If you have or can get access to a pool, swimming is a great exercise that's really gentle on the joints. Swimming can also be a super cardiovascular workout. Whatever you do, keep exercising as it will really help you with getting fit.
So far as nutrition...a good eating plan is the key to weight loss. If it's possible, you might request that your doctor send you to a registered dietitian (not a nutritionist, as anyone can call themselves a nutritionist). I'd request regular meetings, not just one meeting, if possible. If you get to go, take along your daily printouts from your food tracker with the food you are eating as this food log will really help your RD to make suggestions about your diet. If it's not possible to see a RD, Spark People has a lot of stuff that will really (REALLY) help you out a lot.
If you really don't know what to eat, you might consider turning on the menus in the food tracker. I've never used them myself, but I have heard that they have helped a lot of people. A common criticism of the food plans that are generated by Spark People is that you have to buy a lot of different foods and it's expensive to do this. The way around this is that the food plans let you substitute foods that you don't have, don't like or don't want to buy with other foods. So, if the food tracker says to eat grapes on Monday, strawberries on Tuesday, blueberries on Wednesday (etc.), just pick your favorite fruit (or two) and substitute so you only have to buy a couple of different types of fruit that week. Do the same with other foods so that you don't have to buy such a huge variety of things.
If the food plans don't appeal to you, the way to go is to slowly adapt what you are currently eating so that it falls within the nutrition guidelines for calories, carbs, protein, fat and fiber that Spark People generates for you. The key is to do this slowly and not get overwhelmed trying to do it all at once. This is what I did. My first step was to make sure that I was eating within my recommended calorie range. So, I worked on my portion sizes. Then, I slowly did makeovers of my favorite recipes to make them healthier and I started making foods at home that I was eating at restaurants.
So far as eating out, most of the food you find in restaurants is simply loaded with salt and it often has a ton of fat. I also believe that restaurants often give you more food than they admit to in the nutritional information that they publish. So, I only go out to eat on the rare occasion now and, for me, this has been very helpful.
Then, I started tracking some additional things (calcium, iron, cholesterol, sodium, potassium). I focused on getting enough calcium and so had to add sources of that into my diet and reduce some other things to make room for the calories from the new foods. I was getting a lot of sodium, so I decided to also slowly decrease the amount of processed foods that I was eating. This meant switching to the oats in the large cardboard container instead of buying the little flavored packages of oatmeal, drastically reducing the amount of cereal that I was eating, making soups at home instead of getting canned, using fresh or frozen vegetables instead of canned, leaning to cook with dry beans (so I could make homemade refried beans, homemade chili, homemade split pea soup, etc.), learning to make healthy homemade waffles (surprisingly super easy), etc. I started shopping for ingredients instead of packaged foods. I do still use some packaged things, though (e.g. canned spaghetti sauce, store-bought whole wheat bread, nonfat Greek yogurt from the store, the occasional Lean Cuisine, store-bought tortillas etc.). I just don't have time to cook everything from scratch, which brings me to say that trying to do something with your eating plan that doesn't fit into your lifestyle just won't work. You have to find what works for you...something that's practical for your life. It'll take time for you to find this, so be patient and don't try to do too much at once.
I really, really recommend a food scale and weighing out food instead of eyeballing or trying to use measuring cups. I think that it's a lot easier, generates a lot less dishes (no more having to wash measuring cups, etc.) and is a lot more accurate to weigh out food than to measure with cups/spoons. A good food scale is only about $25 dollars online (I've seen them on Amazon), or at the store (I know they have them at WalMart and Target). You don't need one that talks or gives nutritional information, just one that weighs in grams and in ounces.
Edited by: LOVE4KITTIES at: 8/24/2012 (04:10)