As I've mentioned a couple times, over the last couple years I've lost about fifty pounds, and am in the best physical condition of my entire life. For someone who grew up as a fat kid and fluctuated between being kind of overweight and really needing to take some serious weight off, and who had a stereotypical academic's contempt for all things seriously athletic, this is no small feat.
Of course, for me it was both a physical endeavor, and an extremely cerebral one: in order to get past the various things that had kept me from losing weight in the past, it was necessary for me to read a lot about nutrition and dieting, dive into the literature on obseity and satiety, and think about how what I'd learned from behavioral economics could be applied to weight loss.
At a certain point, I realized that the challenge of losing weight was a classic futures problem: complex, uncertain, requiring all kinds of near-term tradeoffs for long-term benefits, and hard to sustain. So could what I learned as a futurist help me lose weight? And could the experience of losing weight teach me anything about dealing with futures-related problems?
I think the answer to both is yes, and I've laid out my answers in an article that I just sent into one of those frighteningly efficient online editorial systems. We'll see if the piece is accepted-- it may be too first person to qualify as serious research-- but in the meantime I've put a copy of the draft online, and it's available as a PDF. The introduction is in the extended post.
Naturally, comments are welcome.