GLP-1s or Behavior Change? Unlocking The Winning Formula for Sustainable Weight Loss

Woman stretching overlooking a lake

Although medications like GLP-1s offer significant promise, relying solely on them risks missing a crucial part of the battle: sustainable behavior change. In this blog, we’ll explore the strengths and limitations of GLP-1s, present the power of behavior change, and discuss why combining both is the winning formula for long-term weight management success. 

GLP-1s: A Targeted Intervention with Limitations 

Glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) medications, which mimic natural hormones, offer valuable support by regulating appetite, blood sugar, and energy expenditure. This translates into reduced hunger, increased satiety, and potential weight loss, making them a welcome intervention for many people. However, acknowledging their limitations is vital: 

  • Accessibility and cost: Not everyone has access to these medications due to their price tag. 
  • Long-term effectiveness: Their impact can plateau over time, requiring ongoing adjustments. 
  • Addressing only one factor: Although GLP-1s target hormonal imbalances, they cannot address the broader spectrum of factors contributing to weight management. 

Empowering Individuals: The Transformative Power of Behavior Change 

Habits — our daily routines and choices — are the silent drivers of weight management. What we eat, how much we move, and how we respond to stress all significantly impact our weight. Although GLP-1s address biological machinery, sustainable weight loss hinges on developing healthy behaviors that become permanent fixtures in our lives. 

As explained in Patient Engagement HIT, “When patients are fully engaged in their care, they are more likely to maintain treatment plans, track their health, and ask their providers questions.”*

Imagine this: GLP-1s suppress your appetite, but you still succumb to unhealthy cravings because you haven’t addressed the emotional triggers behind them. Or, the medication increases your energy expenditure, but you remain glued to the couch due to ingrained sedentary habits. This is why behavior change is critical. 

By addressing the “why” behind our behaviors, we empower ourselves to make lasting choices that support long-term weight management. This involves strategies like: 

  • Identifying and managing emotional triggers for unhealthy eating 
  • Building sustainable exercise routines that fit your lifestyle 
  • Developing healthy coping mechanisms for stress and fatigue 
  • Creating a supportive environment that encourages healthy habits 

Several large studies have shown
that simply walking for about 30
minutes per day can decrease
diabetes risk by about 30%. 1.2 

Switching to a plant-based diet
and reducing processed foods can
significantly reduce the risk of
diabetes by up to 23%.
Evidenced by a meta-analysis of data
from over 190,000 participants in the
Nurses' Health Study and Health
Professionals' Follow-Up Study.3

No Smoking
People who smoke cigarettes have
a 50% higher risk of developing
diabetes than nonsmokers. There
is great benefit to quitting. 4

The Winning Formula: Combining Forces for Success

The most effective approach lies in combining the power of GLP-1s with a robust behavior change program. You can think of it as a two-pronged attack: The medication provides biological support, and behavior change equips you with the skills and mindset for long-term success. "It seems to be much, much easier for people to lose weight than it is to maintain that weight loss.  So we take that very seriously in supporting individuals as they transition from achieving their weight goal to maintenance." -Catherine Brown, MS, RD, CDCES, VP of Clinical Services, Welldoc
Welldoc’s digital health platform understands this synergy. We offer a holistic approach that incorporates: 

  • Personalized coaching and guidance on behavior change strategies 
  • Integrated, seamless support for weight loss medications, including GLP-1s 
  • Data-driven insights and tracking to stay motivated and accountable 
  • Focus on building sustainable habits for lasting results 

By addressing both the biological and behavioral aspects of weight management, Welldoc helps individuals achieve and maintain their weight loss goals, as well as navigate their day-to-day nutrition, activity, data, and trends over time. 

Download Welldoc’s White Paper “Engagement: What it is, what it’s not, and where it’s headed” to gain insights, strategies, and expert analysis on the connection between behavior change and outcomes like weight management.

* “How Patient Engagement Supports Chronic Disease Management.” Patient Engagement HIT, Tech Target Xtelligent Healthcare Media, 5 Aug. 2016, Accessed 27 Jan 2023 

The information we provide at is not medical advice, nor is it intended to replace a consultation with a medical professional. Please inform your physician of any changes you make to your diet or lifestyle and discuss these changes with them. If you have questions or concerns about any medical conditions you may have, please contact your physician.


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