My initial impressions about the current lifestyle center are:
1) Rather than focusing on maintainance, much of it seems to rehash the mesages you see in the weight loss pages.
2) Its advice is far too general and there aren't many specific suggestions/strategies maintainers can use.
3) A lot of the information is outdated. What's more demoralizing than clicking on a Success Story only to find out that person is no longer active here on SparkPeople.com? For all we know that person has regained all of their weight!
Here are some of the specific changes I'd like to see:
- A 'Transitioning to Maintenance' section that encourages people to start thinking about maintenance when they enter the last portion, maybe 10%, of their weight loss phase. This section could include links to articles and discussions about what the shift to maintenance means both in terms of habits and the mental shift.
- An 'I've Reached my Goal! Now What?' section with more specific information about the habits of successful maintainers and their strategies. For example, we talk a lot about gradually increasing calories once a person begins the maintenance process. How about links to articles or discussions that outline a specific plan to do that? I think the 'Maintaining a Healthy Weight' articles also give short shrift to tracking as a very useful maintenance tool. I've personally found tracking to be an indispensable tool in helping me to analyze my eating and exercise plans and make adjustments according to the results I want to see. Also, NANCYANNE55 had an interesting article on her blog recently about planning for splurge meals with a very specific plan for how she does that without going totally off the rails. I'd be interested in seeing more things like this featured in the lifestyle center: itallmakesadifference.blogspot.it/
-I think a glaring ommission is the lack of a 'Help! I'm Backsliding!' section. This could include links to articles and discussions about what maintainers can do to get back on track after a slip up.
-I'd take the 'Keeping It Off: Member Stories' section and move it over to the top right of the page (do we really need a poll there?) and make sure the people profiled here are active on SparkPeople.com. These could be updated periodically and old stories could be archived, with a link at the bottom that people could click on to view them.
-In the 'Suggested SparkTeams' section, our team has the most members and is by far the most active (the '30-40 Something Maintainers' team is actually INACTIVE) yet it's listed last. Again, I would be very demoralized to click on a link here only to find an inactive team. Our team should be listed first and inactive teams should be removed.
-All that glorious space in the bottom, right corner could be filled with links to 'Hot Discussions about Maintenance,' which would include recent discussion threads on our board. This would need to be updated regularly so the content would be fresh.
-The 'Stay Motivated' and 'In the News' sections don't seem very useful to me at all in their present format. I'd like to see more links to maintenance-specific challenges in the 'Stay Motivated' section and current articles about maintenance from a range of sources in the 'In the News' section.
I lifted some of the next part about how the page could look from my initial message but am reposting it here to consolidate everything:
-Stylistically, I'd probably want a teaser to an introductory article at the top of the page that viewers could click on to read the entire thing. This article could explain the different features on the page so people would know exactly where to go to get what they need.
-There could then be a section dedicated to the different areas I mentioned above--'Transitioning to Maintenance,' 'I've Reached My Goal! Now What?,' 'Help! I'm Backsliding!,' 'Staying Motivated' and 'In the News.'
-Then a section with a link to a specific program maintainers can follow with 'Stages' like B from 4A-HEALTHY-BMI's original post.
-The 'Success Stories', 'Suggested SparkTeams' and 'Hot Discussions about Maintenance' would run along the right side of the page.
-Photographs would be nice so the page doesn't just look like one big set of links. Thumbnail-sized shots of featured success stories and other stock photos connected to the ideas of the other sections would be nice to see.
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