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Is a Program Like Noom Acceptable After Bariatric Surgery?

person tracking diet habits on laptop and in notebook with food behind them

The diet industry is a juggernaut, with hundreds if not thousands of diets and new and popular diets popping up yearly. These dietary plans have a checkered success rate. However, some of these diet plans have blossomed over time. One such “diet” plan is Noom, marketed heavily as a psychology-based approach focusing more on what you think than what you eat. On the surface, this psychological improvement-first approach is a great idea. After all, long-term weight loss after bariatric surgery requires just that: a change in approach and habits. However, does Noom offer everything a bariatric patient needs to be successful, or is it just another gimmick and waste of money?

Ultimately, the answer to this question lies in where you are in the bariatric process. Diet plans like Noom may be of varying help within the first year or two after bariatric surgery. The mental game of weight loss must be addressed, but diet and exercise during this early time are also critically important. As such, Noom likely will not address the needs of early-day bariatric patients.

Is it a waste of money at this point? Again, this depends on what you need for motivation. In the first couple of years after surgery, patients will be motivated and assisted by the surgery itself, in addition to support groups and regular surgeon visits. For most, these features combine for exceptional weight loss – anywhere from 2-4 pounds per week – with up to 90% excess body weight loss, depending on the procedure.

How About the Longer Term?

Weight loss will eventually begin to slow and, ultimately, plateau. At some point, most patients will regain some weight, too. This is a natural part of weight loss as diet and exercise habits liberalize after months or even years of strict adherence. This is a crucial moment in the weight loss process.

For most, this regain is relatively modest, but for some, it can be concerning. There is, of course, the primary concern of longer-term pouch stretching that can happen to gastric sleeve patients. Gastric bypass patients can stretch the stoma or surgical valve created between the stomach and small intestine. This does not occur due to a one-off overeating occurrence but rather due to weeks or months of consistent overeating – usually a psychological phenomenon.

Before we reach that point, we want to arrest and even reverse that weight gain. Beyond recommitting to a proper diet and exercise plan, some patients find third-party dietary programs, medications, and supplements helpful. This can include weight loss medications like Wegovy to help jumpstart weight loss or diet programs like Noom to help get them back on track.

What’s the Verdict?

Ultimately, we can’t stress enough that you must be ready for your bariatric journey. This means being willing and able to commit to the diet and exercise lifestyle we prescribe you after surgery. During your initial consultation and subsequent meetings with dietitians and patient navigators, you will understand your responsibilities after surgery. If you cannot commit to these responsibilities, bariatric surgery may not be the right choice. That said, no matter how strong your willpower is, losing a significant amount of weight and keeping it off is difficult.

It’s also critical to remember that Noom is not a bariatric-specific program, and their advice may not comply with your postoperative lifestyle changes. If you find a conflict between what Noom tells you and what is in your post-operative bariatric packet, always opt for what your surgeon gives you.

So, if you find that diet programs like Noom are the answer to help you keep the weight off, we are 100% behind you. Just remember that these programs are not a solution but rather another tool to help with your weight loss, and you must stick to them just like you must stick to your diet and exercise program. In the meantime, you can always reach Dr. Tsuda or Brian for any questions.