My Post-Menopausal Noom Journey
Updated: Aug 10, 2022
This is the story of how a post-menopausal, obese woman who drank too much managed to lose 25 kilograms in weight, embraced sobriety and began to prioritise her own wellbeing. Not earth-shattering, but for those women who feel stuck in bad habits and unable to move forward successfully, my story can perhaps inspire and support you toward a healthier path. And yes, I am that woman on the Noom ads (see one below).
I had my kids late in life through IVF. By the time my youngest was born I was 41 and hurtling toward perimenopause. We moved several times, and my career took a massive hit. I spent years lost in a wilderness of searching for purpose beyond my children, gaining weight, dieting, gaining more weight, fully embracing wine-mum culture and putting myself last in my list of priorities.
Throughout my whole life, even when I was a svelte, curvy size 12, I thought I was overweight. I didn’t really become overweight until I reached my thirties and my partying ways had started to catch up with me. I dieted on and off all of the time with every possible diet imaginable. By now we all know that this diet culture takes its toll on your body.
By the time I was in my late 40s, early 50s I was going through menopause. I remember the hot flashes most, but what I didn’t expect was the increased weight gain and the changes to my body shape with a complete inability to shift the excess weight. I had also started to notice a pattern that I believe many may be familiar with. With every diet I started I would lose weight fairly easily and rapidly and then, as soon as I got too comfortable, I’d gain it all back plus a couple of extra kilos. Every. Single. Time. This meant that I was getting heavier and heavier. My weight went over the dreaded 100 kilos and kept climbing.
Diet is a Four-Letter Word
Then came the anti-diet movement. Diet became a bad four-letter word, and we were all supposed to simply eat healthy, real food. Easy right? By this time, I had realised that every time I tried to lose weight I got heavier, so I was terrified of even trying. Let’s pause there for a moment.
TERRIFIED. I really was.
I tried to accept my body for the way it was. I tried to love it for all it had done for me. I tried to pretend like my curves were sexy and that my big personality could carry my larger body. I tried to accept that I could take up this much space. At the same time, I was watching my aging parents struggle with health issues associated with excess weight.
And then my doctor told me I was getting fatty liver disease and I had to lose weight. I went to a dietitian, and she told me – you guessed it – just eat real food. Seriously. My actual diet wasn’t that bad. I preferred wholegrain everything, loved my veggies, supplemented meats with legumes but I did love my carbs and all the yummy bits that went with drinking my wine just a little too much. I thought about all the other times I’d tried to lose weight and I felt completely and utterly stuck and totally petrified of gaining even more weight.
The Lightbulb Moment
A lightbulb moment for me came when a friend who was having surgery to help with her weight loss told me that there was a psychologist on her medical team. I knew instantly it was the missing link, and I went searching for someone or something that could help me deal with the psychology of weight loss because surgery was not something I was interested in for myself. After all, I knew exactly what I had to do to lose weight – I was an expert – but there was a constant disconnect between what I knew and wanted to do, and what I actually did. I now know that’s called cognitive dissonance. I put it all down to a lack of discipline, but it was so much more than that.
I put the call out for psychology based weight loss practitioners on social media and my sister-in-law, who is a scientist, (she’d had a successful Noom experience and as a scientist was very fussy about things like this), told me about Noom. I’d seen Noom before and was completely skeptical and reluctant to spend the money on myself (surprise, surprise). This time though, I was desperate, and I decided I was worth the money.
Let’s be clear on one thing. Noom does ask you to count calories and to categorise your food based on caloric density. Cue the shock horror music! I can hear the gasps from the anti-diet movement now. But if you need to change your habits around food to live a healthier life, if your doctor is telling you to lose weight, expecting people with a skewed relationship to food to simply eat healthy is not going to cut it. And for it to be sustainable you can’t starve yourself or cut out whole food groups (I see you Fast 800; 16:8, Keto etc). You need to be able to change your habits slowly so that they become your new normal and you need to be able to enjoy yourself. And you need to take your time. This change is permanent.
There are no quick fixes. It is a myth. Anything that tells you that you can lose weight quickly is lying to you because it will be virtually impossible to keep any weight you do lose, off for good. We’ve all been on that merry-go-round before.
On Noom there are daily lessons that I encourage anyone on the program to do religiously. Every day. Take that ten minutes and do your lessons with an open mind and a fully engaged brain and heart. You will learn things about yourself that you didn’t know before because it’s all about the psychology. It’s the one big thing that has been missing from the diet/health/wellness industry all this time. Connect with your chat group and coach and stick with it. Sustainability and consistency are key.
No More Wine-Mum
About three months into my journey, I had noticed an old habit had started to creep back in. I had managed to stop drinking during the week but would still enjoy my wine on the weekends. My weight loss had slowed because the week would be dedicated to losing the weight I had regained over the weekend. I realised that to progress any further I would have to tackle my alcohol habit. I went looking for an alcohol-free challenge and discovered This Naked Mind by Annie Grace. I’d done similar challenges successfully in the past but this one required me to listen to a podcast every day for 30 days. The things I learnt about alcohol and what it does to our bodies can never be unlearnt and it changed my habits forever.
I embraced sobriety but I refused to give it up completely. The reason for this, is because I had just spent several months unlearning my ‘all or nothing’ thinking around food and didn’t want to replace it with alcohol. I had always known that moderation was difficult for me. I was an abstainer not a moderator. But that was doing me quite a lot of damage and learning moderation was an essential part of my journey. Without moderation, you set yourself up for failure. For this reason, I approach alcohol with an extreme moderation mindset. I still enjoy a glass or two of wine on special occasions, but I track every glass on every occasion using the TryDry app and I’ve gone from drinking almost every night to once or twice a month.
Needless to say, the change in my drinking habits helped me drop more weight.
It was also around this time that I read a negative review of Noom. An anti-diet person was criticising the program because it required counting calories. It made me mad. Noom had literally given me a second chance to turn my life and body around. Before I went on the program I had totally given up and had resigned myself to being obese for the rest of my life. I can’t stress this point enough. Anyhow – I released my ‘pen’ and hurled my opinion across the interweb in retaliation. Soon after, I received an email from Noom headquarters in New York, thanking me for my review and asking if they could pass on my details to their casting team. I had no idea what this even meant and said, ‘sure thing’ and promptly forgot about it.
What followed was a few months of zoom meetings with one of the casting team, recording myself talking about my Noom journey and sending it in and then one memorable zoom meeting with the Creative Director of a big New York City advertising agency. It wasn’t until then that I realised what was actually happening. I had been selected to be one of 3 people in Australia to feature in ads that would be screened in Australia and New Zealand. Throughout the whole process I was completely and naturally myself because I didn’t really understand what was going on! If I had, I would have been nervous and less authentic.
In February 2022, the film production crew visited my house, mail dropped the street to tell my neighbours that the street would be filled with traffic and worked out where they were going to film. The next time they visited would be filming day and it was so much more than I expected. It blew my tiny mind. There were trucks, vans and cars parked all up the street and in the cul-de-sac. There was a generator in my front yard and a port-a-loo on the front verge. There was a series of marquis set up with delicious catering, coffee and seating for the crew to enjoy at breakfast and lunch. The director had come over from New York, I had my own make-up artist and a stylist and most of the furniture was removed from my house. There was a virtual village set up in my lounge room connected to New York and every decision about my clothing, appearance and set had to be approved by the team over there.
But no one told me what to say.
They never told me what they liked about my story or what they were hoping I would cover – I’m guessing so that the story remained authentic. So much effort was put into getting the set and appearance right, but no one took the time to tell me what to say. The director interviewed me to camera, and I answered his questions. I had to repeat things several times before they were happy with the shots. And then we went to the beach.
The director wanted me to dance on the beach and I flat out refused. I figured I looked ridiculous enough without dancing as well! Then he tricked me by smooth talking and chatting about what music I liked. Before I knew it, I was shimmying down a beach path to the tunes of Cream by Prince. I can’t watch the ads without cringing.
And then it was over. Of course, I was paid to do the ad which was nice but it’s about more than that. Noom has really worked for me. In conjunction with giving up alcohol it changed my life in ways that I never thought would be possible. I’m still on that journey. At my heaviest I was 115kgs and now I’m 90kgs. I would like to lose another 10kgs but if I don’t it’s not the end of the world. My latest medical results have proved that I have completely reversed my health issues already so that’s good enough for me. I’ve been on a massive plateau for the past few months, but I have a few more habits that I’d like to embed that should help me move forward again. I’ve spent 12 months on Noom and I don’t plan on leaving it anytime soon.
So that’s my Noom story. If you have any questions, feel free to contact me. I’ll help if I can. Keep an eye out for my next blog post where I’ll share some tips for a midlife reset and getting the most from your Noom app. If you can't wait for that, check out my earlier blog post about how to change habits where I share a few tips that might help you in your journey.