Scientists at Harvard University’s Dana-Farber Cancer Institute recently published a formal study that supports something we’ve all known for years.  In a study involving mice, they found that by making a number of small changes in nutritional intake and exercise, it’s actually possible to slow the aging process.  It’s now time to turn this knowledge into action.

The first step in this process is remarkably easy.  Start by making a list.  For the next seven days, write down everything you eat and drink, as well as your activity — walking, the amount of time you sit watching television, and so on.  The idea is to take an accurate look at the way you’re living your life right now.

The next step is making one small change in your normal routine.  Remove one thing that is bad for you – something you eat or drink, or some way that you avoid exercise – and replace it with something that is good for you.  (Be sure to continue making notes each day just as you did during week number one.)  This might mean taking the stairs at work instead of relying on the elevator.  You’ll soon find that you have more energy each day – and this all comes from making one simple change in your daily routine

It’s also time to start making small changes in how you eat, and the best way to control the process (and the calories) is to start making more meals at home.   You’ll also be surprised at how easy this can be, especially if you find a few cookbooks or websites that feature recipes involving only a few simple ingredients

Once you’ve started to make these simple changes in your daily routine, you’re going to start feeling proud of yourself – and you should.  But it’s not yet time to make bold announcements about the amazing way that you’ve reshaped your life.  Wait for friends and family to start noticing the “new you” – and believe me, it won’t take long for this to happen.

In Part II of this essay, I’ll explain why shifting your perspective is so important in this process and why it’s necessary to make these healthy changes for yourself – not for your children or because your friends have told you that you “should.”

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Susanne Veder Berger hid her face for more than 50 years. Now, an amazing surgical procedure has allowed this courageous resident of New York City to show her “true face.” Susanne calls it “Getting Naked.” She’s embarking on a new journey and invites you to join her in confronting challenges, “getting real” and stepping into a fresh, more empowered life.

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