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Do You Eat Your Feelings? Let’s Talk Weight Loss with Noom

October 2017                        October 2018

I have never struggled with my weight. Never in my life. I have always been thin without trying. (I promise if you keep reading you’ll understand why I led with this. And I also promise you’ll want to punch me less. Maybe. I don’t know. You know what, nevermind on the punching part).

OK, maybe I should start over: Before I had children, I never struggled with weight. I was a three-sport athlete in high school. Then I was a Division I athlete in college. I could eat whatever, whenever, and I always weighed the same amount. If I somehow accidentally gained an ounce or two, I could simply think about skipping a meal and BAM! That weight would just fall off, as if by magic. I never, EVER, thought that a point would come where I would struggle with my weight. I mean, I also never thought there would come a time when I would involuntarily pee my pants when I sneeze, but apparently life changes.

Four kids later, and not only do I regularly wet my pants now, but I also weigh more than I ever have. After I had Kid #2, I gained about 30 pounds. But with the help of My Fitness Pal, I was able to get rid of all of it. That was totally awesome for the 12 seconds it lasted before I got pregnant with Kid #3. After Kid 3 was born four years ago (and then Kid #4 came along two years after that), I haven’t been able to lose any weight.

I tried My Fitness Pal again but couldn’t seem to stick with it. I would lose a few pounds, but then I’d hit a roadblock. I’d give up and all the weight would come back. I know that the number on the scale is not the end-all, be-all, and it shouldn’t determine my happiness; but I didn’t own a pair of pants that fit, I had a muffin top that looked more like a spare tire and people were constantly asking me if I was pregnant again – which I HATED. It got to the point where someone would ask if I was pregnant and I’d respond, “Nope, not pregnant. JUST FAT.” Then I’d angrily storm away and eat my weight in frosting and french fries.

I had a bunch of kids, and I was fat and unhappy about it (the fat part, not the kids. I mean, that’s a lie because the kids are a fucking nightmare but I do love them and I did not love my fat at all. That’s the difference. And it’s an important one). So I decided to start running last fall. I signed up for the Couch to 5k app, and off I went. Only, instead of going slow and acting as though I hadn’t exercised in nearly two years, I went in full speed and started running every single day. Like some kind of actual moron. I found myself with a torn calf muscle by January and had to wear one of those really sexy boots for eight weeks. And then it was still two more months after that before I could go back to exercising. The takeaway here is: DON’T EXERCISE. (But maybe not really.)

So I tried exercising, but I didn’t see much change. Because like they say, you can’t outrun a bad diet. I was tired of being fat, and I was disgusted with myself and with gravity. (I don’t think this is really gravity’s fault, but I needed someone else to blame — I wanted to blame my kids, but I already shit-talked them a few paragraphs ago, so I had to find something else and gravity is what came to mind.) Then it was June, and I was still fat. And, the thing is, I know how to lose weight. It’s not a difficult calculus – you have to burn more calories than you shove in your pie hole on a daily basis. But I didn’t WANT to do it. I didn’t WANT to eat less. I WANTED to be skinny without trying. I wanted to be 19 again.

But apparently, that’s not how life works. Not even when you really, really want it to.

Because I’m not 19 anymore, but I am 37 and had four children in six years, my metabolism has slowed down. I had to face the fact that I was going to have to actually do something if I didn’t want to involuntarily gag whenever I saw my reflection in the mirror. I was going to have to get up off my dead ass and do something. Like a real sucker.

So I called upon the wisdom of the Internet[1] to help me, and that’s how I found Noom. Noom promised that I’d lose weight, and I was desperate. Also, they said I could have a two-week free trial, and I’m a sucker for a free anything, so I signed up. I figured the worst that would happen is that I wouldn’t lose any weight. And while I am not known for seeing the positive possibilities in most (or any) situation, there was a teeny-tiny part of me that thought maybe it would work.

I was diligent about doing the daily “lesson.” I weighed in every day (honest to God, I took my scale with me on vacation like some kind of freak). I logged every morsel of food that passed my lips. A lot of the Noom “lessons” really registered with me, and I found myself actually looking forward to the new information each day. I started to make better food choices. Here seems like a good place to admit I am the exact opposite of those Whole 30 people, or whatever they’re called. You know, the ones who eat only food found in nature, or they chase it down and kill it with their bare hands before eating it, or they drink nothing but shakes made of grass clippings or whatever is en vogue these days. That’s not me. I love me some junk food. GMOs? Yes please. Red dye #40? The more, the better. Processed meats? All day, every day. And, in my heart, I believe that these things in moderation are totally fine. I never had any intention of stopping eating “bad” food, because I can’t live my life that way. Sure, maybe I’d be skinny if I did, but I would also be miserable and I would be angry and then I’d have to fight all of you for breathing near me and then you’d be sad and I’d be in jail and I’d be like – SEE? IF I HAD JUST BEEN ALLOWED TO EAT THAT CHEESEBURGER, NONE OF THIS WOULD HAVE HAPPENED. And I’m just trying to avoid that situation. For all of us. You’re welcome.

So I wasn’t about to pretend to be someone I’m not and voluntarily eat kale. I’m just not going to do it. Not ever. BUT! Do you know what? Noom doesn’t make you! They don’t make you eat kale or kombucha or anything else that begins with a ‘K’ if you don’t want to. And knowing that Noom wasn’t judging me for eating the occasional cheeseburger for breakfast, I started to make better food choices on my own. I mean, I made “brownies” out of black beans and oatmeal. ME! I did that. Voluntarily. And just today I made roasted broccoli. TO EAT AS A SNACK. Noom didn’t make me do any of that. I chose to do it. Because, I guess I am becoming a better person[2].

I joined Noom on June 21. Just nine weeks later, I was down 18 pounds. And, more important than the number, I FEEL exponentially better. I own pants that fit. I have recently chosen to wear jeans over yoga pants. That literally hasn’t happened since 2009. People do still ask if I’m pregnant, but that’s because I haven’t had a kid in two years and historical data suggests that I should be pregnant again by this point[3].

I feel better about myself than I have in a long, long time. And I’m proud of myself.

So, my point is this: You don’t have to be unhappy with your appearance. I am living proof of that. And if I can do it, literally anyone can. Even you. You will not find a person with a more negative approach to, well, everything, but Noom is working for me! And it can work for you too. So join Noom[4]. Then we can get together and snack on broccoli[5].

[1] In my defense, I don’t actually think that the Internet is wise. It just felt like the right thing to say in this situation.

[2] Although that really seems unlikely and it’s probably just that we don’t have any raw cookie dough for me to eat at the moment. But for the purposes of this article, we’ll say that I’m becoming a better person. Or at least one who is willing to accept that broccoli can be a snack food. Although in all honestly it just feels wrong to even type those words. It’s clear I still have some work to do…


[4] I am going to offer this warning. The Noom “lessons” were riddled with typos and grammatical errors, and if you’re anal retentive about such things, like I may be, your head will want to explode every day, and you will almost die, and you’ll want to email the Noom executives and demand that they hire you as their copy editor because they’re ruining everything with their current shit editing. But if you can overlook these things (or, if you’re not a psychopath like I apparently am), then it’s all good. Excuse me while I go do some breathing exercises to return my heart rate to a normal level…)

[5] And maybe some uncooked brownie batter too. But just a little. Because we’re better people now.


About Anna Thornley

Anna Thornley is a Jersey Girl living in the Wild West with her husband, their three children (with another one on the way) and two dogs. She desperately misses the beach and humidity but tries to remember to appreciate the beauty of the mountains. She works full-time outside of the home and is generally frantic in her attempts to keep everyone (and everything) moving in the right direction. Her house is a mess, but everyone in it is happy and loved—so she considers it a success. Anna spends almost all of her free time doing laundry. Her family loves to spend time together watching football and playing outside. Anna is still trying to come to terms with the fact that her family expects to eat dinner every single night. Follow Anna on Twitter to keep up with all her family’s antics: @rudeytudeymama

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