Autophagy is a cellular pathway crucial for development, differentiation, survival and homeostasis. Autophagy can provide protection against aging and a number of pathologies such as cancer, neurodegeneration, cardiac disease and infection. Recent studies have reported new functions of autophagy in the regulation of cellular processes such as lipid metabolism and insulin sensitivity. Important links between the regulation of autophagy and obesity including food intake, adipose tissue development, β cell function, insulin sensitivity and hepatic steatosis exist. This review will provide insight into the current understanding of autophagy, its regulation, and its role in the complications associated with obesity.