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New Design, Community and Contests on LIVESTRONG.COM

By JESS BARRON / Readers, we have some exciting news to share with you.

We’ve been busy the past few months working to update and improve the LIVESTRONG.COM website and community experience. You may have noticed the new look of the LIVESTRONG.COM homepage, and we wanted to let you know right away about the new discussion and support area called Conversations.

In addition to the very popular forums Track Food Daily, Lose Weight, Be Fit, and Quit Smoking, you’ll see that we’ve added brand new conversation topics such as Reader-Recommended Gear, Food & Recipes and Site Feedback.

Additionally we’ve updated the forums’ design to make it easier for you all to to follow threads and communicate with each other. Another big addition to the community are the Topic Guides who are helping to support the community by leading conversations, offering advice and even running contests to help motivate and reward you. (More info on the contests below.)

We have many more exciting features coming soon that will make it easier for you to format your posts and receive alerts when you’ve received a reply.

What Are the 7 Topics and Who Are The Topic Guides?

1. Track Food Daily is guided by BeachGurlz, a heavy LIVESTRONG.COM site user who has struggled with weight issues for most of her adult life.

2. Be Fit is guided by jdm_taco, a.k.a. J.D., who is one of our LIVESTRONG.COM success stories. J.D. used MyPlate, LIVESTRONG’s free calorie tracker, to lose 182 pounds! If you have questions about working out and fitness or if you just need motivation to get your workout done today, post in the Be Fit forum.

3. Lose Weight is guided by AshleyDonahoo, who is another one of our LIVESTRONG.COM success stories. Ashley is a mom who was on the January 2013 cover of People magazine for losing 137 pounds using MyPlate, LIVESTRONG’s free calorie tracker. Earlier this year she revealed her 9 Weight Loss Secrets to us, and now she is also blogging for us as well.

4. Quit Smoking is guided by Evan Sheiman. Evan tried to quit smoking for over 19 years, but never succeeded until about 3 years ago when he started using MyQuitCoach, LIVESTRONG.COM’s free quit smoking app. Evan provides encouragement and support to all of the LIVESTRONG community members who are trying to stay away from cigarettes.

5. Reader-Recommended Gear is a new forum guided by bonnie_g.  Bonnie is a bona fide fitness gear guru! Each week she recommends great running, yoga, and workout gear and apparel such as the Rumbleroller and the Polar FT7 heart rate monitor. The best part: YOU can go to Reader-Recommended Gear and tell us about fitness and workout gear that you love. One LIVESTRONG.COM member each week will win a $50 gift card for the winning gear or apparel recommendation. (More information below.)

6. Food, Cooking & Recipes is a new forum, guided by My_Healthy_Dish, a.k.a. My Nguyen. My is a popular Instagram personality, mom and healthy food blogger. Each week she posts healthy, easy recipes such as baked egg and avocado and pre-made green smoothies in mason jars. Do you have a great recipe? If so, share it with the readers on Food, Cooking & Recipes and you could win a $100 gift card. (More information in the contests section below.)

7. Site Feedback is guided by ShelbyPratt who runs LIVESTRONG.COM’s Customer Care. If you have any questions, issues or feedback about using the LIVESTRONG website or any of our apps, Site Feedback is the place to get answers and help.

This is what the Conversations look like

What Are the Contests and Prizes, and How Do I Enter?

Contest #1: Fitness “Before” and “After” Contest
Details and How to Enter: Do you have an inspiring weight loss transformation story you'd like to share? Enter LIVESTRONG.COM's “Before” and “After” monthly contest for a chance to win a $100 VISA gift card. To enter, post a response to this forum thread with a short essay (5-10 sentences) describing your transformation including: your "Before" and "After" weight, the various fitness and nutritional changes you experienced; obstacles you may have overcome, your inspiration, and what you are most proud of looking back. Also, make sure to include a "Before" photograph and "After" photograph of yourself. We'll select one male and one female winner each month. See details and official rules here.
Prize: $100 Visa gift card (one each for the monthly male and female winners) awarded monthly. See other entrants’ submissions and/or enter yourself now!

Contest #2: Reader-Recommended Gear
Details and How to Enter: Do you have a favorite piece of fitness gear or apparel that you think all health enthusiasts should know about? Enter the "Reader-Recommended Gear" weekly contest, and share a short review of your "gotta-have-it" gadget, gear, shoe or clothing for a chance to win a $50 Visa gift card. To enter, respond to this post with a short review (2-10 sentences), describing the product, its intended use, why it works so well and what you like about it.  Also, make sure to include a photo of your recommended product. See details and official rules here.
Prize: $50 Visa gift card awarded weekly.

 

Contest #3: Healthy Cooks Challenge
Details and How to Enter: Are you comfortable straying from a recipe or whipping up a kitchen creation all your own? Do you like to eat healthy? If you answered "yes," enter LIVESTRONG.COM's "Healthy Cooks Challenge" monthly contest for a chance to win a $100 Visa gift card. To enter, view this post announcing the Healthy Cooks Challenge Recipe of the Month (i.e. mac n’ cheese, lasagna, etc.). To enter the contest, respond to that post with your healthier, re-habbed versions of this month's meal. In your response, make sure to include a direct link to your recipe, which you'll need to enter into the LIVESTRONG.COM MyPlate recipe database. See more details and official rules here.
Prize: $100 Visa gift card awarded monthly.
Contest #4: “I’m a Quitter”
Details and How to Enter:  Have you successfully quit smoking? Enter LIVESTRONG.COM's “I’m a Quitter” monthly contest. To enter, respond to this post with a short description (approximately 5-10 sentences) discussing your journey: the inspiration for quitting, what you've achieved, and how your life has changed since you quit smoking. Make sure to also include a photograph that captures your success in quitting smoking - i.e. playing with your children, hiking, or engaging in physical activities such as sports or a marathon, etc. See details and official rules here.
Prize: $100 Visa gift card awarded monthly.
How Do I Get to the Conversations Section?
From the LIVESTRONG.COM homepage, click on the Community heading in the black navigation menu that runs across the top of the site.How to navigate to Conversations section from the new LIVESTRONG homepage

Check out the new Conversations, and let us know what you think and if we’re missing any of your favorite features!

Readers – What do you think about the new LIVESTRONG.COM redesign and the new Community Conversations section? Do you think that the new forums will be helpful for getting support?

–Jess

Jess Barron is Editor-in-Chief of LIVESTRONG.COM. Read some of her other health and fitness articles here. A longtime foodie and fan of Farmer's Market food, Jess particularly loves heirloom tomatoes, fresh figs with burrata cheese, and anything with pumpkin or peanut butter in it! Her love for food fuels her desire to exercise daily. Some of her favorite workout routines include running, yoga, P90X, INSANITY, and mixed martial arts. Jess's writing can also be found at Poprocks.com. She has appeared on MSNBC's "The Most," ABC News Now, and XM satellite radio and her writing has appeared on Wired.com and Yahoo!

Follow Jess on Twitter @jessdandy. Also, you can add her on Google+ and follow her on Pinterest.

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