Lifestyle changes

Lifestyle changes and behavioral modification are the first steps towards sustained weight loss.24,12

Lifestyle changes have general health and well-being benefits. Expected weight loss in year one, of a structured weight loss program, is about 3.2% of initial weight.8

Even if weight loss is small (or even nil), these changes have general health and well-being benefits e.g. Reduced cardiovascular risk and increased mobility.28

Lifestyle changes are designed to create an energy deficit, so your body starts to use stored energy.24,28 No one type of diet or form of exercise has been shown to be better than another in terms of outcomes.14,24

So the improved lifestyle measures you adopt should be whichever ones suit your tastes, preferences, budget, household structure, food storage capacity and which you can continue for the long term.28

How well does lifestyle change work?

There is no doubt that lifestyle changes and behavioral modification can lead to successful and sustained weight loss.6

On average only about 3.2% of baseline weight is lost with these interventions.8

There is an increase in carbohydrates used as fuel

Carbohydrates being used as fuel instead of fat increase overall body fat storage8

Energy expenditure decreases with weight loss

15% less energy expenditure is expected as you lose 10% of your weight8,29

Hormone-driven increase in body energy storage

There is an increase in the production of hunger hormones and a decrease in the production of fullness hormones8,29


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6. Action to prevent obesity and reduce its impact across the life course – Evidence Review. 2018

8. Sumithran P and Proietto J. The defence of body weight: a physiological basis for weight regain after weight loss. Clin Sci 2103; 124: 231–41

12. Pilitsi E, et al. Pharmacotherapy of obesity: Available medications and drugs under investigation. Metab Clin Exp 2019; 92: 170–92.

14. Bray G, et al. The Science of Obesity Management: An Endocrine Society Scientific Statement. Obesity Rev. 2018; 39; 79-132

24. ANZOS and ADS. 2019. The Australian Obesity Management Algorithm. Available at: Accessed September 2019.

28. NH&MRC (2013) Clinical practice guidelines for the management of overweight and obesity in adults, adolescents and children in Australia

29. Boutari, C et al. Of mice and men: Why progress in the pharmacological management of obesity is slower than anticipated and what could be done about it?Metabolism July 2019 Volume 96, Pages vi–xi.