How do I stick to my weight-loss goal?


Nagina Abdullah


September 28, 2014

Man eating burger.

Recently, I joined a new gym which includes a monthly fitness assessment. I told the trainer my goals were to lose body fat and get more toned. After our meeting, he told me my goal was to lose 3 percentage points in body fat in the next 4 weeks.

And thats all he told me.

I think of myself as a motivated person, and I was up for the challenge. I was eager to reach his goal. Right away, I replied with, “Ok! Im going to do that!”

But, when I went home that evening, the goal started sinking in. Yes, I wanted to lose body fat – but I had already done everything I knew how to do. My trainer only told me where to get — but he left out the missing link — HOW to get there.

Many of us say, “I want to lose 10 pounds” or “I want to fit into my black dress by that party/wedding/event.” Were motivated and we really want to reach our goal and change how we look and feel.

But we miss out on the most important part — creating a realistic plan to get there.

Its just like saying, “I want to get a promotion!” and not thinking about the new skills and relationships you need to gain to get it — but still expecting to get it.

Setting up a plan and making the change part of your everyday life is the hard part.

And it’s exactly where most people FAIL to change their behavior and as a result – do not lose weight.

What NOT to do to lose weight

Many of us challenge ourselves to go from 0 to infinity, and then get suprised when we can’t stick to it:

  • “I’m going to start going to the gym 3x a week! (and we haven’t been going at all)
  • I’m going to eat salads for lunch and fish and vegetables for dinner (and we have been eating sandwiches or takeout)
  • I’m going to stop going out as much!” (and we already have 3 events planned in the next 3 weeks)

Those plans work for about 2 days.

Then, on day 3, you come home after an extremely hard day at work. Or you got out for happy hour and apps with your co-workers. You think, “I worked so hard today — I deserve to treat myself — only today.”

Within a week, the initial plan you had just doesn’t seem to be working.

In my next post, Im going to start sharing my STICKY WEIGHT-LOSS FORMULA. My formula will tell you step-by-step what to do— to start making weight-loss part of your everyday life.

And you’re going to start very small – by making 1 new healthy habit. And that’s it. In fact, I don’t WANT you to make 2.

Before then, I want you to think about the answers to 2 questions that will help you jump into seeing weight-loss success and setting up healthy habits in your life.

1. What’s my goal?

Identify a specific goal, for example, “I want to lose 10 pounds.”

2. What is 1 behavior of mine that is preventing me from reaching my goal?

Think of 1 behavior that is getting in your way of losing weight or another goal. Be very specific, especially with the time and place. Just stick to 1 behavior, even though there may be multiple. For example:

  • I get home after work and Im so tired, that I eat whatever is easiest — like sandwiches, cereal, or nothing
  • I get so tired in the afternoon and theres no food nearby so I eat something sugary from the vending machine
  • Whenever I go out I have drinks. . followed by chips, French fries, burritos or (include indulgence here)

Take 2-3 minutes to think about the answers to these 2 quick questions, and jot them down somewhere accessible. You can also study yourself over the next couple days to pinpoint where and when you are getting in the way of your weight-loss goals.

Next Time: Creating your Sticky Weight-Loss Plan.

In my next post, youre going to use your answers to these 2 questions to create your Sticky Weight-Loss Plan – and make losing weight real in your life.

Avatar photo

Nagina Sethi Abdullah, BA, MBA

Nagina Abdullah is a health coach for middle-aged women and professionals. She coaches women to boost their metabolism naturally, shed pounds and keep them off. Her work with weight loss clients led to the creation of Masala Body, an online weight loss platform that provides an easy and accessible system that helps women sustainably lose weight. She has helped over 1200 women successfully lose from 10-80 lbs and create a sustainable lifestyle change. Nagina earned her degree in Molecular and Cell Biology from UC Berkeley.

Reader Interactions


  1. Devi says

    I realized no matter how motivated I am when I leave work, the commute home exhausts me and I have little motivation to work out when I step into my home.
    I started wearing more comfortable shoes for my commute and getting off the subway one or two stops early to get a good 15-20 min walk into my routine. The walk energizes me and actually gives me the motivation to do a little exercise at home once I get there.
    Bonus: It actually saves me time on my commute given construction near home! AND I pass a fruit/vegetable stand to pick up healthy ingredients for dinner.

    • Nagina says


      I love your story! You made a small change that made a huge difference. I love how you are adding in exercise that is convenient to your life – and it gives you the energy to exercise more. The key is that you realized your commute was taking your energy away and you took action (your barrier) – and you took action – you started wearing more comfortable shoes. Great job!

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