/celery sticks) and helps to fill up your stomach. One of my favourites is the “Butternut Bowl o’ Soup” recipe that I got from the app. I don’t really love broth, but puree that soup and it’s a winner for me! This recipe was even better the next day. Add a glass of water before eating the meal and I’ve found that I do not eat as much of my main, I’m just not that hungry. Bonus, the app has TONS of recipes. I’ve been eating homemade meals for years (we have a great routine going where we prep on the weekends for weeknight dinners and have takeout on Friday), but these recipes have added new ideas into our rotation (good to change things up every once in a while). The recipe tab is in the main menu (the three dashes on the top left of the home screen) if you want to try out one of Noom’s delicious recipes. 

Navigation in the app is really easy. All of the navigation options are in the left menu. There are also a couple of shortcuts that you can see on the top right of the app (greyed out in the picture). Both “My group” and “Messages” are accessible through the chat box on the top right. I have heard from other Noomers that they had some difficulties with not getting a coach. I too encountered this problem, but when I messaged the “bot” that is the startup default after the first week, I got my coach very quickly after that. She checks in about once a week and does respond within a day or so at the latest to any questions/concerns. In the “My group” section, you are placed into a group with other Noomers who are at a similar spot on their journeys. The app will encourage you to post examples from your lessons into the chat, and it’s a good place to ask the community any questions or just get encouragement if you need it. The rest of the navigation is under “Today’s Progress” on the bottom of the home screen, after your daily lessons. There you can manually weigh in, log your meals (more on this in a minute), log your water, see your steps/goal and track other progress as you see fit.

I have really enjoyed the “Course progress” tab. This view shows you where you are in the course. It’s accessible through the menu or through the shortcut on the top right (smiley face with graduation cap). Over the holidays and going back to work, I have missed a few days in my Noom journey. But if you’re like me and this happens, don’t worry! It simply picks up right where you left off. I have been diligent with logging my meals and water, but I haven’t always finished the lessons. I love that I can do them at my own pace and that I don’t have to feel rushed. I’m still a Noom Apprentice and working my way through slowly, but surely!

My coach gave me the challenge of making two new recipes this week (see, helpful, fun and keeps me accountable). I have already made the (delicious) Butternut Squash soup, and alas I only have one more bowl (it’s definitely going in the rotation and, as the recipe states, I can vouch it IS even better the next day). So for the final challenge of the week, I’m going to make the “Vegetarian Barley Soup”. Remember how I mentioned the “Log your Meals” section? One of the things I love about the recipes in Noom is that they’re very easy to log. From the main screen of the recipe, you can just tap “Log this Recipe” (blue bar on the bottom) and it will log automatically for you.  You can also “Favourite” a recipe by clicking on the chef’s hat/star icon on the top right. This feature makes finding and logging Noom’s recipes very easy. If you have a series of your own recipes that you love to make, Noom has you covered there too. Within the meal logging section is a tab where you can add your own recipes! All you need are the ingredients (and how much of each), as well as how many servings it makes. From there, your recipes are available for you to log whenever you eat them! I love this feature. I haven’t entered all of my recipes yet, but slowly over time, I’m certain I will have the ones in regular rotation in. It’s surprising when you see how many (or sometimes how few) calories are in each item. I made some zucchini muffins on the weekend and once I entered in the ingredients and how many muffins it made, I found out that this delicious snack was only 144 calories! Not bad for a muffin! I especially love that, like Noom’s own recipes, your recipe ingredients get divided into the “Green Foods”, “Yellow Foods” and “Red Foods” categories. You can see how many calories from your day go into each. I’ve shown you today’s foods from my logging. This represents: My morning coffee (with 1 tbsp of maple syrup- don’t judge, and lots of skim milk), a Fibre 1 brownie bar (to round out breakfast), hardboiled eggs with soup, and my planned mid-afternoon snack of a zucchini muffin. I still have 642 calories left for my dinner, but hopefully that gives you a sense of how things look. 

This first month of Noom has been a really positive and very educational experience. I’m into the paid portion now (you get 2 weeks to try it out first), so the jury is still out on how long I’ll continue (prices are steep). But I thought I’d give it a few months and see how it goes (especially now that the holidays are over and I can focus more on my goals and habits without delicious holiday treats popping up everywhere). Hope you’ll continue to read along with my adventures in self-care.

If you have any questions, pop them in the comments below! Follow me on Instagram for more!

Featured image by Cristian Palmer on Unsplash. Soup photo by Libby Roach. Muffin image courtesy Sonya Davidson.