Leaving the military can be challenging. As servicemembers transition to the civilian world, it’s common to stray from rigorous training schedules and develop unhealthy habits. Nearly 8 in 10 veterans are overweight or obese, according to the Department of Veterans Affairs.

I promised myself that I would never become the “overweight veteran” when I left the Marine Corps in 2011. Since I continue to break that promise, I was beyond excited to try Noom, a weight loss program that helps users manage their diet and create a permanent lifestyle change. While I can’t make up for lost time, having the tools to succeed now is the first step in the right direction.

When I was in the military, staying in shape was more than just a priority, it was a requirement. Not meeting that requirement resulted in punishment, additional physical training, or expulsion. The culture was geared toward maintaining unit combat readiness, which meant there were always like-minded individuals ready to hit the gym, go for a run, and hold you accountable.

In the spirit of that culture, I wanted teammates to hold me accountable in my Noom journey. I recruited two colleagues — one veteran and one civilian, who were willing to give it a shot. When you try Noom, I highly recommend getting a few friends on board so you can work together.

The overall consensus is that the program helped us, and it may be able to help you too. Below are our thoughts on Noom, which offers a 14-day trial, available for iOS and Android.

The good stuff

  • There’s an online coach just for you. You need someone who understands what drives you to keep you on track. Based on the answers from your initial questionnaire, your Noom coach will message you daily to remind you of why you’re dedicated to building a healthier version of yourself. It’s a lot like that friend in the barracks, asking you how much you can bench.
  • Meal tracking. Noom has an extensive food library so it’s easy to track your meals. By observing what you eat, you realize how much more is consumed every day versus what is actually needed. Through this exercise, I gained confidence in my choices of nutrient rich calories over empty calories that slowed me down.
  • Exercise tracking. Just like checking off your to-do list at work, it feels amazing to log your exercise and get positive feedback. It’s much better when you post to Noom instead of your Instagram feed. There’s already too much of that.

What needs work

Just like an after-action review, below are a few things that, if improved, would have made our trials even more successful.

  • The initial questionnaire is lengthy. I was anxious to start shedding quarantine lbs, but the number of questions was dizzying and made me procrastinate. While the questions are used to better coach you and ensure you get your money’s worth, it may cause some to put the phone down before realizing the full benefits of the program.
  • I found that the calorie goal was slightly lower than what I required, in that my energy levels would drop more so than usual throughout the day once I transitioned to the new diet. I adjusted accordingly and listened to my body, which is vital in the weight loss journey. Everybody is different, just make sure not to cheat your tracker, so you can ultimately better understand your unique makeup.
  • No desktop version. Noom is only available on iOS and Android mobile devices, and I found this to be slightly limiting. It would certainly be convenient to log in on my desktop while eating lunch.

My colleagues and I lost a combined weight of 23 lbs over 30 days using the Noom program. I won’t lie and say it was a breeze, because it wasn’t. There are many times you want to overindulge, have an extra beer, or skip out on your afternoon run. But every day Noom was there to remind us that weight management is the most rewarding work you can do for yourself, with lasting results.

I highly recommend Noom to anyone that’s looking to make a positive change in their health and well being. Staying in shape will undoubtedly make your transition to civilian life much easier. 

This article is sponsored by Noom.