Last December, Stephen Snowder, a 37-year-old communications staffer at a white-shoe law firm in New York, Googled “pandemic weight gain.” He’d stopped jogging and had indulged in comforting Grubhub meals while quarantining. He wanted to fit into his 2019 clothes again.
As he found himself sifting through information about various weight-loss companies and programs online, one slogan caught his eye: “Stop Dieting. Get Lifelong Results.” An app—called Noom—promised to use psychology to help “build new habits to crush your goals.” The company’s website described how he’d be paired with a wellness coach and receive short lessons and quizzes based on cognitive behavioral therapy techniques. Crucially, the app said he could eat anything he wanted. Noom ads soon flooded Snowder’s Instagram feed. He signed on.
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