The purpose of this study was to determine whether significant weight loss reduced the energy cost of activity more than that expected based on decreased body weight. Standing energy expenditure was measured and subtracted from the total energy cost of walking to determine ambulatory energy expenditure (AEE). The energy cost of walking was determined in 11 obese women at baseline, week 9 [after 8 wk of a 1758-3349 kJ.d-1 diet], and week 22 (after 2 wk of weight stability). AEE accounted for 80% of the energy cost of walking. Body weight was the principal determinant of AEE, but the relationship was not 1:1. Subjects reduced body weight by 13% at week 9 and 21% at week 22. Analyses which controlled for the relationship between AEE and weight at baseline, showed no change in AEE at week 9. By contrast, at week 22, AEE was reduced more than expected based on a lower body weight. These findings suggest that after significant weight loss, reduced-obese persons will expend less energy for the same activity, even after accounting for the decrease in body weight. These data also suggest that weight-based estimates of exercise energy expenditure may be inappropriate after significant weight loss.