I Have a BMI of 20.5, But Noom Thinks I Need to Lose Weight

This epidemic of pseudo-scientific weight loss apps is dangerous.

Zulie Rane
Published in
6 min readJul 12, 2021


tangerines and groundcherries scattered on white surface in daylight
Photo by Jill Burrow from Pexels

cw: discussed disordered eating, weight loss, and weight with numbers.

Let me start off with honest: I’ve struggled with disordered eating since I was about 13. I’ve monitored my caloric intake for so long that I can list the calorie count of nearly any food at a glance. I still get a weird sense of pride when I go to bed hungry.

As a result of my checkered history, I’m very susceptible to weight-loss ads. When one such ad from a company called Noom popped up on my Facebook feed, I couldn’t help but give a click to see what they were all about.

Reader, I know that’s messed up, and I’m getting better with the help and support of friends and family. I know that I don’t need to “lose ten pounds” to be happy. I’m learning that I deserve to be happy and confident no matter what weight or size I am.

But Noom disagrees.

screenshot of Noom’s weight loss plan for me. It shows how I can get to 125 lbs by October 19th.
Screenshot taken by author from the Noom website

Noom, for those of you lucky enough to not be blasted with its ads on Facebook, is a “mission-driven technology company dedicated to building a healthier world.” In other words, it’s a weight loss company that aims most of its ads at millennials. It bills itself as a “lifestyle” app, but when I checked it out, it is just plain old calorie restriction. And it’s clear that to them, “healthy” just means thinner.

Screenshots taken by author from Discover Magazine.

Can’t I get away from weight loss for one hot second?! I’m bombarded with images of extremely slender women in magazines, TV shows, and movies. My female friends started talking about how we “needed” to lose weight before puberty. I can’t remember a single day I’ve woken up and been totally happy with my body and the way I look — despite being straight-sized and conventionally viewed as thin. It’s a relentless onslaught of messaging. I can’t imagine how much worse it is for fat people.



Zulie Rane

Content creator, cat mom, 6-figure entrepreneur. She/her. Get 2x weekly emails on how to make money writing online: https://zuliewrites.ck.page/3e3d3a8187