Your weight management options

Lifestyle changes

Committing to changes in your lifestyle is essential for long-term weight management. If you want to lose weight and keep it off, you need to change your energy balance by taking in less energy to your body than it uses. You can do this by altering your diet (eating habits), increasing exercise and changing your behaviour. Behavioural changes mean first getting an understanding of the factors and/or behaviours that have contributed to you becoming overweight, or have stopped you from losing weight. Your GP may refer you to a psychologist, counsellor or behavioural therapist for help with this.

Pre-prepared meals and VLED products

Various commercially prepared meal programs are available. These can help by providing energy controlled meals. Other options include VLED (very low energy diet) products and meal replacements. A VLED product (e.g. shakes and bars) can be used to replace all or some meals. This option should be used with supervision from your GP as part of a weight management program. VLEDs should not be confused with meal replacements. Meal replacements are not nutritionally complete, so there is a danger you could end up with malnutrition if you ONLY eat meal replacements.

Weight loss medications

Weight reducing medications may be used as part of an overall weight loss program that includes diet, exercise and behaviour changes. There are several weight loss prescription medicines that are currently approved for use in Australia. The prescription medicines available in Australia work in different ways directly affecting the area of the brain that controls your appetite making you feel less hungry.  These medications come in several different formats either as an oral treatment i.e. tablets or capsules or as an injection. The treatment schedule also varies from once-a-day capsules, tablets dosed twice daily and once daily injections. Together, you and your doctor will find the most appropriate medication and dose for you. It is important that you speak to your doctor to discuss your options.

Treatment Options
    Oral medications may be useful if you:     Injections may be useful if you:
  • Prefer taking tablets or capsules
  • Are comfortable sticking to a dosing plan
  • Don’t like having injections
  • Prefer a daily injection
  • Have difficulty swallowing tablets or capsules

Weight loss surgery

Surgical treatments are often considered as the last resort, as they are only suitable in people with a high BMI. Weight loss surgery is quite expensive and can be difficult to access. That said, surgical treatments are an effective way for severely obese people to lose weight. There are three common surgical weight loss options available; adjustable gastric banding (the most common surgical method used in Australia), gastric bypass (which changes the way the stomach and intestine handle food) and gastric sleeve (which reduces the size of the stomach).

Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. Before proceeding, you should seek a second opinion from an appropriately qualified health practitioner.